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Saturday, March 28, 2015

(MMGM) Sage Blackwood, author of the Jinx Series {interview and giveaway}

Welcome to Day 28 of the 4th Annual March MG Madness! Today we are celebrating Sage Blackwood and her 
Jinx Series...

Jinx's Fire
(Jinx #3)
by Sage Blackwood
Harper Collins
The young wizard Jinx concludes his suspenseful and dryly humorous adventures in the magical forest of the Urwald with this third installment in the series that ALA Booklist says "deserves a permanent place in the children's fantasy pantheon, with Narnia and Earthsea" (Jinx's Magic, starred review). This action-packed conclusion is perfect for readers of fantasy adventure series such as Septimus Heap, the Sisters Grimm, and Fablehaven.

The forest is under attack and its magic is fading. Can Jinx summon enough of his magic--the bright fire within him--to rescue Simon, defeat the Bonemaster, unite the Urwald, and fight off the invaders? He is the Urwald's only hope. . . 

The other books in this series
(click each cover to learn more)

Watch the Jinx Trailer

Praise for the Jinx Series

JINX is filled with real magic, not just the magic young Jinx learns, but the magic of a great book: memorable, engaging characters,humor that’s actually funny, an original, fantastic world, and real human feelings. I can’t wait for the next one.” (John Stephen, NYT bestselling author of THE EMERALD ATLAS)

 “Complex characters, compelling fun, a marvelously dastardly villain, all steeped in a tasty stew of mystery and magic. What more could a reader ask for?” (Bruce Coville)

“This series deserves a permanent place in the children’s fantasy pantheon, with Narnia and Earthsea.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Blackwood offers a story of enchanting texture and depth, and series fans will be elated to have another outing with the sweetly sardonic hero, whose conscience is almost as troublesome as his grasp of spells. Fans of Cornelia Funke should add this to their stacks.” (ALA Booklist)

What three words best describe your Jinx series?

Sentient magic forest.

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

In the Urwald you grow up fast or not at all.

Grab a copy of Jinx’s Fire (book 3) and answer the following:

favorite chapter?
Chapter 23, “Bonesocket From Within”

favorite page?
Well, there’s a bit I quite like that runs from the bottom of page 251 onto page 252

favorite place/setting?
Tough choice. But I’ll go with the Elf Princess’s garden of gems.

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
“Actually, I can get us home pretty quickly,” said Jinx. “But I have to let the trolls eat my arm first.

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

Well, I was sitting on my front porch, drawing pictures, and I drew a boy and a wizard and a mean-looking guy in a forest, and then I wondered who they were.

Or I was walking through the forest, and I noticed that forests feel different from non-forests, that there’s something going on in them… you can almost hear the voices.

Or I was reading Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade, and I realized that intuition is something we evolved to protect us from violence.

Or I read the surviving extant scraps of the legend of Simon Magus, and I started to wonder what the guy was really like.

Or I drew a picture of a little girl in a red hood walking through a forest to visit her grandmother, and the forest got bigger, and bigger, and bigger….

I can’t remember which of those things happened first.

Can you tell us a bit about your hero, Jinx?

Jinx is not a Chosen One, nor is he a long-lost heir to anything. But at a very early age, he learned to read emotions… a little better than most of us do. And he learned to listen… so well that he can hear trees talk. He has trouble with the magic Simon Magus tries to teach him, but he’s quite good at discovering his own.

He’s sarcastic and impatient, and he sometimes sulks. But he has a good heart and he tries to be kind, even if he doesn’t always succeed. He makes the right choices when it matters.

If you could switch lives with any character in the Jinx series, who would you pick and what would you do as them?

Dame Glammer, probably. I’d hop around in my butter churn and cackle. Come to think of it, that’s what I do now.

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

MG stories capture a character at a moment of change, when s/he is in the process of deciding what kind of person to become. And MG novels don’t (usually) end in a place of despair. Life is worth living.

And I love the challenge of writing for a dual audience. To really work, MG has to be appreciable at different levels, by children and by adults. I trust my reader to pick up on nuances. And to get my jokes. If they don’t, that’s okay. The story still works. (I hope.)

What are some of your favorite middle-grade reads?

  • Anything by Diana Wynne Jones, but especially Homeward Bounders, Cart & Cwidder, Drowned Ammet and The Lives of Christopher Chant.

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (That being arguably the last book in the series that was MG rather than YA.)

Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at thinking of things to do instead of write.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I’m too embarrassed to admit to things I’m embarrassed to admit to on the internet.

The last great book I read was Days of Rondo: A Warm Reminscence of St Paul’s Thriving Black Community in the 1930s and 1940s by Evelyn Fairbanks.

If you were to bake a cupcake inspired by Jinx’s Fire, what would it look and taste like and what would you call it?

 Well, let’s see. It’d be chocolate, to represent the earth into which Jinx descends, and inside would be a filling of icing to represent the Path of Ice, and cinnamon red-hots to represent the Path of Fire. And the frosting ought to be hummus to represent humus, but that would be kind of yuck, so let’s go with  a coconut frosting. Some rock candy to represent the Glass Mountains, and some candles shaped like trees, which we would then have to burn. And we’ll call this cupcake Worst Case Scenario.

Sage Blackwood lives at the edge of a large forest, with thousands of books and a very old dog, and enjoys carpentry, cooking, and walking in the woods of New York State.

Win a Jinx Series prize!
Sage Blackwood has generously offered up either a) the first two Jinx books in paperback or b) the third book in hardcover...whichever the winner prefers.
-US only
-ends 4/3
-one winner will be able to choose prize a or b
(please read rules below rafflecopter)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Manju Howard said...

Hi Sage, Thanks for introducing me to your books. Your book trailer really pulls readers in. I look forward to reading the Jinx series.

Lynnette said...

I have the first 2 books in the series in my library - they're great. I have this newest one on my wish list. It would be great to win it instead!

Sui Generis said...

Thank you so much for this lovely review! Now, I can't wait to read this series!

anne s. said...

My son LOVED Jinx. Thanks for letting me know about the newest book in the series.