I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Emily Wibberley today to talk with me about her book, Sacrificed. Emily grew up in the South Bay where she spent her formative years battling zombies on her Xbox, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and voraciously reading everything from The Hunger Games to Jane Austen, where her love for feisty young heroines was born. After graduating from Princeton University Magna Cum Laude in 2014, she began writing. Her debut novel, Sacrificed, was named a finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2015 International Book Awards, the Young Adult category of the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards, and in the Young Author category of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Since its release, Sacrificed has spent more than four months as a Kindle Top Ten Teen and Young Adult Bestseller. When she isn’t reading the latest YA book, Emily enjoys watching kick-butt action movies with her two rescue German Shepherds, Hudson and Bishop, named after characters from James Cameron’s Aliens.
How did you discover indieBRAG?
I believe I was looking through some book covers on Amazon when I first decided to self-publish and came across a couple titles with the B.R.A.G. medallion on them. As soon as I saw it, I made a note to myself to apply when my book was ready, not even thinking that I would stand a chance to win one of my very own!
Please tell me a little about your book, Sacrificed (The Last Oracle Series Book I).
Sacrificed tells the story of Clio, the youngest daughter of the merciless Oracle of Sheehan. Clio wants nothing to do with her mother’s dangerous secrets, but when her entire family is murdered by Mannix, the king’s adviser, Clio inherits the Oracle’s power, a power she never wanted and doesn’t understand. Hunted by Mannix, Clio is forced to flee her home in Sheehan and seek refuge in a foreign city where oracles are forbidden. If she’s found out, she will be sacrificed atop its great pyramid. Clio has no choice but to win the trust of Riece, an enemy warrior. Despite the undeniable attraction between them, Clio knows that if he finds out who she really is, he won’t hesitate to execute her. Clio tries to hide her budding powers, but the Visions she keeps having of Mannix and his barbarian army slaughtering her people torture her conscience. She alone has the strength and foresight to stop him, but only if she can embrace her destiny and sacrifice everything.
Who is, Mannix?
In short Mannix is the villain of the novel. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say that he’s the king’s adviser, and he will stop at nothing until he eliminates all threats to his control.
What are Clio strengths and weaknesses?
Clio’s biggest strength and her biggest weakness are actually one in the same: her tenacity. Clio will stop at nothing to do what she believes is right, especially when it comes to protecting the ones she loves. Obstacle after obstacle could be thrown at her, and she won’t back down. However, such single-mindedness often leaves her blind to the world around her. She is slow to change and admit her mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that she’s incapable of it, because at the end of the day, Clio will do whatever it takes, even if it means turning her back on everything she once believed in.
Can you tell me a little about her relationship with Riece?
Clio’s relationship with Riece is complicated to say the least. They meet when Clio is a slave bound for sacrifice in the kingdom of Morek, where Riece is the highest ranking warrior and the warden of her prison. Each knows what they must do—for Clio it means winning the trust of her captor and then betraying him, and for Riece it means turning Clio over to be sacrificed when the time comes—but as they clash time and time again and learn more about each other, they both find it harder and harder to do what needs to be done. To make matters more complicated, Riece harbors no kindness toward oracles, and if Clio ever let him in enough for him to learn her secret, he would likely execute her himself.
What is an example of a challenge Clio faces in the story?
Well, as I brought up above, one of the major challenges Clio faces is her imprisonment in a slave pyramid. If she doesn’t find a way to use her powers to escape (without letting on to her captor, Riece, who she really is) then she is bound to be sacrificed atop the pyramid for the whole city to see.
Surely her young age plays a factor in decisions she makes. Was there challenges for you to make it believable or realistic?
Absolutely. But, it’s important to keep in mind that Clio lives in a very different world than you and I. Where she’s from she has to grow up quickly. Everything she goes through forces her to mature over the course of the story, but it’s her young age that contributes to her naïve stubbornness. So even though I tried to think back to how I thought about and saw the world as a 15 year old, I knew that Clio was likely more mature than I was at the age.
How did you come to choose the Mesoamerican culture as the inspiration for your setting and period?
I have just always loved Mesoamerican culture ever since I read Aztec by Gary Jennings as a young girl. So much fantasy today takes its inspiration from Western Europe, specifically Medieval Western Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I love these settings, but I also think there are so many other rich and inspiring cultures out there to look at.
Who designed your book cover?
Sacrificed was really a team effort on the cover. I bought a beautiful pre-made cover from Adrijus Guscia from rockingbookcovers.com and then added the pyramid myself so that is was more personalized to my world and my story.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Titles are seriously so hard for me. I believe Sacrificed was already finished before I thought of the title. For both Sacrificed and Forsworn (Book II in the series) the titles came from the theme of the book as well as Clio’s character arc. I can’t go into much more detail than that though without giving away some major spoilers!
What are you working on next?
I just put out the second book in The Last Oracle Series, so I’m gearing up to start outlining book three very soon. In the meantime I have been working on a YA contemporary piece with a writing partner, which I hope to finish up very soon!
Do you stick with just genre?
So far everything I have is definitely in the YA realm, but I’ve done fantasy, contemporary, and I have plans for an urban fantasy and even a sci-fi piece. I’m sure one day I’ll write something more adult, but for now I can’t get enough YA.
When you’re stuck on a scene in your story, what do you do?
This mostly happens to me in the outlining process rather than the writing process, since I make sure to have every single story beat worked out before I set pen to paper (so to speak). When I do get stuck, I’ll try to walk away for a while. Usually when I’m doing something else, the answer will come to me. Reading other books often gets the ideas flowing as well, and if it gets really dire, then I sit down and think hard about what I want the theme to be and what I want Clio to learn by the end of the book. Having those two pieces figured out unlocks everything.
Where in your home do you like to write and what is your process?
I write in my bedroom, either at my desk, or more likely, on my bed. I have to be very strict and diligent with my process, otherwise I would spend all day reading, so I always, always,put together a very detailed outline that is often about forty pages long before I even start to write. When the outline is done, I jump into writing and set myself page goals every day that I absolutely must accomplish before I can pick up anything to read.
Is there a favorite food or drink you like to enjoy while writing?
As I am writing this, I’m actually partaking of my daily writing fuel: Greek yogurt and granola.
Is there a particular hobby you enjoy when you’re not writing?
Well, besides reading, I sing and play a couple instruments, but I must confess, you’re probably more likely to find me playing a video game of some kind if I’m not reading or writing.
A Message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Emily Wibberley who is the author of, Sacrificed (The Last Oracle Series Book I), our medallion honoree at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Sacrificed (The Last Oracle Series Book I), merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.