Today we have Zara Quentin, author of Airwoman, joining us on the blog for an interview!
ALL ABOUT YOU
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Airwoman?
The initial idea came to me in the middle of a dark and stormy night. A cliché, but it’s true. I was living in Auckland, New Zealand, and was woken in the middle of the night by a serious storm—thunder and lightning, wind rattling the windows and rain drumming on the roof. My bedroom windows suddenly blew open with a crash. As I sat straight up in bed (in shock) I had a vision of my main character—Jade Gariq, though back then she didn’t have a name. She was perched on my windowsill—wings folded at her back and dripping wet—seeking shelter from the storm. She had come from somewhere else and was fleeing something—though back then I didn’t know what. It was that moment that sparked the idea that became Airwoman.
Introduce us to your main character!
Jade Gariq is seventeen years old, the daughter of Magnus Gariq, and heiress to his large, cross-portal trading company—Gariq Industries. Though she should have served in the Traveler Force years ago, she is still living at home and working at Gariq Industries, where she is apprenticed to learn about the company in advance of (eventually) taking it over.
In her spare time, she loves to fly. She loves the feeling of the wind in her face, the air underneath her wings, and the beautiful views of the coastline, Mt Reve rising up out of the harbor and the sight of the golden Dragon-God mounted over the Ingresston Temple.
She grew up listening to her parent’s stories about their time in the Traveler Force, their trips through the Portal, across the dangerous Betwixt and into the other worlds of the Dragonverse. She has always dreamed of joining the Traveler Force like her parents and of seeing all the worlds beyond the Portal. She obsessively reads her favorite magazine, Traveler Monthly, for more stories from beyond the Portal and looks forward to the time when she’ll be able to see all those places with her own eyes.
Walk us through a day in the life of Zara Quentin.
I have three young children, so my life is not very glamorous!
Generally, the day starts early as I’ve never been able to persuade my kids to sleep in. I make breakfast and get the kids ready for the day before taking my daughter to school. Then I take my boys on a morning outing, before we go home to put my youngest son down for a nap. My middle son and I have some “rest” time too, before we all go out to pick my daughter up. Then we do homework, make dinner, get the kids through the bath and ready for bed. Once they’re down to bed, I open my laptop and start writing, usually at about 8pm. I often write for a couple of hours before going to bed. Then the night flies by too quickly and I get up to do it all over again!
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
Celebrate the stage you’re at. You don’t write a novel the first time you try. Most probably, you’ll start writing a few scenes, here and there. Then you’ll try to write the whole way through the first draft of a book. Even when that first draft is finished, it might not be a marketable story, but writing that first first draft, is really important—it shows you can make it through 60-80,000 words of prose.
Then you’ll try to write something that’s actually worth revising. Finally, you might even get it to publication. The point is, writing is a long-term pursuit. It takes years to learn the craft, then years to get to a point where you’re ready to publish. After that, there may be more years until you have a built up a following and/ or body of work. It takes patience and determination—two qualities you’re going to need as an author!
I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?
This is still pretty hard to answer. Some of my recent favorite series have been:
- Air Awakens series by Elise Kova
- Matters of Love series by Margaret Locke
- The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
There are so many more though…I could go on and on!
Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?
The reason I love to read is because it takes me to other worlds, other times and places. I get to walk around in different shoes for awhile—get to be another person or an alien or vampire or wizard or anything in between. I read for fun, for escape, for mystery, adventure and suspense. Since this is what I love most, I put all this into Airwoman. So, if you want to delve into a richly textured world, travel to strange and new places, and fold yourself into a mystery, an adventure, and a romance—then this is the book for you!
NOW FOR THE FUN…
What is your Hogwarts or Ilvermorny house?
I’m a Hufflepuff and my patronus is a Wild Boar… If I transfer from Hogwarts to Ilvermorny, then I’ll also be a Wampus!
Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
Tough question—I’d like to think Jade would, since she’s smart and resourceful. But she’d be up against some tough competition from her friend, Kyssa, who is competitive, ambitious and recognized as one of the future leaders of the Traveler Force. Whether either of them would be willing to kill the other is another question…
You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?
Haha! An over-active imagination, though I’m not sure that would make for very good TV!
Radioactive space rock fell from the sky and turned you into a superhero/villain. Tell us your new name, describe your powers, and what does your costume look like?
My costume would be a blue or teal (my favorite colors), trimmed with silver. I’d be a superhero, for sure. I’d have the power to create things using just the power of my imagination, be able to stop people in their tracks or sweep them aside with the flick of my wrist. Oh, and I’d definitely be able to fly!
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
Only one place! That seems like a terribly unfair limitation on time travel… So if I had to pick only one, I think I’d go back to one of my favorite places—Machu Picchu—to see what it was like when the Incans were still living there. I’d love to know why the ancient Incans really built it and experience what it was like when it was in use.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee—double shot! Then possibly (probably) another. Then, if the weather is cold, I’ll drink lots of tea!
Best ice cream flavor ever?
My favorite reading quote is: “A book is a dream that you hold in your hand”—Neil Gaiman
My current favorite motivational quote is: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today”. Not sure who came up with this one, but I heard it recently and it has stuck in my head. It helps me to remember that it doesn’t matter what I haven’t done yet. Nor what I plan to do tomorrow. What matters most is I’m going to do today.
Airwomanby Zara Quentin
Series: Airwoman #1
Published on October 25, 2016 by Zara Quentin
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Jade Gariq is the daughter of a respected Taraqan leader, and the heiress to Gariq Industries—a large, cross-Portal trading company. Her future appears to be set.
Except for one thing: It’s a life that she doesn’t want.
Jade has always dreamed of joining the Traveller Force—the elite Taraqans who traverse the Betwixt, filled with terrifying beasts, and who protect and patrol the Dragonverse. Despite having been Travellers themselves once, Jade’s parents remain vehemently against risking their only daughter’s life. When Jade’s father dies suddenly, she inherits Gariq Industries, its assets, trade deals and social responsibilities.
It seems as though her fate has once again been decided.
Meanwhile, Axel—her close friend and secret crush—disappears without a trace. Then Jade discovers the circumstances surrounding her father's death are not what they seem— her uncle Zorman suspects foul play. To find the truth and avenge her father's death, Jade travels to an uncharted world, where she will learn more about her family, herself, loyalty, and betrayal than she ever imagined.