Mundie Moms

Thursday, July 7, 2016

AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White / Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to today's stop in the AND I DARKEN blog tour! I'm so thrilled to have the lovely Kiersten White on Mundie Moms days. We absbsoutely adore her! Today she's here to talk about the book that might have been.... 

The Book That Might Have Been

If you pick up a copy of And I Darken when it comes out on June 28, first of all, bless you. You have uncommonly good taste, and the world is better for your presence.

Second of all, you can thank Wendy Loggia for what it is today. Because without her as its editor, it probably wouldn’t exist. This is what a good editor does: sees what you are telling them you want to write, and gently points you in the direction of how to actually accomplish that.

Originally, I had a radically different plan for the trilogy. I was going to write three books, but each would have been from a different point of view. The first book was Lada: brutal, angry, and determined to rule Wallachia through whatever means necessary. The second book was Radu: gentle, kind, and torn between loyalties to his sister and to his adopted home, the Ottoman Empire. And the third book was Mehmed, the stunningly brilliant sultan who overthrew Constantinople at the tender age of twenty-one.

And . . . they were all going to cover the same period of time.

First, let’s be real, past Kiersten: Those books would have been a thousand pages long. EACH. Also, logistically, what a nightmare. I could envision what Lada would be, and even what Radu would be, but Mehmed presented a tremendous challenge. Vlad the Impaler has quite a bit written about him, but since I was changing him to a girl, I had pretty free rein to make her my own. Radu is a footnote in Vlad and Mehmed’s histories, so I could breathe life into him however I saw fit. But Mehmed . . . Mehmed is a Turkish national hero. He has entire tomes written on his life, in which he is exalted, or vilified, or placed somewhere in the middle. Because in the series I was keeping him as close to the real person as I could, it felt weirdly dishonest trying to write from his point of view. But I figured, hey! I had a couple of years before I had to deal with it.

Oh, past Kiersten. Bless Wendy forever for saving you from yourself. Because Wendy looked at what I gave her—looked at the emphasis I put on the siblings, and the massive amount of material I had to work with—and said, “I think it should be chronological, and it should be dual POV from the brother and sister.” And as soon as she said that, it was so obvious that’s what it should have been all along. That was what the story needed to be. (Anyone who has followed my previous books also knows I have a thing for sibling stories. That push and pull, that love and hate, that tension that exists between people we are bonded to by blood but not always by choice: oh, how I adore it!)

Lada’s fierce determination and single-mindedness is the balance to Radu’s tender heart and subtle cleverness. And telling the story by alternating between their points of view reshapes what the truth is—because we see what the truth is to each of them, and it’s never quite the same thing. We also get to fall in love with the same person through two different eyes, and see how our feelings shape how we see someone. Much like how who Mehmed was depends on the source of the material on him. In life, in death, he is shaped by how others viewed his accomplishments.

Writers so often work in a vacuum. Having an outside set of eyes to help us reconcile what we want to write with how to actually write it is invaluable. From the structure, to the story, to the very title, this book would not exist without Wendy Loggia. So, if you love it, be sure to thank her.

And if you hate it, by all means, blame her.

(Just kidding! If you hate it, obviously you should blame me, but you should never, ever tell me because I am a tender sweet flower like Radu. But I’m also Lada. And you really don’t want to piss her off. . . .)


By: Kiersten White
Published by: Delecorte Press
Released on: June 28th, 2016
SeriesThe Conquerors Saga #1
Add it to Goodreads

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.


Monday, May 30thIcey Books, Review
Tuesday, May 31stBookiemoji, Guest Post (Character Profiles)
Wednesday, June 1stSeeing Double in Neverland, Review
Thursday, June 2ndAlexa Loves Books, Playlist Post
Friday, June 3rd: Awesome Book Nut, Review

Monday, June 6thJessabella Reads, Review
Tuesday, June 7thThe Eater of Books!, Top Five Roundup
Friday, July 8th:  My Friends Are Fiction, Surprise Post!
Thursday, June 9thPandora’s Books, Sneak Peek for Book Two
Friday, June 10thTales of the Ravenous Reader, Review

Monday, June 13th: A Midsummer Night's Read, Review
Tuesday, June 14thThe Irish Banana Review, Top 10 Guest Post
Wednesday, June 15thStories & Sweeties, Review
Thursday, June 16thJenuine Cupcakes, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, June 17thThe Soul Sisters, Review

Monday, June 20thWinterhaven Books, Review
Tuesday, June 21stTwo Chicks on Books, Q&A (4-6 questions)
Wednesday: June 22ndThe Book Swarm, Review
Thursday, June 23rdRead. Sleep. Repeat., Top Five Fantasy Books Kiersten Loves to Re-Read
Friday, June 24thPlease Feed The Bookworm, Review

Monday, June 27thComfort Books, Review
Tuesday, June 28thFitshun, Q&A
Wednesday, June 29thAddicted Readers,Review
Thursday, June 30thLindsay Cummings, Movie Casting Post
Friday, July 1stRabid Reads, Review

Monday, July 4thReading Teen, Review
Tuesday, July 5thYA Bibliophile, Guest Post (Trip to Romania)
Wednesday, July 6thCarina’s Books, Review
Thursday, July 7thMundie Moms, Author Mystery Guest Post
Friday, July 8th:  Bookishness and Tea, Review

Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy Release Date Reminder

A reminder from Cassie that the print collection of the Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy series will be available in Novemeber:

Pre-order links: amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indie Bound | iBooks | Book Depository