Graves for Drifters and Thieves by Sophia Minetos
1- Goodreads shows you have given 225 ratings, but only 7 reviews. Do you feel that ratings are more valuable than reviews when it comes to books?
As an author, I’d certainly prefer reviews to ratings, especially because ratings mean different things to different people. I know a lot of people who aren’t as generous with their five star ratings as some other readers, haha. I would love to write more reviews, but in all honesty, I get REALLY gushy when I talk about stories that I love. It’s not exactly coherent. Anywho who has listened to me talk about “Firefly” for five minutes can attest to that.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Fall in love with what you write. Write something that you would want to read. Life is far too short not to make art crafted from anything but love.
3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?
I was reading John Green’s writing blog once, and one of his posts said something to the degree of “Give yourself permission to suck.” When I’m drafting, I just go for it. I let it stream. There are times when I know I’m going to have to go back and polish a paragraph within an inch of its life, and that’s okay. Sometimes you’ve got to sift through a lot of dirt and rubble to get to the gold.
Kinda want to start a tiktok where I wear elf ears and film myself painting birdhouses and stuff like that— Sophia Minetos (@MinetosSophia) October 21, 2020
4- Do you, in fact, paint birdhouses and other such crafty goodness?
I do! I paint very occasionally, but I love crafts! I love to sew, bake, and doodle. I knit almost every day. I make lots of socks, afghans, and sweaters. I’ve been working on a beekeeper’s quilt for about two years now. Basically, you knit hundreds of little hexagons and stuff them and stitch them together. I’m up to about eight-hundred now, and my family always teases me about it because I seem to leave hexipuffs wherever I go. They’re like soft, squishy little calling cards.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a fun setting?
6- What is the "Hespyrian West"?
Hespyria is the large country where my story takes place. The east is made up of provinces, while most of the west consists of scattered territories. It’s full of wide-open spaces, ghost towns, and uncharted outlands. The Banderra Rangers help protect the land from outlaws and all of the mysterious, ethereal forces who reside in the Outlands. Any Ranger can tell you about all of the strange happenstances he’s seen in his time. Eastern folks often doubt the validity of their claims, but anyone in the Hespyrian West can tell you that they can’t always afford to be so skeptical.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
My twitter handle is @MinetosSophia . I’d love to give a shout out to @quarter_castle and @InteruptdReader !
8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
@booksandstethoscopes and @bambamreads! It’s been an honor working with these lovely ladies.
9- What most motivates you to read a new book?
I’m drawn to rich worlds and found families. I’ve noticed that books really tend to stick with me if I leave it either A. Wanting to visit the setting myself, or B. Feeling like I’m never going to see the friends I just made ever again. And if I get both out of it, well… just go ahead and take my five stars, pal.
10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?
Ten years ago, when I was thirteen, I would sit with my paper tablets on the picnic tables at lunch and scribble fantasy stories down. The margins were full of drawings of dragons, gnomes, and elves. One of my projects from a decade ago is still actually in the works. I mean, it’s evolved past the point of recognition, but I still work on it from time to time. I write mostly YA now, but I think it’s always going to be a middle-grade project, kind of a present to my thirteen-year-old self. Something I would have wanted to read back then.
I’m terribly impatient about my ideas, and whenever I get an idea for something, I have to start sowing the seeds for it immediately. So I have about four or five projects in all sitting on the back burner. I’ve got my middle-grade fantasy inspired by Celtic mythology, a 1920s urban fantasy, a comedy-mystery-romance novel about an illegal theater, and a fantasy space-opera. I hope that the Drifters’ Saga is complete, and that at least a generous handful of those side projects are also afloat in ten years. It’s really crazy to think about.
11- 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: Madeline Miller @MillerMadeline
Love because: Truly one of the most intimate books I’ve ever read. You set it down really feeling like you just passed through someone else’s life. I’ve always been fascinated with women in Greek mythology, and the prose in the novel is absolutely divine.
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
I hope it inspires a sense of adventure in them. That was certainly the emotion that made up my take-off point for the novel. I didn’t just want to paint a picture of all the places I’d seen growing up in the West, I wanted to bring all the places I know I’ll never see to life. Not necessarily places on Earth, but places beyond that. Things I envisioned while listening to a song or after waking from a dream. I wanted to bring those to life. And I hope my readers enjoy catching a glimpse of them.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
If it can serve as a source of inspiration, comfort, or escape for even one person, I’ll know that it’s done its job. Heaven knows that my favorite books did that for me, and I hope that I can do the same for somebody else.
14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?
“Anatomy of Story” by John Truby! It breaks down the elements of a compelling story in an easily digestible format. It really helped me survive my self-edits for “Graves”.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
I drew a lot of inspiration from my book from the American Old West, which was a lot more diverse than a lot of older media seemed to think it was. I got many of my ideas for the setting in “Graves” from northern New Mexico, which is home to a lot of indigenous tribes. One of my characters, Tsashin, is an indigenous young woman. The Harney brothers, Halston and Hodge, are biracial. Halston struggles with anxiety. I have generalized anxiety as well, so sometimes, writing through his struggles was a touch close-to-home for me. Lastly, my character Lorelin is a lesbian. As for her love interest… well, you guys will see. :)
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?
I LOVE Read With Cindy. Her content never fails to make me laugh out loud.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
“Graves for Drifters and Thieves” was very much a labor of love. It was my passion project, and because of that, I wanted to have complete creative control over it. I may pursue traditional publishing for another project in the future, but I had a very specific vision for “Graves”. I knew that self-publishing would allow me to stay completely true to that vision in its purest form.
18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?
I’d say Louis L’amour. A lot of his books really do feel like odes to the American wilderness, which is a big part of what I wanted “Graves” to be.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
If you could visit any national park, which one would you pick and why?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
More about “Graves for Drifters and Thieves”:
The Hespyrian West is a place for legends and lawless men. Here, Jae Oldridge works as a bounty hunter, getting by with her wits, her magic map, and not much else. At seventeen, she hunts not for money or glory, but to find her missing father-kidnapped by ghost riders three years back.
When a saloon brawl brings Jae to the enigmatic Harney gang, she feigns interest in assisting them, hoping to turn them in later on. Survivors of the Arrowwood War, the gang pillages silver, without interest in much else... and no one knows why. The gang is led by two brothers: the stern, commanding Halston and headstrong, fiery Hodge. Joining them is an aristocrat-turned-outlaw, a rugged, snake-skinned Azmarian, and a young storyteller with a mysterious past.
Trekking across the wilderness, the group encounters warlocks, monsters, and gunfights in the service of Sterling Byrd: the gang's crooked boss. Jae learns that the gang is not what they seem. They also stand on a razor's edge; not just with the law, but with Sterling himself. Jae finds herself growing closer to the Harneys... especially Halston.
Staying with the gang could lead Jae to a noose's end, but Halston harbors a secret that could change her life forever. It is then Jae learns that her loyalties-wherever they may lie-do not come without a price.
I am a young adult author residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My debut novel, "Graves for Drifters and Thieves", will be available in fall 2020. When I'm not writing, you can find me knitting, trying new recipes, reading, or watching campy old Western movies.
Graves for Drifters and Thieves by Sophia Minetos