GARDEN OF THORNS BY AMBER MITCHELL
After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.
Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.
Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.
INTERVIEW WITH AMBER
– Top 5 Things readers need to know about the book.
- Rose is a flawed protagonist. She doesn’t necessarily have fighting skills but she is smart.
- The land of Delmar is a brutal world and the action in the story illustrates that.
- Trust isn’t easily earned but it is easily broken.
- Rayce is a genuine good guy and they can most definitely be sexy too!
- Even in the most dire situations, you can find true love.
– Who/What was your inspiration for becoming a writer? How long have you been writing?
I’m not sure there is really a “who”. I’ve enjoyed writing stories ever since I was young. My first “real” story was a play I wrote for my third grade class. It was about 20-pages long which at the time seemed like a whole novel. I can definitely say that my high school teacher (I had him for 11th and 12th grade) helped me decide that I could get published one day if I put in enough work and he spent so many hours reviewing the first chapter of my first novel which I rewrote maybe ten times. He was definitely instrumental in my growth to start taking my writing seriously.
– Which of your characters would you say you are most like?
I fall somewhere between Rose and Marin. I like to joke around a lot like Marin and though I don’t always show it, I’m actually an optimist. I wish for the best but the realist in me braces for the worst. Unfortunately, I’m plagued with Rose’s anxiety so I relate to her a lot when I write her. Sometimes I let fear hold me captive so it was really therapeutic to write a character who must find a way past her fears.
– If your book was to be turned into a movie who would you cast as your leads?
This one is tough. I kind of just want to cast Chris Pratt as every part so I get to see more Chris Pratt but I don’t think he’d fit a single character!
For Rayce, I have a hard time seeing anyone else besides Godfrey Gao. He’s the perfect choice!
Rose has always been harder. I think it’s because I have a very specific picture in my head and no one quite fits it. Maybe someone like Chloe Grace Moretz? I’m not exactly happy with that choice but I’ve been thinking about this question forever and am never happy with it!
– Did you have to research anything for your book?
I did a lot of research into the ancient dynasties of China since Delmar is very loosely based off of them. Particularly the Song dynasty. I wanted to know about the crops they harvested, what they ate, what their daily lives looked like. For as much research as I did, only a tiny portion ended up making it into the book but it was important for me to understand the Delmar Empire and how it sustained itself.
– In 5 words how would you describe Garden of Thorns?
Exciting. Brutal. Romantic. Epic fantasy.
– What is your favorite book?
This question isn’t fair! I love so many books. A few of my favorite series are Harry Potter by JK Rowling (because, of course!), Poison Study series by Maria V Snyder and the Abhorsen trilogy by Nix Garth.
– What inspired the idea of the Garden?
It was actually a mixture of ideas. Whenever I would watch a movie and there would be a ballroom scene with girls in ball gowns, I would always think they looked like flowers when they twirled. That image stuck with me and I thought it would be really interesting to make a performance group of “dancing flowers”. I had this vision in my mind of a girl who was fierce, seething as she was dancing and desperate to escape that life and I wanted to know why. I didn’t actually start writing this book until a few years later and it must have been marinating in my head because the idea of the Garden sort of flowed onto the page logically from there.
– What’s on your playlist? Does the music go with your book?
I always write to music. Sometimes when a scene has a certain emotion, I can take the feeling of the music and inject it into the story. I switch back and forth between purely instrumental and songs with lyrics.
Though I have a lengthy playlist for Garden of Thorns, the two songs I listened to a lot through the editing process were “Mother Misery” by Letters from the Fire and “Outstretched Hands” by Starfield.
The first song captured Rose’s desperation at the ending of the book perfectly for me. The song describes a hopeless situation and yet, the singer still has so much hope.
The second song really captured all the questions Rose and Rayce have about each other. Their relationship to me has always been a question of whether they can rely on each other or if the world will get the best of them and this song represents that hesitance even though they want to be together.
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