We’ve been obsessed with The Sandcastle Empire since we wrote this post almost a year and a half ago.  We kept tracking it in our 50 books to watch in 2017.  So you can imagine our joy to be asked to participate in this very unique and fun book tour ahead of next month’s release.  We’re even more excited to share our interview with Kayla Olson with you!


HarperTeen // June 6, 2017

When all hope is gone, how do you survive?

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.

THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE on Goodreads: here (to-read) + here (Listopia)

Film + foreign news: here



Kayla Olson


Kayla Olson lives in Texas, and can usually be found in near proximity to black coffee, the darkest chocolate, Scrivener, and an army of Sharpie highlighters.

Social media:

Twitter: @olsonkayla


Facebook: @authorkaylaolson

Blog: olsonkayla.wordpress.com



THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE was recently optioned for film by Paramount, with Leonardo DiCaprio/Appian Way producing.

Internationally, THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE is slated to hit shelves in Italy, France, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Brazil, Serbia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, and Germany.



We’ve all read the summary, but what is your 30-second elevator pitch for The Sandcastle Empire?

I usually describe it like this: a YA sci-fi/survival story set in the near future amid a future global war; when main character Eden escapes imprisonment and sets off for Sanctuary Island, she has high hopes for finding freedom there—but instead, it’s even deadlier than the world she left behind.


The topic of climate change is central to your story. What inspired you to tackle this subject?

At one point, while writing the book, it rained for an entire month in Austin—the floods it caused sparked the idea about, well, what would the fallout be if these relatively minor floods happened all along the coastline, over and over again, without ever giving the affected areas a chance to recover? What would happen to the people? Would they be displaced? Would there be a fight for medical/nutritional resources needed to survive? So often, in regards to the environment, the conversation centers on how to prevent climate change from getting worse—I thought it was fascinating (and a little frightening) to think about how our changing physical world could hypothetically affect the people and societies who populate it.


What are your favorite survivor books and/or movies?

I was absolutely blown away by Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN. I could go on and on about the many reasons I loved it, so if we ever meet at an event, be prepared for me to talk your ear off if the subject comes up! There were so many details and tiny nuances in the book that made it such a special, powerful read for me—I went in knowing absolutely nothing beyond “oops, a team accidentally stranded a guy on Mars…now what?” The story was so smart, and so captivating. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!

What are you doing to gear up for surviving your book release? (If you want to plug upcoming events, that’s great!)

It seems almost unreal that THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE will finally be on shelves in just a few short weeks—!! This month is full of behind-the-scenes prep work, like writing guest posts and doing interviews (like this one!), and making plans for all the events I’ll be doing after my release date! I’m planning a launch party at BookPeople (June 10th / Austin, TX), and am super thrilled to be doing a panel with some other amazing authors including Stephanie Garber, Roshani Chokshi, Kendare Blake, Alex London, and Tricia Levenseller (June 15th / South Irving Library in Irving, TX)—details on these events and more on my website’s events page! I’d love to meet you if you live in any of the areas I’ll be visiting. http://www.kaylaolson.com/events/

BONUS (meaning if you can contractually answer the question):  The last movie update we received was back in October for the cover reveal. Can we expect to hear more news soon?

Ahhh, yes, movie updates! Unfortunately, my lips are sealed when it comes to all things film—for now—but you can be sure I’ll be posting on Instagram and my other social pages if/when my team releases future updates into the world! (Instagram: @authorkaylaolson // Twitter: @olsonkayla)




Signed ARC of THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE (can be personalized upon request) //  write. read. repeat. tote bag  //  signed+personalized postcard  //  Anna Tovar print that reads “some things take time”  //  sprout bookmarks  //  TSE swag, including wolf sticker + wolf temporary tattoo—I drew the wolf myself!  //  ingredient kit to make cayenne-cinnamon-marshmallow hot chocolate (packaged in a test tube!), one of Eden’s favorite treats from before the war  //  {plant + tray not included} US Only

Prize #1



How to win: A scavenger hunt requires you to find all the clues! Each day of this tour will have a quote card and in order to be entered to win this amazing prize, simply share the graphics each day (7 total!) on social media with the hashtag #SurviveTheEmpire. Make sure you share all 7 graphics.

The prize: Copy of SECOND SIGHT, one of my favorite books on writing and revising, signed by author/editor Cheryl B. Klein // pre-order of THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE (represented here by second post card) //  write. read. repeat. tote bag  //  signed+personalized post card  //  Anna Tovar print that reads “some things take time”  //  sprout bookmarks  //  TSE swag, including wolf sticker + wolf temporary tattoo—I drew the wolf myself!  //  ingredient kit to make cayenne-cinnamon-marshmallow hot chocolate (packaged in a test tube!), one of Eden’s favorite treats from before the war  //  {plant + tray not included}

Prize #2

Here’s today’s clue!


Don’t miss all the stops and pick up all clues in the scavenger hunt!