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Friday, May 4, 2018

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green Blog Tour

Hi guys! Today I'm sharing with you my interview with Sally Green for The Smoke Thieves blog tour! I hope you guys enjoy it ^_^

The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves #1) by Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: May 1, 2018
The start to an epic medieval fantasy trilogy, perfect for young Game of Thrones fans. 

A shrewd princess whose father is plotting against her. A loyal servant on a quest to avenge his family. A streetwise demon smoke hunter in desperate need of money. A charming thief whom everyone is hunting. They are four teenagers whose lives would never intersect, until a war between kingdoms bubbles up, and the dangerous truth about demon smoke intertwines all their fates. It's a tangled web of political intrigue, shifting alliances, and forbidden love, in a world where sometimes no amount of magic can keep you safe.

Sally Green lives in northwest England. She has had various jobs and even a profession, but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can't stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn't mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it's raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less coffee. She is the author of the Half Bad trilogy. Follow her @Sa11eGreen.
Connect with Sally: Website | Twitter

Was there anything different about your writing process when approaching this project than your previous series? If so, what?

I think I vary the process slightly with each book but I’m not a planner and never will be.

For Half Bad as soon as I started writing in Nathan’s voice I knew I was onto something that was working and so for The Smoke Thieves I was looking for the right voice, but actually the story only took off when I decided on a theme. It had never occurred to me before that theme would be so important for me! The theme is female empowerment, by the way.

To explain a little more - I’d come up with the idea of a father and son demon hunting duo (which still sounds like a good set-up to me) but my heart wasn’t in it. After slowly forcing out a few chapters I realised that I wasn’t that interested in demons and I’d just done father and son relationships in Half Bad and didn’t have anything more to say on that. However, I was interested in writing a strong female character, so I tried changing the son, in the father and son demon hunting team, to a girl and that worked well – she’s Tash, and she immediately came to life, running and jumping off the page.

But I still wasn’t satisfied. I wanted a serious female character, someone with ambition who makes the decision to become a leader even though she could avoid it and opt for something else. So I came up with Princess Catherine who has a privileged position because of her class but is a second class citizen because of her gender. The story immediately took off. Catherine has so much to say about women’s roles and women’s position in the world. I love her.

I decided quite early on to write from a number of different character view points – it started out as four but I ended up doing five different protagonists! What was I thinking!!

The three male characters are very different. Ambrose is the extremely handsome, athletic soldier, who is intelligent, thoughtful and caring – the perfect man. I wanted to look at what pressures that brought and if his life really was so perfect – and obviously it isn’t.

Then there’s March who is the servant, whose whole family and race have been wiped out. He’s the refugee whose life and choices are overshadowed and influenced by the past.

And finally there is Edyon, who is the intelligent, charming and witty student who has a tendency to steal things on impulse and was such a joy to write. My main challenge was coming up with increasing awful situations that he lands himself in.

How much of your real life experiences do you incorporate into your writing? For example, do you base characters on real people? Do you use names of former bullies and kill them off in your books?

Ha ha! Of course I don’t use real people at all. I’m fascinated by people and an avid people watcher. I notice how people behave and think about how people react to situations. Actually, I will admit that in The Smoke Thieves there’s a servant girl who ‘accidently’ falls down the stairs and breaks her arm – and she happens to have the same name as someone from my past, but I really can’t say more than that.

Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why? The character could be from the The Smoke Thieves or your The Half Bad trilogy.

Princess Catherine in The Smoke Thieves. We are very different, but I adore her ambition and her willingness to put her needs first, not to the detriment of others but to prove to herself that she can do things.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite tropes in books?

Gosh, I don’t really ever think about that. If the writing is good and the characters are believable then I’ll go with anything.

You’ve got me thinking though – I guess I hate laziness in writing and I’ve just this afternoon watched a well-known movie franchise in which one of the male heroes reacts with anger at the news of the death of his loved one and his anger completely thwarts the plan to kill the baddie. And it’s so obviously going to happen and I’m sitting there wondering ‘Reallly? He couldn’t contain it at this vital point just for a minute, when they’re about to succeed and he can get his revenge then.’ And I’m not sure anger is the immediate reaction – grief surely, despair as well. Anyway, you get my point.

If you could travel anywhere (all expenses paid) for writing inspiration, where would you go and why?

A hot desert – it’s such a completely different environment to what I’m used to. I’d love to see how you could survive and I’m sure the landscape and the skies are stunning.

What are some 2018 (or 2019!) books that you're excited for?

I don’t really think about this either – I wander into a bookshop and pick up what looks good, and usually come out with far more than I intended. I have a huge pile of books to read at home.

What would make you DNF (or not finish) a book?

Good question. I used to have the mentality of always finishing a book even though I was bored by it. Now, I’m quite happy to give up after a few pages. I’m aware though that my mood can change – I started reading One Day by David Nicholls and couldn’t get into it but a year later I tried again and really enjoyed it. The other notable experience I had was reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which I didn’t know anything about and I got to the big reveal about a third of the way through and I threw the book across the room saying, ‘I’m not reading this nonsense’ – knowing me I probably swore as well. However, I did pick the book up again because I loved the writing and after a few pages my attitude changed completely as the situation was explained. I love that book now.

To answer your question simply though, I think the key is the writing style and characters – if they don’t work for me then I stop.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Writing is a mix of using the sharpest parts of your brain – analyzing people and behaviour, coming up with clever ideas and surprises, finding the right words and rhythms – and then communicating your story so that it touches your reader’s heart. It’s hard! But you need to use both your brain and your heart to find a connection to your reader’s mind and heart.

April 16 – My Friends are Fiction – Review
April 17 – Book is Glee – Creative Instagram Picture
April 18 – A Page with a View – Q&A
April 19 – YA Books Central – Excerpt + Giveaway
April 20 – Vixenreads – Creative Instagram Picture

April 23 – The Young Folks – Q&A
April 24 – The Dark Faerie Tales – Creative Instagram Picture
April 25 – YA Wednesdays – Q&A
April 26 – A Perfection Called Books – Review
April 27 – A Crown of Courts and Quills – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

April 30 – YA Bibliophile – Top Five Favorite Medieval Fantasy Books/Series
May 1 – Glimpses of My Books – Review + Author Guest Post: Author’s Inspiration for the book
May 2 – Mike the Fanboy – Creative + Review
May 3 – Fiction Fare – Q&A
May 4 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Q&A/Excerpt (You are here!)

Have you guys read The Smoke Thieves yet? Reading it soon? Is it on your TBR? Let me know!


  1. LOL, I totally got Sally's movie reference for the trope question, and that particular scene totally pissed me off as well. xD And I find it commendable that she'd try books again some time after DNFing them. I stay solid with my DNF decisions LOL.

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

  2. I feel the same way about DNFing, I used to be so against but now I just don't want to waste my time on books I don't like. There was only one occasion where I picked up a book I DNF'd and ended up finishing it, but most of the time I have a very good reason for DNGing and never picking up that book again.
    Great post.
    Aneta @ Angelic Book Reviews 

  3. Eee, love this interview post :D Thank you for sharing Brittany. <3 You are awesome. Hugs. I love this cover oh so much. And curious about the book :D But ahh, I am not that interested in five point of views, to be honest :\ But might read this one day. <3 Hope you are doing well sweetie :)

  4. "You’ve got me thinking though – I guess I hate laziness in writing and I’ve just this afternoon watched a well-known movie franchise in which one of the male heroes reacts with anger at the news of the death of his loved one and his anger completely thwarts the plan to kill the baddie. And it’s so obviously going to happen and I’m sitting there wondering ‘Reallly? He couldn’t contain it at this vital point just for a minute, when they’re about to succeed and he can get his revenge then.’ And I’m not sure anger is the immediate reaction – grief surely, despair as well."


  5. Believe it or not, it's quite rare I DNF a book. I have this compulsion that once I start reading something, I gotta finish it no matter what. Yet, if we are talking about just mere pages, I am still able to stop. Great interview, and the book sounds like a winning one! :D

  6. Oh this book looks interesting.

    Totally get the bookshop trip (as do most of us here) and I agree with the DNF thing. I've hated a book I later loved and vice versa. LOL

  7. I do what Sally does, if at first I can't get through a book, I give it a few months, or maybe even a year, to give it another go. Sometimes you're not in the right state of mind for a particular genre/type of story.

  8. I can't wait to read about Princess Catherine! She seems like an ambitious and overall awesome character. Plus, I really enjoyed Green's Half Bad trilogy (although I don't think I finished... it...? IT WAS SO LONG AGO LOL).

    Also, her commentary during that movie is totally me lol. What a mood! Wonderful interview!

    - Aila @ One Way Or An Author

  9. I DNF books because of bad writing mechanics, so I would not revisit one, but I will give debut authors another chance later on. Wonderful interview. ☺

  10. I have read The Smoke Thieves and really loved it. Many people have mixed opinions about it but I loved it and I want to know what happens next. :) I saw a lot of female empowerment behind it but also an important story of radicalisation and a theme of brains over brawn. :)

    Ultimately though, it is a book's writing style and its characters and pace that I care about. These reasons are behind me not finishing books. If it's not meant to be, then I stop. But sometimes I do revisit and it works then.. :)

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