Interview with Emily A. Duncan, Author of Wicked Saints

Today I’m sharing an interview with Emily herself about her bloodthirsty yet elegant debut, Wicked Saints!

I admit that when I first heard about Wicked Saints, I got really really excited. And then I squished all that excitement and locked it into a box, because I was scared of the hype giving me too high expectations.

But after reading . . . I am totally hyped. I will yell about this from the rooftops.

Without further ado, let’s get right to it!

An Interview with Emily A. Duncan

aka Who Is Your Favorite? Malachiasz or Malachiasz?

V: We’ve heard so many amazing things about Wicked Saints already, and I’m so excited that it’s finally out in the world now! Some of the most notable blurbs talk about the “seductively dark” and “monstrously romantic” elements of Wicked Saints. What would you say was the biggest influence on you writing such a unique atmosphere for Wicked Saints?

E: So much of it was just what I wanted to see in a book. Wicked Saints was written entirely for me; I had no intention of ever trying to get it published when I first started writing it, I just needed to do something that wasn’t the book that I spent eleven years on that was clearly going nowhere. I wanted to write something romantic but bloody, an investigation on questioning religion and shattered faith. I love the Witcher books, The Master and Margarita, Eastern European fiction and I was reading a lot of it in college when I first got the idea, but then later in college I read Deathless and Shadow and Bone (western voices, but still atmospherically glorious), and it all heightened to this fever pitch where I just so desperately wanted to investigate this particular kind of setting and atmosphere I loved so much my own way. 

V: One of the things I’ve seen is that you’ve definitely put a lot of time and research into Wicked Saints and the Eastern European cultures it was inspired by, which is so admirable. During writing, what were some of the challenges you faced in staying true to your research and how did you work through these? (

E: This is deeply flattering but I do think the book, just by nature of me being a girl from Ohio with a western lens I will always have, is still pretty western! But it was a conscious effort to, even as I was making my own choices and making up everything because it is high fantasy, to ultimately be respectful to the sources. If I was going to make up something wild for aesthetic reasons, I made sure there was some kind of cultural backing for the choice (the Vultures are completely made up outside of drawing from the ever present vampire lore in Polish folklore, but vulture motifs show up in Polish poetry, etc. The gods are all totally fictional, but a fair number of them are recognizable to their Slavic roots.) I was also very aware of the fact that all the research I could do would be translated into English and so I tried to pull from sources that were at least translated by Eastern Europeans, but there’s always a roadblock when you’re not fluent in either language you’re researching. Similarly, because my grasp of Russian and Polish is still — unfortunately — rudimentary at best I chose to make up Kalyazi and Tranavian wholesale instead of mangling either language. It comes down to respect, I think, and knowing that you’ll never please everyone but you can only ever do your best.

V: I have to say–I wouldn’t put it past you to kill off some of our favorite characters sometime during this series. (I still hold out hope they will survive, though.) If all of your characters were real and in a situation where you could only save one, who would you save, and why?

E: Oh, my god, what a question. Listen. Listen ignoring the fact that if Malachiasz were real he would be a nightmare I just. I love him so much. He is so ridiculous and morally skewed and tired and I just want to knock him over and make him take a nap.

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books and Macmillan for sending me a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Please make sure you’re comfortable with the content warnings found here! General warning for self-harm due to blood magic.

More About the Book

36118682

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Hardcover, Audiobook, & eBook – 385 pages
April 2nd, 2019 by Wednesday Books

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

Find all the US buy links here, and find it on Book Depository!

More About the Author

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Don’t forget, Wicked Saints is out now! You can get your own 385 pages of Malachiasz fanfiction–*ahem* I mean this bloodthirsty debut (something sure is thirsty…) at any major retailer!

Have you read Wicked Saints yet? Are you excited?

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11 thoughts on “Interview with Emily A. Duncan, Author of Wicked Saints

  1. OMG I love this post! And I know exactly what you mean with the potato comparison, from what you’re saying, it fits 100%! Where did you get that idea, tho haha, I wouldn’t have found that comparison in a hundred years! But so great!! I’m really excited to read Wicked Saints and now that you said it’s amazing, I’m not that hesitant anymore (because of the whole hype situation)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehehe thank you!!! (and the first chapter is about Nadya peeling ptoatoes, which is why the potatoes are the Wicked Saints meme heheheh) and yes I’m glad I hope you enjoy!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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