Squeeee I am BEYOND excited to be posting my VERY FIRST author interview! I somehow managed to talk Nicki Pau Preto into doing this interview with me even while she is crazy busy with deadlines for Crown of Feathers 2 which is under super tight wraps right now. Her first book, Crown of Feathers, is one of my absolute favorites and even now I cannot stop gushing about it. I have also formed a friendship with Nicki and like, how did I get so lucky 😭 she is the kindest, sweetest person I know and I so happy I get to be friends with this incredible author.
I had a sister, once…
In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.
I promised her the throne would not come between us.
Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.
But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.
Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.
Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicki is a YA fantasy author living just outside Toronto, Canada. After getting a degree in visual
arts, a masters in art history, and a diploma in graphic design, Nicki discovered two things: she loves to escape the real world, and she isn’t interested in a regular 9-5 life. Luckily, her chosen career covers both.
Her YA fantasy debut CROWN OF FEATHERS is out now from Simon Pulse.
If you would like to support Nicki by purchasing a copy of Crown of Feathers you can do so here:
There are other ways to support Nicki as well! Check out Crown of Feathers from your local library, or if they don’t have it then request they get a copy! Use Libby or Overdrive and read the ebook or listen to the audiobook! Audible also has the audiobook. All of these outlets give you the opportunity to enjoy the book and still supports Nicki so that she can continue writing 🔥
Brittany: How did you come up with the idea for Animages?
Nicki: I think I was heavily inspired by a few other books: definitely Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, which features a girl with wild magic who can communicate with and transform into animals. Also, the Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb features two kinds of magic, the skill and the wit, which allow a person to communicate with and connect mentally with humans and animals respectively.
B: Can you give us even the tiniest detail about book two???
N: We will be meeting several new Phoenix Riders.
B: What is your advice on writing for all the aspiring authors out there?
N: To enjoy the time before you have an agent/editor/deadlines. To allow yourself to really sink into that magical space when it’s just you and your world, and not to pressure
yourself too much. I was always rushing to make this dream happen, and I wish I’d
stopped to enjoy the ride a bit more.
B: When did you first know you wanted to pursue writing?
N: When I was 17 or 18 and first read Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling made it look so easy,
which is actually quite laughable, because Harry Potter has to be one of the most
complex and meticulously plotted series ever written. Ignorance is bliss.
B: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
N: World building!!! Always and forever.
B: How did you select the names of your characters?
N: Many of the names are real-world names I’ve tinkered with, so the spelling is more
fantasy-esque, but also so it fits within my world building. Pyraean names have a lot of
y’s and k’s in them, like Avalkyra (which is a name I invented), and so by changing the
spelling of a name like Veronica to Veronyka, it goes better with the culture I’ve created.
B: What is your favorite childhood book?
N: I didn’t really read until I was seventeen (!!!), so my favorite books fall into the teen
category. Probably The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, or the usual stand by, Harry
B: What is the most difficult part of being an author?
N: The author persona; having to promote yourself and your work in interviews and on
social media. It takes away from the actual writing, and it’s such a time suck. Also, I’m
not great at social media so it just feels like one more thing to fail at!
B: Who is your favorite character? Who was your favorite character to write?
N: Impossible to answer! I love all my children equally. Just kidding. But I do love all the
main cast. Veronyka is probably my favorite just because she’s the main character and
this is ultimately her story. But Val is incredibly fun to write. Also Sparrow!
B: Describe your book in 3 words!
N: Phoenix. Riding. Warriors.
B: What was the hardest part of writing and publishing a book?
N: Perseverance! And embracing failure. You will fail, many times (hence, perseverance),
so you have to be okay with that. But that’s it, really. You have to be able to stick to it.
There are a millions reasons not to write a book, so you have to really want it otherwise
it’ll never happen.
Nicki, thank you so incredibly much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to answer SO MANY of my questions! I am so happy you were able to do this and I hope to do it again with book two!