Boldly Bookish Tour: All the snark in Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser - Guest post + giveaway

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: young adult fantasy
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 1 of the Song of the Current series
Links: check out my review of Song of the Current here

Summary: Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

Guest Post:
Mary here. The snarkiness in every conversation Caro and Tarquin have is one of my favorite parts of Song of the Current. So my question for Sarah is: how did you create that fantastic captivating tension between them?

Sarah's answer:
Friends, it must be said: I LOVE WRITING BANTER. I love it so much, in fact, that when I sent Song of the Current out to agents three years ago it was about 20,000 words longer. I’m not saying all of that was snarky banter, but a lot of it was. My agent told me I had to make major cuts before we submitted it to editors, and she was right. I love writing dialogue so much that there were pages upon pages of it. So what you’re reading in Song of the Current now is the absolute best of the banter, the stuff I just couldn’t live without.

Dialogue is my favorite way to explore the dynamic between two people. When I’m writing, a scene starts with the dialogue. I either sketchily write the action parts or skip them completely and come back to fill them in later. So I don’t regret any of the snarky banter that got cut—I like to think of it as exploratory writing, which helped me get to know who Caro and Tarquin were and how their worldviews clashed. As I write a conversation between two characters, I get a better understanding of who they are and what they want. And since Song of the Current is a book in which some characters use dialect, it also helped me get a feel for the rhythm of everyone’s different voices.

In lots of stories there’s a rogue and a princess. I wanted to gender flip that for my book, so we have Caro, who is skilled, practical, blunt, and a bit reckless. And then we have her passenger, Tarquin, a spoiled noble who’s very much a fish out of water. He’s a snob who, in the beginning, makes a lot of assumptions about Caro. But she isn’t perfect either—she’s not very patient with him as he tries to learn more about his surroundings and adjust to his situation (being chased by pirates who want him dead). They spend a lot of time arguing. As they grow closer over the course of the book, the snarky banter stays, but shifts slightly to become friendly joking and then romantic tension.

Throwing together two people from extremely different backgrounds is always going to make for great tension. A lot of it comes from the fact that they really don’t understand each other at all. In the beginning, neither of them are particularly interested in listening. But as they’re forced to work together, they have to listen. Caro realizes some of Tarquin’s awful behavior is a defense mechanism, and he realizes it was ignorant of him to jump to conclusions about her. It was a great dynamic, and one I loved writing. I’m working on Book 2 right now, and every time I get to write new snappy dialogue between the two of them, it’s just so much fun. I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I do!

About the Author:
Sarah Tolcser lives in New Orleans, where she wrangles iPads and rogue computers at her day job. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, she double majored in writing and philosophy. She enjoys video games, NBA basketball, and books about girls who blow stuff up. She is married, with three cats.

Sarah writes young adult fantasy and science fiction. She is represented by Susan Hawk at Upstart Crow Literary.

The C in Tolcser is silent.

Author Links:

One winner will receive a set of all four Boldly Bookish titles: The Possible by Tara Altebrando, Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, and Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser. This giveaway is open to the US/Canada only. 

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  1. I love snarky banter between characters! That's one of my favorite parts of Daughter of a Pirate King.

    1. Yes! Give me ALL the banter! I also really like Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly because her dialogue is so on point.