happy belated book birthday to tiger queen! yesterday i wasn’t able to get onto a computer at all so i’m posting the interview i did with Annie (who was amazing and let me do another interview with her for her new book) today. i hope you enjoy!
In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.
But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.
now for the interview!
1.Tiger Queen is your second novel how was it different then writing A Touch of Gold? Did your writing process change?
I think every novel is different from the one that came before it. I wrote Tiger Queen in a fraction of the time that A Touch of Gold took. I think that was partly due to just being a better writer. Plus, once you’ve written one book, it isn’t nearly as hard to write another one.
I also think Tiger Queen was a lot different because the main character, Princess Kateri, is very different from Kora in A Touch of Gold. Kora is a character who doesn’t know her own strength. She has to discover that through the course of the novel. Princess Kateri, on the other hand, has to fight suitors in an arena to win her right to rule. She’s brash and skilled with a sword. She’s a strong, formidable opponent. So it was really interesting to see how these two characters were so different from each other.
- Where did you first get the idea for Tiger Queen?
Tiger Queen is actually a retelling of an infamous short story by Frank Richard Stockton. It’s infamous because it has a cliffhanger ending. In the original myth, a princess falls in love with a peasant. The princess’s father isn’t okay with this, so he throws the peasant into the arena to face justice—where behind one door is a tiger ready to eat him and behind the other is a beautiful lady he’ll get to marry if he picks that door. The princess finds out what waits behind which door—and she learns that the beautiful lady is her biggest rival, the one she’d never want her lover to end up with. So when the peasant looks up to her in the arena for guidance, she points him toward a door. The door opens, and the story ends. You never find out what was behind the door.
I read that short story back in middle school, and the lack of ending has always bothered me. So I finally rewrote the story with a little bit more of a Robin Hood vibe, and I gave it the ending it always should have had.
Plus, I dedicated the book to my middle school English teacher who taught me the story because without her, I wouldn’t have written this book.
- What was your research like?
Since Tiger Queen is set in a very unforgiving desert that almost has a mind of its own, I did a lot of research into desert creatures. Although, I have to admit I wrote most of Tiger Queen while I was in Antarctica, which most people don’t know is actually one of the world’s largest desert because of how dry it is. I substituted the snow stinging my face for sand as I wrote, and that became the inspiration of my mythical desert. I did also work with a sensitivity reader just to be sure that my desert setting wouldn’t in any way be harmful or stereotypical.
- Without spoilers what was your favorite scene to write?
By far, my favorite scene to write is the ending—where I gave the story the absolute perfect ending. I took the myth and turned up the volume, giving the story and my readers the hardcore female protagonist they need.
- Describe Tiger Queen in 5 words.
Warrior Princess. Arena Fights. Deception.
thank you so much for doing the interview with me Annie!