Andrew Shvarts is an American author with Russian roots. Even though he was born in the Soviet Union, Shvarts has no recollection of his childhood in his native country. He left the Soviet Union for the US at the age of four.
Order of Royal Bastards Series
As a child, the author was quite passionate about storytelling. He pursued it in every form he could find it, not only in movies but also in video games (the narrative kind) and RPGs. As a teen, he consumed innumerable quantities of straight-to DVD horror movies.
A student of Vassar College from where he got his English and Russian literature degrees, Shvarts became a writer, producer, and designer of video games. He specializes in narrative mobile games. Though, most people know the color-blind and tone-deaf author more for his YA fiction than anything else.
Shvarts’ debut novel was ‘Royal Bastards’, a book that follows the exploits of Tilla, a royal bastard with lofty ambitions. As a child, Andrew Shvarts was obsessed with Stephen King, mesmerized by his grounded characters and the adventures they encountered, most of which were an intricate blend of the amazing and the mundane.
Later on, he discovered and fell for George R. R. Martin whose work changed the way he perceived fantasy. When he was conceiving ‘Royal Bastards’, Shvarts was drawn to the idea of teenage protagonists in the vein of the characters of ‘The Breakfast Club’ being framed for murder and going on the run.
Even though his story was YA, the author was inspired by the violence and intrigue, not to mention the grounded world-building of George R.R. Martin. These elements are starkly visible in the author’s work, though they are viewed through a YA lens.
The decision to use a female protagonist happened organically. Shvarts believed that the world was already intimately familiar with male bastards. He concluded that a female bastard had a higher chance of piquing their interest. At no point did it occur to him to use a male protagonist.
The difference in gender did not present any difficulties for the writer. To Shvarts, Tilla was just another character. He was sure that, by giving her all the fears and motivations expected of a great protagonist, people would respond positively to her.
Andrew Shvarts writes by the seat of his pants. He doesn’t bother to plot his stories. Though, by the time he sits down to write, the author has a rough idea of how things will end. He starts from the beginning and figures things out as he goes.
He is very fidgety, especially in calm and silent situations. He prefers to write from home because the setting gives him the freedom to be as hyperactive as possible. Shvarts can’t just sit in place. He has to pace back and forth, twirling a pen, jumping, making a mess, and so much more. This is as he figures out his dialog and thinks through his twists. The process has its weaknesses but it always produces results.
He encourages aspiring writers to experiment. He spent so many years writing dark fantasy short stories and getting nowhere. It wasn’t until a job forced him to start telling fluffy, family-friendly stories that his perception of writing changed. This is why he implores new writers to dip their toes into genres outside their comfort zone.
Best Andrew Shvarts Books
Shvarts loves authors like Scott Lynch and Leigh Bardugo that stretch the boundaries of fantasy, with some of the best books in his bibliography including:
Royal Bastard: When she was young, Lord Kent adored Tilla. But then his trueborn children entered the picture and Tilla, the bastard, was discarded.
Now 16, Tilla lives an interesting life with the other bastards. When Lyriana, a visiting princess chooses to sit at the Bastard’s table, she causes quite a stir. Tilla decides to lead the sheltered Royal on a spontaneous escapade at night, unaware of the crime she is about to stumble upon; a crime that will force Tilla and the princess to flee for their lives.
City of Bastards: Tilla wants to feel at ease in Lightspire. Now that the Volaris King is protecting her, she knows she’s safe. But the fact that her father is a traitor has marked her. People won’t stop staring. She also can’t forget Jax’s death.
When a classmate dies, the authorities attempt to dismiss it as suicide. But then a mysterious man attacks Tilla, drawing her into a conspiracy surrounding a shadowy cult.
When Does The Next Andrew Shvarts book come out?
Andrew Shvarts doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is War of the Bastards and was released on June, 4th 2019. It is the newest book in the Royal Bastards Series.