Hey guys, I’m Sabaa Tahir, here interviewing YA fantasy author Lori M. Lee for the Fifteeners blog today. Here’s the summary of her book, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, which is out from Skyscape on August 5th:

17904985In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

1. Tell me about this book. Is it the first book you’ve written? What was the inspiration for it?

If we’re counting the novel I wrote when I was a preteen (it was a terrible self-insert fantasy romance), then GATES OF THREAD AND STONE would be my third full-length novel. The spark for the idea came during a critique session for a previous book. One of the other writers said something in passing about time, and the idea for Kai’s character was born.

2. Did you plot this book out pretty thoroughly or did you just let the story take you where it would?

I plotted thoroughly. With my last book, I didn’t outline, and it ended up a meandering, overly complicated mess. With this one, I plotted and outlined it to death. Of course, I still let the story do what it wanted, but having that outline helped to guide me along so I wouldn’t lose sight of where it was headed.

3. Gates of Thread and Stone is an engrossing combination of classic fantasy (alternate universe/magic) and steampunk/sci-fi (trains/technology). How did you decide on this setting?

Initially, the book was just as much sci-fi as it was fantasy. And by that I mean there were holoscreens and hovercrafts right alongside the magic. But when I reworked it to be straight fantasy, I had to find a way to keep those integral elements intact.

4. Your characters, particularly Kai and Avan, really jump off the page. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

There’s a little bit of me in every character, but if you’re asking whether I’d based any of them on myself, it would be a no.

5. You write short stories too—one was published by in 2010. How did you have to shift your thinking to get into “novel” mode?

I didn’t do much to prepare myself, but maybe I should have haha. I like to think of the book prior to GATES OF THREAD AND STONE as my practice book now that it’s shelved. I learned a lot writing it—mostly what not to do although a bit of what worked for me (outlines!!!)—which made writing GoT&S and subsequent books much easier.

6. What do you wish you’d known about publishing going in?

Every writer has her own path, and comparing yourself to another writer is about as productive as trying to make the Doctor do trust exercises with a dalek.

7. What are you working on now?

Editing the sequel, which is tentatively scheduled for release spring 2015. After that, there’s a high fantasy WIP calling my name 🙂

8. Since this is an official Fearless Fifteeners interview, I have to ask: what is one thing you’re afraid of? What is one thing you’re not afraid of?

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m a total wuss. Zombies terrify me. I’m not overly fond of the dark. And I’m never more grateful for the dog’s presence than I am when I’m the only one up at 1 am. However, I’m not that scared of spiders the way most people I know are. They creep me out, sure, but I’m not scared of them. I have no problem going after them if they’re in my house. Most of the time, if I can manage it, I’ll find a cup or something and escort the spider outside.

7084159Lori’s Bio:

Lori is an avid writer, reader, artist, and lover of unicorns. She should probably spend less time on the internet (but she won’t). She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.

Twitter: @LoriMLee

Web Site:



Sabaa TahirSabaa Tahir was born in London but grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. After graduating from UCLA, Sabaa became an editor on the foreign desk at The Washington Post. Three summers later, she came up with the concept for her debut novel, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. For more information, please visit or find her on Twitter @SabaaTahir.

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