We Rule the Night by Claire Bartlett
1- What's the best part about being in Copenhagen?
My bicycle. I can go anywhere on my bike, and it usually takes less time than taking the bus. I love living in a metropolitan place where I don’t have to rely on a car or a bus schedule to get around (though the public transportation here is wonderful too!).
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Writing is a learning process, even when you’re published. Always be ready to learn - it’s exciting and fun to grow!
3- What ignited your passion for writing?
My mom would say my third grade teacher, who gave us lots of writing assignments and really encouraged me to get started with writing. But I remember reading Jane Yolen’s Dream Weaver when I was young, and thinking, “I can do that! I want to do that!” and, well…I never lost that optimistic arrogance.
4- Would you share a fun story about Fellini and Figaro? #CatLovers
We adopted Fellini and his brother Figaro just a couple of months ago from the cat shelter, so we’re still collecting stories. But what I’ve found so far is that Fellini loves drinking shower water. Whenever we go into the bathroom he races in there, just in case we’re going to take a bath! He hides himself behind the shower curtain, because he doesn’t like to get his fur wet, and then his little head pokes from under the curtain to lap up water from the shower floor. Figaro loves to play, and sometimes when we don’t play with him enough he uses his brother’s tail as a toy. Fellini doesn’t always love that. For the most part the brothers get along, though.
5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
My handle is @bartlebett, and I love my writer friends! I have to shout out the incredibly supportive @KellyCoon106. Kelly’s the author of Gravemaidens and an all around wonderful human! I also have to shout out a couple of agent sibs - Kai Doore @KA_Doore, author of The Perfect Assassin and a great source of inspiration for getting that writing done! Marissa Lingen has literally decades of experience in the business and is a fantastic well of expertise if you’re looking for someone who has great advice. Follow @MarissaLingen.
6- Would you share a picture with us of something that's iconic Copenhagen?
So I'm a terrible photographer, but here's a favorite spot of mine in Copenhagen. It's behind the university, and a slightly quieter space than the bustling town center around it. The tower in the background is Vor Frues Kirke, the Church of Our Lady. It's probably Copenhagen's most major church.
7- You're rocking some awesome rainbow hair on your website. What prompted you to do that, is it difficult to maintain all the colors, and will you do it like that again?
First of all, thank you! I love my rainbow hair. I got really into looking at how other people dyed their hair, and then a friend who lives in Budapest said she wanted to do it too! I flew to Budapest, we spent the weekend together and we went to her trusted hairdresser to get the job done. Since then I’ve dyed it myself, and I have to redo it every six weeks or so. It isn’t really difficult to maintain, just time consuming. So I’m living it up while I can.
8- What most motivates you to read a new book?
The back blurb. If I love the way the book sounds, I’ll usually see if it’s available at the Copenhagen library (or, if I’m at my favorite bookstore, I’ll ask my friend who works there what she thinks of it). If I can’t get it from the library and I really like the sound of it, I’ll see if I can nab it as an ebook or audiobook (or if my bookstore friend recommends it I’ll pick it up). There are a few authors who are an auto-buy for me, and most of those I started reading at the library!
9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: Susanna Clarke doesn’t have a twitter handle!
Title: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Love because: this book combines history, magic, the napoleonic wars, Austenian commentary on high society, drama and danger. I love it so much. It’s a great historical fantasy.
10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
I’ve had so many great messages, tweets and instagram photos from so many wonderful people! But my sister read one of the first iterations of We Rule the Night, and demanded I tell her EVERYTHING that will ever happen in that world from now until forever. She’s a great writer too but she couldn’t be trusted to give my book a good edit. She kept skipping ahead, laughing uproariously, gasping, and generally doing exactly the thing that all authors want fans to do. She’s wonderful. She seems to love the one-liners the most.
11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
I hope readers will take away a sense of outrage and hope. Outrage that the sexism prevalent in the book happened, and is still happening today, but hope that we can change things by supporting each other and overturning stereotypes.
12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
I love @beaconbookbox! They are adorable, they have great photos and they’re a small business run by a young adult! I’m super impressed by them and I loved working with them in April.
13- How do you hope your book will help readers in their life?
I hope readers will feel stronger - like they can do anything. I hope they’ll appreciate the friends they have, and keep the bonds of friendship strong. A lot of YA focuses on romantic relationships as the main relationship of a story, and while I love a good romance, I always wanted to read a YA novel that reflected my reality, that emphasized the love between friends and didn’t pay so much attention to romance.
14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
That’s an easy one: Revna is a double below-knee amputee, and her prosthetic legs are made of living metal. Her father made them for her before the start of the novel, and she naturally has a special relationship with them.
15- What's your favorite book with a diverse main character? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Right now my favorite book with a diverse main character is Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard. It’s sort of a police procedural, except the detective is the Aztec High Priest of the dead and the magic is bloody and brilliant.
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?
I really appreciate the Book Bratz, and I think they do great reviews. But there are so many wonderful bloggers out there, so thank you to each and every one of you!
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I genuinely think that others can see the flaws in my books better than I can. Editors don’t curb the genius of authors, they help it to shine! That was why I decided to try my hand at traditional publishing. My editor understood what I wanted to say with We Rule the Night and how I was failing to say it, and she’s made not just this book, but my writing in general better. I love you @hallietibbetts!
Also, I always wanted to see my book in my local bookstore. That helps with choosing traditional publishing.
18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?
There are two reasons. First of all, it helps authors! If you liked a book and think an author should keep writing, write a review. It doesn’t have to be a five-star review (even a one-star review can help!).
Readers should also review books so that other readers know what to expect. I used to read Goodreads reviews every single time I thought about picking up a book. Both the high praise reviews and the negative reviews told me something about the book and helped me decide whether the book was for me.
19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
I wrote this novel to celebrate strong female friendships in YA. Do your readers think there’s a dearth of friendship stories, and what are their favorite YA friendship stories?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Claire Bartlett is a writer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She loves history, fantasy, her enchanted forest apartment and her cats. Find her on twitter, instagram or facebook @bartlebett, or get news and extras from her website: http://www.authorclaire.com .
Read part of We Rule the Night:
Colonel Koslen’s office smelled of sweat, earth and oil. Papers lay scattered across his desk, the aftermath of a bureaucratic war. Koslen stood behind the desk, clenching and unclenching his ham hands as Linné came in. The colonel cut an impressive figure, tall and broad and with biceps the size of Linné’s head. Tannov and their friend Dostorov had joked that before the war, Koslen was a goatherd who liked the smell of goats better than the smell of women. Linné preferred to mock his glorious mustache, waxed to a curl. It twitched whenever he spoke, whenever he sighed, whenever he lost his temper, or whenever it seemed a particularly difficult thought was pushing itself through the sludge of his brain. After any ordinary disciplinary action, Linné would return to the barracks with her finger over her upper lip, wiggling it back and forth as she described Koslen’s temper.
No one would laugh at the joke now. They’d laugh at her.
Koslen studied her round face, her dark hair, her thin body, searching out the little touches that branded her as female. Linné pushed her shoulders back, daring him to say something.
They stood that way for several long moments. Then he sighed. “Please, take a seat.” He gestured toward his chair, the nice chair. “Would you like some tea?”
Linné’s palms began to burn. For three years he’d treated her like a soldier. And suddenly she was a girl. A miss. She fought to keep her face neutral. If she took his offer, she’d be relegated to the status of a woman, an outsider, unfit to serve. If she refused, he could claim she was incapable of following orders.
Koslen went over to a silver samovar, squeezed onto a side table next to the company’s hulking radio. Wasting precious metal had become a serious offense around two years ago, when the heads of the Union had realized just how bad the war was about to get. But officers always managed to squirrel something nice away.
Linné slid into the hard chair reserved for the colonel’s subordinates, sitting rigid with her wrists propped on the desk. “Thank you, sir.”
Koslen stopped midstep toward the chair she’d taken for herself. Then he turned and went to his own as though he’d meant to all along. He placed one cup of pale golden tea in front of her and took a sip from the other.
“You’ve turned our little regiment quite upside down, miss.” His tone was all exaggerated courtesy. A gentleman could never shout at a lady.
“Have I, sir?”
Koslen frowned. The mustache twitched as he inhaled, slowly and deliberately. He could smell the brandy on her. She should’ve left it alone.
He was silent for a moment, and behind his eyes she saw some sort of argument raging. Then he seemed to make up his mind. “I’m not going to waste time. If you have no shame for your actions, perhaps you should consider how you have endangered the men of your company.”
Linné pressed her lips together. Arguing got a soldier latrine duty, or graveside duty, or watches for the witching hours.
Perhaps he mistook her silence for contrition. “War is simply not women’s work, miss,” he said.
Though apparently it is goatherds’ work, Linné thought. She couldn’t help herself. She imagined her next words running along an iron beam, strong and steady. If her voice shook, Koslen might think she was close to tears instead of holding back her rage. “I have served faithfully, sir. I have been loyal to the Union and the regiment.”
“You have distracted the men,” Koslen replied. “They cannot spend their time at the front worrying for your safety. Don’t you understand? You don’t just endanger their lives by coming here. You endanger their minds, their ability to think.”
Cowards. She recognized the lie, even if Koslen didn’t. The men were afraid that she could no longer do her job. They were afraid that she’d never been able to do her job. That every mistake she’d ever made was because she was a girl, and not because she was human.
We Rule the Night by Claire Bartlett