5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, March 10, 2017!
All Izzy wants is for something interesting to happen in her sleepy little town. But her wish becomes all too real when an enchanting song floats through the woods and lures her little sister Hen into the forest…where she vanishes.
A frantic search leads to a strange hole in the ground that Izzy enters. But on the other side she discovers that the hole was not a hole, this place is not Earth, and Hen is not lost. She’s been stolen away to the land of Faerie, and it’s up to Izzy to bring her home.
But inside Faerie, trouble is brewing—and Izzy is in way over her head. A ragtag group of outlaw Changelings offers to help, and she must decide whether a boulder that comes to life, a girl that’s not quite solid, and a boy who is also a stag can help her save Hen before it’s too late.
Exclusive interview with the author:
1) Can you tell us a bit about your heroine? What makes her unique, what do you love about her?
Izzy Doyle is an 11-year-old girl who has never felt like she fits in, and who would rather read books that interact with other people. She wouldn’t describe herself as particularly brave, but when her little sister is kidnapped by The Piper, she’s the only one who can rescue her. I love that Izzy is clever and a bit of a trickster. When she’s faced with a problem, she looks at things from a different angle than everyone else. It’s the same trait that helps her see the good qualities in the Changelings, even though some of them are pretty mean to her at first. She understands them, and by the end of the book they become her best friends.
2) What do you love about writing middle-grade novels? Why do you think middle-grade literature is so popular and important?
I feel more connected to the middle grade version of me than at any other time in my life. Those were the years when I needed books the most, to help me escape or help me make sense of the real world. Middle grade literature is so important because it reaches readers at the time in their lives when they are still figuring it all out and soaking it all in.
If I had to name my favourite thing about writing middle grade lit, it would be exploring the friendships between my characters. My own childhood friendships were so important to me. I can vividly remember the arguments, and conversations, and milk-out-the-nose laughing fits I had with my friends. I’m so lucky that I get to write about those types of relationships for a living!
3) What inspired The Changelings? How did the idea come to be?
I have always been intrigued by the old folktale about fairies sneaking into homes and swapping out human babies for Changelings. It begs so many questions: What do the fairies want with human babies? And what happens to the Changelings who grow up pretending to be humans? Why would anyone sign up for that sort of thing anyway?
About 10 years ago, I went to Ireland and met my nieces for the first time. On the plane ride over I was reading about Irish folktales, fairies, Changelings, and all that good stuff. I started telling my nieces a story about two sisters that also incorporated those questions about Changelings I had always wondered about. After we left Ireland, I started writing the story out for them and sending it to them in letters, about ten pages at a time. Once the story was finished, I realized I had drafted a novel! It took years and many, many revisions to work it into the version that finally got published.
4) The Changelings takes place in the land of Faerie… if you could travel to any fictional world or country where would you choose to go?
Does Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory count as an entire world? I have quite a big sweet tooth, so I think I would be in heaven there and never want to leave!
5) What is your all time favourite middle-grade book and/or character?
This is such a hard question for me to answer! One of my all time favourites is HOLES, by Louis Sachar. Stanley is such a great “every-kid” character. And although this novel isn’t fantasy, it has the feel of a fairy tale about it. I have never read a book like it before or since.
About the author:
Christina Soontornvat is the author of the MG fantasy novel, THE CHANGELINGS (Sourcebooks, 2016). Her picture book debut, THE RAMBLE SHAMBLE CHILDREN (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), will be illustrated by Caldecott honoree Lauren Castillo. Christina lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two very squirrely daughters. Visit Christina online at www.soontornvat.com.
5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, March 10, 2017.
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