Have you seen the The Blazing Star around the blogosphere and social media? I hope you have and that it’s already on your radar! If not, let me introduce you to this wonderful YA Fantasy and the terrific Imani Josey.
I’m honored to have the Imani Josey on the blog today for an interview, arranged by the lovely people at Rich In Variety.
Please watch the book trailer below to get a sense of what the story is about and then read the Q&A to see how cool and relatable the author is! At the end of the post, you will find the official book blurb and reviews from other bloggers who participated in the blog tour.
A Q&A With Imani Josey
1) Ancient Egypt is an important and prominent setting in The Blazing Star. What are some of the most interesting things you learned during your research for the book?
Ancient Egypt is extremely fascinating, and when you ask a question like this, there’s so much to choose from. The Blazing Star is a semi-historical fantasy set in present day Chicago and ancient Waset (Thebes/Luxor). In the book, Portia has an encounter with a scarab beetle ornament in her history class (our inciting incident). Scarabs were sacred to the ancient Egyptians, represented in amulets and jewelry. The ancients were intrigued by the beetles as they seemed to emerge spontaneously from the burrow from where they were born. The ancients called them kheprer and associated them with the sun/creator god Khepri. Portia wears her blue scarab throughout the book.
2) The Blazing Star is your debut novel. Is this the first book you have completed or simply the first one to get published?
This is a great question! It’s not the first book I’ve ever written, if we’re being technical. I’ve written a couple books for myself and my friends, ones that may not see the light of day otherwise. The Blazing Star is the first book I’ve had published. I’ve also written fan fic (don’t ask… I’ll really date myself LOL), short stories, and had a play produced.
3) Many readers, and especially bloggers, love a pretty book cover. I say your debut novel has a gorgeous one! What was your reaction or how did you feel when you saw the cover for the first time?
Thank you! One of the nice things about being an indie author is that you are very involved at every stage of the process and I had A LOT of input on the cover. Luckily, the entire Wise Ink team and myself were very much on the same page. We wanted a black girl on the cover to stress the diversity of the book. We also wanted our model to capture the protagonist’s agency and sense of adventure. We also wanted the cover to be extremely pretty. That’s a tall order, but our cover artist, Steve, really knocked it out the park!
I saw the cover in every stage of development, and I loved each of them. My first reaction to seeing it, even during the first rounds, was, “Wow, this is really happening.” I’d been hoping and wishing and praying and dreaming that The Blazing Star would come to life (about five years of work), and I was so humbled to see that everyone else loved the cover as much as I did. I revealed the cover on my birthday, and my social media went insane. I’d never experience anything like it. My family, the Wise Ink team, everyone was just so thrilled.
4) How do you organize your book collection? Do you have an organized home library or shelve books wherever you can find the space?
Organization is in the eye of the beholder. But yes, I have a book shelf and a little home office I work in. It’s also the sewing/ironing room and has a bunch of other functions. The books seem to find themselves organized by physical size, and color. I have a few big book shelves, and I desperately need more!
5) Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family?
My family is very supportive, but I have to admit that I come from a family of writers. My fam, my hubs, and my pup, Thor, are always at my side when it comes to my writing. And my dad is literally the toughest beta reader, EVER.
6) Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with their project. How true is that in your case?
I’m honestly still trying to find my balance. I enjoy writing in the early morning, and I need to shut out everything while I write. Those authors who write to music? Nope, not me. I need to zone in as much as possible. But I don’t need to be in a bubble, per se. I could write at the office or at home, or even at a function, but I do need to be left alone LOL.
7) How do you feel now that your book is so close to release? Nervous excitement, unwavering confidence or perhaps a mixed bag of feelings?
Very thoughtful question! I’m definitely feeling nervous excitement and some fear. Every time I get pinged on Twitter, I’m hoping it’s from someone who enjoyed the book. Like most writers, I was really nervous about opening my work up to reviewers. But unfortunately, there’s no way to get your work out there unless you put it out there! I’ve ironically drawn on my former life as a pageant girl to ease some of my jitters. The amount of scrutiny pageant contestants put themselves under helps one develop a thick skin. I had to remember that lesson in this arena!
8) What is next for Imani Josey the author? Should readers expect more YA, more Fantasy, or is this question too premature at the moment?
I don’t think the question is premature per se. I honestly just want to keep improving. I always want to be better a writer and know I have a lot to learn. Expect more fantasy, but don’t be surprised if I dabble in contemporary as well. I go where the story wants to be told.
9) How can we keep up with you?
- Order The Blazing Star on Amazon or my website
- Watch the Book Trailer
The Blazing Star – by Imani Josey
Blurb from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.
But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?
She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.
Reviews from the Rich In Variety blog tour:
About the author:
Imani Josey is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. In her previous life, she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA.Her one-act play, Grace, was produced by Pegasus Players Theatre Chicago after winning the 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. In recent years, she has turned her sights to long-form fiction. She now spends the majority of her time working on backstory, teaching dance fitness classes, and cuddling with her American bulldog, Thor.
The Blazing Star is her debut novel.
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