Rosaria Munda: Fireborne
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by Rosaria Munda
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.
Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.
But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.
October 15th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi, my name’s Rosaria Munda and my YA fantasy debut, Fireborne, is about the friendship between two dragonriders, tested by new rivalry and old secrets, as they rise to the top of the revolutionary regime that orphaned them.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I’ve really enjoyed making friends with other writers! I found a lot of them through the debut facebook group and it has been so nice to go through this strange process with friends—writing has always been so solitary, and I really like feeling like I’m part of a community now.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I absolutely loved The Pioneer, a scifi by Bridget Tyler pitched as Laura Ingalls in space; and Dark of the West, a WWII-inspired hard fantasy that balances a great romance with some really intense and well-researched war writing.
How long did it take you to write this book?
A lot of different things! I wanted to turn a few tropes on their heads—specifically the orphaned aristocrat seeking vengeance (what if he chooses to atone for his family’s wrongs instead?), the “strong” female character (what if her biggest struggle is with self-doubt?), and the trope of revealed pasts destroying friendships (what if they’ve known from the beginning, and are friends in spite of the reasons they should hate each other? And it’s just really hard?)
As far as worldbuilding goes, I was inspired by an eclectic group of sources—Plato’s Republic, the Blitz, and the French Revolution. I wanted to set a story in the aftermath of a revolution rather than in the buildup. I wanted to explore exactly what a meritocratic caste system would look like—good and bad. And I wanted everybody to be riding dragons.
What’s a cool thing about your book that isn’t in the blurb?
It’s full of quotes from the Aeneid! I wanted the characters in Fireborne to draw from a classic epic poem that they’re all familiar with and I adapted quotes for that fictional epic from my high school translations of Virgil. I loved translating it as a student and wanted to bring that feeling—both of the lines themselves, and of translating them—into the classroom settings of Fireborne.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Read a lot and read widely. Especially if you want to write SFF, nonfiction is your best friend—it will provide your best and most original inspirations.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
I revise a ton. One day I hope to be the kind of writer who can go from outline to decent book, but for now, it’s trial and error. I’ve learned to accept that as a part of the process!
What are two of your favorite covers of all time?
Oh, boy. Can I just say, DRAGONS AND NEGATIVE SPACE. Sofiya, I’m guessing from your cover you share my love! In that tradition, Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road is so gorgeous, I’d hang it up as a poster if they sold it as one. And then—I know I’m absolutely biased—but I love my cover. I like how its colors and the simple symbolic representation of the dragon evoke revolutionary propaganda and I LOVE the fact that it contains a secret second image within the negative space of the wings! Look closely… do you see the faces? :)
Thanks for interviewing, Rosaria! I agree with your cover love... negative space is awesome, and everything is automatically better with a dragon in it! I can't wait to read your book on 10/15/19!