Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
E.K. Johnston: When I was eight, I started reading epic fantasy with David and Leigh Eddings’ BELGARIAD. I loved those books, particularly the ELENIUM, but they haven’t aged particularly well. I wanted to write a story about a quest for me, not for some white dude in the late 80s. So I thought about all the things I love in current YA books–the multi-faceted girls, the focus outside gender binary, the exploration of what makes a story tick–and wrote a story I thought would really sing.
What character do you most relate to and why?
Kalanthe. It’s almost embarrassing how much. She just wants to be good, and wants her friends to be happy, and wants total strangers to be well, and I feel that with my whole soul.
Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.
The Afterward is the story of two girls who go along on a quest to defeat a wicked god, help win a great victory, and then have to go back to their regular lives after the dust settles, with no idea who they are and what they’ll stand for in this new world. Equal parts epic fantasy and quiet romance, readers will follow Kalanthe and Olsa as they try to figure out the shape of their futures…and find their way back to each other.
What’s next for you in the book world?
My next book is out in an alarmingly short period of time, actually! On March 5th, my newest Star Wars book Queen’s Shadow will come out. It’s politics and pretty dresses and concrete, and the Padmé-with-her-Handmaidens story I’ve been waiting for since 1999.