Today, I’m thrilled to have an interview with the fantastic Rebecca Coffindaffer! Rebecca is the author of Crownchasers, and epic YA sci-fi, and the sequel Thronebreakers releases this week! Crownchasers was one of my favorite reads of 2020, so I can’t even tell you how excited I was to interview Rebecca!
Rebecca Coffindaffer (they/she) grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, fantastical movies and even more fantastical books. She waited a long time for her secret elemental powers to develop, and in the interim, she started writing stories about magic and politics, spaceships, far-off worlds, and people walking away from explosions in slow motion. These days she lives in Kansas with her family, surrounded by a lot of books and a lot of tabletop games and one big fuzzy dog.
Getting to Know Rebecca Coffindaffer:
Question: Who or what inspires you? Which books or authors have most influenced your writing?
Rebecca Coffindaffer: This is so tough because I feel like I pick up bits and pieces of inspiration everywhere! I think so much of my influences, even as an adult writing stories, still pull from books I read and loved when I was younger like the Redwall series, Tamora Pierce, Jane Austen. I think the Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud had a huge influence on me, even though I was about 20 when those started coming out. But then, I also feel myself pulling from movies and TV shows and video games an awful lot because I really think you get something amazing from consuming stories in whatever form they come in.
Q: Your bio talks about your love of all things sci-fi and reveals that you waited a long time for your secret elemental powers to emerge. (Me too!) If you had to choose, which power would you want?
RC: I think, of all the elemental powers, I’d probably end up with water. Thinking about it from an Avatar: The Last Airbender standpoint, I always love watching the earthbenders and airbenders most, but I’m a water sign through and through. I’d definitely find my home as a water elemental.
Q: If you could choose, would you be a Jedi or a Sith, and what color would your lightsaber be?
RC: I really think I’d be terrible at either one! XD I mean, I’m not ambitious enough to be a Sith—you really gotta have drive for that path—but I’m way way too emotional for the Jedi. Their whole objective, can’t-let-your-feelings-lead-you would be pretty much impossible for me. So I’d probably end up a Gray Jedi hermit somewhere, hanging out with my green light saber.
Q: If you could have dinner with any three Star Trek characters, who would you choose?
RC: Beverly Crusher, because she would be an absolute blast to talk to and has always been a top favorite of mine. Geordi La Forge, because he had it all: smarts, passion, good sense of humor. And this might be random, but K’Ehleyr, Worf’s first wife and Alexander’s mother. She only had two appearances, but I kind of delighted in her whole sarcastic energy and how she also was a badass diplomat.
About the Crownchasers Duology:
Q: I love the themes about leadership, sacrifice, love, and friendship in the story. What other themes and messages do you hope to convey in your writing?
RC: I feel like I tend to write themes in there without even meaning to, like I tend to write about change a lot and the painful process of it. Mostly because I’m terrible at dealing with change myself. I think one other thing I really wanted to convey was this idea of personal responsibility, that if you have the power and position to make a positive difference, there’s a level of moral responsibility there.
Q: I also love how deftly developed the characters, setting, and plot are in Crownchasers. They are all so vivid and intricate. What came first for you, the characters, the plot, or the setting, and what is your process for creating each?
RC: It depends on the book. For this one, Alyssa Farshot and her voice definitely came first, and the other characters really fleshed out after that. The setting and worlds came after that and were really just a factor of me pulling at all the weird visuals in my head and putting them on the page.
Q: What kind of research did you do for the book?
RC: It’s definitely a bigger, darker book than the first one. Alyssa has always been a very impulsive protagonist, but because of everything that happened in the first book, Thronebreakers finds her really on a raggedy edge and taking some very questionable risks. I’m admittedly very nervous about it! I’ve had so many wonderful readers who loved Crownchasers and Alyssa, and I’m hoping that they still love her as she deals with some of her biggest challenges yet.
Q: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?
RC: I’m in kind of a liminal space right now, playing with a lot of different ideas. Most of them are in this genre mashup territory where I’m mixing and matching science fiction and fantasy. I really love genre mashups, and I never like to choose between scifi and fantasy, so my current projects are very much:
Q: Which books do you recommend I add to my reading pile?
RC: If you’re a scifi fan, there’s a few upcoming YA scifis to keep on your radar: City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn (10.26.21) and The Kindred by Alechia Dow (1.4.22). I’ve had the pleasure of reading both of them recently and if you’re wanting more queer-normative scifi books, you should get them on your TBR. Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves by Meg Long is out in January, too, and I’m really looking forward to picking that one up, too. I also recently finished The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk and completely loved it. It was a mix of fantasy and Jane Austen, which are two of my favorite things.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your writings (i.e., website, Twitter, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
RC: You can check out my website—www.rebeccacoffindaffer.com—and also find me on Twitter (@callmebecks), Instagram (@beccacoffindaffer), and somewhat on Tiktok (@beccacoffindaffer) although I’m not entirely sure what to do on there yet!
Thank you so so much for having me! This was a ton of fun!