Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ages 13+

1293. North Wales. Ten years into English rule.

Cecily would give anything to leave Caernarvon and go home. Gwenhwyfar would give anything to
see all the English leave.

Neither one is going to get her wish.

Behind the city walls, English burgesses govern with impunity. Outside the walls, the Welsh are
confined by custom and bear the burden of taxation, and the burgesses plan to keep it that way.
Cecily can’t be bothered with boring things like the steep new tax or the military draft that requires Welshmen to serve in the king’s army overseas. She has her hands full trying to fit in with the town’s privileged elite, and they don’t want company.

Gwenhwyfar can’t avoid these things. She counts herself lucky to get through one more day, and
service in Cecily’s house is just salt in the wound. But the Welsh are not as conquered as they seem, and the suffering in the countryside is rapidly turning to discontent. The murmurs of revolt may be Gwenhwyfar’s only hope for survival – and the last thing Cecily ever hears.

“[An] unusually honest portrait of the effects of power…[Coats] offers us a potent historical novel.” –Horn Book (starred review)

“Never opting for the easy characterization, debut author Coats compellingly re-creates this
occupation from both sides. … Brilliant: a vision of history before the victors wrote it.” - Kirkus
(starred review)

J. Anderson Coats's book will be released on April 17th. She took a moment out of her busy schedule today to spend some time with us and share some insights into her writing experience. Be sure to scroll down to the end for a chance to win a signed copy of THE WICKED AND THE JUST along with some other goodies! 

1. Tell us about your book in one sentence.

Medieval teens behaving badly in English-occupied Wales.

2. What inspired you to write this book?

Medieval Wales doesn’t get a lot of attention despite the fact that it was a complicated, dynamic place.  The native rulers managed to resist outright conquest by their English neighbors until 1283, but then the victorious English fast-tracked a series of castles and walled towns to maintain control of the area and the people.

What interested me was this question: Even when granted a lot of special privileges - including significant tax breaks - how did English settlers live in a place where they were outnumbered twenty to one by a hostile, recently-subjugated population, and how did the Welsh live so close to people who’d done the subjugating, especially given the burdens placed on them by their new masters?

3. What books did you enjoy reading as a kid?

I read like a buzz saw when I was a kid, but my favorites were series books - THE SADDLE CLUB, the LITTLE HOUSE books, THE BABYSITTERS CLUB, and anything by Marguerite Henry.  I liked sinking into a world and staying there a long time.

4. What books to you enjoy reading now?

I’ll read just about anything that can keep me guessing up to the end.

5. Tell us a little about your journey to publication.

I wrote my first novel at age thirteen.  It was about a hundred pages long, typed, single-spaced, and it was really bad.  By age eighteen, I’d written five more, each slightly less bad than the last.  I started querying at age twenty, and I queried four novels over ten years before I wrote and sold The Wicked and the Just.  Ray Bradbury famously said that your first million words don’t count.  I think it was more like two million for me.  But then within a month in 2010, I went from unagented to having a book contract – it was a whirlwind.

6. What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now I’m working on several projects.  One is a companion novel to The Wicked and the Just which follows Maredydd ap Madog, whose father is the ringleader of the rebellion of 1294, as he negotiates the future his father wants for him and the future he wants for himself.  Then there’s a standalone book that’s set in twelfth-century Wales about a warband, an abduction, a badly-timed war, a charismatic but mercurial king’s son and a girl who would do about anything for a chance at a normal life. 


Ms. Coats has graciously agreed to provide 1 signed copy of her book along with a replica medieval pilgrim badge and a swag pack to giveaway! 

To be eligible for the drawing, just leave a comment below with your email address so I can contact you if you win. Extra entries will be given for tweeting this post or putting it on Facebook. Just let me know what you've done.  

This giveaway will end on April 23rd.


  1. The Wicked and the Just sounds like a great read. (I love the cover as well.)
    The inspiration question for the book is quite powerful and got me to thinking.
    Like the author, I LOVED reading the Little House books. ;)

    Thank you for the giveaway.

    nicnac63 AT hotmail DOT com

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks for sharing your links in our Interview Wednesday roundup, Laurisa. I've added your blog to the TeachingAuthors blog roll.

  4. Thank you for the interesting review & giveaway!! Kudos to Ms Coats for having the dedication to write her first novel at 13!!! So many of us let our dreams fall by the wayside, but she kept on working at her writing and I think that is commendable :D

    Mary D
    zenrei57 at hotmail dot com

  5. Thanks for the great interview. I am definitely going to check this book out as soon as I can get my hands on it.


  6. I am really glad to be seeing more historical fiction titles for a younger audience. Thanks for a great interview!

  7. lovely interview! And I agree, I love books that keep me guessing until the end! Thanks for the giveaway!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  8. So excited for this giveaway! Thank you!

  9. This looks great. I'm Welsh (living in Tucson AZ) and have three adopted children (who are half Japanese, half Hispanic, and half African American). The kids are proud of their Welsh heritage. This book would be perfect for their ages (10, 12, and 13) so my fingers are crossed :_
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around # 800 on the A through Z list)
    p.s. My full name is Rhiannon which is as Welsh as they get (from the Mabinogion)

  10. This is such a wonderful book, one of the best historical novels I've read in ages and ages. It's just plain GRIPPING!! And deep. And thoughtful. Ahh, how I love THE WICKED AND THE JUST! Don't enter me in the giveaway, though, because I'm looking forward to picking up a hardcover copy in a bookstore this weekend.

    Thanks for this interview, Laurisa and J!

    Anne Nesbet

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. ooohhh-I just read a great review of this at Random Musings of a Bibliophile, and mentally added this to my tbr list! thanks for the givewaway and interview!

  13. i enjoyed the interview! looking forward to reading this one!

    thanks for the chance to win!

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  14. Great inteview! I was also a huge Babysitters Club fan growing up. :)

    I seriously hope that Ray Bradbury quote is true...I'm probably on 2.5 million myself, waiting for magic to happen! :)

    i'd love to be entered in the drawing if possible. This book sounds so interesting.

    I posted the interview on Facebook

    And on Twitter!/Laurelaireads/status/190265938459897856

    Thanks again for the great interview and for the chance to win this lovely book! :)

  15. Thank you for the giveaway and the interview, I would love to win.

  16. i enjoyed the interview

    thanks for the chance to win!

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  17. I hadn't thought about using Wales as the background for a novel. Once you think about it, tho, most of the books are either Englsnd, Ireland, and sometines Scotland. Makes me want to read the book even more. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  18. Sounds exciting! And love to read about less-traveled times and places in history.

    katyroo AT gmail DOT com

    **Katy M
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

  19. what a great interview! This sounds like a really good book : )

    ame1184 at gmail dot com

  20. thanks for the interview and giveaway!
    I tweeted at!/LexieBookBug/status/190484213554872320
    lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

  21. Great interview! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  22. Woohoo, I'm so excited about this book! Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

    pherlaithiel (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. This isn't something I would normally read but this book sounds awesome. I think I could get into it fairly easily. I have a new title to add to the TBR pile. :) Thanks for the interview and giveaway


  24. this book looks so awesome! thanks so much for the contest!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  25. i tweeted here:!/in_the_hammock/status/190931681308450816

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  26. What a unique choice of topic. Nice to meet you J. Love the one sentence synopsis.

  27. First off, what a great cover!
    Second, I think the book sounds unique and I would love to read it.
    Thanks for the chance for us to read it.!
    very cool.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. This sounds really good! I'd love to read it! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  30. tweet!/CarolAnnM/status/192730284540690432

    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  31. This book sounds great I would love to read it!

  32. I especially enjoy books set in unfamiliar places. The Wicked and the Just sounds like an unique and fascinating story.

    hg195 at yahoo dot com.

  33. Thank you!


    lisalueddecke at yahoo dot com .

  34. This really sounds good! So glad to have discovered this book here.

    Tweeted and shared on fb


  35. That's a pretty amazing one-sentence pitch for the book! This is a great interview - I have to admit that I don't know much about Wales, so I'm quite intrigued to learn more.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ashleylovesbooksblog [at] gmail [dot] com