Today I am interviewing Ilana C. Myer, author of the new fantasy novel, Fire Dance, sequel to Last Song Before Night.
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DJ: Hi Ilana! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Ilana C. Myer: Thanks, it’s my pleasure to be here!
I’m the author of Fire Dance, a standalone sequel to Last Song Before Night. My books are set in a world where poets have power, and are rife with dark magic, twisty psychological conflicts, intrigues, and betrayals. Because those are things I enjoy.
I’ve also written about books–often fantasy–for various places such as the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Huffington Post, as Ilana Teitelbaum.
DJ: What is Fire Dance about?
Ilana: Last Song Before Night was about rediscovering lost enchantments. Fire Dance explores the consequences of that power. As a mirror to this theme, the protagonist herself, newly powerful, must come to terms with the challenges of her new position.
DJ: Fire Dance is the sequel, but the first novel, Last Song Before Night, is actually a stand-alone; Does this mean that Fire Dance can be read as a stand-alone as well, or will readers need to be familiar with event in Last Song Before Night before jumping in?
Ilana: I wrote Fire Dance with new readers in mind. Because Last Song ties up everything at the end, Fire Dance could have a truly new beginning, even as it takes up threads from the previous book for its backstory.
I was also determined, while I was at it, to write something completely different. I see a trilogy as an opportunity to tell a new story with each book, even if the stories are linked.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the Fire Dance?
Ilana: My original influences were Celtic myth and the troubadours of medieval Provence. With Fire Dance, I added more ingredients to this: Middle Eastern magic, historic Al Andalus, and Flamenco.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Fire Dance like?
Ilana: What’s wonderful about writing fantasy is that you’re essentially inviting readers to pay a visit to your imagination. In Fire Dance readers will encounter a variety of settings: a glittering, sophisticated court; a magical observatory for reading prophecies in the stars; a castle on a secluded isle where the poets learn (and now practice) enchantments; a bloody siege battle; and, at one point, a den of thieves at the heart of a great city.
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first book, Last Song Before Night? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
Ilana: I enjoy the feedback from readers who feel for the characters, who are really along for the rough ride I take them on. The ones who curse me for breaking their hearts…I’m sorry, but those are the best!
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Fire Dance?
Ilana: Every time I discover something new about a character, it becomes my favorite part of writing the book. The moments when I’m doing something else–exercising, or cooking–and have a realization that I must write down immediately. That might be my favorite part of writing fiction.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing the Last Song Before Night and now Fire Dance? I believe you have on more sequel planned, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Ilana: I was driven to write Last Song Before Night, initially, because I wanted to explore ideas about art: What it means to me, why it mattered so much that I was willing to sacrifice a reasonable shot at making a living to devote myself to it. (Going to law school would have been more sensible.)
Fire Dance continues along those lines. These are books about people who make art, who are compelled to consider what it means to them. Amid events that include murder, treachery, and incipient war.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Fire Dance that you can share with us?
Ilana: There’s a bit of poetry one character writes for another, out of genuine care, that I’d love to have someone write for me.
I would have you walk in light
Not become it.
My other favorite lines involve too many spoilers. Plus, I’m more interested in what readers will pick out as the quotes that resonate with them.
DJ: Now that Fire Dance is released, what is next for you?
Ilana: I’m now at work on the third book of the trilogy. While Fire Dance is self-contained, it leaves open many possibilities for the third book, which I’m exploring with great relish now.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Ilana: Thank you so much! It was fun.
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*** Fire Dance is published by TOR and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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Espionage, diplomacy, conspiracy, passion, and power are the sensuously choreographed steps of the soaring new high fantasy novel by Ilana C. Myer, one woman’s epic mission to stop a magical conflagration.
Lin, newly initiated in the art of otherwordly enchantments, is sent to aid her homeland’s allies against vicious attacks from the Fire Dancers: mysterious practitioners of strange and deadly magic. Forced to step into a dangerous waltz of tradition, treachery, and palace secrets, Lin must also race the ticking clock of her own rapidly dwindling life to learn the truth of the Fire Dancers’ war, and how she might prevent death on a scale too terrifying to contemplate.
About the Author:
Ilana C. Myer has written for the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Previously she was a freelance journalist in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, Time Out Israel and other publications. She lives in New York City.
Ilana was born in New York but grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, where she spent her teen years haunting secondhand bookstores in search of books written in English—especially fantasy. It was in one of these shops that she discovered David Eddings and realized that epic fantasy continued after Tolkien, and from there went on to make such marvelous discoveries as Tad Williams, Robin Hobb, and Guy Gavriel Kay.
Since learning to read, Ilana had decided she would write books, but during college in New York City was confronted with the reality of making rent, and worked as a receptionist, administrative assistant, and executive assistant where she on occasion picked up dry cleaning. She afterwards found more fulfillment as a journalist in Jerusalem where she covered social issues, the arts, and innovations in technology, and co-founded the Middle East environment blog, Green Prophet. It was during these years in Jerusalem, on stolen time, that Last Song Before Night took shape.
She writes as Ilana Teitelbaum for various outlets, but decided early on—since the days of haunting bookstores, in fact—that “Teitelbaum” was too long for a book cover. “Myer” is a variation on the maiden name of her grandmother, whose family was exterminated in Germany. It is a family with a long history of writers, so it seems appropriate to give credit—or blame—where it’s due.
Agent: John Silbersack of Trident Media Group