Q&A With Marie Lu + Giveaway Of The Young Elites ARC

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. I’m so happy that my next fantasy after my Throne of Glass binge was The Young Elites!! SO GOOD. I’ll be reviewing it soon but make sure it is on your TBR because it is SOLID and I cannot WAIT for book 2.

I was VERY excited to be able to get in on a phone interview with Marie Lu because I loved the Legend series and I HAD to listen to her talk more about The Young Elites after reading and loving it!!

My question to Marie was this:


So, in the Legend series, you gave us this really compelling dystopian United States, which was both familiar and unfamiliar to us.  And in Young Elites, you give us a really kickass and amazing fantasy world.  I was just curious, now that you’ve done both, what was one of the most difficult parts of writing your own world and the rules to that world?

“It was a completely different experience from writing Legend.  It’s hard making up all of your own thinking.  You kind of have to base some of it off of real life, so I don’t think anything can be completely my own.  For The Young Elites, I did a lot of reading about Renaissance Italy and Renaissance Venice and what life was like back then, and what people ate and how they dressed. And a lot of those things went into the story.  I’d feel weird saying that it’s my world, because it’s still very much based on reality.  And I took a lot from what already existed.

But, it was definitely a different experience because Legend was sort of looking forward and this is kind of looking back in time.  And it was interesting playing with that, because oddly enough they kind of end up at the same place where it’s still a dystopia in some ways.  But, it happened in the past and– ultimately thinking about it, I was really–I was like, wow, it’s interesting that no matter if you go forward or backwards, we’re still going to have these similar issues.  And that was fun to explore.

But, it was definitely a challenge trying to switch my writing style, because now I kept trying to avoid using a lot of modernisms that kept creeping their way into the story.  And the first time that I turned in my manuscript, my editor was like, “I feel we could tone down on the modern tone of your stuff.  It’s kind of futuristic for an old-timey sort of story.”  So, that was an adjustment as well.”

She was also really kind, because we only got to ask her one question, let us email any further questions we had hoped would be covered but weren’t. So I had to ask her about her art and Pinterest boards!

On how her art and her (amazing) Pinterest board for The Young Elites aids in her planning of the book:

“I’m so thrilled you like the Pin board! Haha, it’s totally my procrastination enabler…..but it also really does help as I draft. I like to Pin as I go, and sometimes I’ll even see something on Pinterest that will inspire something in the book. Teren’s hairstyle, for example, was inspired by this:  

The Young Elites inspirationPhoto credit here

As for my art–yes, I find that before I ever start a first draft, I must draw my characters first in order to get a firm handle on who they are. All of my sketches in my Pin board were done very early on in the TYE writing process. I also like to draw whenever I get writer’s block or find myself mentally exhausted. It’s my way of taking some time away from the writing, but still getting to do something creative that’s set within the same fictional world.”


There were some other great questions asked and some really interesting things discussed! But my FAVORITE thing was about one of my favorite aspects of this book — which is how Adelina is pretty much an anti-hero. June and Day, from her Legend series, are good people and Adelina is definitely darker and not as easy to like but you STILL root for her in a lot of ways even when you are like OMG BAD ADELINA. So I was SO happy someone asked about this!

On The Young Elites being an origin story for a villain and the writing of an anti-hero of sorts:

“I thought it was the idea of writing from the antagonist’s point of view after I was talking to my agent about this book.  When I first started writing The Young Elites I wanted to write a fantasy book, but at the time it was–it actually starred Raffaele instead of Adelina, and Raffaele was a totally different character too.  He was very, very bland, just sort of like your every-boy, and he was going to university and he thought he was a Young Elite. It just–it was a very, very sort of bland story.  And I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with it, but I knew I wanted to write something about these types of people.  So, I gave the first hundred pages to my agent, and she was like, “Well, who is this side character over here?  She’s kind of interesting.”

And Adelina was a side character who is total evil.  And after my agent said that, that was when I was like, “Hmm, I never thought about writing it from her point of view, but that might be an interesting exercise.”

And it was totally different from Legend, because Day and June, they live in a really dark world, but they’re inherently good people at heart.  They have good families who treated them right, and I feel like that really made them who they are as people when they grew up.

And Adelina is totally different.  Her family is twisted and terrible, and that rubbed off on her a lot.  And it was kind of disturbing to have to get into that headspace, because I didn’t experience any of that.  And to be able to try to figure out a way to make this person do horrible things but also not make her totally unlikeable so that you’re like, “God, I just want this character to die already” was a bit of a challenge too.

So, I don’t know.  It was very, very odd.  And I feel like I got depressed more when I was writing this book, which is kind of–it’s kind of sad to say.  But, having to put yourself into that space was–I mean, it’s not a great place to be in.  So, afterwards I always have to go, like, hug my dog or, you know, go eat and drink something so I don’t feel quite so awful about writing stuff that’s, like, yay, killing people.  But, yeah.  Yeah, it was very, very odd.”


Because I loved The Young Elites SO much I’m going to give away my ARC of it because I plan on buying this puppy when it comes out!! (I have a feeling you all are going to want to as well!!). It’s going to be one of those series I need to have complete & on my shelf. I just know it.

Rule Kinds of Things:

* Ends 9/22 11:59 EST.
* No purchase necessary.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y kind of reasons). Grab a parent or someone older to enter for you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Book:

The Young Elites Marie Lu


I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.


About The Author:

Marie Lu

Marie Lu is the author of the New York Times bestselling Legend series. She spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one boyfriend, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

Learn more at her Official Website.  Check out The Young Elites website!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I never knew about the pin board, and that gives me ideas about things for the future.

  2. Fantastic giveaway!

  3. I wonder how GRR Martin gets over killing so many characters. His dog must get lots of hugs.
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3

  4. I love that this book is about an anti hero. I haven’t read the book yet but it’s already a breath of fresh air! I love flawed characters who make mistakes and have their own personal demons. They’re much more interesting to read about than perfect heroes.

  5. From the interview, this new series sounds extremely interesting! Now I have to check out her Legend series. Definitely on my TBR list!

  6. I love how she draws the characters from the book for inspiration.

  7. I loved the legend series and I cannot wait until this book comes out? Fantasy? I am so sold!

  8. Christina R. says:

    LOVE how she based parts of her fantasy world on Renaissance Italy and Venice!!

    Love this 🙂

    thank you so very much 🙂

  9. Loved that she researched even what they ate during the Renaissance.

  10. I loved. That she actually had another character as the main character first and I can’t wait so see what he’s boing to act like

  11. I loved hearing about the Pin board and how it inspired her! Makes me want to go out and spend way too much time on Pinterest!

  12. SO PUMPED to read this! Loved the Legend trilogy and am excited about a fantasy series by this awesome author!

  13. The Legend Trilogy is one of my all time favorite YA series!!! Can’t wait to read TYE! Loved the question about her Pinterest Board 🙂

  14. Marie Lu is gorgeous! Loved hearing about the art of her characters she made while she wrote the book.

  15. I loved all of the interview! Author interviews are the best. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway, Jamie!

  16. My favorite part which I found quite interesting is that some authors, Marie Lu included, have started using Pinterest to gain ideas and help focus on what to write in their books. That’s so cool!! Thanks for the giveaway lovely Jamie <3 I can't wait to see you on Sunday 😀

  17. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. So so glad that you loved it!!

    I’ve seen Marie Lu’s Pinterest boards for this book and they made me die. I love that she uses Pinterest as a way to tackle boredom and writers’ block, but also to inspire her characters. I LOVE her drawings, so it’s great to see how much visualization helps her as a writer because it helps me so much as a reader.

    Thanks for this legit giveaway, my dear!!

  18. I enjoyed the first question in knowing what the difference was between her writing Legend and The Young Elites because they are two different genres. I enjoyed Legend a ton so I’m excited to read The Young Elites!

  19. I love the drawings!

  20. I love the a good anti-hero/villain story. I am really excited that Marie Lu actually changed the perspective of this book because the villainous side character was more compelling. So often I find myself bored by a clique hero and totally drawn to a secondary character. SO excited for this book and thanks for the giveaway!

  21. Kyla McCallum says:

    I loved the part about the art. I’m like Pinterest obsessed so that was very cool.

  22. I loved hearing about the idea of dystopia not always being a future-thing, but something you could encounter in the past too–it totally makes sense, but I’ve always equated dystopia with futuristic settings. Its makes me really exited to read the book!

  23. Such great questions, and it is always so interesting to hear authors different creative approaches. Can’t wait to read this one, and now I am off to check out her pinterest board.

  24. Can I be very honest? I think the best part of this interview is the constant mention of Day & June. *beeeeeeeep* Okay, but, really this is one of my most anticipated books because Marie Lu is a phoenomenal writer 😀 I really like the part where she said her first experience writing the POVs. It was supposed to be the boy’s POV but she also ended up writing Adelina’s POV which I think is a total catch! Thanks for sharing + giveaway!

  25. The most interesting part of the interview was, to me, how she answered the world-building question and hearing how she balanced “creating” two completely different worlds. Also love seeing Pinterest boards! It’s nice to see how the authors imagine their books and characters. 🙂

  26. I love learning more about Marie’s art! I’ll have to check out her Pinterest board for The Young Elites. 😀

  27. I always think it is so fascinating how much the authors have to immerse themselves like she did with Adelina. How much it affects them when they are done with the writing its like an emotional hangover, Gracias for this chance…really want to get my grabby hands on this one

  28. I actually haven’t read any of Marie Lu’s books, but I do own a copy of Legend and hope to read it this year (especially since our blog is helping co-host Sci-Fi November). I am actually surprised by how much I want to read The Young Elites now, too! I had watched your latest YouTube video were you sort of… went speechless by how much you loved this book, haha, so I was curious about it. But the thing that sealed the deal for me was this talk of The Young Elites being an origin story for a villain. I LOVE villains and I’ve always thought that if somehow I were going to be an author (which will never help) I would want to write from the perspective of a villain, or someone who would someday be a villain. So interesting. Though it’s sad to see that it can have such a negative impact on the author! I hope she has a lot of dogs around to keep her happy as she continues the series! 🙂

  29. I love finding out that writer’s are also artists and I didn’t know that about Marie Lu! It’d be awesome if there were ever collector’s editions of her books with her own illustrations of her characters in them!

  30. My absolute favorite thing about this book is that Adelina is not a hero. She’s not the one with the good intentions who wants to just save the world. I read the 60 pages sampler, and I am already obsessed with her. So, so excited to read this book! Marie Lu is one of my top 5 favorite authors of all time.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

  31. I think the origin story for the antihero should be pretty awesome.

  32. the art and Pinterest board

  33. Mary DeBorde says:

    I think the fact that the author writing this story and it having such a deep emotional impact/depressing is really interesting!! Can’t wait to read it for myself <3

  34. It’s so cool that the world in The Young Elites is sort-of based off of Renaissance Italy 🙂 I have gone to Venice before and loved it there! Also, Marie Lu’s art is so, so amazing!!! And I really like all the pins on her board. Thanks for the awesome post and giveaway <3

  35. I’m excited about this new series! I am nearly done reading Champion. ♥

  36. So jealous you got to interview Marie Lu!! GREAT job!!! I am SO excited for this book!! I put it on my TBR the minute I heard about it. SOOO excited about it and am now even more excited it and ahhh I may just have to go preorder it!

  37. So excited for this! I loved Marie’s Legend trilogy, and am so excited to see what she can do with fantasy. Thanks for the wonderful interview Jamie!

  38. I love how Marie Lu is combining two of my favorite things – fantasy novels and antiheroes! I thought it was really interesting how she wasn’t originally planning on writing the story from Adelina’s POV. It’s crazy how a side character can end up being the narrator by the end of the writing process!

  39. Karen Maldonado says:

    I think the fact that Adelina is an anti-hero makes the book sound like something different, and it makes me all the more curious about it.

  40. The connection between her art and writing is really interesting! I’ve been meaning to read the Legend series forever, and it looks like I’m adding another one to my to-read list.

  41. I love that she was conscious of keeping out the modernists. I have read far too many futuristic-feeling fantasy books that are supposed to be set in the past. The world-building in those books always ends up confusing me. On another note, I LOVED the Legend series and I can’t wait to get my hands on this!!!