Category Archives: #am writing (and all things writing related)
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.
I’m pleased to be hosting a guest post from author Lindsay Littleson today. Her newest middle grade novel Guardians of the Wild Unicorns was released on 21st February. When I read the synopsis I was struck by the conservation angle that the book was taking. With a number of animals recently confirmed as extinct, Japan’s whaling, production of palm oil threatening orangutan habitats, this is a timely topic.
Guardians of the Wild Unicorns explores themes of friendship, adventure and conservation. The story emphasises the importance of caring for wildlife, and is particularly relevant for today’s world, when we are facing a huge variety of environmental challenges, from the large scale ecological disaster that is the deforestation of the Amazon, to the woodland habitat loss suffered by the critically endangered Scottish wildcat.
In Guardians of the Wild Unicorns, Whindfall Forest is the refuge of Scotland’s last remaining herd of unicorns. The two protagonists, Lewis and Rhona, must endeavour to keep the herd safe from a gamekeeper who has hatched an evil plan to capture and kill the unicorns for their beautiful spiralled horns. Comparisons are made in the novel to the poaching of elephants for their tusks and of rhinos for their horns. Like the unicorns in the story, rhinos are targeted by poachers because some people mistakenly believe that the horns cure ailments and are willing to pay huge sums.
Her brain filled with images she’d glimpsed on television: heaps of tusks, white as bone, long as spears; muddied elephant corpses buzzing with flies; tiny orphaned calves; blank-eyed poachers with guns slung over their shoulders. When terrible stuff like that came on the news, Mum tended to flick channels, back to the safety of celebrity quiz shows or cooking programmes, where ugly, tragic real life wasn’t allowed to intrude. And now animal poaching had come here, to this beautiful Highland moor.
My unicorns might be wild and dangerous, with horns like spears, but no animal is a match for armed poachers. Endangered animals need the help of humans who are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect them. To save the unicorns, my protagonists have to be both courageous and determined, but I wanted them to be as real as my setting. Neither Rhona nor Lewis would describe themselves as brave, but the definition of courage in the Oxford Dictionary is ‘the ability to do something that frightens one’ and both children are willing to put themselves in danger to save Scotland’s last herd of wild unicorns.
Thanks Lindsay – this sounds like an excellent story which will be both thrilling and educational. I hope there will be plenty of children – and adults – inspired by this post to take action to help endangered species.
Lewis is cold, wet and miserable on his school residential trip in the Highlands of Scotland. The last thing he expects to see is a mythical creature galloping across the bleak moorland. Unicorns aren’t real… are they?
Lewis and his best friend Rhona find themselves caught up in a dangerous adventure to save the world’s last herd of wild unicorns. Fighting against dark forces, battling the wild landscape, and harnessing ancient magic, can they rescue the legendary creatures in time?
Lindsay Littleson is a primary school teacher in Renfrewshire, Scotland. After taking up writing for children in early 2014, she won the Kelpies Prize for new Scottish writing for children with her first children’s novel, The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean.
Thank you to Kirsten at Floris Books/Discover Kelpies who #gifted me a copy of Guardians of the Wild Unicorns which I’m hoping to read and review very soon.