Adrienne Young on her latest novel Fable, its sequel Namesake, and what she’s reading now

Fable by Adrienne Young. Image Courtesy St. Martin's Press
Fable by Adrienne Young. Image Courtesy St. Martin's Press /

Author Adrienne Young chats with Culturess about her latest high seas adventure novel Fable and gives us a hint at what we can expect to see in its sequel.

Author Adrienne Young’s latest novel, Fable, hit shelves earlier this September, an exciting, feminist pirate tale that is a refreshing change of pace in the current landscape of YA fiction.

And it’s a very different sort of story from Young’s previous books. Sky in the Deep and The Girl the Sea Gave Back are both historical tales about butt-kicking Viking women, set in a world shot through with magic and framed by forests and fjords.

But Fable is a fast-paced high-seas adventure, full of betrayal, nautical lore, and dangerous cutthroats, featuring a heroine that’s willing to do anything to survive.

Culturess got the chance to chat with Young herself about what makes this story so compelling, how Fable compares to her other heroines, and what to expect from the upcoming sequel, Namesake.

Culturess: First, for those who haven’t read Fable yet, can you summarize the story a little bit for us and why our readers might want to give it a look? 

Adrienne Young: Fable is the story of a girl who has been surviving for the last four years on an island, where her father left her.

Since then, she’s spent every day trying to get off and go and find him. But when the reunion doesn’t go as planned, she’s forced to trust a mysterious trading crew and make her own way in the treacherous world of the Narrows.

Culturess: What do you think makes Fable stand out from other YA fantasy/adventures that are coming out this Fall?

Young: Fable is set in a seafaring world and there is a lot of adventure, but I think the thing that really sets it apart is the relationship dynamics that are at the heart of the story.

It’s about fathers and daughters, first love, friendship, and found family.

Culturess: The setting and worldbuilding of Fable are so incredibly detailed and rich. Can you tell us a little bit about what goes into creating the world of these mercenaries and the dangerous seas they inhabit? 

Young: The danger in the Narrows is multi-faceted, from storms that sink ships to traders who will do anything to stay on top. Even on the crew level, there are secrets.

Having these different layers gave me a lot to work with and created this sense of danger lurking around every turn. It also helped to develop these corners of the world that I didn’t originally have in focus. I had so much fun exploring it.

Culturess: One of my favorite things about your heroines is that they’ve all been forced to learn how to take care of themselves in non-traditional ways. How would you say that Fable compares as a heroine to Eelyn (from Sky in the Deep) and Tova (from The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Young: I think they would definitely get along! Fable and Eelyn have a lot in common. They are both really fierce and physically strong, but both vulnerable. I would say that Eelyn is a lot angrier than Fable is, but she’s at a different point in her own grief process. Together, they would be an unstoppable duo.

As for Tova, she and Fable are both strategizers and thinkers, but Tova is much more lost. Fable has a strong sense of what she wants and what her goals are and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

Culturess: Can you give us any hints about what’s to come in Namesake?

Young: The only thing I can really tell you without spoiling is that while FABLE explores a lot about Fable’s father and her relationship with him, NAMESAKE explores Fable’s mother, her past, and her secrets. I’m so excited for people to read!

Culturess: What are you yourself reading these days? Not like my TBR pile needs to get any higher, but I am always curious to know what authors think is worth checking out!

Young: I’ve been reading more books in the adult category this year than I usually do. I’ve been on a Tana French kick and also have been working my way through Juliet Marillier’s different fantasy series.

Next. Fable is a thrilling high seas adventure with a feminist twist. dark

Fable is available now. Namesake will hit shelves in March of 2021.