I was so excited when I found out a couple of my friends were friends with Sara B. Larson. I had wanted to go to her launch party at The King’s English back in January, but I didn’t get the chance because I was working long hours at work. So, when my two friends suggested we throw a party for her to celebrate Defy in all our SLTA glory, I jumped at the chance. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go again since it was on a Tuesday, but I made it happen!
When we arrived at Jamie’s, she had decorated her house as a jungle. She had stuffed jungle animals everywhere, trees, leaves, vines, and even a river. It was so cute and so well done! It helped bring the setting of Defy to life. We had themed food from the book–Macaw legs (aka drumsticks), fruit with clotted cream, and sweet potatoes, plus a few other things that we thought might’ve been eaten in the world of Defy. The food was delicious!
After dinner, we asked Sara questions about Defy. I asked her about the breeding houses and why she thought of them for this world and if they were just a cover up for King Hector and his men to whore about. She said that they weren’t, but there are other reasons than to breed more soldiers. Readers will find out more as the story progresses. She said she knows logistically it doesn’t make sense for them to be around just for breeding purposes, but she didn’t want to reveal all in the first book.
Some of the other things I found interesting were the peoples, setting, language, and how she thought up Defy. She said she imagined the Blevonese as Asian, more particularly Chinese. Prince Damian is described with olive skin and slanted eyes. And, Alexa’s pet name from her father is derived from a Chinese phrase. But, never once did she think of Mulan while writing Defy. She imagined the Antions as black. That’s why Jaerom’s skin is described as dark as night. And, the Dansiians are white. That’s why King Hector and Asher have very pale white skin.
The setting of the jungle came because of how she thought up Defy. She wrote one of the death scenes first because she had just witnessed a brother-in-law passing away from cancer. She said that he no longer looked as he did in life. When she tried to write after that, a good friend told her to write her feelings and that death scene came out of it. In all the revisions for Defy, that scene never changed. She then began to explore the world, wondering why there was a jungle and why the people were there doing what they were doing and Defy came out of that.
It was a lot of fun and I’m glad we had a chance to get to know Sara more. I look forward to her future books!