I stretch towards the nightstand and grab my copy of Holly Black’s Valiant before dropping it in her hands.
“What’s it about?”
I laugh. “You’re holding it. Read the back.”
“I’m too tipsy to concentrate. Tell me about it.”
“Looks like Matt’s in for a fun night, then.” She swats me with the book, and I give in to her request. “Um, okay. So it’s this urban fantasy book. You know, like...supernatural beings and magic and stuff, but in a grungy, badass city setting. It’s one of the first actual novels I read in English. My friend Monroe, who I lived with when I first came to Montreal, owned the whole series, and I always wanted to speak good enough English to read them.”
“So is it a love story?”
“Kind of,” I explain. “There is a love interest involved. He’s a troll.”
“A troll?” Kay shrieks, and we both burst out laughing.
“Ouais, but like, a sexy troll!” I manage to choke out.
* * *
Up for today in the Your Chorus release week schedule is some recommended reading! There are a few books that were important to the writing of the novel and several articles that helped me gain insight on subjects I didn't have too much experience with myself, so I thought it would be an insightful topic to share some of those with readers. This will also be helpful if you're done with Your Chorus and looking for a quick fix to cure your book hangover!
As the excerpt above indicates, books are an important part of Roxanne's life and her journey to forge a place for herself in Montreal. It's mentioned that her favourite book of all time is Valiant by Holly Black. I'll let Roxanne herself tell you why the story is so important to her:
Kay’s lying on her side with her head propped in her hand, watching me with thinly disguised sympathy that instantly makes me start to feel defensive.
“Runaway teenager falls in love with a gruff and scary stranger? May I hazard a guess and say you feel like you can relate to Val?”
“I mean sure, there are some similarities...”
Kay tilts her head.
“Okay, several similarities, but what I like about it is that it’s not all about the love story. Mostly it’s about Val, and how she finds herself and sorts her shit out. She’s such a badass. You should read it. It’s really good.”
The series Valiant is part of was one of my favourite reads as a teenager, and it's definitely still one that I recommend, especially if your curiosity was piqued by the way it resonates with Roxanne.
Find Valiant on Goodreads here
While working on Your Chorus, I also found myself consulting some exterior resources to gain firsthand perspective on topics I knew I didn't have the expertise to write about without doing research. This was especially true for writing about Cole's journey in life as a black man playing in a rock band. I knew he would often see himself as an outsider and feel like he had to prove he belonged in the genre, but as a white woman, it wasn't something I had personal experience to draw from. I knew it was important that the voice of his character to be informed and true to what real life experience would dictate.
One of the most insightful articles I read was Bryan Washington's 'A Darker Canvas: Tattoos and the Black Body.' I knew Cole's desire to have tattoos would probably have presented him with challenges, but this article really showed just how much prejudice and even outright racism can be directed your way when you're looking to get tattooed and happen to have dark skin. It's an eye-opening read that I highly recommend taking a look at.
Find the article here
So there you have it! I hope that gave you something to bust your book hangover, and if you happen to still be on the fence about picking up Your Chorus, it's still on release week pricing for a few more days and available to snag right here. Happy reading!