A Conversation with Mary Weber

Today, the INSPY Awards warmly welcomes author, Mary Weber. Her novel, Siren’s Song (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2017 shortlist in the Literature for Young Adults category. Please join us in welcoming Mary.

 Mary shares some fun details about Nym’s journey in the Storm Siren trilogy, her (new) go-to reading snack – plus more!Siren's Song

ABOUT the BOOK

With the loss of Tulla still fresh in mind, Rasha’s fate unknown, and Lord Myles taken over by the dark ability, Nym and the few Bron soldiers rush to warn Cashlin’s queen. Only to discover it may already be too late for the monarch and her eerie kingdom. As the Luminescents are sifting through Nym’s past memories and the queen is reading into her future, Nym is given a choice of how to defeat Draewulf, but the cost may be more than she can bear. And even then there are no guarantees.

With that reality burrowing into her bones—along with the guilt of the lives she will sacrifice—Nym returns to her homeland of Faelen to raise an army of peasants through promises of freedom. But when the few friends she has left, along with the world and citizens she loves, are staring down the face of a monster and his undead army, will Nym summon every element her blood is capable of controlling . . . or surrender to a different strength—one of sacrifice?

Because in the end, death may be more merciful for them all. – Goodreads


Interview Questions

INSPYs: What inspired the Storm Siren trilogy (or Siren’s Song specifically)? Oh man, so many things. *laughs* I think, simply put, the Trilogy was inspired by the journey (we all go through) of self-becoming.

Nym starts out the series carrying the weight of where she’s been, what she’s done, and who others say she is – as well as who SHE believes she is. Through the trilogy those things are all stripped away, re-framed, and reconstructed at a soul level, until, while life has only gotten harder, her perspective and relationships have grown richer and purer.

Ultimately, Siren’s Song is a celebration of that – of the journeys each of us are on and the people we’ve become, and the friends we do life with. I mean, Nym is still ill-prepared and fighting her demons as she’s forced to face the approaching battle head on – but that’s how so much of life is I think. You prepare, you brace, you discover who your community is, but at some point you also realize you were never in control anyway. Because life comes to us trickling through the hands of Someone infinitely more sovereign. So we soak it in, walk in faith with the one who holds us, and live it to the fullest – grief, loss, victory, and all – knowing there is ALWAYS a beautiful purpose.

Did you always know how you wanted Nym’s story to end or were there some surprises along the way? Oh fun question. 🙂 And I actually had no idea how it’d end when I began the trilogy. I love discovering people’s stories – whether in real life or with my characters – so I tend to buckle up and dig in for the ride. However, a few chapters into Siren’s Song, I got stuck and for the life of me couldn’t push further! I finally realized I actually needed to know the ending in order to get Nym there. Which meant I scrapped what I had and started from the last page – and wrote a third of the book backward. Hmm, I guess “beginning at the end” really is a thing! 😉

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS
Mary Weber

Mary’s new favorite reading snack!

  1. What’s your favorite writing or reading snack? Normally I go for Cheetos, apples, or mangoes, but lately I’ve been weirdly obsessed with these (see picture)! So crunchy & good!
  2. What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? (And a pic for these!!) An old favorite (The Scorpio Races), a new-to-me read (Faking Normal) because I adore Courtney Stevens’s voice, a sequel (Tosca Lee’s Firstborn), and my latest (to refresh my memory as I edit the follow-up)!

    Mary Weber

    Mary’s “nightstand reading”!

Faceoff Questions:

  1. White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate? Ooooh, Dark Chocolate. With Sea Salt.
  2. Early Bird or Night Owl? I’d say Early Bird by necessity & Night Owl by choice. Except I must be getting old because these days I’m like, “MY BED IS EVERYTHING. ALL OF IT. I LOVE SLEEP.”
  3. Print or ebook? PRINT! The bookish scent calls to me like an old friend. <3

ABOUT the AUTHOR

Mary Weber is the multiple-award-winning author of the bestselling young adult Storm Siren Trilogy, and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series – all by HarperCollins. An avid high school, middle school, and conference speaker, Mary’s passion is helping others find their voice amid a world that often feels too loud. When she’s not plotting adventures involving tough girls who frequently take over the world, Mary sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

She gets nerdy at @maryweber.com, FACEBOOK @MaryWeberAuthor, INSTAGRAM @MaryWeberAuthor, TWITTER @mchristineweber, and GOODREADS. Come say hi!!


Thanks so much for joining us on the INSPYs blog, Mary. It was a pleasure to host you and spotlight your novel, Siren’s Song.

A Conversation with Mary Weber

INSPYs 2016-Mary Weber FeatureWe’re starting the first full week of June (where does time go!?) welcoming YA fantasy author, Mary Weber. Her novel, Siren’s Fury (Thomas Nelson) is a finalist in the 2016 shortlist in the Literature for Young Adults category.

Today we talk with Mary about the inspiration of Siren’s Fury, what she thinks of this underrated YA market and of course, question her about her TBR.


“I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it’s no use. The curse I’ve spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to Book - Siren's Furycontrol—no longer exists.”

Nym has saved Faelen only to discover that Draewulf stole everything she valued. Now he’s destroyed her Elemental storm-summoning ability as well.

When Nym sneaks off with a host of delegates to Bron, Lord Myles offers her the chance for a new kind of power and the whispered hope that it may do more than simply defeat the monster she loathes. But the secrets the Bron people have kept concealed, along with the horrors Draewulf has developed, may require more than simply harnessing a darker ability.

They may require who she is.

Set against the stark metallic backdrop of the Bron kingdom, Nym is faced with the chance to change the future.

Or was that Draewulf’s plan for her all along? – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


INTERVIEW WITH MARY WEBER

INSPYs: What inspired Siren’s Fury?

Oh man, honestly? I’d have to say the darker parts of life. You know – the bits of the journey we each encounter that expose the ugly in our souls and just about wreck us.

(smiles) In that sense I’m not sure the book is so much “inspirational” as it is an examination of Nym’s “dark night of the soul.” It’s the idea that our choices, even with the best intentions, often lead us to broken places. Although, to me that very often IS inspirational… Because I’ve found those broken places can be the most holy spaces, where our walls are finally down and our hearts open enough to let the light of revelation in. 

INSPYs: As an author in the Inspirational YA market, where do you see this underrated (in inspirational) genre going? Ooh interesting question. Although I’m not sure I have an answer! Um…I’ll say I perceive it going in two directions simultaneously. I think we’ll see it continue to grow in the “traditional” inspirational vein—by that I mean Christian fiction, involving people and stories of faith, for young adults. But I also believe we’ll see a strong move toward more mainstream stories that focus on spiritual themes and values without using religious terminology or branding. Basically general market fiction that’s written from a spiritual worldview because the author happens to be a person of faith (which is actually already thriving if you look at many of the general market authors out there).

And both are important. I work with teens who only read Inspirational YA because that’s what hugely encourages them. And then I work with a host of others who won’t touch it because they’ve been so jaded by Christian culture and much of the hypocrisy therein. However, they will read a story that unashamedly talks about the relatable, raw experiences of life, especially if it allows them to process through it whilst offering hope. So I think it’s a matter of audience and authors and what their passion is to pursue.

But again, that’s just my two-cents. 🙂

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+ What are you listening to? Halsey, Birdy, and Hillsong United.

+ What are you watching? Due to book deadlines, not much right now, gah! Although my husband’s got me into a discontinued show called “Person of Interest,” which has a very cool concept.

+ What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? These!! <3

Mary Weber Book TBR

Thank you for having me, lovelies!!!! <3


Thanks so much for joining us today, Mary! Great to chat with you about your thoughts on the YA market and your awesome taste in music.

ABOUT THE AUTHORMary Weber

Mary Weber is the award-winning author of the bestselling young adult Storm Siren Trilogy and an altogether ridiculously uncoordinated girl. In her spare time she plots taking over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

2015 INSPY Award Winners

After our panel of judges careful consideration, the INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 2015 INSPY Award Winners. Below are the seven winning novels in their respective categories and a statement from our judges on the reason why they felt it was worth the award…

Book - Miracle in a Dry SeasonDebut: Miracle in a Dry Season (Bethany House) by Sarah Loudin Thomas: 
We chose Miracle in a Dry Season not only because of the talent of the author, but because it is a unique and engaging story. A refreshing tale of miracles, love, and laughter set in the 1950s, Sarah Loudin Thomas pens an intriguing take based around the miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Through the story, characters – led primarily by a male character, Casewell, and events we gain a deeper understanding of faith and what it means to embrace the gifts and blessings God has given us.
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense: Meant to Be Mine (Bethany House) by Becky Wade: Book - Meant to be Mine

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade is the epitome of Christian romance. The chemistry between Ty and Celia is fabulous, and we could feel the sparks in every interaction between them! While the romance is spectacular, this book has so much more to offer. Beautifully written, it is an emotional experience in the best way. Wade’s descriptions of the characters brought them to life, and their relational, emotional, and spiritual journeys rang true. The other four novels in this category are wonderful, but Meant To Be Mine’s excellence is unable to be denied.

 

saving amelieGeneral Fiction: Saving Amelie (Tyndale) by Cathy Gohlke: 

What a challenge, to pick one winner from five fabulous titles including Biblical, historical and contemporary fiction. We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 INSPY Award for General Fiction is Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke, which impressed us all with its complex characters, fascinating historical detail, and bold yet subtle Christian message. The story is set in Germany in the early days of World War II, and plot centres on rescuing the deaf Amelie, from her father and from a regime which prized “perfection” over the sanctity of life. The characters face danger, hardship and uncertainty over the course of this thought-provoking and sometimes harrowing read. We were particularly impressed with the sensitive way Gohlke showed how God can use ordinary people in the bleakest of circumstances.

Book - Mark of DistinctionHistorical Romance: Mark of Distinction (Tyndale) by Jessica Dotta: 

We chose Mark of Distinction because it exemplifies the historical romance genre and confronts unique spiritual themes. Jessica Dotta has woven a story with a captivating setting and characters. The writing style and mystery of the plot draws the reader from the beginning into a Victorian society of restraint, secrets, and consequences. At its center is the theme of full surrender and trust in God. With complex characters and a unique voice, the story unfolds with unexpected twists and romance.

Book - Storm SirenLiterature for Young Adult: Storm Siren (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber:

Our panel decided to choose Storm Siren as the winner for the YA category. Nym deals with insecurities about her elemental powers and wondering why she was born with such a curse. This makes Nym relatable to young women all over the world and from every generation – we have all dealt with insecurities at some point in their lives. To see Nym have to come to terms with how she was created and to use those powers for the greater good shows tremendous character growth. Another reason we chose Storm Siren was because of the amazing and magical world that Mary Weber created. World building is one of the first things in a Fantasy novel that draws you into the story. Oh…and who doesn’t love a map inside their book!Book - A.D. 30

Mystery/Thriller: A.D. 30 (Center Street) by Ted Dekker:

A.D. 30 is a fast-paced adventure that keeps you turning the pages until the very end. Ted Dekker delivers a powerful, faith-filled story that brims with perils – each with their own kind of mystery and suspense, struggles, and most importantly hope. Dekker takes us on a journey to Jesus through the eyes of the daughter of Maviah, a gentile and an outcast, readers rediscover the message of Yeshua, experiencing it as never before. Dekker masterfully conveys the depth of God’s love for us — a knowledge we often hold in our heads, but fail to carry in our hearts. Warring kingdoms, power-thirsty adversaries, and fickle rulers are only a few of the obstacles in Maviah’s journey that keep the reader flipping pages. Whether she will succeed in her quest is a mystery. An uplifting and simple message, encased in a sweeping historical epic, is the primary reason it was selected A.D. 30 to be the winner of this year’s INSPY award.

Speculative Fiction: Spirit Bridge (Thomas Nelson) by James L.Rubart:

Book - Spirit BridgeSpirit Bridge is a brilliantly written story that was thought provoking and yet easy to follow as a standalone novel, though it is the third and final book in the Well Spring series. The story-world was populated with an excellent group of lead characters who were complex and easily relatable in their struggles in both the physical and spiritual realms. Their struggles challenge the reader to examine aspects of their own lives.  The story’s message, dying to self and keeping the enemy from gaining a foothold, was clear throughout, not getting lost in the suspense and action of the story. Spirit Bridge fully satisfies the reader’s expectations of the genre. It is a powerful spiritual thriller, with the speculative elements underpinning the novel and not requiring any further explanation to better understand it. Spirit Bridge is very worthy of the INSPY for Speculative Fiction.

 

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We’d like to thank our judges for their hard work and careful consideration of each title.

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors!