Hi guys! This is my first ever post that is a stop for a scavenger hunt! I’ve participated in a few as a player, especially the biannual YASH, but I’ve never been a host until now! As a member of Mary Weber’s Street Team, the Mad Hatters, I am super excited to be welcoming you to the Scavenger Hunt Tour for Reclaiming Shilo Snow by Mary Weber, in collaboration with Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction and JustRead Publicity Tours! By the way, my scavenger hunt clue word is hidden in the Q&A, but it’s bolded and purple!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Reclaiming Shilo Snow
Series: Evaporation of Sofi Snow, Book 2
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Fiction
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet.
Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.
For Miguel, Earth’s charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.
Buy The Evaporation of Sofi Snow Today!
Hi there!! Thanks for having me on the blog!
1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?
Okay, so here is my confession right off the bat – part of me always WANTED to write, but I considered myself rather horrible at it. Then about ten years ago, I went through this season where I just sort of hit pause on life. I distinctly remember feeling like I was missing a part of me. I even told my husband, “I know who I am as a wife, mother, youth counselor, etc…but I can’t find the other part of me.” During that time I began to write simply as a way to explore my soul and the beauty in others.
To be honest, I think that’s probably the reason I love writing so much – it feels a bit like a pause button in the midst of life’s busyness. One that allows us to take a step back, assess our thoughts, relationships, and perspectives on what we’re contributing to this world.
2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?
AHHH I LOVE THIS QUESTION!! I think every book leaves a bit of itself in a reader’s soul, you know? Even years after we’ve moved on, we still owe aspects of who we are (as writers and humans) to those stories. For me, there are a bunch I could list (gah – I love them all)! However, a few that stand out are:
–THE SECRET GARDEN (This is the first book I remember being given. I read and reread it more times than I know, and I still own my copy.)
– WITHER by Destefano, & SHATTER ME by Mafi (Both were my first experiences with the type of gorgeous, first person narratives that are distinctive to YA and made me fall in love with it.)
– AGATHA CHRISTIE (My teen years were spent reading every mystery of hers.)
– DOSTOEVSKY (His ability in his stories to explore the depths of the human condition still astounds me, and it pushes me to dig deeper into my own stories.)
3. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?
Well…this is me.
And (like it is for most everyone else) life is pretty wild and busy these days.
I have three teens and a guy I’ve been married to for almost 20 years who is my best friend and anchor in life. (This is us.)
Writing and traveling to speak is definitely a full time job, but I also work part time as a youth counselor – which means I tend to fairly regularly have a houseful of teens sprawled throughout my kitchen and on the couches. I’m pretty sure I heard one of them recently refer to me as “Crazy, but sometimes wise,” so that should sum things up nicely for you. 😉 Outside of those, we live in California and love exploring the coast with our kids, hosting parties in our backyard under white lights, and slipping in time to read!
4. Your upcoming novel Reclaiming Shilo Snow continues Sofi’s and Miguel’s quest not only to find Sofi’s believed-to-be-dead brother Shilo but also to warn Earth of Delon’s plans and save humanity. What inspired you to use The Evaporation of Sofi Snow duology as a medium to shed light onto human trafficking? How can readers aid in the fight against these crimes?
I believe human trafficking (and slavery) is THE biggest crisis of our time. The stories of victims and friends I know personally are heartbreaking. It’s massive, worldwide, and one that shockingly doesn’t get near the level of legal and media attention we see with other acts of violence and kidnapping. Which grieves me to no end.
I wrote Sofi and Shilo for two reasons. Because I love a good “girl takes on the ice planet currently orbiting Earth in order to save her brother” adventure. And because I wanted to open up the trafficking conversation in a non-graphic way, particularly for teens, who are our future law makers and political world changers.
When THE EVAPORATION OF SOFI SNOW released, I got my first email from a survivor, saying, “Thank you for writing me into a story.” All I can say is that those letters make me sob and mean more to me than just about anything on this planet. ❤
If people want to get involved, I’d strongly urge them to research it. Learn the signs (it’s happening in our towns). Use the National Hotline – 1-888-373-7888. And get involved with organizations like A21 (http://www.a21.org). (In fact, my husband and I are currently hosting an A21 Campaign, where we’re personally donating a dollar for every preordered Shilo book. It’s our way of raising awareness, giving back to our readers, and fighting for the future of others. (You can find out more about that at MaryWeber.com))
5. Sofi and Shilo are professional online gamers for their Corporation before the arena was bombed and Shilo was kidnapped. Do you love playing video games? What are some of your favorite games that you play currently or that you remember from your childhood?
I do!! I recall the Christmas my brothers got a Nintendo 64! We’d never had any type of gaming systems before so that was my introduction, and we were enthralled. That said, I am notoriously HORRIBLE at gaming. *laughs* Like, everyone should challenge me, because they’d promptly feel great about their own skills. The one exception to this is Warcraft, which I think is maybe the right blend of old school fantasy and world domination for me, because even my son is impressed. 😉
6. As you stated in the author’s note at the beginning of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, why do you believe it is important to write characters with “diverse backgrounds, heritages, strengths, and motivations?” What moved you to incorporate different personalities and ethnicities for each of the characters, including Miguel being Hispanic and Sofi being Native American?
Am I allowed to quote another writer here?
Because George Martin comes to mind.
This world is filled with people who do not look, speak, or act exactly the same – so it would be wrong to make a world of characters as if they do. Particularly versions that only reflect me. I live in southern California, where our communities are incredibly diverse, and we all have the need to see ourselves in stories being treated with the highest respect. I don’t know that we can ever truly do so perfectly for every person, but It would be a disservice to my husband (whom Miguel’s heritage is based on), my grandmother (whom Sofi’s is based on), and so many others, to not even try.
I’ll also add I believe not just in including diversity in stories, but in lifting up those minority authors who are already writing beautiful stories. A few that come to mind are friends Cindy Pon, Aditi Khorana, Romina Garber, and Kwame Alexander.
7. Was it harder for you to write the beginning of Sofi’s story (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow) or the conclusion (Reclaiming Shilo Snow) and why? What were some of the challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Ooh interesting question! I’d have to say the beginning was harder just because opening chapters always take me the longest. I’m embarrassingly perfectionistic when it comes to laying out the first half of a book – so I rewrite and edit until I know the layout enough to move on. I’m not sure it’s something I’ll ever overcome, but I’ve learned to just accept it and let it (hopefully) work for the story. ❤
8. Could you describe to us the transition you made from writing fantasy in The Storm Siren Trilogy to science fiction in your latest duology? After finishing up both series, which genre do you prefer and why?
Sure! I actually originally pitched THE EVAPORATION OF SOFI SNOW to my publisher before STORM SIREN. At the time, they were already doing a sci-fi, so they suggested I try fantasy. Which is how STORM SIREN came about. 😉 Now, having written in both genres, I’m not sure I have a preference per se?
On one hand, I think the soul of every story is the same – because it’s about people and exploring the world, our personal monsters, and the human condition through a character’s emotions and experiences. In that way, I see genre as just the packaging we put stories in.
On the other hand, for me, fantasy lends itself to prettier words and more freedom to break the rules. Whereas sci-fi is succinct and (in my case) based upon the constructs of Earth.
That all said… I feel like I had one complete story in me that fit inside the sci-fi packaging.
I’m NOT, however, finished with fantasy. 😉
9. What is your favorite type of tea? If we were to have a tea party, and you could invite anyone on the planet and throughout history, who would you ask to come?
*laughs* Can I say Boba Tea? Is that allowed?
Because I’d have a wildly mad Boba tea party, with some hot chai and Earl Grey on the side. And I’d invite everyone (because everyone needs a place), and we’d sit at a long table with treats and lavish hats, and talk of ALL THE THINGS.
And then when the sun went down, we’d light a magnificent bonfire and turn up the music under the white lights, and dream of who we can become and how we can change the world.
10. What do you have in store for readers in the future? Can you share with us any secrets about your upcoming works?
So that thing I mentioned earlier about not being done writing fantasy? It’ll be out next year. 😉
11. Before you go, would you like to share any advice you have to any aspiring authors or writers?
I’d love to! Although I feel like it’s the same we all hear – mainly “Keep reading. Keep writing!” But I’d also add – find mentors who can critique and guide your work. Also, don’t be afraid to reach deep inside your soul until you find your voice – the one that’s the most scared to be heard, because it’s also usually the one with the most heart. And that is what the world needs more than ever these days – to hear from people who have come alive to what truly matters.
That’s how lives are transformed.
Thanks so much, Mary, for coming onto the blog! I’ve got to say, this was such a fun interview to write questions and to read!
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