Category Archives: #am writing (and all things writing related)
“For now, while most of our adventures are confined to our living rooms, our imaginations are not.” Jenny Pearson, author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates
About the Book
About the Author
As someone with Welsh heritage myself I was interested to know why Jenny had chosen to set the story in Wales. Read her answer below.
A Super Miraculous Setting
by Jenny Pearson
Why did you set The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates in Wales? It’s a question I get asked quite frequently. And the answer is because of the Scottish midges.
Most years, my family and I spend the summer in our Bongo campervan and the summer before I began writing Freddie Yates, we were considering a journey around Scotland. But when I googled what we might need for our proposed trip a full bee-keeper outfit was a suggestion. I began to think that maybe we should go to Scotland out of midge season and instead camp somewhere else. And that somewhere was Wales.
Having only been to Cardiff before, I soon discovered that Wales is an exceptionally beautiful country and one I will definitely visit again. That’s not to say Cardiff is without its charms but the Welsh countryside is truly spectacular, as is the coast. I like to go running and the sights I saw have weaved themselves into the book – the fields of sheep and the small track roads, the rocky shorelines and the wonderful old churches. In fact, Three Saints church in Llampha, where Freddie, Ben and Charlie spend a night is based on a church I stopped at when I needed a run-wee. And Freddie’s journey finishes at the most westernest part of Wales, St David’s, which is actually where my family’s camping trip came to an end after our tent was blown away at three in the morning. Fun times.
Because Freddie loves facts, I thought I might share some facts about Wales which might even make you want to visit yourself.
FACT 1 – You can see deep stuff!
The deepest cave in the whole of Britain can be found near Abercraf. Ogof Ffynnon Dddu is 1,010ft deep.
FACT 2 – You can see old stuff!
The oldest tree in Wales is the Llangernyw Yew in St Digain’schurch yard, Llangernyw, near Conwy. It’s approximately 4,000 years old!
FACT 3- You can see big stuff!
The great glasshouse in the National Botanical Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, is the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, measuring 312ft in length and 180ft in width.
FACT 4 – You can see small stuff!
Rhos-on-sea has, in St Trillo’s, the smallest chapel in Britain, measuring only 11ft by 8ft and seating just six people.
FACT 5 – You can see uddery stuff!
The Mumbles are two little islands in Swansea bay. They get their name from the French word ‘mamelles’, meaning udders. Who wouldn’t want to go and see two islands that look like udders?
I think you’ll agree that I have provided a very compelling argument as to why you should visit Wales as well as explaining why I set my book there. Maybe one day you’ll enjoy a journey around Wales. If you do, you might want some reading material. Hey! Why don’t you try The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates?
Diolch am ddarllen (thanks for reading)!
Authors note: The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates does not HAVE to be read in Wales. You can read it wherever you like. Eg in bed, on the loo even on a trampoline if you are very talented.
Also, Jenny has created some brilliant videos and challenges that’s she’s keen to get people joining in with so do join her! Her content will be hosted daily on Usborne’s YouTube channel from Monday 27th April – Friday 1st May with accompanying activity sheets – all available to download on Usborne.com/freddieyates. The Illustrator Rob Biddulph will even be doing a special Freddie Yates draw-along on publication day, Thursday 30 April!
Do also check out the other stops on the tour and keep an eye out for my own review coming soon.
Happy Friday and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for the latest book in The Worldquake Sequence by Scarlett Thomas.
Scarlett Thomas has always loved stories, magic and mysterious places. She tried (and failed) to write her first novel when she was six. Since then she has successfully written lots of novels, but this is her first series for children. She lives near the sea in an old house full of books, and is a professor in the English department of the University of Kent.
She is the international bestselling author of The End of Mr Y.
Galloglass (released 4/4/2019) is the third volume in The Worldquake Sequence and published alongside the paperback of The Chosen Ones (Book 2). The first book is Dragon’s Green.
(Website features find your Kharakter quiz – I’m an Interpreter Bard!)
How did you find moving from writing adult to middle grade? What were some of the challenges, and joys?
I found I was able to experiment more with voice. My adult narrators are more deadpan on the whole, so it was nice to work with a more expansive, more expressive voice. The (unknown) narrator of the Worldquake books is quite old, probably a man, quite wise but also likely to tell you things he shouldn’t after a glass of sherry… He uses big words, fun words, exclamation marks… He’s the kind of grown-up you always want to tell you a story.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Worldquake Sequence can you give us a quick précis?
Effie Truelove was only 6 when the worldquake happened. It changed the world forever – some say it made it 10% more magical, and it certainly wiped out the internet and most technology – but it was also the night when Effie’s mum disappeared. We meet Effie now she’s 11 and living with her grumpy father and diet-obsessed stepmother. When her grandfather is killed by a shady book dealer who seems to want to get hold of his library of magical volumes, Effie has to save the books. In so doing she works out how to go to the Otherworld, how to use magic, and how to work with her friends to save the whole universe.
Describe main character Effie in a couple of sentences.
Effie is brave and always attempts to do the right thing. She doesn’t always get this spot-on, however, but it doesn’t stop her from trying.
The cover of the latest book has Glow in the Dark features. What do you think makes a great cover?
I love it when a cover shows you elements from the book that you do’t even know are important until after you’ve read it.
What are some of your favourite children’s fantasy stories – growing up, and now?
I love Diana Wynne Jones’s books. I’m a massive fan of Eva Ibbotson and Philip Pullman too.
Following the events in Dragon’s Green and The Chosen Ones, Galloglass reunites readers with Effie Truelove and her school friends, Lexy, Wolf, Maximilian and Raven as they navigate their worlds, which are under threat from Diberi, a corrupt organisation. Together, Effie and her friends must use their magical skills to defeat the evil tactics of Diberi before total destruction is wreaked upon the worlds at Midwinter.
Thank you to Jo Hardacre at Canongate for the copies gifted for the purposes of this post and for later honest review.
Sky in the Deep had its US release last year and was all over bookstagram so when I was offered the chance to read and review ready for its U.K. release tomorrow, 26th March 2019, I jumped at it. I’m so happy to be kicking off the tour along with Sammy Shelf.
Please find below a Q&A with Eelyn and Fiske the two main protagonists, a hint of what’s to come with book two and an excerpt plus a mini review from me.
Please let me know below if you know of any Eelyn and Fiske fanart. I NEED it!!!
Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings – and all heart!
Eelyn is a seventeen-year-old warrior, trained to fight fiercely alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, god -decreed rivalry against the Riki clan, her life is brutal but uncomplicated. Until the day she witnesses the impossible on the battlefield – her brother, fighting alongside the enemy – the brother she watched die five years ago… Shocked by the sudden realisation that her brother may be alive, Eelyn loses her focus and is captured by the opposing clan. Now, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbour is an enemy, and every battle scar they wear is possibly one she herself delivered. But when a ruthless clan who are settling in the valley raids the Riki village, Eelyn’s desperation to escape is heightened when it’s rumoured that her beloved Aska clan have been decimated by the same horde.
She is given no choice. She must put her faith in Fiske, her brother’s friend who sought to kill her the day she was captured. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and find a way to forgive her brother while daring to put her trust in the people she has been taught to hate and who she has spent her entire life killing.
About the Author
ADRIENNE YOUNG is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee.
Sky in the Deep is her debut novel
What does Sigr mean to you?
Sigr is the north star of our people.
What is your favourite memory of your brother Iri?
Training together for our first fighting season as fighting mates paired for battle. I’d spent my entire life looking up to Iri and it was the first time I really felt like his equal and also the first time I thought maybe he saw me as one.
Complete the phrase – The Riki are:
… all the parts of me I didn’t know.
Fiske in three words
Strong. Silent. Sure.
What does Thora mean to you?
Thora is fury and fire but also the mother and caretaker of our people.
Favourite childhood memory?
The first time my little brother Halvard pulled a fish from the ice on his own.
Complete the phrase – The Aska are:
… the greatest threat to everything I love.
Eelyn in three words
Question for Adrienne
What should we expect from the companion novel The Girl the Sea Gave Back?
The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a new standalone that takes place ten years after Sky in the Deep. It follows the story of Halvard when he is eighteen years old. We will see a lot more of who he is and his memories of growing up on the mountain with Fiske as his father figure and we will also meet a new clan who will threaten the peace they’ve found.
Extract from Sky in the Deep – The Ghost
I thought of my father. His soil-stained hands. His deep, booming voice. And my home. The fire flickering in the dark. The frost on the glade in the mornings.
I stood, pressing my fingers into the hot wound at my arm and saying Sigr’s name under my breath, asking him to accept me. To welcome me. To watch over my father. “Vegr yfir fjor,” I whispered.
He slowed, watching my lips move.
The furs beneath his armor vest blew in the damp breeze, pushing up around his angled jaw. He blinked, pressing his mouth into a straight line as he took the last steps toward me and I didn’t run. I wasn’t going to be brought down by a blade in my back.
The steel gleamed as he pulled the sword up over his head, ready to bring it back down, and I closed my eyes. I breathed. I could see the reflection of the gray sky on the fjord. The willow bloomed on the hillside. The wind wove through my hair. I listened to the sound of my clansmen raging. Fighting in the distance.
“Fiske!” A deep, strangled voice pierced through the fog, finding me, and my eyes popped open.
The Riki before me froze, his eyes darting to the side where the voice was coming toward us.
“No!” A tangle of wild, fair hair barreled into him, knocking his sword to the ground. “Fiske, don’t.” He took hold of the man’s armor vest, holding him in place. “Don’t.”
Something twisted in my mind, the blood in my veins slowing, my heart stopping.
“What are you doing?” The Riki wrenched free, picking his sword back up off the ground and driving past him, coming for me.
The man turned, throwing his arms around the Rikiand swinging him back.
And that’s when I saw it—his face.
And I was frozen. I was the ice on the river. The snow clinging onto the mountainside.
“Iri.” It was the ghost of a word on my breath.
They stopped struggling, both looking up at me with wide eyes, and it dove deeper within me. What I was seeing. Who I was seeing.
What I Thought
For me this book lived up to the hype. It was a slightly slow burn but I suddenly found myself totally invested in the lives of these characters.
The violence is brutal – Vikings people – not namby pamby killers but chop off their heads and stick them with an axe types. I loved this setting and its grit made a great change to the fantasy worlds I usually read.
This is Eelyn and Fiske’s story and how they grow to see past their differences and respect each other’s culture. A timely narrative, and an imperfectly perfect pair.
A huge thank you to Sarah at Titan for gifting me the copy of the book in preparation for this post, and of course to Adrienne and her characters for their replies.