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Interview with Emily R. King for Before the Broken Star

A fierce young female adventurer battles time itself to claim her destiny in a sweeping new fantasy saga from the author of the Hundredth Queen series.

Everley Donovan is living on borrowed time. The lone survivor of her family’s unexplained assassination, she was saved by an ingeniously crafted clockwork heart. But the time she was given won’t last forever. Now, every tick-tock reminds her how fragile her existence is and hastens her quest to expose Killian Markham, the navy admiral who shattered her world and left her for dead. But Everley’s hunt for justice will be a long and hard-won voyage.

Her journey takes her to a penal colony on a cursed isle, where she will be married off and charged to build the new world. It is here, and beyond, that hidden realms hide, treasures are unearthed, her family secrets are buried, and young love will test the strength of her makeshift heart. When Everley discovers Markham may not be who he seems, her pursuit for truth is bound to his redemption, her tragic history, and her astonishing destiny.


Ali: Today we have Emily R. King joining us. To kick things off, Emily, please tell us what inspired Before the Broken Star.

Emily: The original concept came to me as a gender-swapped Pinocchio retelling. Many influences from the classic tale are still there, but when the main plot became about revenge, the world shifted a different direction. I built my own mythology based off Celtic mythos, which added new complexities and broadened the setting. Some familiar fairy tale components remained, but I wanted to challenge expected tropes, so the plot felt fresh and not necessarily a retelling or a reimagining of any one story.

I would have never guessed. I love that. In someways it gives a whole new context to the story. While writing Before the Broken Star, what did you discover was your favorite part about writing Everley?

Emily: I enjoyed writing a girl who was driven and determined and fierce about what she believed. Right or wrong, Everley has stubborn ideas about herself and others. Some of those ideals are challenged, which creates pain and growth. I wanted a realistic portrayal of how a young girl grows up into a woman, becoming more herself and less afraid of what that means. Of course, Everley takes a while to change. A lot of her growth occurs in books two and three.

Ali: What was the reasoning or what inspired you to give Everley a clockwork heart?

Emily: Two big themes in the series are how much of ourselves is tied up in our hearts (or how we love) and how time affects us all. A clockwork heart provides so much imagery. Our hearts really do determine who we are and what we do. The bigger philosophical conversation of how time rules our lives is also something I’ve thought about often. Both of these ideas were fun to explore through Everley’s ticker.

Ali: There are a lot of twists and turns in Before the Broken Star. Did the book surprise you as you were writing it or did you always know the path it would take?

Emily: I didn’t know them all at first. The big reveals were part of my original concept but getting from one to the next is usually a mystery. I like to leave some things open for my characters and world to surprise me.

Ali: I know the readers are dying to know, what is your favorite writing snack or drink?

Emily: Diet Coke and gummy bears.

Ali: My favorite question...Disney Princess or Disney Villain?

Emily: Villain. I adore the real-life adaption of Maleficent.

Ali: Me too! I am really looking forward to the second movie. The trailer looked so good. My final question is what can we expect for book 2?

Emily: More twists and turns are coming! Everley goes on her biggest adventure yet. To find her stolen sword, she follows the villain to the Land Under the Wave, a world ruled by murderous merrows and vicious pirates. This world of water is a dangerous place for a girl with a fragile clockwork heart.

Ali: I can't wait! I absolutely adored this book. Book two is definitely on my most wanted list. Thank you so much for stopping by today Emily. It was a pleasure to have you. If you have not read my review yet for Before the Broken Star, you can check that out here.

About the Author:

Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.

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