Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Devil's Intern Release Blog Tour

If you're a long-time blogging friend, you'll know I'm a massive fan of Donna Hosie. She's a hugely talented YA author and friend, and it's been my honour to have her as a blog guest on more than one occasion. When Donna announced her latest release, The Devil's Intern, I was eager to once again offer my humble blog. Today, I'm thrilled to say, she is back. Over to you, Donna.


The fun and fear of writing time-travel by Donna Hosie

Writing time-travel is nothing new to me. My first four novels all had their premise based around a modern day teen who ended up time-travelling 1000 years into the past to the time of Camelot. A mixture of modern and medieval was fun to write, but without the danger of paradox, it was also a pretty joyous (and easy) journey to write.

My latest release, THE DEVIL'S INTERN, is an entirely different adventure altogether. Talk about a head rush. I've taken a Viking Prince, a peasant from 1666, a feisty girl from the 1960s, and a modern day guy who has been dead for only four years. The four best friends are in Hell, and they're looking for a way out. When they steal a time-travelling device, they each discover that the past isn't as easy to change as they thought.

I knew this book was going to be ambitious, and it took four years and many, many, MANY drafts to get right. Team DEVIL (Dead but not Evil Vanguard In Hell) travel to a medieval village, the Great Fire of London, San Francisco during the Summer of Love, and modern day New York and Washington. The research alone took months. I don't have a time-travelling device, and these settings had to be authentic. It's not enough to say a character can see flames. The reader has to be able to smell the fire from the page. This is the fun part of writing time-travel. I've never been to Glenwood Cemetery in Washington, but I now know so much about it, I feel as if I have. Writers and readers get to experience the world through the page of a book.

But the fear of writing complex time-travel comes when you get into a paradox. A paradox is a contradiction, but one that could be happening. If you think of the brilliant HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN novel, Harry sees a person he thinks is his father conjure a Patronus, only to realise later on that he saw himself in a time paradox. This is the interesting challenge for writers of time-travel: how far do you go? Do you play it safe, or do you aim to blow minds?!

For THE DEVIL'S INTERN, I've decided to blow minds! My characters see each other in their pasts; they discover they've heard each other in the future! I don't believe in dumbing down Young Adult literature. Teens are smart. Writers owe it to themselves to push boundaries and enjoy making readers think. The past, present, and future - nothing is off limits!

About the book:

"How did you die?"

It's the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil's intern in Hell's accounting office. Lately, he's noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell's limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death. 

Mitchell's plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking

Due for release 1 October 2014 from Holiday House, NY. Pre-orders now shipping.

Author Bio:

Donna Hosie is the author of THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy and THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT. Her latest novel, the Kirkus-starred THE DEVIL'S INTERN, is published by Holiday House. 

You can follow Donna on Facebook and Twitter. 

Congratulations, Donna. I must admit I'm in awe of anyone who writes time-travel stories. As you say, the paradoxes they present mean they are far from straightforward to write. I can't wait to start reading The Devil's Intern.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest - Aha!

It's time for another of Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh's thrilling blogfests - the Underrated Treasures Blogfest. Thank you as always, Alex.

How to take part:

Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure!

On Monday, September 22, post about your favorite unknown – MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK

My entry:

I'm going to cheat a little, because I'm sure you've heard of my underrated treasure - Norwegian band, Aha. 

Here's the thing - whenever I mention I'm a massive Aha fan people usually respond with laughter and, 'Oh. Didn't they have that one hit with Take On Me?'. Even more infuriating is that you'll never see a one-hit wonder show without Aha's Take On Me making the list.

I want to scream with frustration. They were NOT a one-hit wonder band. Take On Me wasn't even their number one record, and was probably their worse song. In fact they ended a 25-year run with nine albums, more than 50 million in record sales, having played in over 40 countries, and still holding the Guinness World Record for the highest ever paying audience for one concert - a staggering 198 million for their Maracana stadium concert in Brazil, 1991.

The band was founded by Morten Harket (vocals), Magne Furuholmen (keyboards) and Pål Waaktaar (guitars), all accomplished musicians. They wrote their own songs, and insisted on performing live no matter where they appeared. Nothing can beat the sound of Morten Harket's five-octave vocal range, either.

So, you see why I get frustated by the one-hit wonder label. They have to be one of the most underrated bands ever.

I'm going to leave you with three Youtube clips, all favourites. The middle clip is from the 2010 concert I attended at the Royal Albert Hall. I hope you enjoy them. If you weren't a fan, I hope you become one.

"Slender Frame" 1991 (from Scoundrel Days)

"Here I Stand and Face the Rain" 2010 (from Hunting High and Low)

"Butterfly, Butterfly" 2010 (The final concert)

What's your underrated treasure?