Today marks the official kickoff of the Sand Dancer Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and we’re thrilled to welcome Trudie Skies as we showcase her YA Epic Fantasy tale of fire and magic! I’m excited to hear what our hosts have to say about Sand Dancer in the coming days, so stay tuned for a fantastic week ahead.
Trudie stopped by to have a chat about what led to the creation of this book of hers, what she believes makes for a great story, what lies ahead, and more! Keep scrolling for the complete tour schedule, learn more about the book and author, check out the fantastic interview, and enter a giveaway to win yourself a Sand Dancer paperback + swag bundle!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Sand Dancer. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
MARCH 14TH – THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder (IG: @whispersandwonder)
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Jorie Loves A Story
Pop Read’s Reviews (@_popreads_)
Sadie’s Spotlight (IG: @sadiesspotlight)
Lucy A. McLaren
The Book and Nature Professor (IG: @bookandnatureprof)
MARCH 20TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
Only monsters summon fire by magic. It’s a sin against the sun god and a crime against the king. The punishment is death.
But when sixteen-year-old Mina discovers fire magic runs in her family’s blood, it’s just the beginning of the secrets her father has been keeping from her. When her father is murdered, this half-starved peasant girl finds herself on the run—pursued across the desert by the soldiers and guards of the noble Houses. To survive, she knows she’ll have to abandon her past and learn the way of the sword. But only boys are allowed to carry a blade. There’s only one solution…
Disguised as a young nobleman, Mina must make a new life for herself in the heart of her enemies. But she knows she can’t keep up the masquerade forever. With time running out, which will she choose to find—the truth or revenge?
Meet the Author
Trudie Skies was born in Nottingham—Robin Hood country, she says—and now lives in North East England, where she spends the majority of her free time imagining warmer climates and writing about them.
Her less-than-free time is also spent behind a computer keyboard as an IT administrator, and she promises not to bore you with the details. Previously, she worked as a mobile game designer and tester, as well as a professional writer for video game websites.
Trudie grew up on Tamora Pierce and has always wanted to be a swashbuckling knight with her own medieval castle. She has a thing for swords, and so all her characters also have a thing for swords. She loves to read Young Adult fantasy and in recent years has been inspired by desert kingdoms and cultures, which is clearly apparent in her upcoming debut novel Sand Dancer.
In January 2019, Trudie signed with Uproar Books, a new publisher of epic fantasy and science fiction novels. Sand Dancer was published on ebook and paperback July 1 2019.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Trudie. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I’m Tru, pursuer of fantastical daydreams written on dead trees.
Give us an idea of how Sand Dancer came to fruition.
I wrote the first draft of Sand Dancer back in 2012 (I know, a long time ago!) when I was inspired by strong female characters and wanted to explore what it meant to be a girl warrior in a patriarchal world. Back then, I was obsessed with girl power and creating a character who would fight against all the sexist nonsense I saw in my own world.
Mina is strong in that stereotypical sense; she’s scrappy, stubborn, and rebels against the gender norms placed on her as we’re both tomboys. But I also wanted to make her emotionally strong, too. Whilst she starts off fiercely independent because of the world she’s born in, she grows close to her new family and learns to be vulnerable with them. And as the series goes on, she’ll also learn that being a warrior isn’t all that great.
Can you share with us something about Sand Dancer that isn’t in the blurb?
Whilst Sand Dancer is a story of one teenager’s burning obsession with revenge, it’s also a story of family and whether it’s worth risking those you love to achieve your goals. Also, there’s this cute fennec fox who really deserves his own spin-off story.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
Sand Dancer isn’t based on any real-world culture, history, or mythology, but I took inspiration from places like ancient Persia and Morocco. I’ve never stepped foot in a real desert; thus, a lot of my research went into life within that climate. I visited a local zoo, for example, to meet their fennec foxes in person and see them in action for myself! They are adorable, by the way.
What do you hope your readers take away from Sand Dancer?
I hope my readers will understand that fennec foxes make terrible pets.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
For me personally, the characters come first as it’s their actions which shape the plot. Characters are our eyes, our guide through the story. Without them, there wouldn’t be a story!
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
Besides Fez the fennec fox? I’m going to say Iman, the cool aunt who welcomes Mina into her home and teaches her everything she needs to become a warrior and a woman. Iman is large, loud, and proud, who not only runs an entire desert town but also helps train Mina how to fight. You’d want to make friends with Iman, as she’s an excellent baker in her spare time and enjoys gossiping over a cup of wine.
Iman is the no-nonsense character of the series and isn’t afraid to put men or royalty in their place.
What do you think makes a good story?
Stories are inherently subjective. What I believe makes a good story will likely vary from what another believes to be good. That said, I believe a good story needs to take the reader on a journey and leave them with a sense of change or growth by the end.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
I spent many years and many drafts writing Sand Dancer, and whilst I’m grateful for the time I spent perfecting this story and making it grow, as it helped me become comfortable with my own writing style, there comes a time when one needs to stop editing and tweaking a book and just throw it out there! Your first book will always be your first love, but being an author means learning to write and love other stories too.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Ignore all the usual advice. You don’t need to write every day. You don’t need to agonize over the perfect first line. You don’t need an outline or to write in a linear order. You can use adverbs if you want to, especially on a first draft. Writing is meant to be fun and exploratory! Don’t fear the blank screen. Just write what you want, how you want to, and get those words down. Then you can play around with them later. What is written can be rewritten, but you can’t polish up words that don’t exist!
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
As I am British, I am obligated to say tea.
Winter or Summer?
Winter. Yes, I know my book is set in a desert, but keep the heat away from me!
Physical books or Ebooks?
Ebooks! Don’t hate me, but with an ebook you can read anywhere: the Post Office, the toilet, anywhere!
Mountains or Oceans?
Beer or Wine?
Can I say neither?
Books or Movies?
Books! Who would dare answer movies?
Cowboys or Aliens?
Aliens because they can fly to exciting new worlds.
Pie or Cake?
Depends on the pie. Are we talking fruit pie or meat pie? Because meat pies are delicious.
Rural or Urban?
Work hard or Play hard?
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Trudie. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
Thank you for having me! The sequel to Sand Dancer has recently launched, named Fire Walker, and the third book in the series will be coming later this year. In the meantime, I am working on an adult fantasy which has far less sand than Sand Dancer, but just as much trouble.
Enter to win yourself a Sand Dancer paperback, bookmark, and badge bundle! Five copies are looking to find their forever homes!
INTERNATIONAL! Ends 3/21
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Sand Dancer tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2021/02/12/tour-schedule-sand-dancer-by-trudie-skies) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!