THIS BOOK IN THREE WORDS: Compelling, Captivating and Electrifying.
“The Gilded Ones” is about sixteen-year-old Deka who lives in dread of the blood ceremony, which will determine whether she will become a member of her village. But when her blood runs gold, the color of the impure, Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. So when an extraordinary woman comes to her with a choice, to stay in the village and surrender to her fate, or leave to battle for the emperor in an army of girls just like her, the decision she makes will change her life forever.
I immensely enjoyed reading “The Gilded ones”. Deka’s story was inspiring and a perfect read for those who are always trying to fit in. I loved how Deka began to discover who she was as the story went on, and I felt like I was journeying with her. Her story made me want to go for long walks by myself, but it also made me want to spend time with my family. [The best solution to that is to go for long walks with your family!]
All Deka wants is to be pure and accepted into her village, like the other girls who must go through the blood ceremony, but she gradually learns that she has the power to become so much more. [We ALL have the power to become so much more in our lives and I think this book will help people realize this and strive to succeed in their dreams!]
I love the message that no matter who you are or what you look like, you have the power to become whoever you want to be, and no-one else can take that from you. [I found this a very empowering thought!]
There are very [VERY!!!] few fantasy books I have read with all Black characters, so this book is very special to me as there are NOT ENOUGH books like it and I don’t know when I will find another! [Future Black writers! Write quicker! Future publishers of said Black writers! PUBLISH QUICKER! AND GENERALLY HURRY UP!]
I was one of the few lucky bloggers to get a coveted proof copy of “The Gilded ones”, and that made me feel honored. I have only been blogging for about half a year now so to get book proofs and be on blog tours is still an exiting thing for me.
Now it’s time for the TOTALLY AMAZING PART of this blog post!!!!!!!
PLEASE WELCOME, THE ONE, THE ONLY, NAMINA FORNAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! [Hosted by me and questions by me! Answers by Namina awesome face]
Author Q&A with Namina Forna
Q. Did you come up with the title? If you did, how did it come to you?
A. The title was a group effort. One of my editors—either Becky Walker or Kelsey Horton (darn it, I should’ve kept track), said something like The Gilded Ones, and I was like, huh… There it is, that’s the title!
Q. What do you think of the cover?
A. I love, love, LOVE the cover! I died when I first saw it, and honestly, I had this idea in my head of the cover being ominous—black and gold, maybe dripping golden blood or something. Then I saw the cover and I was like—WHOA, sold! I’m so glad my editor Kelsey had such a clear vision for it.
I think the cover gave me something I had not thought about with the book, the vulnerability of the girls. These are girls who have gone through a tremendous lot in their lives, but are still quite young. They could be any teenage girl you know, and the cover shows that.
Q. Would you rather be able to talk in any language you like, or have a pet unicorn?
A. ARRGH!!!! Such a difficult question!!!!! On one hand, I’d love to be able to talk in any language, but having a pet unicorn means that the world I would be living in was a magical world, and honestly, I’d rather live in one of those. Can I have the unicorn and the languages? I mean, why chose, right?
Q. How did you come up with the story of “The Gilded Ones”?
A. “The Gilded Ones” is a story that came in steps.
When I was a freshman in college, I started having dreams of a girl in golden armor, sword in hand about to kick butt. The dream always cut out before the girl could get to major ass-kicking and I always wondered what happened next.
At that time, I was going through a lot and needed a hero, so I think that girl was meant to be my subconscious telling me I would get through everything on my own. That I could be my own hero, instead of waiting for someone to rescue me.
Years later in film school, I’m in a class when these words trickle into my head. “I was nine years old when first I learned I could not die.” Those words would form the basis of the first iteration of “The Gilded Ones.”
Q. What type of animal IS Ixa? [Deka’s pet]
A. Hmmm… interesting question. On one hand, you could say Ixa is a shapeshifting water dragon. On the other hand, that’s not what he is at all. The mystery of Ixa, it’s one that unfurls over the course of the trilogy. You’ll just have to wait till book three to get a true sense of what he is.
Note from Host: BOOK TWO?!?! WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS!?!?
Q. Dose Deka’s story have a metaphor for real life?
A. Very much so.
All across the world, girls, boys, and all genders of people are put into little boxes and told that they have to be a certain way, according to tradition, or religion, or culture, or what have you. I wrote “The Gilded Ones” specifically for people who are stuck in situations where others create a narrative about who they are and enforce it on them.
Note from host: I’m crying. I don’t want it to be true, but I know it is.
The idea I examine in this book is that you have to decide who you are, absent what everyone tells you and tries to enforce upon you. No matter where you are in the world, ask questions, seek knowledge, and create your identity for yourself.
Only you have the power to be who you want to be.
Q. Do you have a pet?
A. At the moment, no. But I have, at different stages in my life, had dogs, cats, goats, monkeys, and an alligator with a faulty snout (that needed to be hand-fed and therefore could not be released back into the wild).
When I get more settled, I would like to have a dog and two cats—the bald kind, preferably. I’ve always been a sucker for cats with a face only a mother could love. I’ll name one Meowbellehbelleh the 2nd (after my dearly departed first pet, RIP) and the other one Lucifer.
Note from host:I love those names. LOVE SO MUCH.
Q. Do you think there is anything we can learn from Deka? If so, what?
A. Ask questions. Live your truth, instead of living as other people expect you to. Be brave. Be you.
Q. Would you rather be able to talk to animals or have major Ninja skills?
A. Talk to animals, 100%
Honestly, I’m quite lazy, and having ninja skills seems like a lot of work. I’d rather leave it up to the professionals and live in a house filled with animals who have very saucy opinions about my books.
Q. Will you be writing another book?
A. Oh, definitely! “The Gilded Ones” is a trilogy, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of Deka and her friends. And I love creating fantasy worlds, so hopefully, you’ll also see a MG novel I have brewing that’s set completely underwater and features different types of mermaids—not just the fish ones, but the octopus, jellyfish, shrimp and turtle ones as well.
A lot’s coming down the pipeline; I can’t wait for you to see it!
Last note from host: . . . THAT. IS. AWESOME.
THANK YOU NAMINA FOR ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS!!!!!