What inspired you to write your first book?
My husband and I were on our honeymoon and talking a lot about life. He asked me what I would do if I could do anything. I realized the answer was to write a novel. So I figured I should just go ahead and do it!
Tell us about your book!
In the country of Kita, the sentence for being a female sorceress—a moonburner—is death. So when the main character, Kai, is exposed as a moonburner, she is forced to escape to neighboring Miina, where moonburners are revered and trained as warriors. But the moonburner citadel is not the place of refuge and learning that Kai imagined. The ongoing war against the male sorcerers, or sunburners, has led the citadel leadership down a dark path that could spell the end of all burners. After uncovering an unexpected secret in her own heritage, Kai realizes that she may be the one person able to bring peace to the two warring countries.
How did you come up with the title?
I worked for several months outlining a trilogy of novels. But every time I started writing, I got stuck. I had another idea hanging around in the back of my mind and I decided to give into it. Within about 10 minutes I had a one-page outline of the plot and the title for Moonburner, my first novel. I think it’s really true what they say about the muse striking you!
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Quitsu! My protagonist, Kai, has an animal companion, a magical talking fox named Quitsu. He was definitely the comic relief, and I had a lot of fun writing his snarky comments.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That the world isn’t black or white, but shades of grey. All the “good guys” aren’t good in the book, and all the “bad guys” aren’t bad. If Kai gave in to stereotypes and prejudices, she would have missed out on some of her greatest friends and allies. You have to gauge each person individually based on their character and actions, not because they belong in a particular gender, race, or political group.
What makes Moonburner different?
I think Moonburner is unique because the moral of the story isn’t good triumphing over evil. It’s about mutually assured destruction…if you can’t find a way to work together and coexist, you will both perish.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the creativity of it. I’m a practicing lawyer for my full time job, and so I spend a lot of time being analytical and precise. I love the freedom to let my mind take me where it takes me with writing. I thought because I am such a type–A planner that I would be a “plotter,” making detailed outlines of every part of my book before I wrote a word. I found that in fact, I do much better when I let my creativity take the wheel. That has been a very refreshing discovery.
What is your favorite theme/genre to write?
I have always loved to read and write fantasy. There is something about being taken away to another magical world that provides just the right escape I am looking for with a novel. My goal with Moonburner was to write a novel that I would enjoy reading.
What is the current status of Moonburner?
I am seeking a publisher for Moonburner currently, so you can’t read it quite yet! But it will either be picked up for publication or I will self-publish in 2016. I am also about 90% done with the first draft of Sunburner, the sequel.
How do we find your books, blog and bio?
Come see me at claireluana.com. That’s where you’ll find my blog, as well as updates about Moonburner and Sunburner.