Dystopian YA series advances spine-tingling story of forbidden love, resilience in the face of insurmountable odds

NYT bestseller Emily Colin to add sequel, short story collection to fantasy set

Wilmington, N.C.What do you do when the victory you’ve been fighting for is doomed to break your heart?

In “Siege of the Seven Sins,” (Aug. 3, Blue Crow Publishing), New York Times bestseller Emily Colin’s follow-up to her Foreword Indies-finalist YA novel, rogue bellators Eva Marteinn and Ari Westergaard have escaped the restrictive world of the Commonwealth and would like nothing more than to leave it behind forever.

But for Eva in particular, it’s not that simple. She is the weapon the Commonwealth wants — and they’ll stop at nothing to get her back. For years, Ari has seen Eva as his temptation and his secret, his virtue and his sin. Now that they’re finally free, he wants what he’s been craving — to start a new life with her … together.

But Eva is keeping a devastating secret of her own: The very victory the two of them have been fighting for is doomed to break both their hearts. Now she faces an impossible decision: Be the face of the revolution she’s dedicated her life to fueling and abandon the boy she loves — or sacrifice everything she’s fought for to stand by his side.

“This is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. ‘Siege of the Seven Sins’ has it all — heart-stopping action, breathtaking characters, high stakes, and a thrilling story, all wrapped up in beautiful prose. What more could you ask for?”
— Madeline Dyer, SIBA Award-winning author of the Untamed series

The Seven Sins Series
Emily Colin | Blue Crow Publishing | YA Dystopian Fantasy
“Siege of the Seven Sins” Book 2 | Paperback | Aug. 3, 2021 | 978-1-947834-60-6 | $15.99
Ebook | 978-1-947834-58-3 | $4.99

“Shadows of the Seven Sins” Short Story Collection
Ebook | June 2, 2021 | $2.99

In the oppressive world of the Commonwealth, citizens live and die by the rules of the Seven Deadly Sins. Attachment is punishable by death … but all the rules in the world can’t stop people from falling in love. Fighting back against the High Priests who make the Commonwealth’s rules and the vicious Bellatorum warriors who enforce them is terrifying — but for love, people will take chances they’d never dare to otherwise. For love, people will do terrible — and wonderful — things. Dive deeper into the stories of your favorite characters and meet new ones; discover dark secrets; and witness the courage of rebels who risk their lives — again and again — for love.

“Sword of the Seven Sins” Book 1
Available now | Paperback | 978-1947834460 | $14.99

Eva Marteinn never wanted to be a killer. Raised in the Commonwealth, where citizens live and die by the code of the Seven Sins, Eva is sickened by the barbaric punishments the High Priests inflict. When she’s Chosen as the first female bellator, Eva is devastated. But she is inordinately gifted at the very role she abhors. When she falls for her mentor, Ari Westergaard, she knows they should do anything to avoid each other. Balanced on a razor’s edge of desire and betrayal, the two uncover a secret that could overturn the Commonwealth itself. Eva must decide to either turn her back on Ari, and remain loyal to her home — or stake her life on the boy she’s come to love.

“Sacrifice of the Seven Sins” Novella
Available now | Ebook | 978-1-947834-59-0 | Free

Born in the Commonwealth of Ashes, Ari Westergaard has known little but violence and deprivation. One day, he sees a girl dare to defy a High Priest … and falls hopelessly in love. Ari’s feelings for Eva Marteinn are forbidden, and though they have never spoken, his thoughts of her sustain him as he survives in a world where cruelty is the norm and kindness is for the weak. But when Ari is faced with a fellow citizen in need of protection, he must make a difficult choice: Stand up for what he believes in — or pay the ultimate price.

Praise for Emily Colin and the Seven Sins Series

“Even better than the first book, ‘Siege of the Seven Sins’ is a one-sitting read, not because it’s short, but because it’s impossible to stop reading once you start. With an intriguing world, an impossible love story, and characters I both loved and loved to hate, the stakes are high. Enemies are closing in on Eva and Ari, but the most dangerous thing of all might be what’s happening inside Eva. What if love was a death sentence? This is a series everyone should know about.”
— M. Lynn, USA Today-bestselling author of of the Queens of the Fae series

“‘Siege of the Seven Sins’ was at least as thrilling as its predecessor, but even more heart-wrenching and blood-pumping because we’ve fallen in love with Ari and Eva. We’re so invested in their survival and happiness, especially when Colin never pulls a punch and never leads her readers down a predictable path.”
— Karissa Laurel, author of The Stormbourne Chronicles

“A beautifully crafted story with so many intense moments I couldn’t stop reading.
This is the best book I’ve read in a long time.”
— YA Books Central

“A hot, fast-paced story you don’t want to miss.”
— Caitlin Sinead, author of “Heartsick”

“This book was amazing from the haunting prologue to the last page.
The sizzling romance between the two main characters was everything … highly recommend!”
— @womanon

“A rollicking ride through forbidden love and deadly adventure …
I haven’t ached for love like this to conquer all since Tris and Four.”
— Leigh Statham, Author of the Daughter Trilogy

“A romantic dystopian with a fantastic — and unexpected — twist …
‘Seven Sins’ is powerful, sexy, hopeful, and unsettling.”
— Heidi Ayarbe, award-winning author of “Freeze Frame”

“An absolutely mind-blowing, spine-tingling, action-packed extravaganza … an electrifying, imaginative, phenomenally well written book. The tension, banter and angst blazes.”
— Emerald Book Reviews


EMILY COLIN’S debut novel, “The Memory Thief” was a New York Times bestseller and a Target Emerging Authors Pick. She is also the author of “The Dream Keeper’s Daughter” (Ballantine Books). Her young adult titles include the anthology “Wicked South: Secrets and Lies” and the Seven Sins series, both from Blue Crow Publishing, as well as the anthology “Unbound: Stories of Transformation, Love, and Monsters” (Five Points Press). Regardless of whether she’s writing for adults or teens, all of her books feature love stories and supernatural twists.

Emily’s diverse life experience includes organizing a Coney Island tattoo and piercing show, hauling fish at a dolphin research center, roaming New York City as an itinerant teenage violinist, helping launch two small publishing companies, and working to facilitate community engagement in the arts. Originally from Brooklyn, Emily lives in coastal North Carolina with her family. She loves chocolate, is addicted to tiramisu, and dislikes anything containing beans. You can find her trying to do yoga, with her nose buried in a book, or hanging out at www.emilycolin.com.

Follow Emily Colin on social media:
Facebook: @emilyacolin | Twitter: @emilyacolin | Instagram: @emily_colin

In an interview, Emily Colin can discuss:

  • How the Seven Sins series upends typical dystopian YA fantasy tropes
  • How the series examines themes of personal freedom and choice
  • Pivoting to writing YA after a successful career in romance and women’s fiction
  • Writing romance for YA/adult audiences and how not to win the Bad Sex in Fiction Award
  • Making reading/storytelling accessible to youth and teens with dyslexia and ADHD
  • The intersection of creativity and anxiety/illness and working through challenges
  • The creative writing process, including inspiration, plotting, pantsing, outlining and more
  • Building your author community, including finding and fostering international collaboration
  • Traditional, small press, and indie publishing from an author’s perspective
  • Hacks for balancing her writing, teaching and editing careers with motherhood
  • The importance of community engagement in the arts and creative youth development

An interview with Emily Colin

1. Given that your career as an author began in women’s fiction/romance, why did you start writing YA fiction? What caused your interest in this younger audience?

I started writing YA because I was reading so much of it — especially Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Tomi Adeyemi, and lots of other fabulous authors. I found myself drawn to the extremes that YA fiction naturally embraces — first love, first kiss, first breakup, etc. — as well as the emotional highs and lows that teenagers experience. (I just reread that last sentence and realized that it includes a horrible pun. But you know what? I’m leaving it. You’re welcome.) The more I read, the more I felt inspired to write a YA series of my own — especially after attending YALLFest in Charleston, which was just amazing! Much like my adult books, my YA series features love stories with supernatural twists. If it’s got lots of kissing and a hint (or more) of the paranormal, I’m all in!

2. What were the inspirations behind writing the Seven Sins series?

I was inspired to write this series for a couple of reasons. When I started writing “Sword of the Seven Sins” in 2015, I was deeply disconcerted by America’s political situation. I expand on this below in greater detail, but in a very real way, writing the series offered me a creative way to cope with the anxiety that the 2016 election fostered. I was also inspired by the idea of a society ruled by the Seven Deadly Sins. Lust, pride, envy, greed, wrath, gluttony, sloth … so many of these represent the extremes of human behavior. What would happen, I wondered, if these were turned inside out and used against people? What might such a society look like? What if love was forbidden, lust was a death sentence … and my two main characters fell hard for each other? And so “Sword of the Seven Sins” was born.

3. Did the political situation in America at the time you were writing the book play into the story, and if so, how?

Definitely. Back in 2015, everyone kept telling me Donald Trump couldn’t win the election, but I believed he could — even worse, that he would. And the more I thought about it, the more I kept spinning what-if scenarios: What if he wins? What if he wins, and he’s really a puppet of the Russian government, because of their shared business interests?

What if the white supremacists who despise Barack Obama believe they can elect Trump as their candidate, and then further their agenda of ignorance, hatred, and violence? (As a Jewish woman, this hit home on a personal as well as a moral level.) What if those supremacists try to stage a coup? What if the coup is successful, and then our country splinters into mini-strongholds that use religion to control their inhabitants? That’s basically where my mind went — and as I said above, I used the series as a sort of creative therapy to work through my anxiety. I will say that I began to feel a bit like the prophet Cassandra, as more and more of my worries began to materialize. I think I should’ve decided to write a book about margaritas, chocolate fondue, and afternoons by the pool instead.

4. Why did you decide to write the prequel novella and short stories set in the Seven Sins universe? Has that changed the way you decided to tell the story?

I originally decided to write the prequel novella because my publisher suggested it — and I had so much fun with it that it spawned an idea in my mind. I’d been reading Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter short story collections, and I thought — why can’t I do that with Seven Sins? It’ll give me a way to deepen the world of the series and stay in touch with readers between books, and then maybe I can bring all the stories together as a collection. I pitched the idea to my publisher, they agreed, and here we are!

In terms of whether it’s changed how I decided to tell the story — I think it has, in the best possible ways. It’s given me insight into minor and new characters that I might not otherwise have had, which in turn has influenced what I wanted to do with Books 2 and 3. It’s been a lot of extra work — but so, so worth it!

5. How, in your mind, does character development and experience play into the creation of a naturally intense story?

Absolutely. When I teach writing, I always tell my students that before they do anything else, they need to understand their characters’ goals, obstacles, essential wounds, and true needs. If the goal is strong enough, the obstacle large enough, and the need powerful enough, then the story will naturally be intense — no matter what genre you’re writing. Readers will want to know what happens, because you’ve set up the characters’ arcs so clearly. Before I write a word, I make sure those elements of any book I’m working on are as sharp as they can be. Then I interweave the plot with each characters’ goals, obstacles, wounds, and needs — and the intensity bleeds onto the page.

6. As a mother, editor and writing teacher, how do you balance your time? Are there any productivity hacks that you’ve learned over the years?

Oh, gosh. This is a tough one. I think the most important one I’ve learned is to know myself well. For instance, I will never be a member of the 5 AM Writers Club; I’m completely dysfunctional at that hour. Likewise, I can edit well late at night but not write creatively. So, I don’t try to force myself to do those things. I’m part of a fabulous group of writers who sprint every morning from about 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and that’s been key for me — setting time aside when I’m accountable to others, and giving myself permission to focus on my work. We set timers in 30-minute increments, and I don’t let myself do anything else during that time — check email, scroll through social media, et cetera. That’s made a huge difference. I also keep a calendar of all of my projects, including writing, teaching, and editing, so I have a realistic sense of what’s coming up and how long it will take. And I force myself to build in time to exercise each day. Sometimes I have to convince myself to take time away from my work — but I discover I’m far more productive once I take a walk and then sit down again!

7. What’s your idea of a perfect day?

Well, first I wouldn’t have to wake up early. That is the worst. Then, when I finally got up, I’d discover that my boyfriend went to the coffee shop and got me a mocha & a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon (in this scenario, the pandemic’s over, so I don’t have to worry that he’s putting his life at risk to caffeinate me). I’d sit on my back deck, watch the turtles splash about in the pond, and chow down. Then, I’d go inside and do some yoga (I adore Yoga With Adriene — she’s just the best). Post-downward-facing-dog, I’d sit down and write. Inspiration would’ve struck, so the words would come easily. Two beautiful, mystical hours later, I’d take the dog for a walk with my son. Then — again, in a world with no pandemic — I’d meet a friend for lunch and browse at a bookstore afterward, where I’d find an amazing novel that I never knew I needed until I held it in my hot little hands. Then I’d come home, read a bit, make something really yummy for dinner, and settle down with my favorite blanket and my boyfriend to watch Netflix. Boom! Best. Day. Ever.

8. If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead?

Well, I spent many years working at a nonprofit that provides multidisciplinary, free-of-charge arts programming for youth in need. I was, and remain, extraordinarily passionate about that cause; I truly believe that art has the power to change and save lives. Just look at how all of us have turned to stories and movies during the pandemic!

I challenge any politician who defunds the arts and claims that they don’t matter to take a close look at how most of us have managed to hang on to our sanity during these challenging times. Stories, music, art, and other creative pursuits have sustained us. Okay, getting off my soapbox now! Anyway, after that I worked as a community engagement specialist at a performing arts center that hosted national acts and touring Broadway shows. I loved that too — the sense of connecting the community, especially underserved populations, with the incredible, transformative power of the arts. BUT, in college, I studied dolphins at Duke’s Marine Lab, and then I took a semester off and interned at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys. There’s something so restorative about being out in nature for me; I think if I hadn’t ended up working in the arts, I would’ve loved to have a job that enabled me to travel to beautiful places and help to keep them safe for future generations, including working with the animals that call those places home.

9. Where do you get your ideas?

From everywhere … really. A line of dialogue in a movie, which spawns an entire plotline in my head. A beautiful painting, wondering what went on before and after the moment captured on canvas. Conversations overheard (sorry, person next to me at the coffee shop!). Sometimes, I write down lists of disparate things that are fascinating to me at the moment, draw lines between them (Oh, look! Running a truffle shop and a crime heist!) and then pose a what-if question. What can I say … the inside of my head is a messy place.

10. What do you do when your ideas won’t come?

Weep? Rend my garments? Just kidding. Here are my go-tos: Taking a walk, doing yoga, talking with friends, listening to music (every book of mine has a playlist, which helps me drop into the mood of the story), taking a shower (that’s where I have my best ideas, alas), and engaging with other art forms (reading, watching movies or shows, going to museums — when such things were possible). The more I try to force an idea, the more elusive it is … so I do whatever I can to relax and open myself up to the world around me!