Blog Tour: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine | Guest Post | Giveaway

Welcome to our stop on The Shadow Queen tour for C.J. Redwine. This tour is hosted by Rockstar Book Tour.

The Shadow Queen
Ravenspire #1
Author: C.J. Redwine
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Released: February 16th 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Writing For Teens - authentic voice in YA fiction

Having an authentic voice in YA fiction is one of those nebulous but super important things that you sort of figure out as you go. I mean obviously if you sound like a matronly grandmother, this may not be the right genre for you. But writing authentically is more than just having a voice that sounds youthful enough to work within the genre.

For me, authenticity comes in two ways. First, I write the kind of stories that I loved to read when I was a teen (and love to read now, tbh). I list things that I loved experiencing in books and the emotions those things engendered, and then I strive to make sure I have some of those things in every story I write. First kisses that really feel like first kisses (so mine often have a little awkward to them because I can’t be the only one to have some very OMG WHAT AM I EVEN DOING first kisses). Loss that feels like it is the deepest, blackest hole ever experienced. Fierce conviction and a belief that things can be changed if one tries hard enough or sacrifices enough. That unique optimistic idealism that pushes teens to do the kind of crazy-awesome stuff that changes the world. All of those things and more go into my books, and I think creating the kind of stories that resonated with teen me helps make my voice authentic.

The other aspect of authenticity is to be transparent emotionally. This is a hard one because it asks me to really dig deep. When I write a scene where my character feels humiliated, I have to go back to that time in eight grade where I walked into the girls’ bathroom just in time to hear a girl mock my outfit while eight other girls laughed along. I have to remember how my heart thudded against my chest, and my skin felt hot and tight. My throat was thick with tears I refused to shed, and everything felt too loud, too bright, and just … too much. Then I take the memory of what my body felt when I experienced that emotion and give that to my character. I do the same with grief and anger and fear. Teens are smart and super dialed in to their emotional lives. They can tell if you’re faking. So I don’t fake it. I deliver the real emotions in the most honest way I know how to do, and the result is something authentic that readers can relate to.

The final polish for an authentic teen voice for YA is to double check the language. Am I using a phrase that nobody who graduated past 1994 would use? Does anyone actually say this insult or that superlative anymore? I’m fortunate in that I write fantasy, so I don’t have to be as on the nose as contemporary authors do. But I still have to double check my writing for dated phrases and slang, or for idioms that no longer make sense to my audience.

It takes time and a willingness to dig deep to create an authentic voice for the YA genre. I think you have to have some natural gravitation toward it to begin with, but when you nail it, when readers come up to you crying or jumping up and down in excitement because they connect so strongly with your characters, it’s worth it.

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at Where you can find C.J.:

1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE SHADOW QUEEN and swag. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Looks like a nice twist on a classic :).

  2. I have wanted to read this book since CJ talked about it at UtopYA. So excited!

  3. So excited for this! Can't wait to read :)

  4. Looks great! Would love to read The Shadow Queen.

  5. Hi CJ! I am jumping with joy and excitement about reading your book, it sounds marvelous!!!!!
    - Ashley R.

  6. Great post! I've been dying to read a book by C.J. Redwine for a long time now. I heard nothing but amazing raving reviews about her books. And I know I would absolutely love and enjoy her books. Plus she is totally funny and amazing person since I follow her through twitter. :) Thank you for the awesome giveaway.


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