Monday, April 8, 2013

Author Profile : Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  She began her writing career writing educational materials for Kindergarten through 6th grade, but has recently published three YA novels.  They are Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue.  Ms. Cashore says that she planted the seeds for writing in her youth when she spent her time either reading or daydreaming. 

Graceling is the story of Katsa.  She lives with her Uncle who is King of the Middluns, which is one of the Seven Kingdoms.  She is a Graceling, or someone with special skills and is marked by the graceling trademark of two different colored eyes.  While there are many types of graces, Katsa's grace is killing and her uncle uses her to punish, and frighten his subjects.  However, her uncle doesn't realize that Katsa has started the Council, a group that works in secret to help the people of the Seven Kingdoms in spite of the mindlessness of their kings.  Eventually Katsa sets out on an adventure with a strange boy with a mysterious grace, and along the way she discovers the true nature of her own grace along with saving the Seven Kingdoms from a menacing and horrible evil. 

Fire is a companion to Graceling and takes place about 35 years earlier in the Dells, a kingdom across the Great Grays.  In the Dells there are regular animals, and there are monsters.  Monsters look just like their regular counterparts except for their remarkably colored fur, hair, or scales.  Monsters also have the ability to read and influence minds and are incredibly beautiful to regular animals and people.  There are also human monsters.  Fire is the last of the human monsters.  Her hair is red, but not just ordinary red; it contains all the colors of the spectrum.  Fire is afraid of her abilities to read and control minds because her father was cruel in his use of his powers.  She stays hidden on the outskirts of her kingdom, unwilling to explore her abilities.  However, unrest in the kingdom and a threat to the King draws Fire away from her home to King City where she must learn to use her abilities for the good of her kingdom and herself.

Bitterblue is the final book in this series and takes place about 8 years after Graceling in the kingdom of Monsea in the Seven Kingdoms.  Bitterblue is the 18 year old queen of Monsea.  She became queen at 10 years of age after her father was killed.  She begins to realize that although her days are filled with queenly duties, she really knows very little about her kingdom.  Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle at night, disguised, and exploring her own city.  What she learns about her advisers, her father's continuing influence, and the state of the people in her kingdom will change everything she knows.  And a boy she meets in her wanderings will change the state of her heart.  Bitterblue must become a true leader to finally free her kingdom from the evil her father perpetuated. 

All three of Kristin Cashore's books are available at Franklin County Library in our Young Adult section. 

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