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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Emily Raabe, author of Lost Children of the Far Islands

I'm so excited to have author Emily Raabe here today to chat about her fantastic middle-grade book, Lost Children of the Far Islands, and her bookish summer adventure! Check out our interview below and enter the giveaway to win a copy of her book...

Lost Children of the Far Islands
by Emily Raabe
Random House Kids

Twins Gus and Leo and their little sister, Ila, live a quiet life in Maine—until their mother falls ill, and it becomes clear her strength is fading because she is protecting them from a terrible evil.
Soon the children are swept off to a secret island far in the sea, where they discover a hidden grandmother and powers they never knew they had. Like their mother, they are Folk, creatures who can turn between human and animal forms.
Now they must harness their newfound magic for a deeper purpose. The ancient, monstrous King of the Black Lakes will stop at nothing to rise to power, and they are all that stands in his way. Their mother’s life hangs in the balance, and the children must battle this beast to the death—despite a dire prophecy that whoever kills him will die.
Can Gus, Leo, and Ila overcome this villain? Or has he grown too strong to be defeated? Lost Children of the Far Islands is a story filled with magic, excitement, and the dangers and delights of the sea.

What three words best describe Lost Children of the Far Islands?

Mysterious, suspenseful, exhilarating

Grab a copy of Lost Children of the Far Islands and answer the following:
favorite chapter?
Chapter 1  - I like the sense that you get in this chapter that something mysterious is just about to happen in the lives of Gus, Leo and Ila.

favorite page? 74

favorite setting/place? The island of Loup Marin

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:“What other grandmother,” Gus and Leo said at the same moment. ‘Your Morai,’ their father said, and all of the hair on Gus’ arms stood straight up, the way they had once just before lightning struck the chimney of their house.’”  

What inspired Lost Children of the Far Islands? How did the story come to be?

Well, one day I came across a book at my local library - just a small, tattered paperback, but something about it caught my eye. The book was called “The People of the Sea,” written by a man named by David Thomson. It tells the true story of Thompsons’ search for tales about the ‘seal people’ among the people of the coasts and islands of Scotland and Ireland. The book tells of dark-eyed people with webbed fingers, of seals who came into kitchens in search of their lost children, of fisherman rescued from drowning by dark-eyed seals. I signed the book out again and again, and finally got my own copy. A little while after that, I decided that I wanted to write a novel. I wasn’t sure exactly what who happen, or how, but I knew it would be about three children in Maine, and that seal people (or selkies, as they are often called) would be involved. I started writing just one scene a day in bed before I went to work, and slowly but surely, Gus, Ila, and Leo came to life. 

Young Gus, Leo, and Ila make for three different, yet equally likable characters. Can you briefly tell us a bit about each of them and what makes them special?

Gus says whatever she thinks and won’t back down. She’s also an amazing swimmer. I often say what I think, but I will definitely back down to keep the peace, so I admire how Gus sticks to her guns. And although I love swimming, I’m a sinker. So really Gus is what I wish I were – a super athlete who always speaks her mind and won’t back down! 

If Gus is a doer (for better or for worse), than Leo is a thinker. Leo is a bookworm who loves to study the world and imagine what else might be out there (and there is quite a lot else out there, as he discovers in this book). My sisters all think that I modeled Leo after myself (I used to fall asleep reading in bed at night), but actually Leo is not just a bookworm. He’s also an explorer, and a great big brother – he is very protective of Ila, and he doesn’t hesitate to spring into action when Ila is lost and needs him desperately.

And then there’s Ila. I have a certain small niece, very clever, slightly naughty, much-beloved by everyone in the family, and more than a little fox-like in her clever naughtiness – and anyone who knows her recognizes Ila! Ila goes her own way. She hates being bossed around more than anything in the world, and she loves animals, sweets, and her sister and brother, when she’s not busy driving them crazy. 

Why do you think middle-grade is so important and popular?

Because that’s when you fall in love with reading! There’s nothing in the world like curling up with Harry Potter, or Harriet the Spy, or Percy Jackson, or Fiver, or Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy, or the rats of NIMH, or Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance… You can go anywhere and do anything if you read middle grade fiction. I remember wondering, mid-wonderful book, if I would stop reading if the house caught on fire. My answer was, hmm – probably not. Not until I’m finished the book anyway!

Who are your all time favorite MG hero and heroine? 

That’s a hard one. Hero - Will Stanton from “The Dark is Rising” because he takes on being a normal kid and also saving the world from darkness and evil. Heroine – Claudia Kincaid from “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” because she’s so brave and takes care of her brother. I also love the sisters from the “Penderwicks!”  

Can you tell us about the bookstore adventure you’re going on this summer?

Well, my husband and I are in Boulder, CO right now. We flew out here from New York City, where we live, and now we are going to drive all the way back across the country, stopping at bookstores along the way! I love my local bookstores in New York City and Vermont (the places where I spend most of my time) so much, and I wanted to discover other great independent bookstores across our country.

We spent today at the incredibly wonderful Boulder Bookstore, which has the biggest middle-grade section I think I’ve ever seen! I spent some time with Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Bookstore’s children’s buyer. I signed some books, took some pictures, and then Liesl showed me around the bookstore while we talked about books, bookstores, and how much we love reading. You can follow my Bookstore Tour on my website, – we are going to Between The Covers in Telluride next, so stay tuned!

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at identifying dog breeds.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I’ve read the dog breed book around 100 times.

The last great book I read was “Life after Life” (adult book) and “The Scorpio Races” (YA), and “Iron Hearted Violet” (Middle grade).

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Lost Children of the Far Islands, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

 It would be chocolate with chocolate frosting and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. In the middle would a secret caramel filling. It would be called the Far Islands Cupcake. It would taste like chocolate, caramel, and the sea. 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Emily!

EMILY RAABE grew up in Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she teaches writing. She is a poet and the author of numerous nonfiction books for children. Lost Children of the Far Islands is her first novel.

Win a hardcover copy of
Lost Children of the Far Islands!
Random House has generously offered one copy of Emily's book for one winner.
-US only
-ends 6/27
-must be 13+ to enter
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes
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1 comment:

anne s. said...

Would LOVE for a chance to win this book! THANKS