In the Shadow of the Sun
Updated: Dec 19, 2021
Tomorrow one of my absolute favorite projects is being launched into the world: EM Castellan's IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN!
I was immediately swept away by her immersive writing and world-building when I first read the manuscript, so I was thrilled to read the PW review: "Castellan craftily infuses enchantment in every scene alongside romance and intrigue among the royals and their court, while luxurious descriptions and quick-witted dialogue make for a captivating read." I hope you all make sure to buy a copy (and leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, please!) so you can enjoy it along with me!
So, why don't you start off by telling us what inspired you to write this story?
I’ve been writing YA Historical Fantasy for seven years, now, and my first books were set in Victorian England, 1920s London, and Ancient Rome. However, I grew up in France, and I’ve always loved both French history and the Palace of Versailles. Three years ago I felt
confident enough in my own writing to decide it was time to set my new story in this time
period, and to give it a magical twist!
All the main characters in the book are actual historical figures—did you use research about what they were like as people and what their personalities were when writing the book?
Definitely! I’m fascinated by the biography of Louis XIV – the Sun King – and researching
the people who lived at his court was part of the fun. When writing this book, I wanted to
focus on the lesser-known people in Louis’s life, like Henriette of England, my main
character. She’s an English princess, and she comes to the French court to marry the Sun
King’s brother, but finds herself thrown into a world of intrigues and magical mischief.
How has being a Wattpad author and finding success on the platform affected your publishing journey?
I began my journey towards traditional publication in 2012. I had done my research, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was hopeful. In late 2016, I was beginning to wonder if my dream of seeing my books on shelves would ever come true. Joining Wattpad at that stage was, in hindsight, a very good decision. Having readers from all the over the world enjoy my stories, winning awards, and being a part of this online community, gave me the moral boost I needed to keep writing, to keep querying, and ultimately, to keep believing in my writing.
After the contract was signed, were there any unexpected aspects of the publishing
process that surprised you?
Being in the query trenches for such a long time, I had the opportunity to do a lot of research on the publishing world, and to have quite a few published friends share their experience with me. As such, nothing came as a massive surprise to me, even if, on a daily basis, I still have a thousand “little” questions – as you well know, Carrie! My advice to querying writers would be to use their time in the query trenches to do find out as much as possible about what happens after a book sells, and to network with other writers.
What part of the publication process has been the most interesting/fun? What part has been the hardest?
As a lifelong reader, I’ve definitely enjoyed being “behind the scenes,” and seeing how a
book becomes…a book. As a debut author, self-promotion has been the most challenging part of the process so far, because I always feel I could do more or better. I suspect it’s part of a learning curve, and I’ll find the right balance at some point!
What have you had to do to promote your book? What kind of social media do you
think has been the most important in publicizing IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN?
Interviews and ARC giveaways have definitely helped promote IN THE SHADOW OF THE
SUN. With regards to social media, I’m mostly on Twitter and Instagram, but I’ve also used
Facebook and Goodreads a bit more, recently. Finally, I know some readers like mood boards and book aesthetics, which I’ve been sharing on Pinterest.
You have a sequel in the works for this. Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect to read next?
Yes, the sequel is already written! It takes place a year after IN THE SHADOW OF THE
SUN, and Henriette has to solve another magical mystery (very close to her heart, this time!), while dealing with the aftermath of the events that happened in Book 1.
Now fun question! If the book were turned into a TV show or movie (::salivates::) who
would you cast to play the main characters?
I recently saw Little Women and thought Australian actress Eliza Scanlen would be a perfect Henriette. English actor Daniel Sharman, although a bit old for the part now, would be an interesting Sun King, I think. And I’m still looking for the perfect Philippe…