However, Lundquist’s newest The Opal Crown is the second book in her young adult series The Opal Mask. In the first book of the series, readers met protagonists Elara and Wilha – two girls who grew up worlds apart. In The Opal Crown, the two switch places. Elara masquerades as Masked Princess Wilha – and everything changed when the pair is outed. Labeled as traitors to their country, they must fight for their lives and overthrow the crown.
Needless to say, politics are a dangerous game in the world of The Opal Mask. For inspiration, Lundquist looked to one of the most famed revolutions in history: The French Revolution. History buffs may see some similarities between the political situation in Galandria and The French Revolution.
But for the geography of her countries, Lundquist looked elsewhere.
“The geography of the two kingdoms was inspired in part by a trip that I took to Boston and Maine several years ago,” said Lundquist.
While the world of The Opal Mask shapes much of how the plot develops, main characters Wilha and Elara are key players in the high stakes political game. Though they share the same DNA, it was important for Lundquist to explore their differences.
“They were raised in vastly different circumstances which I feel plays a more dominant role in who you become in young adulthood,” said Lundquist. “For those of you who read Princess and wanted Wilha to grow more of a backbone, I promise you will not be disappointed.”
What happens to Wilha that forces her spine straighter comes from the world the shapes her. Lundquist feels that a lot of characters in YA aim to reshape the world around them rather than letting their world focus their ambitions and aspirations.
“With middle grade, a lot of times the protagonist is looking at the world around her and wondering how she fits in; whereas the protagonist in a YA book is often times trying to remake the world around her.”
Though it can be hard to hear unfavorable feedback – like complaints about Wilha’s lack of backbone – Lundquist believes wholeheartedly in her readers’ rights to share their opinions on her books. Even if it means keeping away from review sites.
“I’m a big believer that a blogger or reviewer has the right to say whatever they want about my books, in whatever tone they want, as loudly as they want. But for me personally, sometimes it means I have to ban myself from reading Goodreads or Amazon reviews.”