Author Interview with Amy Bartol

POSTED ON April 19, 2018 BY Austine IN Interview

Good morning, Knights! Today, Amy Bartol (author of Secondborn and the newly released Traitor Born) is joining me on the blog for an interview! Learn more about the day in the life of a writer, great advice for going through your day, and a book that everyone needs to check out!

About Amy A. Bartol

I am a graduate of Hillsdale College and live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. They often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my "writing uniform" consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.


All About Amy

You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Traitor Born/The Secondborn Series?

The idea for Secondborn, the first book in the series, loosely came from China’s one-child policy. Firstborns rule society, secondborns are the property of the government, and thirdborns aren’t tolerated. I tried to imagine a culture and governmental structure that perpetrates severe control over its citizens, demanding absolute conformity until it becomes as normal to everyone as breathing—until, that is, the oppression becomes so intolerable that people begin to question the laws and the institutions responsible. But really, this is just a piece of the framework of the Secondborn series. The story is much more intricate because this is, after all, a young adult sci-fi romance novel.

Introduce us to your main character!

The main character, secondborn Roselle St. Sismode, privileged youngest daughter of a matriarchal leader of the Fates Republic, must leave her aristocratic family’s home and join the government’s military during the bloodiest civil war in the nation’s history. An enemy attack during Roselle’s Transition Day disrupts her ruthless family’s plans for Roselle, while irreparably entwining her life with Hawthorne Trugrave’s—the secondborn soldier who is fast-becoming an integral part of her life. But it’s Roselle’s decision to save an enemy on the battlefield that sets off a maelstrom of intrigue and espionage that will divide her love and loyalty while testing her honor as she fights for her life.

Traitor Born, the sequel to Secondborn, picks up just where the first novel leaves off with Roselle precariously positioned between new powerful allies and old ones, who alternate between “friend” and “enemy”. Like Roselle, readers won’t quite know who to trust.

Walk us through a day in the life of Amy Bartol.

I wake up at around 7:00 A.M. to make sure my two sons are awake and ready to go to school. I usually drink copious amounts of coffee at this point because I probably went to bed a couple of hours before my alarm went off. If I don’t have appointments or errands that make me leave the house, I’ll stay in my pajamas all day. (Yes, ALL DAY!)

I answer my email in the morning, and my social media account comments and question. Then, I’ll try to write—or do a half-million things to procrastinate instead of writing—like scanning my Instagram feed, or creating a marketing graphic for Traitor Born, or devising a book giveaway for my readers, or attempting to come up with something devastatingly witty to post on my website, or posting a review of a recent book I read to Goodreads, or go to the gym. After that, I may take a nap. (Okay, I’ll definitely take a nap.)

Writing almost always entails listening to music. I create a monthly musical playlist on Spotify and listen to it nonstop. If I like a band or an artist, I’ll stalk them on Instagram and read a ton of articles about them. I might add the artist’s video to one of my book’s Pinterest profiles if it corresponds to the mood of what I’m writing.

When my teenagers get home from school, I try to talk to them, which may or may not happen depending on how immersed I am in my writing universe. If I’m submerged in a world of my own making, I won’t even know they’re home or what time it is or if there’s a fire in the house. When I surface, I try to make dinner. It happens sometimes. Other times I have Thai take-out on blast.

My son plays year-round travel soccer. We have a soccer carpool. I pick-up four 13-year-olds and take them to their practice during rush hour and then I take them home. FUN! They’re great guys. I keep Febreze in my car, though. When we get home, I help with homework, and then, when everyone goes to bed, I stay up until three or four in the morning trying to write. And that’s a typical day in the life of Amy Bartol.

I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I really freaking loved The Cruel Prince (The Folk of Air) by Holly Black. Her world-building is exquisite, and one of the final lines from Prince Cardan—the bit about “a year and a day”—is maybe the best hook foreshadowing a sequel that I’ve read in a long time. My heart lurched when I read it! I was like, “I neeed The Wicked King NOW! Right NOW!” So, of course, I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon and I’m book-stalking Holly Black now on Instagram.

Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

The thrilling, fast-paced world of Secondborn and Traitor Born will leave you breathless with twists that keep you guessing, and a climax that will make you blurt out loud, “I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!!” (Try not to be in a public place when you read the ending of Traitor Born. You’ve been warned.)


Fun Stuff!

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Introvert with benefits.

What is your Hogwarts/Ilvermorny house?

Hogwarts house – Gryffindor
Patronus: White Stallion
Wand: Hazel wood with a Unicorn hair core 12 ¼” and Surprisingly Swishy flexibility.
Ilvermorny house: Thunderbird

Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?

Roselle. Hands down. Hawthorne falls on his sword for her. Reykin and Clifton kill each other to make sure she wins. Roselle destroys Crow.

This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?

I’d time travel into the future, but not too far because I don’t want to be their version of a Neanderthal

Coffee or tea?

Both. I love both. Salted Caramel coffee and Earl Grey tea.

Best ice cream flavor ever?

Cold Stone-Red Velvet. Should we go get some?

Your theme song/personal anthem?

Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra (me and Baby Groot of Guardians of the Galaxy II)

Favorite quote?

For life:  “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” –Japanese Proverb

In a book: Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon – “When the day shall come that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’-ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”James “Jamie” Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser

What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Mr. Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up.” It’s kind of the secret to life. It’s okay to fail. Failing is good. It means you’re taking risks and learning from your mistakes. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and fail better next time in whatever you want to accomplish.  


A big thank-you to Amy Bartol for answering all my questions! I hope y’all enjoyed learning a bit more about the author behind Traitor Born and don’t forget to check out her books below!

About the Books


Author Interview with Amy Bartol

Secondborn (Secondborn #1) by Amy A. Bartol
Published on August 1, 2017 by 47North
Pages: 322
Genres: Young AdultDystopian
Buy the Book!
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound / Wordery

NovelKnight receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?


Author Interview with Amy Bartol

Traitor Born (Secondborn #2) by Amy A. Bartol
Published on April 17, 2018 by 47North
Pages: 316
Genres: Young AdultDystopian
Buy the Book!
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Indiebound / Wordery

NovelKnight receives a small commission for any purchases made through the links above.

Rebel warrior Roselle St. Sismode returns in the second book of the epic Secondborn series by USA Today bestselling author Amy A. Bartol.

In the Fates Republic…
Firstborns reign supreme.
Secondborns kneel in servitude.
Thirdborns face death.
And Census shadows them all.

Secondborn Roselle St. Sismode was pressed into military service to battle the rebel uprising threatening the society that enslaves her. Now, powerful factions conspire to subvert the lines of succession, positioning Roselle to replace her mother as leader of the Republic’s armed forces. But the woman who bore her would sooner see Roselle dead than let her usurp her firstborn brother’s command.

The deadly war of intrigue between her new masters and her ruthless family is but one conflict challenging Roselle. A soldier for the rebellion has drawn her into a rogue army’s plot to overthrow the Republic and shatter its brutal caste system. Targeted by assassins and torn between allies, Roselle will have her loyalty, love, and honor tested in the greatest battle of—and for—her life.


Do you have Secondborn on your TBR? Ready for Traitor Born?

Never miss another book recommendation!

Feed the book dragon with comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.