Interview with Kate Ormand, author of THE WANDERERS + ARC Giveaway

I’m super excited to have the wonderful Kate Ormand on my blog today to talk a bit about her forthcoming release, THE WANDERERS, which hits shelves September 1. I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this beauty earlier this year, and I’m going to give it away to one lucky reader. I’m also sweetening the pot and giving away a signed copy of your choice of STOLEN SONGBIRD or HIDDEN HUNTRESS, because more prizes are always good! (link at bottom of post)

The WanderersBook description: Flo lives an eccentric life—she travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. Once Flo turns sixteen, she must perform, but she’s not ready. While practicing jumping a flaming hurdle in a clearing beside the circus, she spots a dark figure in the trees and fears he saw her shift. The news sends the circus into a panic.

In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. They send some shifters to labs for observation and testing—testing they don’t often survive—and deem others useless, a danger to society, and eliminate them. To avoid discovery, shifters travel in packs, constantly moving and keeping themselves hidden. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise.

Believing she has brought attention to the group, Flo feels dread and anxiety, causing her to make a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters.

Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with Jett, the bear shifter who loves her; the annoying elephant triplets; and a bratty tiger named Pru. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?

Interview

Your protagonist, Flo, is a shape-shifter, and her animal form is a bit different from those typically found in fiction in that she turns into a horse. In my experience, authors typically choose a predator form for their main character, but you went a different direction. Why is that?

Flo was one of the last shapes I decided on. I had her human side clear in my mind but it took a while for me to discover what animal she was. The horse came to me more than I came to it. Horses are powerful animals but not in an obvious way such as a lion or a bear. I liked that she wasn’t ferocious when she shifted, and that she could be deadly with something other than teeth and claws.

Circuses are interesting places. On one hand, they are fun events to take children to be entertained. On the other hand, they have dark reputations, especially when it comes to the treatment of animals. Can you talk a bit about how you used that reputation in The Wanderers?   

I didn’t want to glamourize the circus and the use of animals for entertainment, and Flo’s circus is not a particularly nice place. I wanted to draw attention to its wrongness in subtle ways, and louder ones like the protests outside camp. Even though the members are humans that shift into animals to perform, therefore not kept in cages, they still have little choice in the matter (whether they know it or not).

The setting of The Wanderers feels like modern or pseudo-modern England, but there aren’t many details that ground the story in our world. Which made me wonder if it was actually an alternate world fantasy. What made you decide to go with an ambiguous setting?

More a personal decision that I don’t like to specify too much or to set in real locations, but like to pull from various places. It is set in our world but the settings within — Violet Bay, Newlake Park, the old mountain village — are fictional, though some are based on places I’ve been to, or at least details are.

There is quite a diverse cast, with many different animal forms. Did you choose the animal form to fit the personality of the character or the other way around? 

It varied. Initially the animal fit the character, but then things started to change as the characters became more connected to that animal in my mind. The animal-human pairings was one of the things I enjoyed most about writing the book.

Stage fright is a fairly important part of the plot. Were you drawing from personal experience?

I did sing when I was in high school — whether solo or duet or in the chorus, I’d get really nervous right before. I’d dread things a little in the days leading up, but then it’d really hit me just before stepping out, which is what happens to Flo. I’d talk myself around and calm down and afterward I’d feel such a sense of achievement, which again reflects in Flo’s behaviour. To relate on more current experiences, my nerves are a bit wobbly before author events too. I didn’t realise quite how much I’d pulled from that until you asked this question!

I got the feeling at the end of The Wanderers that there was more to the story. What are your plans for a sequel?

I’m not quite ready to let go of this world and these characters, so here’s hoping. *seals lips and throws away the key*

I know you’re a prolific reader – what novel releases are you most looking forward to for the rest of 2015?

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich sounds spectacular. Spooky, twisty mystery HOTEL RUBY by Suzanne Young — “Stay tonight. Stay forever.” Reincarnation romance, THE NEXT TOGETHER by Lauren James, where the two main characters are brought back together throughout history.

And can I sneak into 2016 and say with rivalling families, forbidden romance, and the return of five v attractive brothers, INFERNO by Catherine Doyle. And, of course, a return to Cécile and Tristan’s story with WITCH WARRIOR by … you!

kate-ormandtwKate Ormand is YA author of DARK DAYS and THE WANDERERS. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She graduated from university with a first class degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also member and co-creator of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. Kate is represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).

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HIDDEN HUNTRESS Art Competition! Calling all artists!!

OKAY! Here are the details of the HIDDEN HUNTRESS art competition. I’m the judge (I think? Right?) so art counts as anything you made yourself that I can somehow look at over the internet via photo or video. Lots of you have sent me really awesome work over the past year, so I know I’m going to have great stuff to look at.

The Rules:
The Hidden Huntress Fan Art Competition will be hosted by four blogs and each will cover four different topics:

The Social Potato – Humans http://thesocialpotato.maryfaye.net/…/hidden-huntress-fan-…/

The Qwillery – Architecture (Trollus, Trianon, the castle and the opera house) http://qwillery.blogspot.co.uk/…/hidden-huntress-fan-art-co…

BookCatPin – Witches, including Cécile http://bookcatpin.blogspot.co.uk/…/introducing-hidden-huntr…

The Reader & The Chef – Trolls http://www.thereaderandthechef.com/…/hidden-huntress-fan-ar…

There is no limit to how many times you enter the competition! Just remember that you must submit according to each blog’s topic.

To enter, just post your fan art through any social media using the hashtag ‪#‎HHArtComp‬ and send the link to the host of the topic you chose. They will be sharing your entries through social media as well once you send them your link.

This competition starts today and ends on July 12 at midnight. If any artwork is deemed offensive it will be disqualified from the competition.

There will be FOUR winners in this Fan Art Competition.
The grand prize winner will receive a signed copy of the completed Hidden Huntress manuscript, a personal Skype chat with Danielle L. Jensen and a shiny Robot trophy for their shelf!

Three runners up – one from each of the other blogs – will win a robot trophy.

All winners will be entitled to a free ebook ARC copy of the third book in the trilogy before it is published in 2016.

Video from the Hidden Huntress launch party!

Life lesson: never let your younger brother video at your launch party, because he will do so from the most unflattering angle possible :)

Here is some video of me chattering away and reading a bit at the Hidden Huntress launch party at Owl’s Nest Books. Feel free to count the number of times I say “really, really”. Enjoy!

HIDDEN HUNTRESS Blog Tour Roundup

A massive thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who hosted me over the past few weeks! In case you missed any posts, here is a roundup:

Where is my copy of Hidden Huntress?

I was hoping things would work out and I could avoid writing this post, but alas, I have not been so fortunate. So MANY of you wonderful readers who preordered HIDDEN HUNTRESS paperbacks have been receiving notices that you won’t get your books until after June 30. The reason for this is that the books went to print in the U.S. later than they should have. As a result, my distributer (Penguin Random House), moved the release date to one where they could be certain books would be in bookstores (June 30).

HOWEVER, thanks to some great work by the Angry Robot sales guru, the books made it into the PRH warehouse on May 25 and were immediately shipped out to retailers, who will be receiving books this week and next. BUT many of the retailers still have the June 30th date in their system, so until that refreshes, they are telling buyers they won’t get their books until after that. All that being said, you SHOULD get your books long before that June 30th date.

I know it’s super frustrating for those of you who have been waiting to catch up with your favourite troll, but please hang tight a little longer.

xo

Danielle