Curse of Stars
(Diamond Crier #1)
Publication date: February 19th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sabi Perez is the last Diamond Crier, only she doesn’t know it. Not until a crazed ruler from another world comes to collect her priceless tears and won’t take no for an answer.
Living in New York, Sabi’s seen some nasty things, but the lengths to which her captor will go to keep his crown are things found only in the darkest nightmares. Afraid and alone, Sabi finds solace in her cellmate, Anya, and Cabal, a fellow Crier who also has powers, a rare combination that buys his favor from the ruler. Only it’s a favor he doesn’t want.
In a fit of rage, power erupts out of Sabi, the same power Cabal has, and a spark of hope ignites. Together they may have a chance at escape, something no other Crier has done. Except a ruler hellbent on draining them of every last diamond tear isn’t their only hurdle. If they escape they’ll be hunted to the ends of the earth, if they survive the trek to safety. If they stay the ruler will leech them dry. Sabi would rather die trying than lie down and die, even if that means running away into even more danger.
“. . . vividly imagined and deftly plotted dark fantasy . . .” BookLife Prize in Fiction
1. When did you decide that writing was your passion?
Pretty early on in life. Maybe high school? I started writing even before that, but it really picked up in my teens. I went to school for it and got my BA in English with a minor in creative writing and it’s been my hobby for most of my life now. I’ve worked hard to develop the craft and know the industry to the point where it’s just part of me now.
2. Who is your favorite character overall that you've written?
Probably a little side character named Layla that came up in a fic for The Lost Boys that I wrote maybe ten years ago now. Sassy thing that doesn’t take crap from anyone. She’s just been hanging out, waiting patiently for me to get around to writing her a series all to herself. And she has one, definitely. I just need to get to it.
3. What or who inspired your current book?
No one, really. I don’t really get inspired this way. I aspire to write like some of my favorites, like Cinda Williams Chima or Leigh Bardugo, but no one and nothing really inspired the book itself. It kind of developed on its own. Although South Fair does draw from the boardwalk scene in The Lost Boys a little. I was aiming for a similar rowdy, sinister, dark vibe from the movie. So I guess there’s that. But not much else.
4. What does your research process look like?
Depends on what’s needed and what I’m writing. For CURSE OF STARS most of the world is of my own making so I had to research within my own world to make sure my characters were abiding by those rules of magic, the layout of the land made sense, things like that. If I’m writing an historical fiction novel I’ll take out books from the library. I have one where it’s set in the Caribbean during the early 18th century and is heavily involved with sailing and piracy. So I did all of that research first before writing anything so I would at least have some idea of what I needed to write in order to be accurate. Then I could go back and hone the details more instead of writing completely blind. But if it’s something simple I’ll usually just Google it.
5. If you could have a happily ever after with one of your hero's which one would it be?
If I personally could? I don’t think of my characters like this. They’re like my own dysfunctional children/herd of cats that I’m trying to wrangle in. If I could put two of my characters together I’d totally wish for Sabi and Anya to have a calm life when everything’s over. They deserve it.
6. How do you plan, develop and write your characters?
They pop into my head and they’re basically strangers that I meet for the first time and I have to get to know them. So I basically follow them around with a pen and paper (or computer) and watch what they do in certain situations and how they react to certain people and document it. I feel less like I’m creating a character piece by piece and more like a documentarian. I make tweaks during edits (Sabi’s gone through a huge transition from her original incarnation), mostly based on feedback from others (I got a lot of feedback earlier on that Sabi was overreactive to things so I had to rein her in a little), but I feel like I’m rooting through layers to find the real character, not chiseling them out of stone or something. Does that make sense?
7. What series and/or book was the most fun to write?
Probably my Divergent fic that’s up on Wattpad, INSIDIOUS. It’s just been a blast from the very beginning and it’s almost never felt like work. Everything I’ve written has been fun at some point, but something like CURSE OF STARS was a lot of hard work. Its creation also dragged on for a decade, but I’m sure it was fun at some point. But INSIDIOUS is just a good time and my brain really likes writing it right now.
8. What advice do you give aspiring authors?
Read widely and learn the craft. A great way to learn is to focus on those books by authors you like and see what they do that makes you like their work and try to do that yourself. Adversely learn from those books you don’t like. What didn’t work for you and why? And be open to constructive criticism. Not everyone is going to be constructive when giving criticism; you just need to learn to sift through the deconstructive stuff to find the gems.
Donna has been writing since she was in the single digits when she first realized she needed to do something about all the thoughts in her head. After a stint with bad poetry she finally found her way to novels, mainly of the young adult fantasy variety. When she’s not cranking out more stories she works a regular 9 to 5, reads anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week, drinks copious amounts of tea, eats way too much, and makes her own beauty products because her skin turns into a sentient hive if she uses anything else. This is mostly because she lives in the desert where the air siphons water clean out of her. She lives with a man named Steve and several quadrupeds: three cats named Renfield, Sam, and Dean; and a MinPin named Malfoy.
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