The Fading Dusk by Melissa Giorgio

(Smoke and Mirrors, #1)

Publication date: July 19th 2015

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


In the gritty city of Dusk, seventeen-year-old Irina makes her living as the street magician Bantheir’s assistant. The job isn’t glamorous, but she loves the crowds, the shows, and most of all, the illusion of magic. But Irina’s world is shattered the night she is arrested and charged as Bantheir’s accomplice to murder—murder by magic.

Real magic, the kind that’s been forbidden since the old wars.

Irina finds the idea of flashy showman Bantheir using actual magic to kill someone laughable, but she’s the only one who sees how ridiculous the claim is. But how can she convince everyone Bantheir is innocent when they’ve already made up their minds? Desperate, Irina must decide who she can trust to help her win her freedom. Is the surly, handsome Captain Leonid telling the truth when he says he believes Irina is innocent, or is he just using her to get to Bantheir? What about Aden, the sweet soldier and longtime fan of Irina’s who claims he’s on her side?

Irina said she wanted to know the truth, but when she stumbles across a dark secret that changes everything, will she be strong enough to survive?





Interview with the Author

1) Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did your background influence the genre you write in?

I’ve noticed that when I write fantasy stories, they always take place in densely populated cities. I think the reason for this is because I’ve lived in New York all my life. I’m not too far from Manhattan, which I try to visit as much as I can, and I also visited Brooklyn a lot as a kid to see my grandparents. My grandparents lived in an attached house on a narrow block where none of the houses had driveways. Everything was very close, which, as I know from my trips out of state, is not the case in other parts of the country. So when I set out to write The Fading Dusk, which takes place entirely in this one very crowded city, I made sure I described the areas to the best of my ability. As a lover of New York, I’m happy I’m able to share my favorite parts of the city with my readers.

2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?

As a little kid I always created characters and stories for them, but I was never one for writing the stories down. It wasn’t until I was in college and participated in National Novel Writing Month that I actually wrote and finished my first novel. I’ve been steadily writing since then, and I’ve completed thirteen novels!

3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?

Too many to list! Just a few: JK Rowling, Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, Holly Black, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen, Becky Albertalli, Diana Wynne Jones, Scott Westerfeld, Kristin Cashore, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater…

I think most authors say this, but JK Rowling was the one who really made me say, “I need to be a writer!” As previously mentioned, I always wanted to be a writer, but there were a few years where I lost sight of that dream. Everyone in my life always told me I couldn’t do it or it wasn’t a realistic dream, and I listened to them. Big mistake. After reading Harry Potter, my desire to be a writer came back tenfold. The thing I love most about the Harry Potter books is the characters and how much you end up loving (or despising) them. Despite being wizards, they’re so real. When I set out to write my own books, I was determined to create characters that felt like they were actual people whom you could meet on the street.

4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?

I have a full-time job, so any writing I do is in the evening (except for my days off, when I try to write in the mornings). I try to check my email, Twitter, Facebook, and all of those distracting websites first and then write. Some days I’m good and can write hundreds of words without checking to see if someone has tweeted in the last five minutes, and others I’m not. If I see myself getting too distracted, I will disconnect the internet from my computer. Unfortunately the moment I do that, I usually need to look something up, and the internet comes back on. This makes it sound like I never getting any writing done, but I promise I do! Also, I never set out to write a certain amount of words that day. I hope for one thousand, but if it’s just a couple of hundred, I’m okay with that. As long as I get something written, I consider the day a success!

5) How did you come up with the idea for your book, “The Fading Dusk?”

I was having a conversation with my dad and the term “smoke and mirrors” came up. For some reason that term stuck with me, invoking images of a girl wandering the gritty streets of a dark and gloomy city. I needed to know who that girl was and where she was going, so I started outlining what would eventually become The Fading Dusk.

6) What do you think sets your book apart from all the other books in the genre on the shelves?

It’s hard to answer this without spoiling the book, but there’s a lot of surprises in my book. You may think you know which direction the story is headed and then it veers in a completely different direction.

7) Who is your favorite character in your book and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?

I like Vernen a lot! He’s a soldier and Captain Leonid’s best friend, and they’re also complete opposites. While Leonid is very grumpy and surly, Vernen likes to laugh and is always teasing Leonid. For some reason Leonid tolerates this! But that’s just the way Vernen is; he can get along with everyone because he’s a generally nice guy. He’s also incredibly loyal and has your back no matter what.

That said, I don’t think we’re very alike? If anything, I’m more like grumpy Leonid!

8) Which scene in your book did you have the most fun writing?

The early scenes between Irina and Leonid were so much fun (but also difficult) because they don’t get along at all. I pictured them as two alley cats fighting, actually. As captain, Leonid is used to order and everyone listening to him, and Irina, who has just been thrown into jail for something she didn’t do, has no desire to cooperate. Their back-and-forth banter made me laugh as I was writing it!

9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?

I hope they went in thinking the book was going to turn out one way and were completely surprised with what actually happened! Also, I hope they laughed at the funny parts. I’m always worried I’m the only one who gets my sense of humor. Well, me and my beta reader, author Amy McNulty. She always leaves me laughing emoji in the comments when I’ve made her laugh out loud.

10) What are your hopes for this book?

The Fading Dusk is one of my favorites, and I’m just extremely happy that I’m able to share it with the world. I hope people read and enjoy it and say, “I can’t wait for book two!”

11) What do you have in store next for your readers?

The second Smoke and Mirrors book will be out in 2016. It’s already written, and I’m in the process of wrapping up edits right now. After that’s done, I will be working on the third book in the series! I also want to find time to write a YA contemporary (I have an idea, but I need to sit down and outline it first!), but that won’t be for another year at least.

Thanks for hosting me today! I had a great time!

About the Author

Melissa Giorgio is a native New Yorker who graduated from Queens College with a degree in English. She’s always dreamed of being a writer and has been creating stories (mostly in her head) since she was a little girl. Also an avid reader, Melissa loves to devour thick YA novels. When not reading or writing, she enjoys watching animated films, listening to music by her favorite Japanese boy band, or exploring Manhattan. She is also the author of the Silver Moon Saga.


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