Thursday, February 28, 2019

Blog Tour Guest Post—Tarot by Marissa Kennerson

Publisher: Rzorbill
Hardcover288 pages
Published February 19th 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy

Anna was never supposed to exist. Born of a forbidden union between the Queen and the tyrannical King’s archnemesis, Anna is forced to live out her days isolated in the Tower, with only her mentors and friends the Hermit, the Fool, and the Magician to keep her company. To pass the time, Anna imagines unique worlds populated by creatives and dreamers—the exact opposite of the King’s land of fixed fates and rigid rules—and weaves them into four glorious tapestries.

But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her promised release from the Tower, Anna discovers her true lineage: She’s the daughter of Marco, a powerful magician, and the King is worried that his magical gifts are starting to surface in Anna. Fearing for her life, Anna flees the Tower and finds herself in Cups, a lush, tropical land full of all the adventure, free-spiritedness, and creativity she imagined while weaving.

Anna thinks she’s found paradise in this world of beachside parties, endless food and drink, and exhilarating romance. But when the fabric of Cups begins to unravel, Anna discovers that her tapestries are more than just decoration. They’re the foundation for a new world that she is destined to create—as long as the terrors from the old world don’t catch up with her first.

The Villain

I love writing villains. I find it easier to imbue a “bad guy” or gal, with positive traits than riddling protagonists with flaws. (But the latter is for another post.) It’s such fun to layer a villain with a backstory and try to draw empathy – to a point – from the reader. I also like writing villains to the point of no return after we’ve drummed up all that complexity

The Hierophant King

Let’s take a look at Tarot’s villain, the Hierophant King. The Hierophant King was deeply hurt when the love of his life fell in love with his best friend. I mean, who wouldn’t be? He’s a king, he’s isolated and he doesn’t have a way to process the betrayal and grief he has experienced. His wounds cauterize into something black and thorny inside him, and this informs every decision he makes. Not a great thing in a ruler. Think: angry, bitter…vengeful

And yet…the Hierophant King is not all bad. I mean, okay, he did lock Anna in the Tower for 16 years, but if you can get past that for a moment (and I’m not saying you should…), you notice his ambivalence towards her. At the beginning of the book, when the King discusses Anna’s fate with his top advisor,Senator Bassett, he is undecided on how to proceed. He wrestles with his role as leader, his personal demons, and the idea that perhaps he could and should have raised her as his own daughter. We really see this when the King realizes Anna has escaped and the Tower has fallen. After calming his nervous and scared subjects, he walks amid the cheers and admiration of his peoplerealizing the enormity of his mistake in not taking care of her. In many moments throughout the story, despite his rigidity, we also witness a charismatic warmth and gregariousness about the King that inspires devotion, comfort, and admiration in his subjects. So, while the King is no angel, I hope I’ve created him with layers of character traits that feel human and real.

As a tarot card…

It’s easy to read the Hierophant King in the tarot deck as a symbol of religion and zealotry in its worst form. (Just as our Hierophant King created his fixed fates in answer to theoverwhelm of his hurts.) With the help of different writings about tarot, I understand that the Hierophant card is really representative of a heady mix of spirituality, intuition and intellectual pursuit. It’s about study and the ephemeral quality of divinity and all things spiritual.

About the Author:
Marissa Kennerson received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her master’s degree in psychology and art therapy, she worked for Wired and Glamour. She’s the author of the YA cult-suspense novel, The Family, which she did not write from personal experience, since the only cult she’s ever been in is the cult of YouTube makeup tutorials. She lives in California with her husband and son. Look for her new book, TAROT, out with Razorbill in 2019.


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