Tuesday 29 March 2016

INTERVIEW: Christi J. Whitney

Hey, everyone! Today I'm excited to share with you all this awesome interview with Christi J. Whitney, author of The Romany Outcasts series!

Hi Christi! Can you tell us a little bit about your YA series, The Romany Outcasts?
I’d love to! The Romany Outcasts is a fantasy / urban fantasy series published by HarperCollins/HarperVoyagerUK.

Sebastian Grey thought he was a normal teenager – until Romany Gypsies arrive in town. Suddenly, he finds himself drawn into a world of secrets, shadowy creatures, and a destiny he cannot escape.

What was the inspiration behind the series? 
Well, my inspiration came from several places, actually. I’ve always been fond of fairy tales, and my favorite is Beauty and the Beast. I liked the idea of taking some of those themes and weaving them into my story. My second inspiration came from the type of characters I fall in love with in books and films – in particular, the atypical, underdog hero. I’ve always been more drawn to the slightly offbeat sidekick character with a loyal personality and a good heart. And my third inspiration came from my former students.

What sort of research did you do whilst writing book one, GREY?
I delved into the culture of the Romani people all over the world while working on my book. I wanted to create my own, fictional group of Roma, loosely based on American Gypsies we see here in the Southern US. I wanted the freedom to write characters that could be unique and not bound by the real world, but I also wanted to be respectful to the rich heritage of the Roma.

Which of your characters do you relate to the most?
Oh, hands down, I relate to Sebastian the most. I totally get his awkward moments, his humor, and his struggles with his own insecurities. A good bit of YA is written from the female character’s perspective; so writing for Sebastian was a fantastic experience for me. It was so much fun, writing from his point of view and seeing things through his eyes.

Why did you decide to write for a YA audience?
It wasn’t really an active decision for me to write young adult fiction. It just felt natural. I was a high school teacher for many years, and I spent far more time with teenagers than I did anyone else. Plus, there’s just something completely unique about YA that we can all relate to, no matter what age we are.

The second book in the series, SHADOW, is releasing later this year. Can you give us any hints as to what to expect?
Absolutely! I just turned in my structural edits for SHADOW to my editor, so everything’s starting to feel real. SHADOW comes out the 2nd of June – first as a digital release, and then followed by a print run a bit later.

SHADOW continues Sebastian and Josephine’s story, picking up just a few months after the end of GREY. Without giving too much away for those that haven’t read the first book yet…SHADOW takes place in the Circe de Romany. Dangerous creatures have threatened the clan, and Sebastian’s decision to help will take him down a terrifying path of transformation and discovery.

What do you hope readers will take away from your work?
I write fantasy for the same reason that I read it: I like to be taken away from my normal, everyday life for a little while. I hope readers will enjoy this journey and fall in love with these characters as I have.

Finally, what were your favourite books as a teen?
Well, I’m a total geek, so science fiction and fantasy books are always at the top of my list. As a teen, I read a lot of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I was also pretty addicted to the Dragonlance Chronicles and the Shannara series. (I was so thrilled when I found out they were making the Elfstones of Shannara into a television show). But, aside from fantasy, I also really loved classic literature as a teenager. Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe were favorites of mine.

Huge thank you to Christi for stopping by! You can discover more about her exciting series over on her website

Social Media Links for Christi J. Whitney:
Twitter: ChristiWhitney
Instagram: christijwhitney

Book links for GREY:
AmazonUK –

Waterstones –

HarperCollinsUK -

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