Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight

From Goodreads: Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

First I would like to start with a few nonsensical words: zOMG, bang, pow, woohoo, and finally yay.

Wildefire is gripping, action filled and a great book for girls and boys alike. While the boys will cling to the action bits that keep you on-the-edge-of-your-seat, the girls will love the inner struggle that Ash is dealing with and all of the drama.

The book has all of my favorite things, boarding schools, gods, and smores. The writing is on the whole great and the plot unfolds at a fantastic pace. While the setting is fantastical the book has a contemporary feel that I completely adored.

Ash and Eve’s story is tragic at best, of course all of the godlings had their share of bad luck before they were brought together. In this novel there is depth, death, and mayhem. Honestly it’s the perfect beach read for those who are adventurous enough to dive into the ocean where there are living things ready to bite/eat/claw/attach to you.

The release date is July 26th so mark it on your calendars adventure seekers and get ready for a wild fiery ride.

140 Characters:

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Interview with Frewin Jones

I recently got the chance to interview Frewin Jones, author of the Faerie Path Trilogy and Warrior Princess. I have read the first three of the Faerie books and recently picked up his latest Harper Teen release “Warrior Princess”. Absolute amazing story and descriptions review coming soon. So have a read through the interview, there are some interesting answers and advice from Frewin here. Big thanks, to one of my favorite authors for interviewing for the site.

I love the magic in your realm, the characters (and as you know the bookworm Sancha is a personal favorite), how did the idea of the Immortal Realm come to you, not the story but the place?

I have worked for many years now with a group of UK editors, many of whom have become personal friends and respected colleagues. It was one of these people who initially approached me with an idea for a book he wanted me to write – the book at the time being called “The Seventh Daughter”. Many of the eventual elements that made up The Faerie Path trilogy were already in place: Tania herself as the “7th daughter” – a lost daughter of Oberon, King of a “fairy realm” that had in it echoes of Tudor England. The names of Tania’s six sisters also existed, but they had no physical form or characteristics – they were simply a list of names. Evan/Edric existed – as did the boat crash – but at this stage Evan died in hospital and was buried – there was even a funeral scene.

The book from which Tania learns the “fairy story” of Oberon’s lost daughter existed – but it was not a “Soul Book” as it later became – it was just a story book. Drake existed as much the same character as he appeared in book one, wishing to marry Tania in order to gain the power to walk between the worlds – but I added layers to him for the later books – especially his alliance with the Sorcerer King – who did not exist at all originally. (There was no Sorcerer King, no Lamia and no Lyonesse at this stage – and the only part of “Faerie” that existed was the Royal Palace). At this stage there was very little magic in the fairy realm – a lack I was very keen to change. I added the scene where Tania “dreamed” in the hospital that she had wings – I also added the scene where “Faerie” comes alive – plus I insisted on calling the realm “Faerie”. I made Eden an adept in the Mystic Arts. I was also very keen to avoid using the actual word “magic” – if you read the books you will see that Tania is probably the only character that actually used the word. My thinking behind this was that Harry Potter was hugely popular, and I wanted to avoid any comparisons with that kind of magic and those kind of spells. Also, at this stage Rathina was in love with Edric – another element I wanted to change. The Amber Prisons existed, but the idea of prisoners being aware and awake inside them did not. Originally Drake and Tania were about to get married, and in the book Drake is not unmasked and defeated until Oberon is actually walking Tania up the aisle at the wedding ceremony. Lastly, Titania did not appear in this book at all – and no reason was given for her absence. The actualization of The Immortal Realm began with a trip to Hampton Court, followed by me delving into the history of Tudor England. Gradually I began to develop an idea of what the Royal Palace should look like, and the attributes of the characters, and also the look and feel of the wider realm. I have to admit that a lot of this was probably distilled through having read so much fantasy – both children’s (like the Narnia books) and Adult (like the amazing works of E R Eddison). In an early draft of the book the characters all wore correct Tudor clothing, but I quickly realized that I would have to abandon this – if you go into a web-page that explains Tudor dress for women, you will quickly see how cumbersome and unwieldy it is. Hardly the stuff for an active young princess to be wearing! I eventually fell back on the traditional “Arthurian” kind of clothing for the Princesses.

What influenced you to use Hampton Court Palace as a gateway and parallel to your realm?

The idea of Hampton Court being a focal point for Faerie in modern-day London was in the book right from the beginning and is linked to the whole idea of Faerie being a realm fixed in a Tudor time-frame. (Originally the school play being rehearsed was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by the way – hence Oberon and Titania! I thought Romeo and Juliet worked better). The book The Faerie Queen by the Tudor poet Edmund Spenser is an epic work that along with others, gave that whole period of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I a huge scale that readily lent itself to the kind of book I was trying to write.

In the Warrior Princess your latest release, how did the idea for the book come?

Once again, the original concept of this came from that same group of editors I mentioned earlier. Initially, this was to be a purely historical adventure with nothing supernatural about it at all, but set in “medieval” Wales. This original concept was shown to the editors at Harper Collins New York and they jumped on it as the perfect next “Frewin Jones” series – if some magic could be added. I was brought in and asked if I’d be interested in fleshing this idea out – which I was, especially the part about adding a supernatural element! I rejected most of the original concept and came up with the idea of The Shining Ones – four mystical characters, each representing a different aspect of the natural world – and the idea of Branwen having a “destiny” foisted upon her, very much against her wishes! The rest flowed on naturally from there.

Did you research the picts and celts to find the names and the way of life? I love the way the book makes me feel I am actual in a medieval U.K.

I did a lot of research in order to make the books feel as realistic as possible. Some of this was on-line, but most of it was gleaned from a lot of books I bought – which are now in a pile by my desk which is about fifteen inches high at the moment and still growing. The people living in “Wales” at the time were Britons rather than picts, and were the people conquered hundreds of years ago by the Roman Empire. When the Romans departed, Angles and Saxons and Jutes came pouring in and gradually the indigenous people of Britain were pushed back into Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. (“Wales” is actually a modern version of a Saxon word meaning “foreigner” – so the people of early middle ages “Wales” would certainly not have referred to their homeland in that way).

From looking around your web page and reading what your fans have to say, I see a wide variety of people from so many different places. Do you feel using the internet as a marketing tool and being as reachable as you are helps to get the word about your novels out better or worse than traditional forms of marketing?

I have to say that on every possible level the Internet has revolutionized the way I work. Fifteen years ago I would have had to take a trip to a library or a book shop to find out all the facts and information that I can now access on the Internet in a fraction of the time. Also, back then, the only way to communicate with fans was by letter – which was nice, but pretty slow and not a great way to have conversations. (That being said, I still have one pen-pal fan who wrote to me way back in 1987 when she was a teenager, and who still writes letters to me now, despite the fact we have each other’s email addresses!) I love the kind of interaction I can now have with people who like my books, and I make a point of replying to every mail as soon as I possibly can.

It seems pretty clear to me that the Internet is an excellent way of letting people know what books are out there – and for them to ask questions of an author and have a truly personal relationship with someone whose books they have enjoyed. As far as that is concerned, it is way better than any previous forms of communication – especially as I live in London England, and a huge number of my fans live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean!

I know there is another set of Faerie books on the way, these do not focus on Tania or her immediate family, can you tell us a bit about the new series?

Well, for obvious reasons, I don’t want to give too much away about the new trilogy, especially as the first book isn’t out till May this year, and the third book isn’t even written yet! What I can tell you is that the trilogy begins at the wedding of Cordelia and Bryn – a very grand affair indeed. Mr and Mrs Palmer are there, getting to know a little about their daughter’s “other life” as a Faerie Princess. Mr Palmer has a cold, though – and when a Faerie baby suddenly and inexplicably dies, it is thought that Tania’s mortal parents have brought a deadly human plague into the Immortal Realm! This causes all kinds of problems – especially with Aldrich, the Lord of Weir (Gabriel Drake’s father!) At the same time, Edric, swept up in the excitement of the wedding festival, proposes marriage to Tania. I’m not going to tell you what she says, but I will say that her response has a massive effect on what happens next. Another clue I’ll give you is to suggest that you go back to The Sorcerer King/The Seventh Daughter and check out that part right near the end where Titania talks to Tania about the Divine Harper.

In the Warrior Princess, what influenced you to write the main character so head strong?

Is she headstrong? I’m not so sure – I think she’s a normal kind of a girl who has had a lot of freedom in her life – riding the wild hills of her home, learning to hunt in the forest, being treated as a special person by everyone around her (she’s a princess after all, albeit in a pretty remote part of the land!). I think her behaviour is due to her life suddenly spiralling out of her control. Her brother is killed – she is sent away to marry some guy she probably hates – the people in Doeth Palas treat her like some kind of weirdo country cousin – and on top of all that, Rhiannon tells her she has this huge and mysterious Destiny to follow. Under the circumstances, I think she behaves quite reasonably. A lot of people might have punched Romney out!

Why in your words did Bronwyn refuse the help and training of the ancient goddess?

This really follows on from what I said above. With all the other crazy stuff going on in her life, the very last thing Branwen needed right then was some strange supernatural woman telling her that from now on her life was going to be ruled by her “Destiny”. In order to try and grab back as much of her life as possible, Branwen rejects Rhiannon and everything to do with her – and it takes her a long while to realize that she really is tied to this darned Destiny, and she may as well try to make the best of it. (Bear in mind that she might well wonder also, whether, if she had done as Rhiannon had asked right from the start – whether her father might not have died. that’s pretty heavy stuff for her to deal with!)

During the battle she had a decision to make about whose life to save. What made Bronwyn decide the way she did.

Oh, now that is a very tricky one! I think there can be a number of different answers to this, and I quite like the thought that individual readers draw their own conclusions. But if you want a quick, simple answer, then I’d probably say that at that split second when she had to choose, she felt her mother was in more danger of being killed and that also she could get to her more quickly. I think also that she privately hoped that she might be able to save her Mother and then go save her Father…but as it turned out, she didn’t have the time.

When you write do you use a laptop and an editing program like Word or still on the pen and paper?

I write straight onto my computer these days. I always used to write with pen and paper and then type it up later, but in 1992 I bought myself a Word Processer – which was an early form of computer – and pretty soon I gave up with pen and paper – except for scribbling notes. (I always always carry a pen and notepad around with me – having an idea then losing it again because you weren’t able to write it down drives me crazy!) The world has changed so much recently – for instance, my contracts with publishers all insist that the book must be delivered to them in electronic format – meaning as an email attachment on the Internet. These days a book does not get onto paper until it is being printed for publication – all the rest of the time it onlyexists inside computers. Also, computers have made editing and rewriting so very much easier than it used to be! In fact, I could not write the way I do, and as quickly as I do, without my computer. But, I have to confess; I only use three fingers and one thumb to type! My wife is a trained secretary, but she just leaves me to it!

Any advice for young or up and coming authors?

Too much to put down here! But here are a few random thoughts:

  • Always carry a notebook with you to jot down any interesting things you might see or hear, or to make a note of any ideas that might pop into your head – there’s nothing more annoying than having a great idea and then losing it again before you can write it down.
  • Sleep with a notebook beside your bed – dreams and random sleepy thoughts can sometimes be springboards to a great storyline – but if you don’t write them down immediately on waking, they will often get lost.
  • It can be tricky to make dialogue sound realistic. You can check whether the words you put into your characters’ mouths sound like things people might really say by speaking them out loud. Record them if you can, and listen to them. Do they sound realistic? If not, try and figure out why not and keep re-writing till you nail it.
  • Always have your “ideas antennae” up – and when you read magazines or books, or watch movies or TV, always be on the lookout for things that spark your creative interest.
  • If an idea you’ve been working on runs out of steam, don’t be afraid to abandon it. You’ll find that the best parts of the idea will resurface later on in a different story. Nothing good is ever wasted!
  • Never write when you don’t feel like it. Forcing yourself to write on a schedule is a waste of time, and you’ll find yourself having to throw away or totally re-write stuff written under those circumstances; far better to go and do something else and come back to your story later.

What’s your writing style, do you plan a story board out with a plot or just let the book flow from your fingers?

Because these days I sign contracts with Publishers who pay me an advance for my work, they want to know pretty much what is going to happen, so I write very detailed storylines for all my books. For instance, with the book I’m writing now (Warrior Princess book three), I know that I want the finished book to be about 75, 000 words long, and I am working from a storyline document that runs to 10,000 words. But plotting a book out doesn’t mean I know everything that’s going to happen down to the last detail. Even these books can tug me off in an unexpected direction, and there’s always a lot of fun to be had once the characters start speaking for themselves and having their own ideas!

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