September 5, 2013


I'm stoked to be a part of the SCORCHED blog tour, organized by Sourcebooks! I had the opportunity to meet the awesome Mari Mancusi at BEA this year when she signed my copy of Scorched (and offered complimentary Fireballs as a snack). Imagine my excitement when Mari agreed to participate in an interview with Krista's Dust Jacket for my stop on the tour! Squeeee!! So, let's get to it!

An Interview With... 
Mari Mancusi, Author of SCORCHED

Hi Mari! Thanks so much for making time to talk to me about your new book SCORCHED. Dragons – eep! How exciting! But first a little about you. I know you have a family and a “day job;” how do you find the time to write in between wearing all your other hats?

These days being an author is actually my “day job,” but I do also work as a freelance TV producer, so it can be a bit of a balancing act! Not to mention “Mom of two year old” which, let me tell you, is a day, night, and every time in between type job! Luckily, my daughter has a wonderful babysitter she goes to from 9-4pm, and that’s my writing time. Then I usually do the TV work at night, since it’s not as mentally taxing. (Gotta really be fresh to write.) If I get behind, I have been known to book myself into a hotel or go to my in-laws’ lake house and just write for 18 hours straight with no interruptions.

Your other supernatural books are about vampires or zombies. So, how did you come to write about dragons this time around?

After doing eight vampire books, I was ready to explore a new kind of world. Dragons have always been a creature I was interested in—from back when I was a kid and first read Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown. Of course that dragon was evil, but he was still so, so cool. Soon I became fascinated by the beauty and the majesty of dragons, especially once I started reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. I imagined how cool it would be to have your very own psychic dragon companion. Most recently I fell in love with the A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as Game of Thrones. Daenerys and her dragons were so bad ass. I wanted a heroine like her.

I also feel like dragons an undiscovered market in young adult fiction. The dragon stories that are out there are usually set in a fantasy world—like the Eragon series, for example. So I wanted to bring dragons to our world and explore what it would be like if suddenly, because of global warming, they returned.

The cover for SCORCHED is gorgeous! How did the process work to make Emmy come to life so perfectly?

I am so lucky—I can’t even begin to tell you. Tony Sahara is the cover artist and I’d actually been fortunate enough to work with him before on a couple of re-releases I published digitally. (Tomorrow Land and Alternity.) It was a total coincidence that Sourcebooks hired him to do Scorched, but I was so excited when I found out. He really gets the book, and the cover he did for us is a true work of art. I had to blow it up poster size for my office. And it seems others feel the same. This will be my 17th novel and never before have I had so people get so excited about a cover of mine.

Oddly enough, my favorite part of the cover is actually not the dragon itself but the portrayal of the girl and the dragon together. I love the protectiveness on her face. Like, “Hey world, don’t mess with my dragon!” And the dragon is looking down on her like, “I will protect her with my life.” I just love that and it feels really true to the book.

If Trinity had to describe the differences between Caleb and Connor, what do you think she would say?

Connor is a solider. He’s loyal and protective and brave. Steadfast—the kind of guy who keeps his promises and would lay down his life for someone he cared about. But beneath his tough exterior, he’d a mess of guilt over his father’s death and ready to do whatever it takes to get revenge against the dragons.

Caleb is the forgotten twin, growing up in the shadow of his hero brother. To mask his feelings of inadequacy, he projects the image of a cocky, sarcastic, sardonic guy who doesn’t give a care about anyone but himself. Behind his shell, Trinity discovers a sad, troubled boy desperate for someone to love him for who he really is.

Why, for the love of ice cream, did you have to make me love both Caleb and Connor?? Can we expect Trinity to help me out and make a decision between the two of them anytime soon?

Ha! I can’t give too much away but I will say the true love story of Scorched and its sequels will always be between Trinity and her dragon. Not a romantic love, of course, but the idea of two beings whose destinies have become entwined and must make extreme sacrifices to keep one another safe. No matter what happens between Trinity and the boys (and expect a lot more angst in book two—poor Caleb!) she made a promise to the dragon, and she’s determined not to let anything or anyone come between her and Emmy. The fate of the world—and the entire dragon race—depends on it, after all!

If you could get a message back to the Mari Mancusi from 15 years ago, what would you tell her?
I’d probably just send her a photo of me and my husband and our beautiful baby girl (maybe holding a copy of Scorched?) and say, “Be patient. Don’t be so hard on yourself. All your dreams will soon come true.”

My Review of Scorched

Scorched, by Mari Mancusi
To Be Published September 3, 2013
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Format: ARC, obtained at BEA
Genre:  YA paranormal, YA urban fantasy
To Pre-Order:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Trinity
Don't leave me here... It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she's going crazy. It wouldn't be a big surprise--her grandpa firmly believes there's a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it's begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it...

Connor - He's come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.

Caleb - He's everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.

Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head--a dragon that won't be tamed.

Trinity and her grandfather are down to their last dime and right before Christmas, too. When he spends their tax money on a purported dragon egg, Trinity is furious. Until she discovers it really IS a dragon egg. HER dragon egg, apparently, And it's imminent hatching will start a chain of events that will destroy the world. So, twin brothers Caleb and Connor have separately come back in time nearly 200 years on two very different missions to try and stop that from happening. 

Scorched is a breath of fresh air (pun intended). In a world of YA paranormal where the creatures are usually angels, faeries, vampires or werewolves, dragons that can communicate telepathically with their human matches is an absolutely refreshing change. Scorched is uniqueness among sameness. 

Trinity is a great heroine. She's put in a tough spot right off the bat. Imagine someone telling you that you will end up causing the destruction of the known world. I think I'd go into a corner and rock in the fetal position for awhile. But, Trinity really tries to wrap her brain around what's being told to her, and she wants to make the best outcome possible. It's a really mature attitude, despite the complete craziness of the situation. 

Caleb and Connor - the hot, time-traveling twins. One thinks killing Trinity and the dragon would be the best way to prevent the tragedy. The other thinks that saving them and protecting them would be the way to go. Both boys experience a sort of epiphany along the course of the story, realizing that not everything can be as black and white as they have painted it. 

I really wanted to hate both of them at different points in the story, but I found that I just couldn't. They both care for Trinity, and they both want what they think is best for the world. How can you hate them for that? 

And, although Trinity macks on both the boys during the course of the story, I couldn't be mad her either. I couldn't really blame her for wanting both of them. I see the beginnings of a wicked love triangle (aren't they always worse when they involve siblings?) to come, but by the end of Scorched, it hasn't quite fully developed. 

The pacing and writing are absolute perfection. At no time during the story was I bored, lost or skipping ahead a few pages to "get to the good part." (C'mon - we've all done that, right?) Whenever time travel is introduced, there is great potential for the story to get lost in convoluted space/time continuum theory stuff.  And, that never happens in Scorched. The characters are multi-faceted and interesting. The world-building is done very well. And, the story is paced just right so that I didn't see the twists and surprises coming.

Scorched is to be the first in a trilogy. There is no cliff hanger, but events set in motion are by no means resolved when you get to the last page. I'm really excited to see where things go in the next book. But, for now  I'm content to have read this sweeping, epic dragon tale. 

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