Hello friends and welcome to Color the Shelves!
I’m joined today by the first (of many) 2020 debut authors I’ll be chatting with all throughout the year, and I couldn’t be happier that’s by Francesca Flores is joining me to chat about her upcoming book DIAMOND CITY and all things gangs and assassins, especially because her book was one of my most anticipated releases. We also managed to squeeze music as well as some other fun books in there because of course, and I really had a lot of fun reading Francesca answers so I hope you will too!
Hi Francesca, thank you so much for joining me today on the blog for what I hope will be a fun interview! To kick things off, let’s talk a bit about DIAMOND CITY, what sparked the idea for the book? Was it a character? The plot? or something else entirely?
Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Fadwa!
The first things that came to me for DIAMOND CITY were the setting and the voice of the main character. Little bits of dialogue kept coming to me in the voice of a girl who was very witty and opinionated, unafraid to voice her beliefs, yet still vulnerable. She was in a dangerous world, but people feared her. I spent a few weeks just writing down random excerpts that came to me and daydreaming of the setting—a gritty, industrializing city that would give a similar feeling of Les Misérables, but with magic and a diverse cast.
What are the main themes explored in the book and why are they so important to the story?
I think two stand out. One is learning to recognize unhealthy relationships, no matter what form the take, by showing ways they can develop and how they can affect the person being treated badly in them. It’s important in the book because Aina sees a particular character as being the key to her success and the reason she’s alive, so it’s very difficult for her to see anything negative in this relationship. Another theme is showing the resilience of people, especially young people, who have been told their whole lives that they cannot succeed because of who they are and what they come from—and how they work to shatter those expectations. A repeating phrase in the book is “good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing.” While a part of Aina has internalized a fear that this might be true, another part of her refuses to stop trying to reach for the sky, and that helps propel her through the story.
DIAMOND CITY is such a vivid and visual book that reading it felt like watching a movie. So, if it were a movie, what kind of songs would the soundtrack have?
Thank you, that means a lot to me! 😊 There would need to be faster-paced songs that get your heart racing, like “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid, since there are a lot of action scenes in the book. Then songs that immerse you in the sense of danger throughout the book, like “Trouble” by Valerie Broussard. For the more emotional scenes, I love listening to “Control” and “Hold Me Down” by Halsey, “Let Me Down Slowly” by Alec Benjamin, and “King” by Lauren Aquilina.
(Halsey!!! Let me Down Slowly!! This is a soundtrack after my own heart)
If Aina, the main character, made her own tradehouse (a gang of sorts), what characters from other books would be in it? And what role would they play?
This is such a fun question! Helene Aquilla from An Ember in the Ashes would be a great Blade, meaning she’d be an assassin like Aina. For the Shadows—the spies—it would be great to have Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows and Jude Duarte from The Cruel Prince. And from a 2020 release, Rebelwing by Andrea Tang, Prudence Wu would be the perfect Fox, a thief.
(I had a feeling Inej would make an appearance here and I was right!!! She’s the perfect shadow)
Last but not least, and something I love to ask authors, what’s one thing you’d like your readers to take away from DIAMOND CITY after finishing it?
To feel like they can reach for the sky and tackle their dreams no matter what they come from or how many people tell them they can’t.
This is such a wonderful note to end the interview on, thank you Francesca!
About the author
Francesca Flores is a writer, traveler and linguist. Raised in Pittsburgh, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on and started writing her own stories at a young age. She began writing DIAMOND CITY while working as a corporate travel manager. When she’s not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, and visiting parks and trails around San Francisco, where she currently resides.
About the book
Publication date : January 28th, 2020
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy
Page Count: 400
Synopsis : Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.
Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.
Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.
DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.
To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.