Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Swati Teerdhala Interview - The Archer at Dawn

Photo Content from Swati Teerdhala

Swati Teerdhala is the author of The Tiger at Midnight series, which has appeared on both Barnes and Noble and Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Novels lists.

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BS in finance and BA in history, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart. She currently lives in New York City.


Series: Tiger at Midnight (Book 2)
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 26, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062869248
ISBN-13: 978-0062869241


“Thrilling, entertaining, and beautifully written, this is one adventure YA fans won’t want to miss.” —Buzzfeed

“[A] vibrantly imagined South Indian–inspired trilogy opener...Teerdhala adds plenty of surprises to her finely limned characters to produce a lush fantasy.” —Publishers Weekly

“Teerdhala’s debut, immersed in Indian fantasy, features two compelling protagonists who must question their loyalties and decide what they’re willing to sacrifice for the chance at a new future. Fast-paced action and a budding romance between emotionally layered characters make this a promising start to a gripping new series.” —ALA Booklist

“[A] lush blend of folklore, fantasy, and romance.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Set in a fantastical South Asia, this combination of romance, action, and magic will appeal to fans of Sabaa Tahir and RenĂ©e Ahdieh. A strong choice for YA fantasy shelves.” —School Library Journal

“Cat-and-mouse maneuvering between assassin Esha and reluctant soldier Kunal will hold you in tantalizing suspense in this searing debut exploring love, loss, and destiny. The Tiger at Midnight is as alluring and fearless as its characters.” —Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon

“A deliciously twisty cat-and-mouse story that had me racing through the pages. I love stories that challenge their protagonists’ beliefs, and both Esha and Kunal face complex, heart-breaking decisions in their journey to discover both themselves and each other.” —Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire

“Follow Esha and Kunal on a dangerous journey through lush jungles and bustling cities, where the stakes are life and death, and victory comes at a terrible price. Teerdhala has written a masterful debut full of breathless twists and turns and a romance to ignite the senses.” —Axie Oh, author of Rebel Seoul

What inspired you to pen your first novel? 
I first got the idea for THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT when I was traveling and visiting an old Fort. It was the first spark of an idea of what would become THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT and the first time I heard the voice of Kunal, one of the two main characters. I looked out from one of the old window openings and wondered what would be the most odd or startling thing a soldier of old might have seen. A girl. And that’s the opening page of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT. 

Tell us your latest news. 
THE ARCHER AT DAWN, book 2 in the Tiger At Midnight series, is out on May 26th! While we don’t have a release date for book 3 quite yet, you can expect that next! 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
So much of my writing is influenced by the books I read as a kid and the stories I was told. I’m Indian-American and I grew up hearing the ancient Indian epics and folktales. A lot of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT'S world was drawn from the mythological stories I grew up with. As I was building out Kunal and Esha’s story, it felt natural to ground their world in those stories of my childhood. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
The most rewarding moments has been meeting and interacting with readers. I was, and am, a huge reader and so it means so much to me to be able to chat with other booklovers! 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I wanted to write a story that celebrated my Indian heritage and tackled the issue of finding your own path, even when there’s familial or community pressure, something that I think is really common for second-generation immigrant kids in America. That’s a huge part of what both Kunal and Esha deal with during this book—their duty to themselves vs. others. Esha and Kunal both struggle with this idea in very different ways. I hope that readers are able to read this book and understand that better. 

In your new book; THE ARCHER AT DAWN, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it? 
Sure! THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT is the first in a YA fantasy trilogy that follows the story of Kunal, a dutiful soldier, and Esha, a legendary rebel spy named the Viper. When their paths cross one night and Esha is accused of the murder of Kunal’s General, a dangerous cat and mouse game starts between them, one which throws everything they’ve known into question. In THE ARCHER AT DAWN, without giving away any spoilers, things have come to a head. Kunal and Esha go to Jansa with the mission of rescuing the Lost Princess just as the Sun Mela, an ancient celebratory tournament, begins. Problems ensue! 

What part of Kunal and Esha did you enjoy writing the most? 
I absolutely loved writing their banter, especially when they first meet. Kunal and Esha are opposites on the surface level, and also enemies, so the conversations they have are fast, snarky, and very revealing. That banter was a strong element of how their romantic relationship evolved too. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I would love for Esha to meet Nikolai from the Shadow & Bone world by Leigh Bardugo. Nikolai is the epitome of a charming prince and I think Esha would have a great time arguing with him and seeing who could out-charm the court. 

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed? 
I would say both Kunal and Esha have grown a lot since book 1! They’re both learning and have learned to question the beliefs they blindly followed before and to look past their own hurts and desires to understand each other. That’s a huge change from where they start in book 1. 

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 
Baby carrots aren’t really baby carrots! They were invented in the late ‘80s as a way to use misshapen carrots. 

What according to you is your most treasured possession? 
I would have to say the first copy that I received of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT before its release and the note that my editor sent along with it. It meant so much to me to see my first book ever–it had been a dream of mine since I was a kid. 

Best date you've ever had? 
I would say my first date with my boyfriend. It was a simple, sweet date back in college where we went down to the main town square and had tons of delicious food (and gelato!) and talked for hours. I still have the small balloon that he gave me that day (though it’s totally deflated now). 

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot recently and I would say my first day of college. There was something so hopeful and open about that time in life–there are so many paths open to you. 

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say? 
It would probably be a mix of me writing an ode to a good cup of coffee, complaining about how hard writing is, and wondering what book to read next! 

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
Hmm...I went to a science and technology focused high school and there are so many stories I have from my time there that would be great movies. 

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
Getting to be a panelist at BookCon with other fantastic authors! Also, signing books and meeting readers later that day at BookCon. It was an incredible experience as a debut author and it was so special to be able to meet and talk to readers.

Romantic intrigue and electric action fill the gripping sequel to The Tiger at Midnight, a world inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology. Perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir and Victoria Aveyard.

A stolen throne. A lost princess. A rescue mission to take back what’s theirs.

For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebels, the upcoming Sun Mela provides the perfect guise for infiltrating King Vardaan’s vicious court. Kunal returns to his role as dedicated soldier, while Esha uses her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to seek allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the throne.

But amidst the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel’s entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their countries and to each other.

Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives. In book two of Swati Teerdhala’s epic fantasy trilogy, a kingdom will fall, a new ruler will rise, and all will burn.

You can purchase The Archer at Dawn at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SWATI TEERDHALA for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of THE ARCHER AT DAWN by Swati Teerdhala.
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