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The Fire Children right in your earholes!

The Fire Children continues its march to future classic status, and has been given a helping hand along the way by those lovely people at Starburst Magazine.

That’s right, Lauren Roy’s YA adventure has been reviewed in the latest Starburst  podcast, and you can have all that lovely bookchat beamed directly into your ears by visiting the Starburst podcast page (The Fire Children appears about 10 minutes in). Enjoy!

Don’t forget you can follow Lauren Roy on Twitter!

The Fire Children is out now!
Buy: US|UK|eBook

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Lauren Roy talks writing on Terrible Minds

If you’re a struggling writer, it can sometimes feel a little… hopeless.

And it’s at times like that, when you’re feeling low about your writerly ambitions, that you could do with some solid gold advice.

Well, Lauren Roy – author of The Fire Children and all-round brilliant writer-type person – has been dishing out some first rate advice over at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog, and it’s perfect for any aspiring writers that have been overcome by their doubts.

Go get it read, it’ll help!

The Fire Children is out now!
Buy: US|UK|eBook


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The Fire Children out in the US today!

Take a trip into a world of fire and fantasy with Lauren Roy today as The Fire Children is released.

Lauren’s writing captures the timeless quality of all the best YA combined with thoroughly modern world building. Want to know more? Of course you do…
‘Fifteen years had passed since Mother Sun had last sent her children down from the heavens to walk the world like men. Now each day grew longer and hotter than the one before…’

The Fire Children is the story of curious youngster Yulla, who emerges from the darkness below Kaladim to explore the world of the Fire Children. There she witnesses the Witch Woman, set on a dark purpose, steal the one of the Children away. Now, with the help of Ember, last of the Fire Children, she must put a stop to the Witch Woman’s plans…

A challenging, genre-busting read in the spirit of Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea series, The Fire Children is a story of bravery, tradition and magic from one of the finest emerging voices in YA.

The Fire Children is out now!
Buy: US|UK|eBook

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Lauren Roy on The Princess Bride, Mysterious Cities Of Gold and more!

I have always lived in the Land of Make-Believe.

Not literally. I grew up in 1980s New England suburbia, where knights and dragons were few and far between. But I was a lucky kid – my parents kept me supplied with books, let me run amok in the library, and rarely vetoed the movies and TV shows I picked out. Even when, in middle school, I started picking titles from the adult fiction section in the bookstore. My mom was always worried that she’d get a call from my teachers, wondering why I had my nose in King and Koontz and McCammon, but if any of them noticed what I was reading, they never commented.

Other worlds drew me in, places where magic existed and kids had grand adventures. I wanted the loyal steed and the castle and the sword and the fairy wings, but mostly I wanted to be a hero. In school, I was the opposite – the shy, nerdy kid who stayed out of the spotlight and hoped gym class would end before I got up to bat (except when it was badminton time. I wasn’t utterly hopeless at that.)
I’m going to take a stroll through the stories that set my imagination soaring when I grew up…

My budding library had quite the collection of Little Golden Books. These are the ones I remember my parents reading to me so many times I had ‘em memorized. The one based off of Disney’s Cinderella especially. I might be able to blame this book on my susceptibility to earworms – every time my parents read the Fairy Godmother’s song aloud, I insisted the lyric wasn’t mechicka boola but magic-a-boola. Because the latter made more sense. I’m sorry for being pedantic, mom and dad.

The first fantasy stories I read on my own were the Morgan stories from Serendipity Press. It’s probably where I first got the idea that I wanted a unicorn of my own. Morgan and Yew may also be the first book that traumatized me as a kid – I don’t remember if the details of Morgan’s disappearance get spelled out, or if my imagination filled them in, but let’s just say that the Morning Star is a character. I highly doubt that I knew back then that Lucifer is also referred to as the morning star, and that almost certainly wasn’t author Stephen Cosgrove’s intention, buuuut.

When I was eight or nine, one of my cousins left a box of books at our house. It was a series of ten or twelve books, clothbound hardcovers with different colors for each volume. The pages were onionskin thin, and held the musty smell of old books. The name of the collection escapes me, but each volume was packed with poems and stories and fairytales from around the world.

I was part of the Nickelodeon generation that got to watch The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea. Both of these shows walk the line between science fiction and fantasy, but hey – kids chasing down the lost cities of gold, or discovering a civilization deep beneath the ground? I was riveted. Zia, the Incan girl from Mysterious Cities of Gold, was my favorite. She was smart and clever and brave, keeping a clear head when Esteban and Tao lost theirs, which was kind of often. And yes, I could probably still sing the theme song to MCOG. (Please don’t make me. It’ll be better for everyone if I don’t.)

Remember that part where I wanted a unicorn? The Last Unicorn was one of the movies I watched over and over. A wizard who’s not very good at what he does, Amalthea the unicorn-turned-woman, the Red Bull chasing them… pardon me while I go rewatch. This is another one where I had the soundtrack memorized, but that pales in comparison to the entire movie that many children of the ‘80s have hard-wired into our brains: The Princess Bride. Go up to any even slightly geeky adult you know and say, “Inconceivable!” or “Stop rhyming and I mean it!” We have an almost built-in reflex to deliver the next lines. The story has a hero in disguise, adventure, witty banter, a love story, and a story of true friendship. I didn’t know it at the time, but it taught me a lot about writing. Frame stories! Subverting expectations! Trusting your audience!

One more: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I know this is usually considered science fiction, but it’s another that walks the line between the two for me. There’s a talking, flying unicorn who helps the main character travel through time to prevent a nuclear war. Best of both worlds! If you haven’t read L’Engle before, you’re in for a treat. Hie thee to your bookstore or library and pick up A Wrinkle in Time.

I feel a massive rewatch/reread coming on…

You can find out more about Lauren Roy and The Fire Children right here at Ravenstone – and don’t forget to follow Lauren on Twitter.

The Fire Children is out on June 18 (UK)/June 30 (US/Canada).
Pre-order now: US|UK

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Win a copy of The Fire Children!

To celebrate the forthcoming release of Lauren Roy’s stunning YA novel The Fire Children, we’re giving away three copies of the book over on Goodreads.

If you’re a member (and if you aren’t, well, you should be!), all you need to do is head to the site and click ‘enter to win’ to be in with a chance of bagging a copy.

You can find out more about Lauren Roy and The Fire Children right here at Ravenstone – and don’t forget to follow Lauren on Twitter.

The Fire Children is out on June 18 (UK)/June 30 (US/Canada).
Pre-order now: US|UK

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Exclusive extract: The Fire Children by Lauren Roy

Tunnels connected all the cellars of Kaladim. They kept the citizens connected during the Darktimes—it was how the midwife had arrived to help Amma through her labor fifteen years before. Yulla and Kell had spent several of the last few days sweeping the cobwebs from the passageway ceilings. Where their tunnel split from the main one, they’d met the ropemaker. He’d been hard at work replacing the lines that served as guides through the darkness, but he’d taken a moment to show the girls how to tie a half-hitch before he’d sent them on their way.


Yulla walked her fingers along one of the chalk tunnels. It ended in a room with three stick figures. She thought they might be dancing. “Who do you think these are?”


“That’s me, and your Aunt Mouse, and our cousin Ro.” Amma stood in the doorway, a wistful smile on her face. “I’d nearly forgotten about those.”


“This was your room?” Kell tilted her head, as if she didn’t quite believe it. Neither could Yulla. Amma as a little girl? And Aunt Mouse? She couldn’t picture either of them her own age—they’d always been old. Not ancient like Old Moll, maybe, but old all the same.


“It was. Our family has lived here a very long time. Your ancestors were the stonecutters who carved out these cellars.” She traced a circle around the three dancing girls, her eyes gone soft with memory. Then she was Amma again, all business as she said, “Come on. We still have much to do before tomorrow morning.”


She was not a woman prone to exaggeration. Over the next several hours, they finished stowing the furniture, baked enough extra flatbread to last through a year of the Darktimes, and checked and rechecked their supplies.


When Abba came home, they began memorizing the space that would be their living quarters. Someone would call out a place to start from and a place to go, and the five of them took turns navigating around with blindfolds on. Abba made it into a game, taking away points if you barked a shin on an obstacle; awarding them if you could find your way even after someone spun you around a few times.


Aunt Mouse and Amma won, of course. Despite the grey twisting through their hair, they moved around like girls at the versam: confident, graceful, sure.


Kell was slightly less poised, the loss of sight stymying her, but only at first. Soon she’d learned the room as quickly as she’d learned the versam. Yulla felt awkward and ungainly when it was her turn beneath the blindfold, but she figured out the trick soon enough—shuffle your feet forward, sweep your hands along. Listen. Feel.


Abba had a terrible time of it, stubbing his toes and tripping over everything in his path. Once, he ended up in the privy instead of the tunnel, and only came back when they all started giggling. Yulla suspected him of faking, but it was rare for Abba to be so carefree. She played along, like the others.


At sunset, they made their way to Kaladim’s main thoroughfare and took part in the feast. Amma and Aunt Mouse had made a double batch of lemon cakes—one for the townspeople, one for the Fire Children. While the adults prepared smaller tables for their families and friends, the children of Kaladim set to painting the great stone trestles in the middle of the street. Suns dominated the others’ pictures, and likenesses of how they imagined the Fire Children would appear. Squabbles broke out here and there among the younger children as artwork got critiqued.


Kell drew winter flowers, “Because the Children are here in the summer, so they won’t be able to taste them.” She looked sad as she dabbed crimson on the white petals’ tips, and Yulla thought she knew why: Kell was seventeen. As much as she enjoyed playing the grown-up, this would be the only time she’d be able to participate in this part of the festivities. When next the Darktimes came, she’d be an adult—maybe even married, with children of her own. The last time, she’d been too young to remember much of anything aside from the excitement of her little sister’s birth.


It was true for all of the older children in Kaladim, Yulla included. She could be twenty the next time Sister Moon visited Mother Sun. Or older. It was too far away for her to worry over, but she’d heard the others discussing it these last few weeks as the temperatures soared, heralding the return of the Scorching Days.


“What is that?” asked Kell. She’d finished her flower and peered critically at the scene Yulla had been painting. Yulla’s heart sank.


Now that she looked at it, what had been so crisp and real in her head was barely more than a pair of brown blobs with a silver X between them to represent bared steel. One had a smeary dab of crimson on what was supposed to be its head. Yulla had applied her paint too thick, and the day’s heat had made it run. “It’s the Brigand Queen,” she murmured, “and…” Yulla had begged Abba to read the tale to them at least once a week when they were little. How would the Fire Children know, if her own sister didn’t recognize it?


“No, wait, I see it now.” Kell patted her shoulder. “I just wasn’t looking close enough. Why don’t we fix the flower in her hair, so they know it’s the Brigand Queen?”


Yulla frowned at it. “Can it be fixed, do you think?”


Her sister bent and, with a hand steady as Old Moll’s, thinned the smear of red paint, making the impression of petals curling outward. The scene came alive again in Yulla’s mind: the Brigand Queen, her signature rose tucked behind her ear, confronting the Scourge of the Seven Sands.


Sometimes, Kell wasn’t entirely horrible after all.



They feasted until Sister Moon rose, only the crescent sliver of her smile visible in the eastern sky. By the time the people of Kaladim had eaten their fill—or more; Yulla was so stuffed she didn’t think she’d need to eat again until after the Fire Children were gone—the painted trestles had dried. The grown-ups arranged the extra food and set out wooden plates and utensils for the Fire Children.


In a few hours, Sister Moon would begin her visit with Mother Sun, and the Scorching Days would begin. A hush rippled through the gathered crowd as the priests said a final prayer. Yulla looked around at the city, at the festival lanterns strung up over the streets like stars, at the banners fluttering in the evening breeze, at everyone dressed in their feast-day finery. The priests and priestesses stood on the steps of the Worship Hall, repeating the blessings for those who couldn’t fit inside. Yulla took it all in; it was one of the last things any of them would see for days.


On their way home, Yulla spied a trio of witch-women huddled near the feast. Two of them seemed to be arguing in hushed, urgent voices. The third’s eyes glittered in the scant moonlight as she looked up and down the table. Maybe she’s admiring it, Yulla told herself. But the woman looked… eager, somehow, greedy.


The witch-woman caught her looking, and spread her lips in a grin. It was probably supposed to be welcoming, but Yulla was sure the woman could open her mouth so wide she could swallow their family whole. She hurried to catch up to Aunt Mouse, and didn’t look behind them until they were home.



Even though Yulla had thought she wouldn’t be able to eat another bite for at least a week, she found room when Amma brought out the last of the milk, and a plate of the flat, thin anise cookies she’d made. These were the broken pieces—she left the perfect ones out for the Fire Children—but they tasted just as wonderful.


Kell and Yulla sat on cushions on the great room floor, painting a few last pictures to leave for the Fire Children while Amma and Abba and Aunt Mouse laid out offerings of their own. Amma brought her earrings and the necklace of shimmering gold down from her dresser and laid them on the hearth; Abba set a recorder beside it—he’d carved it himself, and had it inlaid with silver.


Aunt Mouse draped a quilt over a chair. She’d spent nearly a year making it, finding the perfect bits and pieces and piecing them together. Now she laughed self-consciously and said, “Foolish of me to think they’d ever be chilly. I should have made a fan!” But they all told her how beautiful it was, with its cool river-blues and the green of the leaves that bloomed after a rain, and Aunt Mouse blushed, pleased.


Near midnight, the bells began to toll. They rang out across the city from the top of the Worship Hall, echoing off the stone walls of the buildings before they faded out into the desert. Amma herded the girls down the cellar stairs, to where Aunt Mouse had gone to doze in their makeshift great room. On the upstairs side of the door, Abba painted the symbol that would tell the Fire Children ‘do not enter.’ Kell had said it was a ward taught to the people of Kaladim by the witch-women, but that had never been enough to set Yulla at ease about them. As Abba put the last bright white touches on the mark, she thought of the glittering eyes of the witch-woman from earlier, and shuddered.


No, being protected by their magic didn’t make her feel any better at all.


Aunt Mouse had lit a few lamps when she’d tottered downstairs for her nap, but Amma suggested they light a few more. It felt like noonday in the room, then, the shadows banished for just a little longer. Yulla and Kell settled in on either side of Abba as he opened a huge book across his lap. The letters stamped on the cover had been worn smooth from years of handling. It was the only book Amma had kept out of storage—these few hours would be the last time there’d be light enough to read by until the Darktimes ended, and they gathered around him in a way they hadn’t for a few years. Not since Kell had declared herself too old for stories when she was twelve, and Yulla—eager to copy her elder sister—had insisted the same.


Yulla had always regretted that, but never knew how to ask Abba to start reading to her again.


Tonight, he read whichever stories the girls called for: “The Wind-Dancers,” “Emir and the Silver Shoes,” “How Inkspot Escaped the Wolves,” and, of course, “The Brigand Queen vs. The Scourge of the Seven Sands.” But soon, even the excitement of the Darktimes’ imminent beginning couldn’t keep the yawn from stretching Yulla’s jaw. Amma had had them out of bed before Mother Sun herself this morning.


She dozed in and out of sleep, her dreams shifting with the tales Abba read aloud. Sometimes she heard other voices, as neighbors shuffled down the tunnels to make sure everyone was prepared or to leave a basket of sundries. At some point, Aunt Mouse went visiting as well, and Kell went with her. Yulla tried to rouse herself, but it was so comfortable there beside Abba.


Then Amma was shaking her gently, and Yulla opened her eyes to see everyone staring at the trio of oil lamps on the sideboard. From above, muffled by the door that led to the kitchen, came the last peals of the Worship Hall bells. “It’s starting,” said Amma.


At first, when the ringing died away, nothing happened. The flames stood tall and bright, the wicks turned up all the way. Yulla was about to ask if something was wrong when she realized that all three were… tilting. They leaned—no, they yearned—toward the cellar’s eastern wall. The flames grew longer, until they licked the insides of the glass globes. Abba reached out, his hands wrapped in a towel, and removed the globes.


One by one, the flames extricated themselves from the wicks that had anchored them. They hovered for a heartbeat, two…


… then streaked across the cellar, up the stairs, and slipped away beneath the door.


For a moment, the ghosts of their passage floated before Yulla’s eyes, bright blue blurs where before there had been light. Then even those faded, and all was darkness. She waved a hand in front of her face and saw nothing. For all she knew, her eyes weren’t even open. She held her palm up close and blinked a few times, feeling the whisper-kiss of her lashes on her skin.


She reached to her left and found Kell, who squeaked at the touch.


Kell’s squeak made Aunt Mouse squeak, and that set Amma and Abba to laughing. The sound rolled through the pitch black of the cellar, banishing any tremors of fear that might have been sidling into Yulla’s mind. She’d be all right, down here in the dark. It was where she’d been born, after all.


Still, she wondered what it might be like, up above with the Fire Children.


The Fire Children
by Lauren Roy

Out June 2015

Fifteen years have passed since Mother Sun last sent her children to walk the world. When the eclipse comes, the people retreat to the caverns beneath the Ramala, passing the days in total darkness while the Fire Children explore their world. It’s death to even look upon them, the stories say.

Despite the warnings, Yulla gives in to her curiosity and ventures to the surface. There she witnesses the Witch Women — who rumors say worship dead Father Sea, rather than Mother Sun — capturing one of the Children and hauling her away. Yulla isn’t the only one who saw the kidnapping; Ember, the last of the Fire Children, reveals himself to Yulla and implores her to help.

Trapped up above and hunted by the witches and the desert wind, Yulla and Ember must find a way free his siblings and put a stop to the Witch Womens’ plans, before they can use the Fire Children to bind Mother Sun herself.


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Boskone52 – catch Eva Darrows and Lauren Roy in action

Boskone52 – Eva Darrows and Lauren Roy appearance schedule

Eva Darrows (THE AWESOME) and Lauren Roy (The Fire Children) will be at Boskone 52, February 13th – 15th at Boston Westin Waterfront. Here’s where you can catch them and what our top picks for the weekend are:

Friday 13th 


Eva Darrows in her Hillary Monahan disguise joins Mur Lafferty (moderating), Maya Bohnhoff, Christopher Golden and Charles Stross to talk Angels Demons and Saints

Religion has always played a strong role in fantasy, and we’ve seen an influx of fiction that specifically features characters that have been touched by higher powers — especially in today’s urban fantasy. What role do these characters play within the story? How do we see these roles changing or morphing into something new? Why do we keep coming back to these types of characters? And what are some examples of stories that use these characters especially well?


Lauren Roy joins Veronica Koven-Matasy (moderating), A.C.E. Bauer and Bruce Coville for It’s Complicated: Kids and the Culture They Consume

As the lives of young adults in our ever-changing modern society become more complicated and diverse, so do their personal interests and experiences. Panelists discuss how the growing complexity of our world affects the content of young adult literature, comics, games, and film. How do the philosophical issues that impact today’s society affect how teens see themselves within the fiction they consume? What are some practical ideas for better connecting today’s children and teens with yesterday’s or tomorrow’s literature?


Lauren Roy provides the Gaming Review 2014-2015 with Bill Todd (moderating), Heather Albano, Michael Sharrow, and Brianna Spacekat Wu

What are the hot new board/card/RPG games for 2015? What’s trending? What new expansions to previously released games are out now? Let’s discuss all things related to new games.



Eva Darrows (Hillary Monahan) joins Carrie Vaughn (Moderating), Melissa Marr and Paul G. Tremblay, Jordan Hamessley for Writing for Teens VS Adults

With so much crossover, is there a difference anymore? And where does middle-grade fiction fit? Editors and authors discuss.

Saturday 14th


It’s definitely worth getting up with the raven’s dawn chorus for this one:
Eva Darrows (Hillary Monahan), Bruce Coville (moderating), A.C.E. Bauer, Jordan Hamessley and Veronica Koven-Matasy dive to some of the best speculative children’s literature in  KidLit: Great Spec Fic for Young Readers

There’s some pretty spectacular speculative fiction available for children these days. What’s behind the ongoing boom? Panelists talk causes and trends, while plugging their favorite authors and stories — including some that grownups could also learn to love.

Lauren Roy will be signing her debut Night Owls and you can pester her for sneaky spoilers for The Fire Children too



Lauren Roy is joined by Charles Stross (moderating), Susan Jane Bigelow, Don Pizarro and Jarvis Sheffield to talk about a key issue for 2015: Finding Diverse Fiction

There is a clear desire for increased diversity within SF/F fiction and fandom. There are also a lot of emerging writers who are bringing diversity to the genre, but many of them are still flying below the publicity radar. Authors and publishers come together to share their “must read” lists and tips on where to find some of the new up-and-coming authors.


RAvenstone top pick

THE AWESOME Eva Darrows will be joining Veronica Koven-Matasy (moderating), Felicitas Ivey, Stacey Friedberg and A.J. Paquette for one of our most anticipated panels:PG-13: Violence, Sex, and Teen Readers, seriously it’s like they created this just for her:

When writing for teens or choosing books for young adults to read, is there a PG-13 line that needs to be drawn? Is there more violence and sex in YA books today? Or have we just become more aware of it? How does a writer address difficult or sensitive topics without going too far? Panelists discuss danger zones within YA fiction.


Eva Darrows will be signing Mary the Summoning in Hillary Monahan form. We’re sure if you ask really nicely she’ll scrawl you a quick Eva out too…


Lauren Roy, Chris Jackson (moderating), James Cambias and Mur Lafferty lead the discussion on Authorship, RPGs, and the Legacy of D&D

Dungeons & Dragons, the first commercially available role-playing game, was published 40 years ago. D&D ushered in a new era of cooperative storytelling that has inspired Game Masters, players, and authors to dream big and create their own fictional universes. Panelists explore the many facets of RPGs — from developing challenging and believable frameworks for cooperative story construction to taking the story beyond the game.

Sunday 15th


Our reigning queen Eva Darrows (here present as Hillary Monahan) sets the fairytale world to right with Sarah Langan (moderating), Ingrid Kallick, Carrie Vaughn and Tom Shippey in The Fairytale Princess, Circa 2100

Before Disney appropriated Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, and the rest of the “princess clique, ” these were characters who presumably served a deeper purpose in structuring the fables of bygone years. What parts do they play for today’s children? What meaning might these reminders of a fairytale feudal past still hold a hundred years from now?


Ever wanted to hear some of your favourite writers talk about how they create the worlds you want to inhabit? Lauren Roy, E. C. Ambrose (moderating), Myke Cole, Peadar Ó Guilín, and Rosemary Kirstein star in Writers on Writing: Worldbuilding from the Ground Up

Some spectacular stories take place in worlds very different from our own: from life on (or in) a gas giant to a civilization that lives on a world-tree as big as the Himalayas. But there are perils associated with venturing far beyond human experience. An inconsistent or poorly described worldscape can furnish a confusing story, or challenge a reader’s ability to suspend disbelief. Hear from writers who have created fully realized worlds that their readers can almost see, touch, and smell.



In a two-for-one-in-one body Eva Darrows and Hillary Monahan will be reading from THE AWESOME and Mary the Summoning

Sunday 15th @ 2:00pm


Lauren Roy will be giving an exclusive preview of The Fire Children in her lunchtime reading. EXCITING.

Head to the Boskone52 website for a full schedule and more information