Crannig Castle Character Spotlight: Jonathan

Another fine indie novel hit the shelves this week. We’re celbrating the release of Morgan Huneke’s latest book, Crannig Castle, by learning about one of the characters. This post is one of many in this week’s blog tour, so be sure to check out some of the other posts. Also be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to find a link to enter a giveaway.

crannig-castle

Jonathan

Physical Appearance: Short, average weight, brown hair, gray eyes.

Physical Appearance: Short, average weight, brown hair, gray eyes.

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Help Me Name “Little Friend”!

Help Me Name Little Friend*This Survey Is Now Ended, visit Meet Suhana for results
I think most of you know that I’m a writer. If you were unaware of this fact, I invite you to read my short story, Saving Memories. I’m wrapping up final edits on my previous book, Counted Worthy, and getting ready to launch into outlining my next book, Shadow Mission. I have a slight problem, though. I can’t decide on a name for one of my favorite characters! Can you help me pick a name for “Little Friend”? You can read more about her on the form below. If you’d like some pictures to help, she has her own board on Pinterest. Thanks so much!

P.S. Leave a comment to tell me which name you picked and why! 🙂

Author Interview: Aubrey Hansen 2

Aubrey Hansen So, it’s been a while since we had an author interview on Leah’s Bookshelf. I’m pleased to welcome Aubrey Hansen back for a second interview, though. She first joined us in January 2013 for an interview about her book Peter’s Angel. Please join me in welcoming her back for an interview about her book Red Rain.

What gave you the idea for Red Rain?
Strangely, I can still remember the exact moment I got the initial inspiration for Red Rain. I was at a park, swinging (swings are the best piece of playground equipment ever invented) and watching the bus barn across the street. I studied the rows of yellow school buses and thought… Wouldn’t it be just awful if they made us go to public school? (I was, of course, happily homeschooled at that point.) The idea for the opening scene, with the buses and forced government schooling and vocal Mr. Dass, came to me, and it remained almost exactly the same through all the revisions of the book. Eventually I mushed that idea together with an other idea I had–of a girl going to Mars with her father and getting into trouble with DNA-based security systems–and the first draft of the book was born.

There’s something about seeing a bunch of school buses that always makes me appreciate being homeschooled. Glad I’m not the only one!

Do you have a favorite character? Why or why not?
I’m not sure that’s a fair question to ask an author! I was always partial to Ephesus’s role in this book. His storyline had a lot of drama and emotion–even though a lot of it went on “behind the scenes” in back story that never actually made it into the book since the entire story was from Philli’s POV–and he’s a big brother character, which have always been favorites of mine. But, truth be told, I have a thing for Stanyard. But, that’s more relevant to the sequel…

What was your favorite scene to write?
Pretty much any of the scenes that involved Philli being emotional with her brother or father. 😉 Those were the easiest scenes to write, and many of them needed little revision. As is the case with many of my books, this one started with a disconnected jumble of scenes. What’s unusual about this book is that many of those original disconnected scenes carried through the revisions nearly verbatim. The pinnacle scenes, the ones I drew my initial inspiration from and built the book around, changed very little during the writing process.

What was the hardest scene to write?
The “wrap up” scenes after the climax. I’m still convinced they’re not quite right, as some of my reviewers would agree. Thankfully, it hasn’t deterred said reviewers from asking for a sequel!

What can readers learn from this story?
There are a couple of morals woven into the story, which is actually one of the book’s weaknesses. Being my first book, I think I tried to take it in too many directions. That said, the main moral is one many of my readers didn’t pick up–contentment. I’ve had many reviewers say they felt the ending was dissatisfied because (spoiler!) Philli ended up back where she started, in the concentration camp. The “problem” of the oppressive government wasn’t solved. That was actually my entire point. The moral of the story was to trust God in any circumstances–to do what was right even if it didn’t get you out of the concentration camp.

Do you have any closing thoughts?
Let it go! (And I don’t mean that as a reference to the beautiful song from Frozen.) Red Rain is my first book, and in some ways, it shows. But my readers, even though they were willing to point out the problems, still wanted more–and that’s how we should be with our writing. Your first few books will not be perfect. But enjoy them for what they are, take pride in your strengths, learn from your weaknesses, and keep writing!

Thanks so much for the interview, Aubrey! Does anyone else have questions or comments for Aubrey?

Book Review: Plague of Darkness

Plauge of DarknessWhen his parents die in a plague, eleven year old Teague is determined to care for his three younger siblings. But when raiders sweep through the village and kidnap the surviving residents for the illegal slave trade, Teague can do nothing to protect them. Separated from his remaining family, Teague is sold as a farm laborer. Forced to work under cruel overseers, he loses the will to live. He only starts eating again when Quinn, an older boy, promises that they will someday escape. Will the right time ever come? Will it come too late?

I must warn you that I am rather biased towards this book. Teague is a character rivaled in my heart only by my own character, Zaid. The author, Hannah Mills and I laughingly refer to Teague and Zaid as “our boys.” My biased opinion aside, this is a good book. Teague is a young man laden with guilt and searching for an escape. Though he’s not ready to accept yet, Quinn is gently pushing him towards Christ. Plague of Darkness is the second book in the Arridraen, but the story takes place before Called. It’s well worth checking Plague of Darkness out. Who knows. Maybe you’ll fall in love with Teague too.