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Monday, September 18, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Laurel Gale, author of the middle-grade Monster, Human, Other

I'm so excited to have author Laurel Gale here today, chatting about her new middle-grade, Monster, Human, Other...

Monster, Human, Other
By Laurel Gale
September 19, 2017
Crown BFYR
Wren is human. Isaac is not. Having switched places at birth, they now live with each other’s families. Growing up among a different species is difficult—for Isaac, who has to keep many secrets, and for Wren, who is teased for her lousy human senses. They’re told it’s necessary, though. The exchange is the first step in an ambassador program meant to ensure peace.

But not everyone wants peace. There are creatures that live deep underground, coming up to the surface to feed. For them, war means food. They have a plan to stir up trouble, and so far, it’s working. In the end, it’s up to Wren and Isaac to prevent a war and to save both their kinds. 

Q1. What three words best describe your new novel, MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER?

Unusual fantasy adventure.

Q2. Grab a copy of MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER and answer the following:
Favorite chapter?21

Favorite page? 210

Favorite setting? The burrow

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
The thing had left, but it would return. Its entrance had been blocked, but it could find another.

Q3. What inspired MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER? How did the story come to be?

I was thinking about living in different cultures, and how that can be both interesting and challenging. But I gravitate toward fantasy, so as I developed this idea, it became different species, not just cultures, and I added other frightening creatures and a looming war.

Q4. Can you tell us a bit about your characters Isaac and Wren? What makes them special and what do you love about them?

Isaac is a clepsit—a humanoid creature with a tail and other characteristics that humans don’t have—living in human society. Only a few humans know of the clepsits, so he has to keep his identity a secret. Because his appearance changes drastically every spring and fall, he also has to move twice a year. Many people in his situation would just give up and resign themselves to being lonely, but he keeps going out there and making new friends, even though he knows he’s going to have to leave them soon.

Wren is a human growing up in clepsit society. All the clepsits know about her, and they tend to have very strong opinions of humans. Many see humans as weak and destructive, and she’s determined to prove she’s not.

Q5. What do you hope young readers learn or walk away with after reading MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER?

Well, most of all, I want young readers to think it’s an exciting tale. But I hope they also pick up on the idea that it’s not good to rush to judgements about other groups. Any group has both bad and good individuals, and even the ones that seem bad might have reasons for their actions. Few individuals are truly evil. Most just want to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Q6. If you could be ANY monster/mythical creature or being, what would you be and why?

At first, I thought about saying I’d want to be a mermaid, but then I remembered that the ocean kind of terrifies me. Live next to sharks and giant squid? No thanks.

Then I decided to make a list of criteria. I’d like to be something intelligent and possibly humanoid. (Hybrids are fine.) Magical powers would be great. The ability to fly would be a bonus.

Next, I started listing mythical creatures. I consulted some resources to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.

Finally, I compared the two lists and decided I’d be happiest as a fairy.

Q7. Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at juggling ferrets. Okay, I don’t actually juggle them, but when they’re trying to find trouble (something they’re awesome at), and I’m trying to keep them away from trouble, it can feel like it.

I’m really embarrassed to admit I’m afraid of moths. Actually, this is nothing to be embarrassed of. Moths are horrible and everyone should fear them.

The last great book I read was The Wild Robot. I just finished this and found it charming.

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

It’s lemon and blueberry with poppy seeds. It needs to have three distinct elements, and I like the poppy seeds for the voracans. Let’s call it the trifecta.

Laurel Gale lives with her husband and their own tiny monsters—also known as ferrets—in Vancouver, Washington. She is also the author of Dead Boy, which Reading Rainbow called "a magical and mythical story of loneliness, courage, friendship, and living life to the fullest—even when you aren't technically 'alive.'" You can find her at or on Twitter as @laurel_gale.

Win a signed, hardcover copy of 
Monster, Human, Other!
Laurel has generously offered one signed copy for one winner.
-US/CAN only
-ends 9/25/17
-the winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes in the mail

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John Smith said...

I assume clepsits are a new invention! Sounds original and fun!

Danielle H. said...

This book sounds fun to read and I think the message behind the adventure is so important. I'm intrigued by these characters and ant to get to know them.

Dan Denman said...

I like this different sort of exchange program. I am excited to see what Wren and Isaac go through in this story.