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The Grotto Under the Tree Tour: Behind the Scenes

Monday, October 7, 2013
In a small New England seaside town there grew an ancient oak tree. It sat on a small hill behind a red brick elementary school. Legend has it the tree was planted by a wandering monk just after the town was founded in 1757. No one recalls his name, but they did say he was tall and thin with long brown hair, and was known for the hooded cloak he always wore. Some say the cloak was used to hide his pointed faerie ears.

Halloween night 1973, a New England nor’ easter sweeps in off the ocean and the ancient tree is blown down. In the small space exposed on the underside of the tree two children, Sebastian and Sara, discover something extraordinary. They find a perfectly carved stone staircase spiraling down into a secret tunnel. The tunnel leads them into an underground grotto where they discover a pod of Mer people (mermaids, mermen and mer-children). A short while later they come face to face with the person who planted the tree.

They are astonished to find out that he is not really a man, but a magical elven lord named Capri. For centuries Capri has searched for his lost tribe and his betrothed. He traveled the world planting these magical trees as beacons for his people. Capri leads the children on an adventure to the Arctic Circle in his flying galleon, Telestar. Upon reaching the far north they find the one human the elves have befriended. Someone who can help Capri find his tribe and his lost love. During their journey they are pursued by ghost-like creatures called The Kylo. These creatures prey upon the remaining magical creatures of the world. The elves are the last line of defense against the Kylo. If they fall then there is nothing tostop these creatures from hunting humans

Behind the Scenes of the Writing Process

Behind the scenes
(Anything to do with the writing process: habits/quirks, research process, inspiration, choosing names & settings, etc.)

I keep a journal of names. Whenever I hear a word or name that jumps out at me I write it in the journal. So when the time comes I have a laundry list of cool names to pull from.

Things you think every aspiring author should know
It's not as glamorous as it looks but its twice as fulfilling as it seems. With that said writing (or any art) is not an end unto itself. Don't get sucked into the thinking that "it's all about the art". Everything else takes a back seat to "the art". This is wrong. I had never achieved any success until I got my life in order. God, Family, friends and then "the art" comes after all the other stuff. I saw Francis Ford Copola echo the same thing in an interview. He said the best thing for his film career was getting married. Don't put the rest of your life on hold.

Reasons to read your book: It's unlike any other YA fantasy book out there. It does have mythological races that have appeared in past fiction but it is a fresh take on them.

Deleted Scene
“Wow,” Sebastian gasped. “I wish I could live that long.”
“No you don’t,” Capri replied.
“What do you mean?”
My kind was given a choice long ago. To live a long life free from sickness or to live mortal lives with souls and a chance at eternity in the afterlife.”
“And you chose long life.” Sara asked.
“We chose wrong,” Capri corrected her.

Your Writing Process
Outline outline outline

Why is it important for writers — especially those just starting out — to have the support of their friends and family?
I don't think it is. If it's something you are passionate about then no positive or negative reinforcement should move you. People may not take you seriously until they see you making sacrifices and putting in the time.

$25 Gift Card or Paypal (INT)

Rafflecopter code: (if you can't include a rafflecopter, just include the giveaway info and link to it or the tour page) a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chasing Shadows

by Swati Avasthi (author), Craig Phillips (illustrator)

Genre: YA Contemporary, Thriller
Hardback: 320 Pages
Publication: September 24, 2013 by Knopf BFYR


Before: Corey, Holly, and Savitri are one unit—fast, strong, inseparable. Together they turn Chicago concrete and asphalt into a freerunner’s jungle gym, ricocheting off walls, scaling buildings, leaping from rooftops to rooftop. But acting like a superhero doesn’t make you bulletproof… After: Holly and Savitri are coming unglued. Holly says she’s chasing Corey’s killer, chasing revenge. Savitri fears Holly’s just running wild—and leaving her behind. Friends should stand by each other in times of crisis. But can you hold on too tight? Too long? In this intense novel, Swati Avasthi creates a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity. Two girls who will find out just how many ways there are to lose a friend…and how many ways to be lost.

◆ A copy was provided by Random House for review ◆

Chasing Shadows is a dark, gritty read told through the alternating perspectives of Holly and Savitri. Graphic illustrations add another dimension to the story, giving us imagery of the world that Holly enters as she falls into a darker spiral following the death of her twin brother.

This story is all about the characters. I love how it's told from the perspectives of the two girls because it gives us great insight into how they deal with their grief and allows for story development that wouldn't have been possible without the voices of the two girls being allowed to shine. Scariest of all is how real this all is even when it seems most ludicrous. I could easily imagine this all taking place in the real world without any supernatural elements.

What I love best about Chasing Shadows is that, in the end, you don't know what's real and what's not, and in the end it doesn't matter. What this story is about is two girls going through the various stages of grief and what they do to manage it. It is about what the human mind can accomplish and about how far one can push the limits of friendship and what can be forgiven.

This is a thrilling, exciting new read. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy a good psychological YA read.

Similar Books

  • Psychotic elements
  • Violence

This post was made as a part of the Chasing Shadows book tour.