Ask the Author: A.S. Reid

What would you like readers to know about you? 

I’d like them to know that I wrote my book with a specific goal in mind – to question a lot of basic assumptions that fantasy writers and readers have been making for decades – and that question is informed by my personal and academic background. On a more lighthearted note? I’m a native New Yorker, a bagel elitist, and a former congressional intern. I also used to work for an AI robotics startup, where I spent a lot of time convincing people robots are not going to take over the world.  

What is your book about for those who haven’t read it? 

My book is set in an analogue for 11th-century Hungary, and it’s about a young pagan girl who is cast out of her village for her Jewish ancestry and her lack of magic, who is forced to team up with the disgraced prince in order to stop his tyrant brother from taking the throne and enacting a reign of religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. It’s an enemies-to-lovers romance with lots of religious angst (and plenty of gore, for those who like their fantasy with a side helping of horror).  

It’s out June 8, 2021 from Harper Voyager in the US and Del Rey in the UK, and it can be preordered here:

What has been your inspiration for writing it? 

My inspiration for writing it was actually my academic background: I studied religion and ethnic nationalism at Columbia and got my degree in political science. I wanted to write a book that interrogated assumptions about the nation-state, that discussed ethnicity and religion in a detailed, nuanced way, and a book that represented Jewish people beyond gold-grubbing goblins and hook-nosed stereotypes.  

What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? 

I can’t say too much because of spoilers, but my favorite parts to write were the banter between Évike and her love interest, Gáspár. There’s also one specific eye horror scene that I enjoyed more than I should have.  

What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 

My biggest inspirations to write this particular book were Naomi Novik, Katherine Arden, Leigh Bardugo, and Catherynne Valente. I think anyone who enjoys those authors would probably enjoy my book, too!  

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

I would say to write the story only YOU can write—the story that feels true, right, and in line with what is deep in your soul. If you start from a point of complete honesty within yourself, I promise the words will flow. 

Instagram: @avasreid 

Twitter: @asimonereid 


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