2014 Feature: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

I'm very excited today to welcome Leah Cypess to the blog to share a bit about her new duology, which starts in March with DEATH SWORN!

First, a bit about the book:
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess.

Death Sworn #1.
To be published: March 4, 2014
by: Greenwillow.

Goodreads Blurb:
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.


Jess: Describe Ileni in 5 words.
Leah: Determined. Brave. Snarky. Mourning. Lost.

J: It sounds like Ileni is entering a possibly dangerous situation by
taking the tutoring position. What would you say is her biggest fear
going in?
L: Her biggest fear is that she will be murdered, just like the two
tutors who preceded her - and that she will die before she discovers
any answers, so her entire life will be worthless in the eyes of her

J: I'd say that's a pretty fair fear, considering. Say I wake up in the middle of the world that you've created. What do I experience when I first awaken?
L: First, darkness, and an odd heaviness in the air. Then, as you sit up,
stones set in the wall begin to glow faintly, just enough for you to
see that you are surrounded by black rock - above you, below you, and
all around you. You stand up and see that you are in a corridor,
utterly silent, stretching father downward into the rock.

Then, in all likelihood, someone grabs you from behind and demands to
know what you are doing trespassing in a secret cave of assassins. If
you're lucky, you might think of an answer that will keep you alive
for a few more seconds...

J: As absolutely terrifying as that sounds, I love it! I'd never survive but I'm excited to live in it through Ileni! If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from
another book, who would it be and why?
L: I would introduce Sorin to Gen from Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's
Thief series. Because an expert assassin and an expert thief going up
against each other - what could be more fun? (I mean, as long as
you're reading about it, not caught in the middle of it.)

J: I know a few people who would be delighted to hear you say that! That's definitely a series on my must-read list. Do you listen to music while you write/edit? If so, can you share
one song you listened to a lot while working on this novel?
L: I don't listen to music while I write, but I do listen while I edit. I
was on a serious Taylor Swift / Kelly Clarkson/ the Corrs kick during
the editing phrase of Death Sworn; if I had to pick one song I
listened to the most, it was probably State of Grace by Taylor Swift.
(It has nothing to do with the book, at least I don't think so... I
just like it.)

J: What draws you to fantasy from a writing perspective?
L: The sense of wonder, and the ability to create entirely new worlds and
situations for your character to struggle with.

J: I love that about it as a reader, so that's so great that you love it as a writer! Can you share a favourite quote from DEATH SWORN?
L: Sorin’s eyes narrowed. Softly, he said, “Are you calling me a liar?”

His tone sent a new bolt of fear through her, and with it a sudden,
fatalistic recklessness. She might be about to die, but she didn’t
have to do it cowering. “You are a killer,” she reminded him. “You
might not know it, but to most people, that’s worse than being a liar.
Don’t expect me to trust you.”

J: Can you share a secret about DEATH SWORN?
L: I wrote 80% of it before I knew how it was going to end.

J: Oh wow, that sounds like some serious pantsing! Thank you, Leah! I'm so glad you stopped by to share!

About the author:
I wrote my first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, I wrote my first book, about a girl who gets shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies, very impressive).
After selling my first story (Temple of Stone) while in high school, I gave in to my mother’s importuning to be practical and majored in biology at  Brooklyn College. I then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a large law firm in New York City. I kept writing and submitting in my spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after my first short story acceptance, I sold my first novel to Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins).
I live in Brookline, Massachusetts (right outside of Boston) with my husband Aaron, a researcher and doctor at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and our three children.
Find Leah:
Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Website

Pre-order Death Sworn:
Amazon / B&N / Chapters Indigo / The Book Depository

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