New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Julie Kagawa has penned a brand new series called SHADOW OF THE FOX and book two in this trilogy, SOUL OF THE SWORD comes out in a little over a week. Julie’s YA books are beloved by teens and adults alike for their cinematic writing style, video game action, compelling characters and beautiful writing. She also has no problem killing off beloved characters and collecting reader tears.

As an interesting note, an earlier iteration of this series is the book I signed Julie for more than twelve years ago! Talk about perseverance. I couldn’t sell an anime fantasy starring a kitsune fox spirit back in 2007, so Julie wrote a fun little book called The Iron King and she burst into bestsellerdom with her stories about a half-human/half-fey teen girl and her perilous adventures in the Never Never. Whether you were Team Ash or Team Puck, millions of fans loved the Iron Fey series and spin off. (Watch for more Iron Fey books starting in 2021!)

Julie is such a good sport, I thought we’d ask her three questions about SOUL OF THE SWORD and share them with you today!

1. Julie, how did you come up with your ideas for the Shadow of the Fox trilogy?

I am a huge manga and anime fan, and I am also fascinated with Japanese history, culture and folklore.  When I started writing Shadow of the Fox, I was greatly influenced by the anime I loved growing up; Inuyasha, Fushigi Yugi, Princess Mononoke, ect., but also by the history of the samurai, particularly during the Sengoku era.  The kitsune is my favorite Japanese myth of all time, and when I was a kid I wanted to be a ninja.  Writing a book with both elements was a dream come true.

2. You are a bestselling author well known for your adventurous fantasy for teens and adults. When someone buys a Julie Kagawa book, what will they experience?

I hope they experience lots of action and adventure, cinematic settings, weird creatures and amazing fight scenes, but also lots of emotion where the characters make them laugh, swoon, fear for their safety, and want to smack them upside the head sometimes.  I’ve also noticed a certain theme in my books, where a character who is not fully human (vampire, dragon, half-fox) struggles with their more savage nature and with what humanity really means to them.  To date, there is always an impossible, star-crossed love story running through all my books, where the characters have no business being together but can’t help falling in love, resulting in much emotional torment and angst.

Oh, and sometimes, characters die.  Sometimes your favorite characters don’t make it.  Because no one is safe, and there is nothing I love more than an ULTIMATE NOBLE SACRIFICE.  Also, because reader tears are delicious.  And authors are evil. 😉

3. And specifically about Soul of the Sword…it’s the second book in this Japanese-inspired fantasy trilogy. Who is your favorite character in Soul of the Sword and why?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between Yumeko and Tatsumi.  Yumeko is the kitsune protagonist of the series, and she is cheerful, sweet, compassionate and naïve, but also a little trickster due to her fox side.  She is a master of illusion magic, and loves pulling pranks on uptight companions.  Tatsumi is an elite ninja of the Shadow Clan and is basically her opposite: brooding, serious, disciplined, and Yumeko instantly turns his world upside down.  Putting them together was so much fun, and everyone knows that opposites attract.  As for why they’re my favorites…it’s a book where the main characters are a kitsune and a ninja.  For this anime lover, you can’t get more perfect than that.

You can pre-order Soul of the Sword anywhere books are sold! And if you haven’t read Shadow of the Fox, you have one week to devour its goodness before diving into book 2. The hard cover of book one is selling for $5 on Amazon as a promotion right now.