Today I am so pleased to welcome Cate Pearce to Joyfully Jay. Cate has come to talk to us about her latest release, Traitors of the Black CrownTraitors is an epic fantasy with science elements, involving the attempted revenge and eventual love story of a woman-disguised-as-a-Knight and the duchess she serves. Cate has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Cate has written some questions and answers to share with us today. 

What was your inspiration for Traitors?

Well, my original inspiration was something I obsessed over about twenty years ago, and that’s Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Though, I feel it’s critical to tell you up front that Traitors is not a retelling in any sense. The main reason I was inspired by Twelfth Night was actually dissonance. I was so angered by the idea that when you fall in love with a person love will simply transfer over to someone else who is the gender you prefer, as Olivia did from Viola to Sebastian. I always wanted to write something similar, where a woman fell in love with another woman posing as a man, but when the secret was revealed, they still felt the same for each other.


Is that love story trope the only common denominator between Traitors and Twelfth Night?

I’d say so! Otherwise, my next biggest influences would have to be The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I remember reading Assassin’s Apprentice when I was about 19 years old and thinking how much I wanted to combine the two ideas and make it about a woman.


Those are both fantasies with magic systems, but Traitors doesn’t have magic. What is the other-worldly system in your series?

In the Black Crown series, microevolution happens due to region and climate, very rapidly. For instance, the Candorians who live in a dry, flat desert region adapt with thick, leathery skin, and can see great distances. Their night vision isn’t good, and they don’t tolerate the cold. There are a few more extreme examples, such as the people of East & West Twin, who have webbed fingers and toes. Their region is swampy, as you might guess.


How do the science elements affect the plot of Traitors?

Initially, they don’t. It may seem at first glance that the key component of the novel’s tension is combat and politics. But in the second half of Traitors the differences between kingdoms (and the unique people who occupy them) give way to major advantages and disadvantages. This conflict builds and will continue to build throughout the series.


For those readers who have already finished Traitors, what can you tell them about the next book without giving too much away?

The second book in the series will be called Defenders of the Black Crown. It still follows two of the main POV characters; Raena the Knight and Aven the Duchess. There will be the addition of two new POVs, but they are characters the reader already knows. Defenders is a lot more action-packed. We also get to see entirely new places and kingdoms that we didn’t know much about from Traitors. There will be some issues between Raena and Aven. There will be sea battles. There will be more microevolution as it pertains to animals and beasts who have some extra size and ability. And also… there will be more than one major character death.


There’s a teaser chapter for Defenders included at the end of Traitors with some death. Are you saying there will be more deaths than that?

Yes, several more. But I am confident that readers will be happy about at least one.


When can readers expect both these books, and what else you’re working on?

Traitors released on Sept 22, 2021. Defenders is slated for September, 2022. And I am also working on a fun speculative historical fiction called Hardtack and Hellfire, a story about two demon-slayers on the Oregon Trail. Lastly, you can find my sci-fi short story metaphor about two women in a commune creating a garden in Elixir: Stories of Hope and Healing, releasing January 2022.


traitors of the black crown coverThree women will betray the black crown. A Knight. A Duchess. A Queen.

Raena Schinen narrowly escaped when the Queen’s guard murdered her entire family. If Raena’s survival is exposed, she’ll be next. For fifteen years Raena has hidden as a male Knight, “Sir Rowan”, consumed by her vengeful desire to assassinate the Queen.

The moment Raena is close enough to exact her revenge, she is unexpectedly exiled to a foreign land. There she serves the common-born Duchess Aven Colby, whose suspicious kinship with the Queen further threatens Raena’s delicate secrets.

Just as they become united in a common goal to curb a looming invasion, unexpected heat and romance blossoms between “Sir Rowan” and Aven. The peril demands they set out on a journey to form clandestine political alliances, risking the Queen’s wrath, and drawing Raena and Aven closer together.

But no one in the kingdom could have imagined the sinister foe rising from below the surface. In order to save themselves and those they love, Raena, Aven, and the Queen must recognize who are the oppressors and who will unite against the Black Crown.

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Cate Pearce was homeschooled on a Christmas tree farm in rural Western Washington. At age eight she was fed-up with a plotline on Star Trek TNG so she wrote her own episodes on a Commodore 64. She has been a writer ever since, but only recently decided to share that information with you and the world.

Cate has two children which she delivered at-home with the assistance of saintly midwives. Cate is unapologetic in her fervor for feminism, queerness, and Christian faith. Aside from writing, her “day job” is to prepare organizations for response and recovery from catastrophic disasters. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.


Cate is giving away a Barnes & Noble gift card with this tour:

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