As most of you know, WU contributor Victoria Holmes is the brainchild behind the wildly popular WARRIORS series for YA readers. The cat-clans are back in force in another adventure, FIRESTAR’S QUEST, certain to vault to the top of the NYT’s bestseller lists. We are pleased to present this Take 5 with Victoria Holmes.
1. What is the premise of your new book?
FIRESTAR’S QUEST is the first stand-alone story about the warrior cats, in which we go back in time to the twelve-month gap between the first and second series to find out what our hero Firestar got up to after the decisive battle with BloodClan in Book Six: The Darkest Hour.
2. What would you like people to know about in this story?
It’s a chance to see what Firestar’s first year of being leader of ThunderClan was like, and to see how he settled into this role even though he’s still relatively young and inexperienced compared with the other cats in his Clan. [This is a tough question for a children’s series, Kath! :-)]
3. What problems and challenges do your characters have to overcome in this story?
Firestar faces his greatest challenge yet (at least, that’s what the strapline says…) when he discovers that his warrior ancestors, the ancient cat spirits known as StarClan, have been lying to him about something huge. And not just to him, but to all the cats in the forest. Firestar has had complete confidence in StarClan from the very first moment he set foot in the forest, so this feels like the ultimate betrayal. He has to leave the forest on a journey with no clear destination, and solve the ongoing problem without the support of his warrior ancestors.
4. What unique challenges did this story present you, if any?
It was quite a challenge to go back to a time when the Clans were living in a different place (they moved in the second series), and to characters at an earlier stage of their development. I also wanted to lay down some clues about events that wouldn’t occur until the third series, which meant some very careful forward-planning! I wanted to create a story that could be read at any stage of the series without readers feeling disadvantaged or cheated of exciting revelations further down the line. I cheated a bit by taking Firestar and his companion Sandstorm out of the forest for most of the story, so they could have a self-contained adventure that wouldn’t change things too drastically back home.
5. What has been the most rewarding aspect of this book?
Definitely the same things that made it a challenge! Revisiting the Clans’ old haunts in the forest; bringing characters back to center stage after they had retired from the foreground in the main series; filling in the gap before the beginning of Series Two: The New Prophecy; squeezing in clues to the action in Series Three: Power of Three. The cover is also rather joyous to behold: in repro, it looks like a deathly shade of mustard but it’s actually sheeny shiny gold foil so each book looks like a block of bullion!