Today I'm really excited to be handing the blog over to Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner's Curse, which is coming out March 4th. I read this book last September, and I still find myself thinking about it all the time. I haven't read anything that has rivaled it since.
I was fascinated by the concept of "the winner's curse," so I asked Marie to tell us a little about where that phrase came from and how it inspired this story. I loved reading what she had to say!
The “winner’s curse” in economic theory describes the moment during an auction where someone has won, but has only done so by paying more than what everyone else has decided the item is worth. If three people are bidding on a painting and two people bid around 20,000$ and the winner bids 30,000$, then the winner has in effect overpaid. Of course, it’s possible that the painting will someday be worth more than 30,000$. The “winner’s curse” is about the moment of the purchase, and about this idea that you can win and lose at the same time.
When I first heard this phrase and its meaning, I was immediately drawn to it. I began thinking about how it’s so true in life that we often have to pay very dearly to get what we want. Desire comes with a cost. I tried to think of a short story or novel that could have the title “The Winner’s Curse,” and brainstormed about an auction where winning would exact a steep emotional cost. I then had the idea that the thing up for auction was not a thing, but a person….and the plot of my book unfolded from there.
My economist friends have been joking that I should write a series of books with economic theory jargon as titles (“Sunk Cost,” “Positive Externalities,” “The Prisoner’s Dilemma”—actually, that last one is pretty good, though my bet is that someone’s already written a dark-covered thriller with that title). And personally, I’m gleeful at the thought of economists doing internet searches for “winner’s curse” and coming up with a gorgeous image of a girl in a glamorous pink dress. Live a little, economists! (Well, not that they don’t—I’m married to one—but economics can be a little dry when it comes to their work. The title for the paper that first coined the term “winner’s curse” was “Competitive Bidding in High-Risk Situations”—and that’s one of the more enticing econ titles I’ve seen).
“The winner’s curse” was a lightening strike to the brain, and has inspired the novel in so many ways—not just in terms of its basic plot, but in almost every twist and turn, right up until the end. Because Kestrel and Arin want so much. They want different things at different points: love, revenge, independence, to protect, to challenge, to fight. But nothing comes for free.
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
Intrigued? You can download the first five chapters for free! And if you're wanting another glimpse into the world that The Winner's Curse takes place in, check out Arin as a little boy in BRIDGE OF SNOW on Tor.com.
I can't tell you enough that you should Pre-order NOW!
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is on sale 3/4/14!
- Learn more at thewinnerstrilogy.com where you can read an excerpt and watch the book trailer.
- Like The Winner’s Curse on Facebook!
- Add The Winner’s Curse to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.
- Join in on social media with hashtag #WinnersCurse
- Visit Marie Rutkoski’s website, follow her on Twitter, and “like” her on Facebook.
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