Rebecca Yarros is the author of Fourth Wing. Fourth Wing follows Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail. She was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, but her mother has other plans for her. The novel explores a world unlike any other. YEM was able to speak with Rebecca about what inspired her to write about dragons. We also spoke to her about her favorite part about creating worlds such as the one in her book. She then shared her favorite part of the writing process.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first know that you wanted to become an author?
Rebecca Yarros: I’ve known I wanted to become an author since childhood, honestly. I remember having my first book of poetry bound for a contest in fourth grade and thinking that’s exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Put books out into the world.
YEM: What inspired you to write about dragons in your book Fourth Wing?
Rebecca: First, who wouldn’t love to write about dragons? Honestly, I loved the idea of the forced proximity that mated dragons would give their riders in a twist on the fated-mates trope. Plus, being able to dream up my own dragon society with their own motivations and politics was simply too delicious not to.
YEM: Is any part of Fourth Wing inspired by your life?
Rebecca: Absolutely. I grew up as the child of dual military parents, and my husband recently retired after 22 years in uniform, so the military aspect is very close to my heart. But the most personal part is that Violet has a connective tissue disorder inspired by Ehlers-Danlos, which I and four of my children also have.
YEM: What is your favorite part about creating worlds such as the one in your book?
Rebecca: I love creating relationships between characters and watching them grow, and this was especially fun in Fourth Wing given the addition of the dragons, who are sentient beings with thoughts and feelings of their own.
YEM: What is your writing process like?
Rebecca: I typically start with the main romance (because that’s always going to be a theme in whatever I write), and then move on to why can’t they be together. Then I plot out the world, which for Fourth Wing, included a MASSIVE drawing of the Continent on my wall, and then after it’s plotted, I start writing. Because I have ADHD, either I hyperfixate and write it really quickly, or it takes a wee bit longer if my brain decides something else is shinier, lol!
YEM: What have you learned about yourself as a writer since you started?
Rebecca: I’ve learned that whatever I’m going through in my personal life reflects in my writing, no matter what genre I’m currently in, and when I’m experiencing periods of overwhelming emotion, that’s when my best writing happens. The moments I shut off my filter and write what I’m feeling are the most poignant sections of my writing. I’ve also learned to sit down every day whether or not inspiration strikes, because an object in motion stays in motion.
YEM: What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a writer one day?
Rebecca: Read. Read every genre you can get your hands on. Learn what you love and what you don’t. Read about craft. Read about criticism Read to see what works in other author’s books and what doesn’t, Read because you can’t write without a full creative well.
YEM: What is a takeaway you hope your readers gain from reading your book?
Rebecca: I really hope that others living with chronic illness can see elements of themselves represented in Violet and come away feeling inspired by Violet’s tenacity, and that every reader can sit back and question who gets to tell our own history and how that impacts the future.
YEM: What is it about young adult audiences that makes you want to write for them?
Rebecca: Honestly, I’ve never published for young adult audiences. Fourth Wing is new adult, written about and those years of transition between adolescence and adulthood. I love how much growth takes place at that age, and how messy and chaotic our emotions can be while we’re figuring out where we belong in the world and what we’re going to do with our lives once we’re on our own.
YEM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Rebecca: Plotting. I love the moments when I can lose myself in the overall arc of the story and fit the pieces together to form the whole. Oh, and I definitely love the moment it’s out of my hands and headed to the printer, lol!
YEM: Is there someone who always reads your work before anyone else?
Rebecca: Usually my editor is the first to read my books, because I write a complete first draft, then go back and apply a list of edits I keep from about the second-half forward. The next person is my husband, who usually reads at the same time my editor does. They’re both incredible sources of support!
YEM: What do you have coming up next? Are you working on more books?
Rebecca: I have In the Likely Event (a contemporary romance) publishing at the end of July, and Iron Flame, book 2 in the Empyrean series coming out in November! I’ll be wicked busy at my desk for the foreseeable future!