AUTHOR Q&A // CHRISTINE SPOORS

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Q&A

One of the first people I connected with on bookstagram was the lovely Christine Spoors. I believe it was shortly after we began following one another that Christine told me she was writing her very first novel, and I was, too. We swiftly bonded over both reading and writing, supporting each other to follow their dreams and keep writing, no matter the blocks that fell before us.

And now, about a year or so later, Christine is publishing her novel, The Changeling’s Journey! I’m so incredibly proud of her and thankful to have such a positive, inspiring influence in my life.

I had the honor of interviewing Christine and picking her brain about The Changeling’s Journey, her writing process and future endeavors.

Taylor: Welcome, Christine! Before we get started, please introduce yourself.

Christine: Hello, my name is Christine. I am a Scottish writer who recently graduated from university. I have been part of the online book community as WeeReader for almost three years now. The Changeling’s Journey is my first book!

T: What originally inspired you to write The Changeling’s Journey?

C: I have always wanted to read books based on Scottish folklore, or fantasy inspired by it, but could never find one that wasn’t filled with stereotypical accents and focused on “hot” Scottish men. (Luckily, I have found great books since 2015.) I decided to give writing a try myself, figuring that as a Scot I’d maybe be less likely to use stereotypes. I quickly found that I loved writing and fell completely in love with the story.

T: Tell us what one of your writing sessions is like. What are some must-haves you need while writing?

C: I always like to start my writing session by making a cup of tea or a mocha. I sometimes wonder how many cups of tea it took to write The Changeling’s Journey. I used to listen to music as I wrote (always songs without lyrics), but recently I’ve been writing in silence. I tend to work on two or three chapters at a time, meaning that I can jump onto a new scene when I run out of ideas. I sometimes use Pinterest for inspiration and I have a notebook filled with ideas and plans for each book.

T: The Changeling’s Journey is told from three perspectives. Did that make the writing process more challenging for you?

C: As The Changeling’s Journey was the first book I ever wrote, I think the three perspectives made it easier. For a while I was basically writing three different stories in the same world, which made it easier to reach a novel length word-count. It was also great to be able to jump between stories if I was ever stuck on another.

T: Mythology can be a tough, but fun subject to write about. What methods of research did you use in order to write the mythology in The Changeling’s Journey?

C: Honestly, I began with Wikipedia. I know it’s not always the most accurate source of information but the folklore and mythology sections are very detailed. I put my own twist on the folklore and chose interpretations that fit my world best, but Wikipedia was a really great source. As my book takes the idea of changelings and gives the folklore a new spin, I found it more challenging when I reached a point where I had moved past the original folklore. The most research I had to do was for world-building!

T: The Changeling’s Journey features an f/f romance, which is AMAZING. Representation like this is so important. What inspired you to write a gay relationship?

C: As I based my fantasy world on a pre-Christian Scotland, I was trying to imagine what life would have been like before Christianity. I wanted to remove the idea of “sin” and tried to write a world free from homophobia or sexism. (I hope I have achieved that.) As I began writing, I fell in love with the characters and I think writing really helped me to figure out and understand my own sexuality. As I edited and changed the book, I realised that I’d subconsciously implied that heterosexuality was the norm. It is something that changed, and hopefully improved, with edits.

T: I know as a writer myself this is a difficult question, but I must ask, who was your favorite character from The Changeling’s Journey to write?

C: I definitely went through phases of loving each POV character the most and getting trapped in their stories. I think Morven may be my favourite, simply because the idea for the story began with her. I’ve had a few readers who know me say that Morven reminds them of me, so I think I accidentally wrote a lot of myself into her character.

T: Now that you’ve finished The Changeling’s Journey, what are you currently working on or soon to be working on?

C: I am now working on the second book set in my fantasy world. I hope to write many books set in this world, telling smaller stories as well as huge world altering stories. This second book has one POV and is set in one kingdom, rather than spanning the kingdoms like The Changeling’s Journey. I’m really looking forward to including new parts of Scottish folklore to the world and I think this second book will be more of a fantasy romance, rather than a fantasy adventure!

T: Lastly, do you have any advice you can give to all of us writers and aspiring authors?

C: I spent weeks watching author interviews and reading blogs filled with writing advice before I began writing. I have to say that my main piece of advice is don’t worry about writing advice. Every author is different. The best thing you can do is keep coming back to your story and only write what you love. If you’re ever bored by your writing, then you need to cut it or change what is happening.

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THE CHANGELING’S JOURNEY

SYNOPSIS:

Ailsa is dead. Leaving Morven the last surviving changeling in the village. Everyone knows it is only a matter of time before she too is dead. Desperate to find out why the fairies steal human babies, and to save her own life, she leaves her family behind, travelling north into the fairy kingdoms with her best friend.

They soon find that making their way through vast magical forests, across kelpie-ridden lochs and over seemingly endless mountain ranges is more than they were prepared for. Despite the countless evenings spent listening to stories about adventures, fairies and magic, they find themselves out of their depth. Fighting to stay alive.

Meanwhile in the fairy kingdoms, Princess Freya of Culhuinn struggles to cope with life now that her love has been taken from her. Whilst Queen Euna of Norbroch spends more time lost in her memories than she does ruling her kingdom.

One changeling’s journey to save her life will alter their world forever.

The Changeling’s Journey will be released July 31, 2017. Pre-order your copy or add it to your list with one of the links below!

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

I have to give a massive thank you to Christine for being such a kind friend and being subject to my very first interview. (This was actually loads of fun and I should attempt to do this with other authors.) I loved learning more about her process and ideas, and especially her advice for us fellow writers!

I hope you readers and writers alike enjoyed this little interview. Be sure to follow Christine on the links provided below, because she has a STUNNING feed and shares all sorts of book recommendations and writing updates. And of course, don’t forget to check out The Changeling’s Journey!

Blog // Wee Reader

Twitter // @weereader

Instagram // @weereader

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WRAP-UP // JUNE 2017

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THE MONTH OF JUNE

This is the part where I’m supposed to crack some jokes on the ups and downs of the adulthood and reading, followed by telling you what I’ve accomplished this month. But instead, I want to dedicate this section to something else. To someome else.

PEANUT

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On June 28, 2017, my dearest Peanut passed away. I knew he was getting old as he recently aged to seven, but I think we can all agree that when you’ve had someone in you life for so long, you don’t expect them to leave. Of course I know all things must come to an end, but Peanut seemed like my magical little partner who would never leave. But when I woke up one day to find him limping, I knew his days were coming to an end.

I can’t begin to describe how heartbroken I was to watch my little Peanut go from hopping to walking to crawling, until all he could do was lay down. Thankfully, he didn’t appear to be in any pain and went peacefully within his own home.

I felt empty. Lost. In a way, I still do. But I think Peanut passing gave me a lot of perspective on life, on appreciating what we have and the world around us. Peanut taught me a lot about life, believe it or not.

Peanut, I miss you so much. Even as I write this, tears fill my eyes. I hope you know how loved you were and will continue to be. You have filled so much joy and laughter. You were such a light in my life, and you will forever live on in my heart. And I swear, I get these signs that you’re here with me, as though you’ve never left.

And to everyone who sent me love through these last couple of weeks, who held me as I cried, thank you. Without your love and support, I don’t know where I would be. So thank you.

Now let’s move on to the books of this month before I continue with all of my sappiness.

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THE BOOKS OF JUNE

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (HARRY POTTER #5)

REVIEW:

I know, I know. I STILL haven’t finished the Harry Potter series. There’s no need to blame my TBR on this one. I simply keep postponing reading this series because it is GIANT and honestly, I often have trouble getting into each book in the beginning.

But after reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I had high hopes for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Unfortunately though, I found this segment in the series to be unnecessarily long and lackluster. There were many moments while I was reading that my mind would wander, thinking, why the bloody hell is this scene necessary?

I understand this novel is supposed to mainly provide character development and back story. I get that. But this was so, so very long. It dragged on for me. I don’t mean to sound negative because I did still enjoy this book and I know millions adore this series, but I really had trouble with this one.

Nonetheless, I look forward to completing the rest of the series in due time. (And yes, I said I was going to binge the rest of it, but I’m looking at those giant books on my shelves and NO THANK YOU. I’m leaving this one up to the TBR jar.)

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

GRAY WOLF ISLAND

REVIEW:

Reminiscent of The Raven Boys and your classic treasure hunting story, Gray Wolf Island is a fantastic, eerie book that will keep you guessing. Much like The Raven Boys, these characters were strange, raw and touched with a little magic. Their interactions will leave you smiling, laughing and maybe even crying.

But that’s the thing: in a flash, alone becomes lonely. Maybe I’ve been waiting for someone to push me. That’s what these boys are doing, I think. They’re forcing their way under my skin.

The story is told from two perspectives, one being Ruby, who lost her twin sister after promising her to find the treasure of Gray Wolf Island, and then Cooper, a mysterious boy who has a strange tie to the treasure.

I adored Neithercott’s style, how she constructed and captured the setting of Gray Wolf Island with such precision. I felt like I was in the misty trees, smelling the flowers and damp soil. I felt completely and utterly transported into this book, feeling the pain and wonder the characters went through.

For my full review on this mysterious treasure hunting tale, click here.

Thank you to Random House for approving me to read an ARC of Gray Wolf Island. This ARC was received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gray Wolf Island is expected to be released October 10, 2017.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

IN THE AFTER BY DEMITRIA LUNETTA

REVIEW:

In the After is a post-apocalyptic tale similar to The 5th Wave. (Except we don’t have too much teen angst or a love triangle, thankfully.) Our main character Amy is left alone at her home when the Florae (zombie-aliens) strike. She learns to survive alongside Baby, a toddler she found years ago.

The first part of the story was amazing. I loved the relationship between Amy and Baby, how they lived in this new world. I was in love with their story.

But then the second and third parts struck, and I’m afraid I started losing interest. The perspective went from first-person, to third and first person, the third person being told from the future. This shift in perspective, along with the environment, made the novel feel disjointed.

I still enjoyed the whole of the story, but not enough to reach for the second novel. Unfortunately, I won’t be continuing this series, but I did enjoy parts of this book, especially the first section.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

I apologize for that sorrowful beginning of the wrap-up, but I wanted to be honest with all of you. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who pretends their life is perfect, that nothing tragic ever happens. I typically make jokes about going through the minor blemishes in life, but I haven’t really expressed some bigger issues, so I wanted to be real. (Or, as the kids would say, I want to keep it 💯.)

But enough about me. How was your June? How many books did you read? Any new favorites? As always, be sure to let me know! I love getting recommendations and hearing about your reading endeavors.

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GRAY WOLF ISLAND BY TRACEY NEITHERCOTT

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SYNOPSIS

Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.

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REVIEW

Gray Wolf Island is a blend of some of my favorite things: mystery, adventure, with a hint of magic and a dynamic cast similar to that of The Raven Cycle. If you’re familiar with The Raven Cycle, then you know they are a spectacular cast of characters who are so layered and authentic and magical that you cannot help but want to be right there beside them. And this is exactly how I felt with the characters in Gray Wolf Island.

But that’s the thing: in a flash, alone becomes lonely. Maybe I’ve been waiting for someone to push me. That’s what these boys are doing, I think. They’re forcing their way under my skin.

Our main character Ruby has lost her twin sister Sadie, and since her death, Ruby has felt more lost and alone than ever. But she decides to honor her sister’s wish to attempt to discover the treasure of Gray Wolf Island. This is when our other characters come in. We have Elliott, the boy with deep ties to the island; Gabriel, the boy who was born to a virgin; Charlie, the boy who has foreseen his own death; and finally, Anne, the girl who never sleeps.

I watch them all, and I’m amazed. How is it that after a purposefully solitary year so much of my own happiness is wrapped up in theirs? But solitude is a crafty devil, deceiving you into thinking you’re alone by choice. Only when you meet people who make you feel a part of something real does he whisper in your ear “You see, I’ve been loneliness all along.”

Not only were these characters extremely witty and entertaining, but their interactions with one another was something special. Each character developed a strong, individual bond with each other that felt so alive. They felt real, secrets and all. I loved their banter and thoughts and questions. I loved how they grew from observing each other.

“Don’t grow up,” he says over his shoulder. “It’ll turn you into a monster.”

Gray Wolf Island is told from Ruby’s perspective, along with a mysterious boy named Cooper. Throughout the novel, the two POV’s slowly intertwine, and it blew my mind. These characters always kept me guessing with their flawed ways. Neithercott threaded their stories together in a beautiful manner that left me breathless.

“Careful,” Anne says. “Venomous words have a way of poisoning more lives than you intend.”

This novel is the perfect collaboration of mystery and adventure and insight. Gray Wolf Island gave me a keen perspective on some things I am familiar with, but with a different light, along with a few various ideas. I also really admired how Neithercott subtly touched upon PTSD within this novel. I think she handled it well and accurately, and will hopefully raise more awareness of this condition.

Maybe wickedness tears holes in our hearts, like it did for me the day Sadie died. But maybe we fill those hollows with the people we love, and they make us better, stronger.

If you’re looking for a classic treasure hunting story with the addition of compelling characters and stunning writing, BUY THIS BOOK. You won’t regret it.

Thank you to Random House for approving me to read an ARC of Gray Wolf Island. This ARC was received through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Gray Wolf Island is expected to be released October 10, 2017.

RATING: ★★

{GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository}

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LET’S CHAT

Happy weekend, my lovelies! I hope you enjoyed this review and perhaps even pre-order Gray Wolf Island (which I obviously did before writing this review because I will NEED to take pictures of this novel to rave about for years to come). Or, at the very least, I hope you’ll add this book to your list. I know books are subjective, but I’m quite sure you’ll love this one.

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