The time it was about Traitor to the Throne

Posted March 6, 2017 by Stacee in Giveaways, Interviews | 24 Comments

I’ve had the chance to meet Alwyn Hamilton a few times.  I moderated a Penguin Teen on Tour stop with her and saw her at SDCC last year.  She is so much fun and I adore her.  Plus her books are nothing short of amazing.  So, when I got my greedy hands on an arc of Traitor to the Throne, I pretty much started bothering her about an interview.

And she said yes! Before we get to her answers, let’s check out the book!

Title: Traitor to the Throne {Rebel of the Sands #2}
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Pages: 528
Pub Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Find it: Penguin | Indiebound | B&N | Amazon

Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

Sounds good, right?

1. Please give the elevator pitch for Traitor to the Throne. 

Half a year since the end of Rebel of the Sands, Amani has found her place in the rebellion and is getting to grips with her power, only to have both ripped away from her when someone close to her betrays her and sells her to the Sultan. Within the palace, Amani struggles to conceal her connection to the rebel prince, even as she feeds him information from inside the enemy’s walls, all while grappling with the rising fear that, from the other side, her rebellion it looks an awful lot less just.

2. Where did the idea for the series come from?

The idea for Rebel of the Sands started out with wanting to write a young female sharpshooter. I’d seen a few people online saying that female characters shouldn’t be playing the role of the weapon wielding fighter in fantasy novels because they were physically weaker then men, it was unrealistic for them to be swinging swords (unlike the dragons and unicorns and wizards of course). The argument was “I’m not sexist, it’s just biology.” Cue a million eye rolls from me, and an “I’ll show you” idea to create a female fighter whose weapon was a gun, something that relied on skill over strength and so smashed that argument to pieces.

This character, who I nicknamed “The Blue Eyed Bandit” very clearly belonged in a Western. Only I didn’t want to write a historical western. I kept trying to think what twist I could add to turn it into a Fantasy. I was working in Islamic Art and Oriental Rugs & Carpets at the time, and the idea hit me to combine the mythical world of the 1001 Nights with the Wild West.

After that a lot of elements of the series started to come from of the world, the conflict between old magic and new technology, the need for old fashioned government systems to adapt, and, now that she wasn’t an Arian Blonde Blue Eyed Midwestern Cowgirl anymore, the Blue Eyed Bandit’s blue eyes becoming a sign she was maybe something more than human.

3. Why do you love Amani and why should we root for her?

I found Amani in the second line I wrote of Rebel, which has remained largely unchanged draft after draft, “I wasn’t up to no good, then again I wasn’t exactly up to no bad neither.” I fell in love with her then, because I knew exactly who she was in that moment: reckless and impulsive and full of life. That gets her into trouble a fair amount, she’s very much the type to jump off the cliff and figures out if it’s a soft landing on the way down. But it also means that she burns really brightly. She wants things and believes in things and cares about people and fights for things with her whole being.

Her incautious, reckless, yearning nature is a lot of what I had when I was a teenager, itching for the next step, for my life to really start. And I hope people root for her because they’ve felt that themselves. But also because she’s really very fallible. She makes mistakes, she stumbles, but she gets back up, and she makes herself into the person that she wants to be, gradually, over the course of the three books.

4. There are a lot of great characters in this book. Excluding Amani, who was the easiest and hardest to work with and why?

Sam, who is a new character in Traitor, is definitely the most fun secondary character to write. It’s a bit like writing a dashing penny dreadful Highwayman…but who’s really bad at it. He has a tendency to strike poses in the middle of a conversation, and he tells huge lies to inflate his own legend and his ego. In his own mind he’s Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride. In reality he’s more Cary Elwes in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Hala is one of the hardest to write, to because sometimes I don’t even know who she genuinely despises and who she’s just been rude to for the sake of it. And she plays her backstory cards very close to the chest.

5. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?

I really enjoyed writing the dinner scene between Amani and the Sultan. Partly because I enjoy writing dialogue, and partly because, in spite of all the dialogue, there is as much not being said in that scene, some of which you know already, being in Amani’s head, and some of which is revealed later, as the Sultan’s machinations unfold.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

A blur? My book went to auction. And I remember 3 things from that day:

  • Almost walking into traffic while looking at my phone and my best friend pulling me back by the collar of my coat.
  • Being on the phone to my agent and trying to find privacy in a house with 4 other people living in it and walking out into the street with no shoes on.
  • Sitting on the floor of my bedroom with a glass of champagne my friend had put in my hand after it was all done, and staring at my bookshelf and the little Penguin Symbol on so many spines.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

So, back when I had a day job, this was the last question I always asked in interviews. I learned there are 2 type of people: the practical survivors and the ones who took it as a holiday opportunity. So in a cheat I’m going to give my answers to both:

Survivor: Matches (I hate being cold), Sleeping Bag (No really, I hate being cold) and Knife.

Holiday: My TBR pile (It counts as one!), Mosturizer, and a phone with the Deliveroo App.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I had it on book on cassette as a kid and I listened to it probably 20 times. So I know I won’t get bored of it. And it makes me happy.

4. What book character would you want to date and who would you want to be your BFF?

I don’t like breaking up OTPs, so I’m going to say I would date Kash from THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE. Because it’s a book about time travel and the concept of multiple timelines comes up, so I figure there’s got to be a timeline in which Kash has never met Nix, so I wouldn’t be breaking them up. Also, he’s a charming good looking thief, and growing up with Disney’s Aladdin gave me a weak spot for those.

I’d want Nina Zenik from Six of Crows to be my BFF, because we share an interest in waffles. I think I actually paused midway through reading that book to mentally plan a day out with her that basically involved eating and talking about her relationship.

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

It might feel slow when you’re on the outside as a reader, but it sure doesn’t feel that way from the inside as an author.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question!}

Ok, so I’ve never read Twilight because it came out when I was at University and the only thing I was reading then was Art History and Twilight didn’t have enough pictures in it. But I took a straw poll of friends and the overwhelming answer was “Everything!”

But I’m going to go the other way and say “Nothing”. My Dad likes to say, if you’re happy with where you wound up, don’t question the road that got you there. And I’ve got to figure out there are a lot of worse places Bella/I could’ve wound up than rich Vampire with incredible self control, married to the love of my life, and with a kid who grew up so fast I didn’t have to deal with diapers or toddler tantrums. Right?


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.


Huge thanks to Alwyn for taking the time!! Make sure you’re checking out her website, following her on Twitter and Instagram {she always posts the best things on IG stories}, and adding her books to your Goodreads TBR.

Now, I am mildly obsessed with one scene in this book and I definitely want you to have it.  Giveaway is international, book will be coming from TBD, and additional rules are here.

**Good Luck!!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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24 responses to “The time it was about Traitor to the Throne

  1. danielle hammelef

    The last book I finished was Blue Tide. Excellent romance, high-seas adventure, and pirates!

  2. I love this series so much! I got to meet Alwyn last year at YALC and had a massive fan girl moment when she recognised me from a tweet I’d tagged her in!
    The ending of this book was just incredible and I’m desperate for book 3!

  3. Maria Cruz

    The last book I finished was The Star Touched Queen! I’m super excited for a Crown of Wishes

  4. I love this series so much. Amani is such an amazing character.
    The last book I read was Perfect by Cecelia Ahern, I also really recommend that series.

  5. This is an awesome giveaway. But I do have a question. Is it only a special edition or a specific format that was published today? I ordered this book in a paperback version off of amazon at the beginning of February and received it right away, so I’m a little confused right now

  6. Samantha Deen

    I just finished A Thousand Words for Stranger- The Trade Pact Universe Book 1 by Julie E. Czerneda!

  7. Danielle

    The last book I finished was Gail Carson Levine’s A Tale of Two Castles, but now I’m in a reading slump in the midst of it’s sequel. However, I too LOVED Ella Enchanted! So I’m going to power through this :D

  8. daph

    The last book I finished was The Sun Is Also A Star. I told (tweeted) Nicola Yoon that I need another novella or epilogue of Natasha and Daniel. Need more of their story. Current read is King’s Cage. I can’t wait for Traitor to the Throne. Although I like this cover, I kind of wish it “matched” Rebel more.

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