Is there anything more exciting than a fantastic new #LoveOzYA series?! I don’t think so! That’s why we were thrilled to get out hands on not just the first book in The Chess Raven Chronicles, but the second one as well! Because BOY did we devour them.
These books were so fast-paced and fun, and Chess’ voice was fresh and fierce. If you’re looking for a stunning new fantasy series that will sweep you off your feet and have you wishing you could be whisked away to a whole new world, this is the book for you.
We were also lucky enough to ask the authors a few questions about their series! Check out our little Q&A down below.
Chess Raven is a hacker who has grown up with nothing and no one. Her parents died when she was three and her foster care situation turned out badly – very badly. But on her sixteenth birthday, her life is turned upside down.
Chess learns her mother was Queen of the Fae and her father was a brilliant physicist. The unique blend of her mother’s fairy blood and her father’s humanity gives Chess – and Chess alone – the ability to unlock a mysterious vessel that will unleash unimagined powers – with devastating consequences. Thrown into a new world where nothing is at it seems, Chess must work out who to trust as vying forces race to control her. Or kill her.
Reunited with her childhood friend Tom Williams, an enigmatic shape-shifting unicorn, Chess discovers love for the first time and is prepared to risk her life for it. But first she must learn to overcome a fear of her own power and stop waiting for other people to save her. She is the one she’s been waiting for.
Q&A with the authors of The Chess Raven Chronicles
About the authors:
Violet Grace is the pen name of wife-and-husband writing team Kasey Edwards and Christopher Scanlon.
Kasey is an author and columnist and Christopher is an academic and social commentator.
They live in Melbourne, Australia with their two daughters.
What was your writing process like? Had you ever written things together before?
We have always proofread and sanity-checked each other’s work but Chess Raven is the first time we have co-written.
And it was our first foray into fiction too.
Our process is a bit like baking a cake. Kasey bakes the cakes (she write the plot, develops the characters and puts words in their mouths) and Chris ices the cake (he does the world-building and the fight scenes and then looks at the structure to make sure it’s page-turning).
What’s the most challenging and most rewarding aspect of co-writing?
Co-writing is so much fun, partly because we each get to focus on the parts of writing that we like the most. We also get to create and dream about something together. That said, we do have disagreements. In fact the biggest fight we have ever had, not just writing but in our entire marriage, was whether the sacred chalice should break before or after the fight scene. It seemed really important at the time but now neither of us can remember who even won that argument.
What’s one thing you hope teen readers will take away from your series?
We want our readers to come away unafraid of being powerful, in their relationships, in their education, in their job and in their hopes and dreams for the future. With all the amazing advances there has been for girls and women, there is still a lot of pressure on them to “know their place”, to only meet their own needs after everyone else’s needs have been met, to think that being likeable is more important than being real. We hope to inspire our readers to have the courage to be authentic and fearless.
Did you set out to write a series that tackled the ideas surrounding romanticising unhealthy relationships, or did those themes naturally arise in your work?
Tackling the unhealthy portrayal of romance was our goal from the outset. As parents of two girls, we were worried about some the stories girls will be reading at a time when they are figuring out what romance and romantic love means to them. Many of the love interests in books and on screen really should have restraining orders. They are controlling, cruel, manipulative, won’t take no for an answer, and, in some cases, violent. We wanted to show that emotional intelligence and respect in guys is not only possible but also desirable and sexy.
If you had to trade places with one of the characters from the Chess Raven Chronicles for a day, who would you be?
Kasey: I would want to be Chess because I want to fly by myself and I also want to fly on the back of a unicorn. When I was writing the flying scenes with Chess and Tom I remember realising that I would never acutely ever be able to fly with a unicorn. I was so disappointed.
Chris: I would trade places with Jules because in some ways she has the most complicated story and the most unique experience of all the characters. She lives in a world where she rubs shoulder with royalty, but she has a secret that, if revealed, would make her an outcast. That gives her a really special perspective on the events. That, and she’s kick-arse.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!