Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Interview with Ava Zavora + Review!

Hello my lovely followers. I hope you're having a fun and groovy Tuesday night. Hopefully wherever you are, it's not as gloomy and humid as it is at the moment here in Wisconsin. Today I have for you not only a review of the novel Rosethorn by Ava Zavora, but an interview that she was kind enough to give to us here at BnP. My review follows the interview. I hope you enjoy it, and a huge thank you to Ava for stopping by!

In Rosethorn, Sera is from the Philippines. Is this a culture that you share with your protagonist?

I was born in the Philippines and grew up in the United States, so it felt quite natural to write about Sera's self-discovery as a half-Filipina. And I also wanted an excuse to incorporate one of my favorite pleasures in life, Filipino food :)

I have to admit, you did make me want to try some! What was your inspiration for writing this novel?

One day, I had this craving to read a novel about first love where the two lovers are driven apart by secrets. I couldn't find the story I wanted to read so I realized I had to write it.

Is Rosethorn your first book?

Rosethorn is my beloved first!

Let's say a movie executive offered you a deal for Rosethorn right now. Who would your dream cast be?

My dream cast:

Andrew: Without a doubt, a younger Paul Bettany comes the closest - tall, lean, lanky, blond and blue-eyed ... sigh.

Sera: Surprisingly, casting a half-Filipina, half-white heroine isn't that difficult. Shay Mitchell (half-Irish), for instance, would make a gorgeous lead. But as soon as I saw Catherine Giudici (half-Italian) from last season's The Bachelor, I immediately thought of Sera.

Stella: Many beautiful Filipina actresses can potentially be cast but Angelica Panganiban perfectly embodies her sexy, dramatic personality.

Image from

Alex - Matt Bomer nails this devilishly handsome, seductive player. He's loaded with charm but oh-so-bad for you.

I've heard of some writers that need to have a favorite pen or to be listening to a certain song while they write to channel creativity. Are there any methods or quirks that you have while you're writing?

Playlists! Before I even start writing, while I'm simply watching the story in my mind like a movie, and while I'm writing, I have to have music to stimulate me.

Where do you feel most inspired?

Unfortunately, I feel most inspired while I'm at work and can't write. At that point, I find it very hard to contain the untold story within me.

Me too, I'm almost most inspired during my classes. Go figure. Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?

I've always had these elaborate fantasies that I would spin out over weeks and months, all in my head. And then I realized these aren't just daydreams; they're actual stories!

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one book would you want to have with you?

My desert island book changes frequently but today I would love to be stranded with Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. Reading Cassandra's quirky, vivid narrative would be like having a friend to keep me company.

You write about a lot of places, such as Morocco and Paris, with very beautiful, poetic detail. Have you traveled to any of these places? If so, what is your favorite place that you have visited?

I am lucky to have been to Paris and Venice so everything you read is quite authentic. Sera's trip to Morocco - going to Marrakech and then spending the night in the Sahara - is a dream of mine. I've done research on my own and also consulted a friend who had traveled there. The most vibrant and stunning place I've ever visited is Istanbul. It affected me so much that I set one of my current works in progress (a fantasy thriller) there.

Oh, now I'm jealous! I've always wanted to visit the city of love. Speaking of which, love is without a doubt one of the most prevalent themes in Rosethorn- Can you tell us a bit about your first romance/boyfriend?

A fiery, falling star. My first relationship can only be characterized as mad, crazy love, the kind that could only happen because we were both very young and reckless.

Some women hit the gym, some eat ice cream. What's your personal secret to mending a broken heart?

The Taylor Swift method - WRITE about it! Whether you journal or write songs or fictionalize a painful love affair, it's therapy. (Warning to all potential boyfriends: break my heart and you're going to end up meeting an untimely and unpleasant death in my next novel :))

Hahaha. I can't agree more, that's how I cope too. Now, before we start to wrap this up, what piece of advice would you give to all the aspiring writers out there?

Write the story that only YOU can write. Even if you think it's not conventional or commercial. If you love it, then there are others who will love it too.

Thank you so much for talking with us today.

Before you go, just for fun, I have a few word associations. Just say the first thing that comes to mind.

LOVE: Vast.
TRUTH: Light.
HOME: Bed.
HEART: Blood.

Now here's my review!

Title: Rosethorn
Author: Ava Zavora
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: May 1st 2013
Source: Ava Zavora


Four Stars.

Sera may have traveled the world and seen beautiful sights, but the one place that will always stand out among the others: Rosethorn. Though others may see only a mansion, Sera sees the place where she met with her lover. The place holds an heir of magic and of sadness, of heartbreak and of good times long past. When her recent lover, Chase, asks her to move in with him in Paris, she replies that she must return home one last time- home to Rosethorn. When she runs into Andrew, old feelings are reawakened, and the reader won't know what will happen next.


All in all, I found this to be an enjoyable but sometimes slow read. So first, let's talk about the positives.

+I love the details of Sera's heritage that are woven into the novel. I admittedly know next to nothing about Filipino culture, and I think that Ava Zavora does a great job of educating the reader, without making it like a text book or history lesson, and without taking away from the main plots of the story.

+Jumping off of that, I appreciate that when a word wasn't in English, it was in italics. I've had issues with that in the past, and this approach was used well.

+Another thing that worked well in this novel was the use of flashback-like sequences to tell a broader story. In no part was I confused by the timeline or by what was going on.

+The settings and descriptions are both beautiful, making the reader want to travel alongside Sera and see what she wants to see. Even down to the colors of the flower petals, a vivid portrait is painted.

+I really like the concept of this book: secrets and lies run rampant. It makes for a dramatic, intense read that emotionally pulls at the reader. I was left questioning things and pondering characters' choices. I like a novel that isn't predictable.

There were only a few minor things that didn't rest so well with me. At parts, it seemed a little boring, almost as though I'd heard it before. This wasn't often, and not enough to "break" this story for me. Going off of that, this book slightly reminded me of Beautiful Creatures (a book that I couldn't even finish). The mansion, Rosethorn, along with a character named Serafina stirred up this novel, through no fault of the author or her story. This was merely my own skewed thinking.

For all of the above reasons, along with a twisting, romantic, dramatic plot filled with secrets and lies, I give this book four solid stars. Thank you so much to Ava Zavora, for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

In my childhood, I used to ride water buffaloes and wade in swamps. Nowadays, I write dark fairy tales and romantic novels about adventurous women.

Check out Ava's Goodreads page as well as her book, Rosethorn. Click the picture below for the Goodreads page. Rosethorn is available now on Amazon. Snag your copy right here.


  1. Jill - Thank you so much for the delightful questions and a very insightful review!


  2. Thank you so much for talking with me!

  3. What an amazing interview and wonderful review! It sounds like a really interesting read, and I might have to borrow it from you sometime :)