Check out a Q&A with the author of this YA dystopian... An Outcast and an Ally by Caitlin Lochner (Interview & #Giveaway) @XpressoTours

Welcome to my tour stop! I'm thrilled to welcome author Caitlin Lochner to my
blog today for an interview! Check that out, as well as the tour giveaway, below...

An Outcast and an Ally
(A Soldier and a Liar #2)
By Caitlin Lochner
YA SciFi, Dystopian
Paperback & ebook, ? Pages
April 21st 2020 by Swoon Reads


Dark secrets and conflicting loyalties abound as four superpowered teens are torn apart by war in Caitlin Lochner’s An Outcast and an Ally, the epic YA sequel to A Soldier and a Liar.

Lai, Jay, Al, and Erik are on the run after the military accuses them of being traitors. Tensions between everyone are high, but they have to stick together if they want to survive. And somehow stop the war that’s now in full swing.

But when Erik returns to the rebels to find answers about his past, Lai, Al, and Jay have no choice but to go to the Order―a peace coalition bent on stopping the rebels and dissolving the enmity between gifted and ungifted. However, the longer the war drags on, the more Lai’s long-kept secrets threaten to destroy everything she’s ever worked for. Sparks fly as the team constantly questions whether they can trust one another and everyone tries to navigate a war that will change everything.

Filled with the same high-stakes superpowered action and complex relationships as A Soldier and A Liar, Caitlin’s first book, An Outcast and an Ally brings this story to a dramatic and satisfying close.

(Affiliate links included.)


For those new to A Soldier and a Liar series, what should they know?

Where to begin! I guess the basics you need to know about the first book is that it’s about a team of four superpowered teen soldiers coming together to try to stop a war—except they all have secrets and can’t work together for the life of them. They finally start learning how to grudgingly get along, only to have everything fall apart in so many different ways for each of them at the end of the first book. An Outcast and an Ally picks up pretty directly after that and is the conclusion to this duology.

Would you tell us a little more about the main characters?

I will try to do this without giving away spoilers, so if I’m a bit vague, please forgive me! There are four main characters, and in An Outcast and an Ally, they all get their own viewpoint chapters. Lai is a mind reader working with a secret society to try to bring about peace between the gifted and ungifted, but she’s definitely not above stooping to some, uh, questionable means to achieve her goals. Jay is basically a precious cinnamon roll with a strong sense for fairness and compassion; he’s also the calm, capable leader of the team who is trying to break out of his people-pleasing tendencies. Al is an incredibly strong, confident soldier seeking revenge, with a strong sense of justice and loyalty; definitely a friend you want to have, and in many ways, the emotional heart of the team. Erik is an aloof telepath who lost his memories not too long ago and doesn’t trust anyone or anything; all he wants is to find out about his past and who he is, but he starts to become torn as he finds himself caring more and more about this thrown-together team.

What one piece of advice would they each give about war?

I have a feeling Lai would say that sometimes you have to make hard decisions to win a war and that you have to do what’s necessary—and would probably add, belatedly, “within reason.” Jay would almost definitely advise trying to handle everything peacefully and diplomatically first, only resorting to violence as a last means. Al would probably advise honing your physical strength so no one can defeat you in battle and so that you can have your friends’ backs. I think Erik would treat it pretty jokingly and just say to not get involved with something so troublesome.

What aspect of AN OUTCAST AND AN ALLY do you love the most?

There’s so much that I’m not sure I could choose any one thing! I’m so excited I could write in four alternating POVs in this book. It’s something I’d done in all the early drafts of A Soldier and a Liar and ended up having to cut down to two during revisions. It was definitely the right decision, but I was always pretty sad to lose Al and Erik’s perspectives. And this book is the culmination of everything! I got to explore a lot of subplots and character arcs I hinted at in the first book and show a lot of growth in each of the characters. If A Soldier and a Liar is about the team coming together and learning to trust one another, An Outcast and an Ally is about each of them learning from their mistakes and growing as individuals. And, you know, dealing with the consequences of a full-blown war. That’s always fun to write about.

Did you find anything especially challenging writing book two in comparison to book one?

There were a few things for sure. I think probably the hardest challenge was wishing I could go back and add things to the first book to better build up to some of the events that occur in book two. I’d planned all the major plot points from the beginning, but looking back, I realize I didn’t foreshadow as well as I could’ve because I was so intent on what was happening in the first book. The other big challenge was making sure I addressed all the subplots and major plot points in a satisfying way. I didn’t want to tie everything up too neatly since that often feels too convenient and tidy to me, but I wanted to make sure I covered all the big stuff.

What’s one of your hobbies or something we might not know about you?

I have a lot of weird and random hobbies, but I love scrapbooking! I have a ton of fun choosing pictures to print, picking paper, arranging the photos with stickers, and writing captions. I also usually have a movie playing for upbeat background noise; I generally switch between Roger and Hammerstein’s 1997 Cinderella—the BEST version—and Pixar’s Coco.

What book are you currently reading or what are three books on your tbr?

So a friend recently introduced me to The Queen’s Thief series and OH MAN am I absolutely hooked. There are five books out right now with the final one coming out later this year and I currently can’t stop reading them. They’re just so good?? There’s a lot of great political intrigue, characterization, clever writing, secrets, and action, and I just love everything about these books to pieces so far. I’m currently on the third book, The King of Attolia, and the fourth and fifth books are definitely the next on my tbr.

What are you working on next?

I have two ongoing projects right now, one of them being incredibly new, haha. One is a literary fiction retelling of the Minotaur, the maze, and Ariadne interrogating ideas of heroism. The other is my next YA book, about a crew of misfits with secrets (my brand, apparently) coming together to try to find a missing princess. They’re pretty different styles, but I’m really psyched about both of them!

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to an Amazon affiliate link.)

About the Author

I’m a nerd, traveler, and architecture enthusiast who worked as an assistant English teacher in Tokyo for three years before pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida. I love reading and writing anything with magic, adventure, and complex found-family relationships. I can typically be found absorbed in books, games, or manga, or else obsessing over said books, games, and manga.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Print copy of An Outcast and An Ally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The first book has been on my tbr since before release and now, of course, this second book is on my list too. Have you read them? What did you like about the interview?

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