The Bone Witch(#1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.
Tea is different from the other witches inher family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance ofan older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all ofher energy into becoming an asha, learning tocontrol her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit byno other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight king-doms, war that will threaten the sovereignty ofher homeland...and threaten the very survival ofthose she loves.
The Bone Witch had one main inspiration: my brother.
This comes as a surprise to many who know me, because I never had a brother.
I wasn't supposed to be the family firstborn; my mother was initially pregnant with a son. Much to my parents' grief, she miscarried. A year later, they had me and then, a couple of years later, my sister.
They don't talk a lot about it, understandably. My dad had always wanted a son. According to conservative Chinese traditions, it was the son who carried the family name and therefore many of the family privileges. Fortunately, my family wasn't like that, nor was my father hostile or resentful for my sister and I being female.
But I was a tomboy growing up. I love my sister, but she was (and still is) pretty enough to be an actress, is quite girly, and therefore my complete opposite – she liked dolls and dresses back when I considered my Ninja Turtles sweater a fashion statement. All the things my dad was hoping to do with a son – sports (basketball, mostly – he coached both adults and students, and won them championships.), playing games, tinkering with gadgets, pop culture (he taught me Klingon), etc. – he did with me. It was in his library, with his collection of books, where I first started reading. He was a frustrated writer himself, and was the first to ever encourage me to write.
As I grew older, I started thinking more and more about the brother that I never had. I still pick up on my folks' unspoken longing. Sometimes it's a conversation threaded with quiet what-ifs; sometimes it's the way my dad would mercilessly tease one of my male cousins, proof of his favoritism. It's become a bit more obvious nowadays, considering his delight and excitement when my son, and then my sister's son, were born. He's already planned his schedule around eventually teaching them basketball, and wants to negotiate how many weekends they'll be spending at his and my mom's place (he wants all their weekends till they turn twenty-one).
The Bone Witch came about after wondering what it would be like to have the ability to raise a brother from the dead. There's a lot of elements of me in Tea – her personality was partly based on teenage me. Like Tea, I had a lot of bitterness and anger. But unlike her, I felt powerless at that time to affect any change. I've always wondered about the kind of brother I might have had then, and Fox was a product of that curiosity. Fox was based on the kind of brother I'd hoped I had – protective, quick to tease but also quick to tell me when I'm being an idiot. The very act of choosing to have her brother back changed Tea's whole life and is the very reason this book exists. Sometimes people forget the importance of having siblings, I think.
It's not all just about my brother, of course. Sisterhood is just as important in the books, and Tea's connections with her fellow asha is just as much about my sister through all our highs and lows. But while The Bone Witch's magical setting and plot was my ode to the slow-burn, panoramic Asian fantasies I read growing up, the relationship between Tea and Fox remains the heart of the story. And I hope that's what other people come to realize when they read it, too.
Rin Chupeco wrote obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people outof their money at event shows, and did many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fairy tales but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She wrote The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and The Bone Witch, the first book of a newYA Fantasy trilogy. Find her at rinchupeco.com.
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