Monday, February 17, 2014

The Winner's Curse Blog Tour + Giveaway
Interview with author Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse Blog Tour is organized by MacTeenBooks
See the full schedule HERE and below

The Winner's Curse is shivery, achingly, deliciously good. 

It is filled with political intrigue, power struggles, a slow-burn romance, and I predict lots more of all to come. This book is so good that you definitely want to read it when it releases so that you can discuss it with friends, and then read it again before book two releases.

If you need more convincing, go HERE to find my list of 5 reasons you should pre-order this book today.

Now, I'm really excited and honored to be able to interview author Marie Rutkoski. 

And don't miss the very bottom of this post for a GIVEAWAY.

Welcome to Love is not a triangle, Marie Rutkoski!

Lauren: How did the idea for the story in The Winner's Curse begin? Did it start with a moment? Did the characters or setting come first? I want to know how your brain created this brilliant book!

Marie Rutkoski: It did start with a moment! A friend of mine, an economist, told me about the economic term “winner’s curse,” which is when someone wins an auction by paying too steep a price. It was such an evocative phrase that I began brainstorming a story that could have that title, and I knew that I wanted my winner to pay a steep emotional price. I tried to think: What thing could be up for auction that would exact a steep emotional price? Then it occurred to me: What if the thing were not a thing, but a person?

When we do great harm to others, we also do it to ourselves; we violate our own humanity. So in that sense, it was clear how buying a person would exact a steep emotional price. But that’s not quite a story. Then I thought, Well, what if this slave has a secret, a certain power that the buyer can’t see?

So I suppose I began from the idea, then arrived at the characters. Setting came later, and was inspired by the ancient world after Rome conquered Greece, though most of the trappings of my made-up world seem to be from much later periods in this world.

LaurenMusic is important to both Kestrel and Arin. Do you play an instrument? If so, how did that influence your story and these characters?

Marie Rutkoski: I’ve recently begun playing the violin. “Recently” meaning as of a year ago. I’m not very good. I did play the piano when I was little—but again, not very well. Also the oboe. And I sang. And again AGAIN: not very well! But I’m passionate about the art of books, and I like to think about passions for other kinds of art.

Lauren: What’s one good quality that Kestrel brings out of Arin, and vice versa?

Marie Rutkoski: Hmm. I’d say that Arin has not allowed himself to feel tender in a very long time, to feel soft or vulnerable. This is a frightening but also pleasurable sensation. Kestrel brings this out in Arin, and he is not wholly sure it is a good thing. Arin, on the other hand, brings out Kestrel’s ability to fight for change—and this continues in the sequel.

Lauren: One of my favorite things about Kestrel is that she’s not your typically kick-butt heroine. She’s clever, and will beat most everyone in a mental fight, but she’s not as interested in physical combat. This appeals to me greatly, maybe because I wish I had her mind powers. Would you talk a bit about why you created Kestrel the way that you did?

Marie Rutkoski: When I was writing my second novel, The Celestial Globe, in which a heroine is an awesome sword fighter, I took a fencing class. I had this dream that I would be Naturally Gifted, that I would take up that foil and I would be filled with dangerous grace. And guess what? I SUCKED.

Maybe my short answer is that I’ll never win any kind of fight that involves physical skill-- unless maybe a thumb war, I’m very good at those—so I wanted to feature a heroine whom I felt personally closer to. Not that I have Kestrel’s mind powers….

Also: smart is sexy! Think of Eugenides from Megan Whalen Turner’s books. Ok, yes, he is also good at sword fighting, but I love his mind. I want to have his book babies.

Don’t tell my husband that.

Lauren: I think you're going to have to fight me for Eugenides. I'm not very good at physical combat either, so we'll be well matched. 

This blog is called “Love is Not a Triangle," and I tend to talk about the subject of love triangles fairly frequently. I even rate them in my reviews. (If you’re wondering, The Winner’s Curse has a Love Triangle Factor rating of NONE).

Marie Rutkoski: I agree with that rating.

Lauren: I also like to ask visiting authors their opinions on them. So love triangles: like them or loathe them? I won’t hold it against you if you say ‘like.’

Marie Rutkoski: Mmm…I really loved those Sunfire romances when I was a kid (every book was a love triangle). As for now…I have no objection to love triangles per se, and I think that it’s good for young readers to be reminded that there are lots of choices for them out there in the world, many people to love. But my favorite romances don’t feature love triangles. And although maybe some of my previous books have been a little more love triangly than The Winner’s Curse, I think it’s always clear to my main characters whom they want.

Lauren: Any hints on the future of The Winner’s Curse trilogy (hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask!)?

Marie Rutkoski: Are you asking me if there will be a love triangle in the second book?

Lauren: It did not escape my notice that you didn't answer that last question, but I'm hoping these two keep knowing "whom they want."

EDIT: A lot of people have been concerned about Rutkoski's "non-answer" about the question concerning love triangles in book 2. Below is what she had to say about it on twitter. It's not really a further explanation, but it's also not a confirmation one way or the other. Just an attempt to avoid spoilers, which I respect. 

LaurenI'm still going to try to get information out of you about the sequels. If you had to describe THE WINNER’S CURSE using only colors, which colors would you chose for each of the books? 

Marie Rutkoski
1. Pink
2. Red
3. Black—or blue

Lauren: Interesting. "Black" sounds a little scary. Though blue maybe not so bad. Is there anything else you can tell us about the second book in the trilogy?

Marie Rutkoski: Hints, hints, hints….I created a pinterest board for The Winner’s Curse and there are some hints about and even quotes from Book 2 up there. Go HERE to see it. 


You’ll see more of Arin’s POV in Book 2.
Smart people can make mistakes.
Prepare yourself. 

Lauren: I'm now sweating after that last statement. You're pretty great at those ends that are stressful but also enticing. 

Thank you so much for talking to me today.


About the author

Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society and the children's fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of WondersThe Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kalderash. Her next project is a YA trilogy that begins with The Winner's Curse, which is scheduled to be published in March 2014.

Marie grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children's literature and fiction writing. She usually lives in New York City with her husband and two sons, but she and her family are living in Paris for the 2012-2013 academic year. 

Find Marie Rutkoski: Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook
Become a fan of The Winner's Curse: Facebook | Website

Pre-order The Winner's Curse (releases March 4, 2014): 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository


Follow the full blog tour

Sunday, February 9th
My Friends Are Fiction
Monday, February 10
The Midnight Garden
Tuesday, February 11
Mundie Moms
Wednesday, February 12
Supernatural Snark
Thursday, February 13
YA Bibliophile
Friday, February 14
The Book Rat
Saturday, February 15
Good Choice Reading
Sunday, February 16
Jenna Does Books
Monday, February 17
Love is Not a Triangle
Tuesday, February 18
Reading Teen
Wednesday, February 19
Miss Print
Thursday, February 20


WIN A copy of The Winner's Curse + a swag pack featuring eyeshadow, bookmarks and stickers

Thank you Macmillan for this generous giveaway!

Giveaway is for US or Canada residents only (Sorry, other international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. (This is Darith L)

    I just love the premise! I want to find out how her interactions with the slave she bought grow into something more and the different power dynamics presented.

  2. Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    It is awesome when the girl isn't kick-butt in the traditional sense, but is smart and strategic!!

    That's why I want to read this book, and of course the swoons!! :)

    Thank you:)

  3. I remember reading your review for this book a while ago and absolutely falling in love, it had so man different aspects which I found highly appealing that I had to pre-order my copy there and then and now this interview has me even more excited. I love how the idea for this book originated, I'm always intrigued with how ideas for a book first come about. Also Kestrel and Arin sound like fabulous characters! I honestly can't wait to meet them, Thanks for sharing a great post with us ladies! :)

  4. Ever since I read Shadow Society I've been WAITING for another book by Marie and it's killing me! I've already heard so many great things about this book- the setting, the characters and the COVER. Can't wait to get my hands on this
    Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  5. Loved this book so much! I just ordered Shadow Society to read while I am waiting for book two!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  6. She mentioned Queen's Thief! Her book must be good if she knows who Gen is, :).

  7. Oooh..."smart people can make mistakes". Now, that's quite a statement, one that puts me on the edge of my seat! Great interview.

  8. I love how the idea for this novel originated! It's so interesting how inspiration can spring up from just about anywhere. I'm also pleased to hear that there isn't much of a love triangle here and I am all for the emotionally/mentally kick-butt heroines. I would, after all, be the first to get killed in The Hunger Games. ;) And Lauren and Marie, you will have to fight ME for Gen. I'm not letting him go very easily. ;D

  9. I'm all about 'Girl-Power', so I'm curious where this book will take me!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  10. " I had this dream that I would be Naturally Gifted, that I would take up that foil and I would be filled with dangerous grace. And guess what? I SUCKED."

    YES! I have had this EXACT SAME dream, but never pursued it because I feared the result would have been much the same. I like to think if the occasion called for it I'd suddenly turn into this complete badass and develop immediate fighting prowess, but I know the reality of it would be far different. I think a fetal ball and some rocking would be involved:)

    I loved this interview so much! This book just blew me away, and I want to know anything and everything about it so I love hearing from Marie. Thanks so much for sharing ladies!

  11. Okay, I love this interview, ladies. Lauren, since we've discussed this book at length, I think you may know what I'm excited about up until now but WOW I love the colors that were assigned each book. That is the most intriguing thing about this interview, I think, and I think I will probably carry that through the next few years while I read and re-read this. I'm not even kidding. It may even stress me out, but in a good way. (:

  12. Awesome interview! You know I loved this book too--I am so excited to see this tour because it means the release will be soon and then EVERYONE will get the chance to read this and fall in love with it like we did.

    This is my favorite part:

    You’ll see more of Arin’s POV in Book 2.
    Smart people can make mistakes.
    Prepare yourself.

    Oh BOY. I cannot. wait.

  13. I'm very interested in the setting of this book. I've heard really geart things about both the setting and the story line. Can't wait to start reading!

  14. I kind of feel like there could be a bit of a love triangle in the second book though Kestrel and Arin are obviously the OTP-I'm even kind of excited about the tension that could arise. Definitely agree with Rutkoski that smart is sexy-I keep saying that!

  15. I've always wanted to play either violin or guitar. I still haven't learned either of them, but I did play piano and went to music school when I was little. I haven't played in years, because even though I liked it (and now kind of miss it), it wasn't for me. I like dancing and swimming and reading (!!!) better ;) heh. "This is a frightening but also pleasurable sensation." Agreed 100%! Vulnerability, though at times very frightening, is also extremely beautiful. Hahahaha. So since Marie think that smart is sexy, hmmm.. She should meet Connor Cobalt. That guy is supersmart and tons and tons and tons of sexy. "I have no objection to love triangles per se, and I think that it’s good for young readers to be reminded that there are lots of choices for them out there in the world, many people to love." -- ohhh, that's a GREAT line! I agree with this, however, just as with Marie, my favorite romances aren't triangle-y. Though.. then again.. Chaol/Caelena/Dorian? Hmm.. Perhaps they do. Sometimes. Still, book 1 basically left the triangle zone, so perhaps there's hope for me yet :) OOOH look at this: "Kissing" why, yes I do like the sound of this :) great interview, love!

  16. I'm scared by the dodge of the triangle question. I love Marie so much...her answers are beautiful and great questions! I can't explain how eager I am to read the second book and just gobble up everything Marie ever writes. THank you for sharing!

  17. I just love that seems so different and interesting!

  18. I love the cover, the synopsis and haven't seen a single bad review. Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Absolutely everything!!! Seriously.

  20. All I've read were glowing reviews! I think it sounds different from all of the other YA novels being released (in a good way of course).

  21. Great interview! I'm really excited for this book, especially because of all the great ratings its gotten so far! It sounds really good too, and yay, no love triangle!

  22. This was such a fun interview to read! Although I feel like I may have to return to it again after I've read the book. I've never heard of the term winner's curse before - that information is really fascinating. And loving the Eugenides mention. Both of you may have to fence me for him, though, and I did study fencing for many, many years. ;)

  23. I was caught the moment I read the name, I read the summary also of coarse but I really love the title

  24. As much as I like that fact that the Love Triangle rate in this book is NONE, I am actually attracted to the feeling that this love story is based in denial & a not-quite-but-almost-there fear of what they may be feeling. I like my love stories to hurt & be a wind-whirl of confusion.

  25. What a great's always interesting to hear about what inspired them to write the book. Hmmm...sounds like there could be a love triangle in the next one since she didn't answer. Oh well! I can't wait to read this one, it sounds so good and has been getting rave reviews. I actually just read The Shadow Society and I loved it. ~Pam

  26. If I wasn't sold before, your review would have definitely made me want to go out and buy a copy.

  27. I love that you asked about a love triangle. lol I'm excited for the romance in this one and everything else about it, really. :)

  28. Guh. I was already ridiculously excited for this book because everyone I trust has LOVED it. But any time an author positively references my boy Eugenides, it's OVER. SOLD. (Also, he's mine and I'll trounce you both. ;))

  29. AWESOME interview.

    And yeah, she totally dodged the love triangle question. Oh, well. Still mad excited about this series.

  30. I've heard SO many great things about the romance in The Winner's Curse and can't wait to finally read about it!
    It also helps that the cover is gorgeous too! ;D

  31. This interview made me so much more excited to read The Winner's Curse - and I had no idea that was possible. I love how she was inspired by the book and the theory of a winner's curse. If I hadn't already been terribly interested in this book, that right there would have sucked me in!

  32. Fabulous interview. Love that color indicator...very curious about the black, yikes. Also, I love her non-answer regarding the possibility of a triangle. I totally think we're headed in that direction with the way things were left in TWC, plus something I *think* I saw somewhere -- I can't find it again so I *may* have imagined it -- but I think we all know where Kestrel's heart truly lies. Regardless, I'm dying for the next book already. I even picked up The Shadow Society already, but it did nothing to satiate the mighty need I have for the sequel.

  33. The writing, the characters and the world building looks soo good.

  34. The cover is gorgeous, and the premise sounds so interesting! I can't wait to read this book.

  35. I've been reading good reviews everywhere and the premise is fascinating! Plus interviews with the author always get me interested!

  36. Everything about this book sounds awesome, to be honest! Plus everyone seems to be raving about it, so I can't wait!

  37. I just like the premise of this story and the fact that it has a lot of political intrigue sounds great!

  38. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!


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