July 26, 2012

"New Adult" Niche: Interview with Melanie Card (and E-book Giveaway!)

I'm pleased to be able to welcome Melanie Card, author of the New Adult novel Ward Against Death, to the blog today for an interview!

First, a bit about the book:


Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.

However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

And now for the questions...

1.) Many of the New Adult books being released these days are contemporary, featuring protagonists dealing with issues arising from living on their own/having their first full-time job/going to college/etc. Ward Against Death, in contrast, is a fantasy novel. Is there a reason you chose to make your characters older than those found in a typical YA fantasy? Are there some commonalities that are shared between New Adult books, regardless of genre?
Thanks Danya for inviting me here today. In all honesty I wasn’t thinking about YA or New Adult fiction when I wrote Ward Against Death. Historical and Epic Fantasy has a long tradition of young protagonists with books solidly placed on the adult fantasy shelves. I think one of the reasons for this is the “quest” which is often about growth and self discovery and young protagonists lend themselves well to “learning” about themselves and their world. That “quest” for fantasies can be interpreted (sometimes loosely) as the metaphoric journey into adulthood. This theme has been studied a lot in the academic world. One scholar, Joseph Campbell, did extensive research into world mythologies and wrote a fascinating (although sort of dry if you’re not into text books) study on how this “quest” theme from youth to adulthood transcends cultures. He called this universal story a “monomyth” and out of that came “The Hero’s Journey”.

At the time I wrote Ward Against Death I only had a vague idea about all that. What I wanted was a book like the others fantasies I loved reading and a hero, Ward, who just wouldn’t get out of my head.

That rather long theoretical explanation about fantasy can also explain a part of the genre of YA and New Adult books as a whole. In these genres we have young protagonists (be they in a historical setting, a modern day setting, or a futuristic setting) who are trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and how they can be independent of the adults in their lives. In New Adult fiction, that independence might be won but it’s still tentative, and the certainty we hope to have in ourselves when we’re adults isn’t there yet. These are the characters I find completely fascinating. For me, these characters have the potential for such growth and so many surprises. It’s that potential for growth and self discovery that I think is the commonality between books in the genre.

2.) How do you think the story would have played out if Ward was 16 or 17 instead? Would he have made different decisions that could have set the plot on a completely separate path?

This is a tough one and I’m not sure if Ward’s age would change things. Ward is determined and untested when the book opens. He’d be just as determined and just as untested if he was 16 or 17. I suspect he’d be even more suspicious of Celia’s attentions and that might take the story in a different direction.

3.) The New Adult category has been doing quite well in e-books, but hasn't yet managed to carve out a spot for itself on physical bookshelves. Do you think this pattern will continue? How do you see the future of NA unfolding?

I wish I did know what the future of New Adult would be. If you figure it out could you please tell me? :)

4.) Are there any NA fantasy books you can recommend to my readers?  

I highly recommend the Study series by Maria V. Snyder.

5.) I understand Ward Against Death is the first in the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series. Do you have any ideas for future books once the series is completed?

So many books so little time! I have a lot of ideas for future books, some New Adult, some Adult, some in the same world as Ward Against Death, some not.

6.) If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring New Adult writer, what would it be?

Write and write lots. Don’t be afraid to write badly - that can be fixed when you go back and edit. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that how we learn. Write the stories you want to read, about the characters that interest you. There’s a lot to know about the craft and business of writing, and yes that’s important, too, but in the end it always comes down to writing, to putting words on the page and exploring worlds, and characters, and stories.

About Melanie Card:

Melanie has always been drawn to storytelling and can't remember a time when she wasn’t creating a story in her head. Her early stories were adventures with fairies and dragons and sword swinging princesses.

Today she continues to spin tales of magic in lands near and far, while her cat sits on the edge of her desk and supervises. When she’s not writing, you can find her pretending to be other people with her local community theatre groups.

Connect with Melanie:  
Facebook  /  Twitter@melaniecard  /Goodreads / MelanieCard.com

Get your copy of Ward Against Death at:

Thanks very much, Melanie, for answering my New Adult questions!

Now for the giveaway...courtesy of Melanie and her publisher, there is an e-book of Ward Against Death up for grabs!

The rules:

- Entrants must be 16 years or older.
- Open internationally
- One entry per person. But anyone who's officially signed up for my New Adult reading challenge gets an extra entry! (You must have already filled in this form, prior to the posting of this giveaway, in order to qualify. Please mention that you're a participant in your comment and leave the e-mail address you signed up with.)
- Following and tweeting are not necessary but always appreciated!
- Ends August 10, at 11:59 pm EST.
- Winner will be selected randomly.

To enter, please leave a comment with your e-mail address.


  1. Oh my goodness. I'm actually writing a New Adult book right now and I absolutely LOVE reading about other NA authors. I haven't heard of this one, but it looks utterly fabulous and it's going on my list! Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thanks Jade. I love finding new authors as well and I wish you all the best with your book.

  3. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in contest.

  4. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in the contest and thanks so much for a new author to follow. Her cover art is beautiful and I am sure I'll enjoy the story. I hope to see more NA novels out there.

  5. Love that Melanie Card mentioned Joseph Campbell. I remember first learning about him in college and I was fascinated by the concept of the hero quest and loved all the examples he presented from Homer's Odysseus to George Lucas' Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. So yeah, I am clearly a fan of the fantasy genre, and New Adult fantasy is even better:) Thanks for the opportunity to win the ebook.

    And I am a participant in the NA Challenge as well:)

  6. This definitely sounds pretty fun! It is interesting how fantasy/paranormal books have a lot more characters in N.A. age range than most other genres.

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    +1 N.A. challenge participant

    asherz86 at gmail dot com


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