For We Are the Fire’s release day, we have Sam Taylor on the blog to talk about her debut, her preferred elemental powers, and her writing journey!
About We Are the Fire
In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.
When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves. – Goodreads | Content Warnings
About the Author
Sam Taylor grew up in Arizona’s desert and now lives among Connecticut’s trees. She writes fantasy novels for teenagers, and magic is always at the heart of her stories. (What world isn’t better with a bit of magic?)
For her writing, Sam has won the Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature and twice received the Young Adult Romance Writers of America Rosemary Award. She’s worked as a proofreader, copywriter, and instructor of university writing courses before deciding to write her own books.
We Are the Fire is her debut novel.
When she’s not writing, Sam spends her time being mom to the world’s cutest boys, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat.
1. Congratulations! How does it feel to be a published author?
It’s still a bit surreal, since this is a dream I’ve chased for years. Sometimes I have to slow down and remind myself that I did it, I’m getting a book published, I’m getting this book published–the one that I didn’t want to give up on.
2. Can you describe We Are the Fire in three words?
Fierce, Alchemical, Revolution
3. We Are the Fire is your first published book, but is it the first book you wrote?
WAtF is the third book I’d queried. I loved my first two projects, but this story captured my passion and energy in a way the others hadn’t. So I kept trying and trying to find a home for this story until it found its champion with Swoon Reads.
4. How did the concept for We Are the Fire come to you?
I was angry and wanted to watch something burn! My day job at the time was run by some corrupt people. I felt powerless to fix the situation, and often wasn’t even sure what were the right choices. I wanted a story with fire magic, to vent out my frustrations. I wanted a story where the right decisions weren’t always clear, because sometimes they aren’t. I wanted a story with unlikely allies coming together–something that got me through my own struggle. Above all, I wanted a story that ended with hope.
5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Planster! I always outline before drafting, but as I begin writing and acquaint myself more with the characters and their world, I always uncover new ideas. And I give myself the freedom to explore those ideas, because they always lead to a much better book. (For WAtF, the wily Imperial Alchemist Rootare didn’t come to me about halfway through the first draft!)
6. Did anything about the writing or publishing process surprise you?
When I was still querying and searching for an agent and a book deal, lots of authors further along in their journey would say, “Enjoy your time writing without a contract! Enjoy the time being free to focus solely on your craft and storytelling.” That’s never what anyone in the query trenches wants to hear, but… those authors weren’t wrong. It’s a whole different game juggling deadlines, book promotion, administrative tasks (there is so much behind-the-scenes work to being an author! Don’t even get me started on author taxes) along with writing. So really, when a writer isn’t beholden yet to anyone but themself, embrace that opportunity to focus on craft and the sheer pleasure of storytelling.
7. Aside from the obvious laptop, what is your must have item for when you’re writing?
Headphones! I must listen to music while writing. It helps me find the right tone for the book, and drowns out any distracting background noise.
8. What are your writing plans for 2021?I’m at work on three other projects currently–two MG, one YA. All magical. Hoping at least one of them can be ready to send out to editors soon!
9. Finally, if you could wield the power of one of the elements, which element would you choose?
There’s only one answer for me:
Thanks so much Sam, and I can’t wait to see what you come out with next!
Interested in more 2021 Debuts? Check out my Debut Showcase feature, in which I talk about a tonne of authors with debut books coming out in 2021. While you’re here, perhaps consider taking part in the Debut Author Challenge? There are giveaways, readathons, read-ins, and more!