The Crown’s Game features an ancient duel of magical skill — the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
The Crown’s Game is no ordinary game — it’s a duel between two enchanters, in which only one can win, and the other must die. Likewise, the book trailer for The Crown’s Game is no ordinary trailer. Shot not in film-style, but rather, as a dance battle between Vika and Nikolai, this teaser pays homage to the epic masquerade scene in the book, as well as to author Evelyn Skye’s own love of dance.
Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
- I once had a job offer from the CIA.
- I hate carrots.
- I have zero sense of direction.
- When I sleep, my eyelids don’t close all the way.
- I’m addicted to the TV show The Royals.
Describe your novel in five words.
Magical duel in Imperial Russia.
The Crown’s Game has some cool mythology regarding enchanters. How did you come up with the idea?
It seemed like the idea of the enchanters came out of nowhere, but in truth, I think the characters and their mythology had been germinating in my imagination for years. The thing is, I was about to give up on writing — I had eight other manuscripts I’d been unable to sell — when the concept for The Crown’s Game came to me.
But when the idea appeared, I literally laughed it off. I’d been writing gritty, contemporary YA a la Laurie Halse Anderson, and turning my attention to a fantasy seemed ridiculous. I told a few of my friends about my deadly-magic-in-Russia idea, mostly as a joke… but apparently, they didn’t think it was funny. They told me to write it.
That’s when I remembered that the very first manuscript I’d written, a long time ago, had been an attempt at fantasy, with a boy from 19th century Russia and a girl from modern day America, who were kept apart by forces beyond their control. It was nothing like The Crown’s Game, and yet, it was probably the beginning of this story, the precursor to Nikolai and Vika and their magical duel.
Why did you choose Russia as the setting?
I’ve always loved the dark, brooding, rich history of Russia, especially in contrast with the pastel-and-gold grandeur of Saint Petersburg. My love affair with all things Russian began in high school, when I read The Brothers Karamazov, and then continued when I went to Stanford, where I read lots of Pushkin and Tolstoy and even more Dostoevsky. I loved Russian literature and history so much, I got a Bachelors degree in the subjects in college!
That love seeped into my soul, and even though it got buried for a little while as I pursued other avenues (like being a lawyer and a mom), it eventually bubbled back up to the surface, and Voila! The Crown’s Game was born.
Can you give us a brief description of each of the main characters?
Vika is passionate, fiery, and mischievous. She grew up on a remote forest island, so there’s something almost wild about her personality, and likewise, her magic is strongest when commanding nature, be it the elements like lightning and water, or communicating with animals.
Nikolai is pensive, analytical, and ambitious out of self-preservation. In contrast to Vika, he was raised in the capital city of Saint Petersburg and is therefore very polished. His powers concentrate on the mechanical, such as creating bridges or building intricate contraptions.
There’s actually an entire character portrait gallery on my website with more information about Vika, Nikolai, and the other characters in the story!
What one YA novel do you wish you had when you were a teen?
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. It’s painful yet beautiful, sad yet optimistic — it’s the essence of life, I think, translated onto ink and paper.
What are you working on now?
The sequel to The Crown’s Game! It’s so much fun to write about Vika and Nikolai and this magical, Russian world again.
Fill in the blank
If I weren’t a writer I would be a dancer. (But I would need some magic to do that, because I’m a rather mediocre dancer.)
If I could have one supernatural power it would be the ability to heal and cure injuries and disease.
My Hollywood crush is Henry Cavill. Or Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Ahh, it’s a tie!