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Saturday, March 8, 2014

(MMGM) Laurisa White Reyes, author of the Celestine Chronicles Series {Interview & Giveaway}

The very lovely Laurisa White Reyes is stopping by the March MG Madness today to tell us all about her Celestine Chronicles Series! Plus, there's a fab giveaway...

The Rock of Ivanore (Celestine Chronicles #1)
The annual Great Quest is about to be announced in Quendel, a task that will determine the future of Marcus and the other boys from the village who are coming of age. The wizard Zyll commands them to find the Rock of Ivanore, but he doesn’t tell them what the Rock is exactly or where it can be found. Marcus must reach deep within himself to develop new powers of magic and find the strength to survive the wild lands and fierce enemies he encounters as he searches for the illusive Rock. If he succeeds, he will live a life of honor; if he fails, he will live a life of menial labor in shame. With more twists and turns than a labyrinth, and a story in which nothing is at it seems, this tale of deception and discovery keeps readers in suspense until the end.

The Last Enchanter (Celestine Chronicles #2)
Months have passed since Marcus and Kelvin succeeded in their quest to find the Rock of Ivanore. Kelvin is living as royalty in Dokur, and Marcus is studying magic with Zyll. When Fredric is murdered and Kelvin becomes king, Zyll and Marcus head for Dokur in hopes of protecting Kelvin from meeting the same fate, though it quickly becomes apparent that none of them are safe, and Marcus has had disturbing visions of Zyll's death. With the help of his old friends Clovis and Bryn, joined by new friend Lael, a feisty girl in search of her mother, Marcus uncovers a powerful secret that will change the course of his life forever.

What three words best describe your Celestine Chronicles series?

Action-packed! Mysterious!  Funny!

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give this series a try?

When enchanter's apprentice, Marcus, sets out to locate the Rock of Ivanore he soon finds himself in the middle of an enemy invasion and must use magic, a skill he has yet to master, to save his homeland and friends from destruction.

Grab a copy of the latest book in your series, The Last Enchanter, and answer the following:
favorite chapter? Chapter 68 - where we first meet the gryphon
favorite page?   233 - where we discover a very important secret about Ivanore
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser?

"A crow?" Xerxes lamented. "He made me a common crow?"
"Well, just look at it this way," added Marcus, trying not to laugh, "even in death, Zyll had a sense of humor."

What inspired this series? How did the story come to be?

The series began as bedtime stories for my now 17-year-old son (He was 8 at the time.). Those stories became The Rock of Ivanore, but the characters and storyline grew and grew. Now I have plans for five books in this series, and three in a parallel series called The Crystal Keeper, about a character named Jayson fourteen years before The Celestine Chronicles begins.

There are some memorable characters in the Celestine Chronicles series, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?

My personal favorite character is Jayson, an Agoran/human half breed man who befriends Marcus in book I. He is integral to the entire series. Plus he's just really cool. He can see in the dark, is really fast and strong, and is a true hero.

If you could travel to any fictional fantasy world, where would you go and what would you do there?

I think I would love to visit the Shire of Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings. The life of Hobbits, peaceful and quiet, has always appealed to me. I am not like Bilbo, seeking adventure, but I would probably be quite content living as most Hobbits do, just enjoying nature and good company.

As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?

Most really young children love books, but for some reason many middle graders lose interest in reading. I think there are a number of reasons why, such as spending too much time watching TV, playing video games, and spending time on various electronic devices. But I also think being assigned books in school that don't appeal to kids can turn them off to reading as well. When kids are forced to read something they don't like, they often start disliking reading altogether.

This is a critical time to help kids fall in love with reading, and the way to do that is too allow kids the freedom to select whatever stories connect with them. So variety is essential. Some kids love fantasy or mysteries. Others love reading about horses. Others prefer funny books. Reading at this age is meant to be fun. If it's not fun, then they're not reading the right books.

What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?

That's a tough question.  I think my favorite middle grade book of all time is Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. That story is both funny and touching.  But I also love all the characters from Margaret Peterson Haddix's The Shadow Children series. I could list a hundred books and characters, but those are the first to come to mind.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at other than writing? Singing. I love to sing songs from Broadway musicals, but only in my car or in my shower. Never in public.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I'm afraid of bees. Terrified of bees. I was only stung once as a child, by a dead bee in a sandbox, but I've been scared of them ever since. I mean, I literally scream like I'm being tortured when one flies too close to me. My kids think it's funny.

The last great book I read was Cress by Marissa Meyer, book 3 in the Lunar Chronicles. I love that series!!! It's considered young adult, but so far I haven't found anything in that book inappropriate for older middle grade readers.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by the Celestine Chronicles series, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

Well, it would have to be chocolate because I love chocolate EVERYTHING, but the frosting would be dark pink and very sweet -- made from willenberries, a special treat on the Isle of Imaness.

Thank you so much, Laurisa, for stopping by today!

Win a copy of The Rock of Ivanore!
Laurisa has generously offered one copy of her book for one winner.
-US only
-ends 3/31
-must be 13+, one free entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
Fill out Rafflecopter form:


Charlotte said...

Jayson was my favorite character too--I'll look out for his spin- off series!

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

I would love to live in the Shire too. It's so peaceful and there is so much food! I wish it was completely normal to eat seven meals a day, lol.

Brenda said...

I always love hearing about an authors inspiration for their story, wonderful that it came as a bedtime story!

Unknown said...

I could live in the Shire, as well. Just think, sitting around, eating great food and reading all day. What a life. I could read this wonderful series and dream about having a pet Gryphon. I suppose I could dream about having a pet Gryphon without being in the Shire, though it wouldn't be quite as much fun. Your books sound fantastic. I do look forward to reading them. I hope it isn't an ugly-cry scene when the wizard dies, because I'll be reading aloud to me children, and I hate to try to read through snot and tears.

Jillyn said...

I adore that these started as bedtime stories. How cool that they're now books!

Stitchin in the Sip said...

I totally love that this series started out as stories for your son. That is so sweet and looks where your love for him has taken you. Congrats!

Laurisa White Reyes said...

Thanks for having me as your guest! :)

Orchid said...

That's also one of the things I've enjoyed about the Lunar Chronicles-that it is, thus far, suitable for more than just YA readers.

Very excited to hear that you are planning a spin-off series to the Celestine Chronicles.