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Sara Holland

EVERLESS, where time can be bought and sold, is an addictive read, action-packed and with twists that you won't see coming.

In Everless, time itself is money; people can 'bleed' their time and sell it for money although the prices is a shortening of their own lives. Jules, who sees the terrible cost this exacts, is determined to find another way to earn the money she and her father need, but her decision takes her to Everless, the seat of the aristocratic Gerling family, and the beneficiaries of this exchange. Once at Everless, Jules begins to discover her own abilities with time but this puts her in terrible danger.

We asked author SARA HOLLAND to tell us more about EVERLESS:

Q: How long have you been writing YA fiction and what draws you to writing for this age group?

A: I've been writing pretty much as long as I can remember, and YA since I was a teen myself. I think I sort of never emotionally matured past teenhood myself, so I'm still in the space to write it.

Q: What do you enjoy about writing fantasy and will you write other genres?

A: I've always been drawn most to fantasy - the possibilities, the feeling of stepping into a new world. I might write other genres at some point; some contemporary ideas have been percolating in my mind lately. But fantasy will always be my first love.

Q: Why did you want to explore the idea of time as a commodity, something you can buy and sell, in Everless?

A: When I was first starting off drafting Everless, I was just out of college, trying to make it in a new place. I was working two jobs, sneaking in writing in my spare moments, and had to weigh every possible activity in terms of the time it would take. You get used to thinking of your time as having a dollar value, like is such and such outing worth the twelve dollars I'd earn on the job? I wished for more time, and ended up thinking often about what I could do if I could freeze time, or magically find more somehow.

Q: How long did it take you to build the world of Everless and were there parts of this world that you found hard to resolve?

A: The worldbuilding was sort of a work in progress all through the drafting of Everless, not something that was completed all at once before I embarked on the story, at the very beginning. There were things that changed in the middle, that I had to go back after finishing my first draft and make consistent. And some things were definitely hard to resolve - some of the particulars of bleeding and consuming time - but (I think) everything got smoothed out by the final draft!

Q: What is the hardest part of maintaining a fantasy world in your writing?

A: The world of Sempera and Everless is a mix of beautiful and brutal, so that was sometimes a hard balance to strike. Trying to show the beautiful and wondrous aspects of the world, through the eyes of a character, Jules, who justifiably has a generally negative view of her surroundings.

Q: You develop a myth of a snake and a fox through the story, why did you decide to use this technique to explore the past of Everless?

A: I love all kinds of frame devices - stories within stories - and I knew I wanted to have that in my book in some way. Although the folklore that Jules reads doesn't play a huge role in Everless, I always wanted internal mythology to inform Jules' own story in some capacity. And on a craft level, frame stories are handy because a) the information can realistically come in small snippets, and b) that creates an excuse to convey the information in a poetic way, more so than if someone was just telling the character what the deal is!

Q: Although the world of Everless seems to belong to the past, how do you feel it reflects our present world?

A: I think there a lot of ways in which Sempera, the society Jules exists in, mirrors our own. At least in the US, we have this common saying that time is money. And while not literally true here like it is for Jules, it is nevertheless reality in a lot of more abstract ways.

On a micro level, anyone who's ever worked a wage job has had a literal dollar value assigned to their hours, and on a macro level, one's wealth or lack thereof - the corresponding access to or denial of resources - can impact the length of time one lives as well as quality of life.

Q: Are there any parts of Everless that you would like to visit if you could?

A: It would be cool to visit the EVERLESS estate itself - setting aside all the ethical issues for a sec, the Gerling family does throw a great party! The town out of time that Jules visits, Briarsmoor, would also be fascinating to see.

Q: Which were your favourite characters to write?

A: I really loved Ina, the princess, and Caro, her mysterious handmaid. They're both very different from Jules and from each other, and yet the three of them have an easy rapport that tempts Jules to divulge her secrets when she should maybe keep them in hand. So the scenes with them had a mix of happiness and tension that was super fun to write.

Q: How did your main character, Jules, develop?

A: She came to me first as an image - a girl kneeling barefoot at the side of an icy lake. I knew she had lost something, I knew she was grieving and angry and wanted revenge. But I didn't know why, and so a lot of her character development was just excavating that, figuring out how she got to that moment and where she would go from there.

Q: If this was a film, who would you have play the main characters?

A: I don't know very many actors, so the following won't be a very educated statement - and of course my greatest hope if my work ever goes to the screen would be that it would launch the careers of unknown actors! That said, here are some actors that are close to my mental images of the characters:

Zoey Deutch for Jules

Harry Styles for Roan

Selena Gomez as Ina

Ezra Miller for Liam

Young Catriona Balfe as Caro

Q: What do you most enjoy doing with your time when you're not writing?

A: Well, I have a day job in publishing, so it's all books all the time - exactly how I like it! In the rare moments when I'm not reading or writing, I like catching up on Netflix and podcasts, listening to musical soundtracks, and exploring New York.

Q: If you could 'buy' another lifetime, like some of the characters in Everless, what would you do with it?

A: Oh man what a question! Leaving aside all the ethical issues for a sec, there's so many things I would love to do. Learn to play a bunch of instruments. Travel abroad, learn new languages. Just generally learn and read and see a lot.

Q: What next for Jules and Sempera in book two and how many Everless books are you planning?

A: EVERLESS is the first in a duology. In the next volume, we'll see Jules and some allies moving away from the EVERLESS estate itself and out into greater Sempera, learning about herself, her past, and her power.


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Your reviews Sara Holland

EVERLESS, where time can be bought and sold, is an addictive read, action-packed and with twists...

Your reviews

Moxie, It was very well written and had a good plot! I would recommend people to read it and I enjoyed...