Author: Wendy S Russo
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Release Date: 15th January 2013
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.
More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.
What was January Black?
It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost...or call the king’s bluff.
InterviewCan you please tell us a little about yourself with 5 fun facts?
- When people ask me where I'm from, I say I live in Louisiana, but I'm from Wyoming, even though I've lived in the Baton Rouge area for almost half of my life.
- I was a gymnast in high school. Balance beam and floor exercise. I had more love than skill.
- My art teacher's husband was a substitute math teacher in my high school. I expressed interest in civil engineering and the man wouldn't let the idea go. He and his wife chaperoned a combined AP English/Advanced Art trip to Denver, Colorado, and he insisted that I go with the boys to Denver International Airport, which at the time was still under construction. I think the girls went shopping. He was very disappointed when I majored in journalism instead, but honestly, the man didn't know me--or more to the point, my abysmal math skills--very well.
- I used to know how to sew. I'm hoping it's like riding a bicycle.
- No matter how many numbers I'm given in a list, I always stumble on coming up with a response to the last one.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer and what was the very first thing you ever wrote?
Sixth grade. I wrote a short story for a young author's contest. It was fantasy, had a huge cast, and dialog that read like a roll call. I didn't win, but I had a great time.
Is there another author that you aspire to be like?
I would love to be as prolific as Lynn Rush or Marie Sexton. Those two can start, finish, edit, submit, and get a contract for a book in the amount of time it takes me to get an idea going. And they're incredible storytellers. I'll admit that I'm envious.
How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on real people’s characteristics?
I start with an archetype...ie, teenage boy...and I put him into a situation and ask myself "what, when, where, why, how" type questions. All of my characters are built on the characteristics of real people, but none of them are one specific person. They're mosaics of several people.
Who designed your book cover and why did you choose that particular design?
Taria Reed is an artist that Crescent Moon Press frequently contracts to create covers. She was given my cover request and when she was done, I loved it.
What’s one piece of technology you cannot live without?
Oh, that's tough. That would depend on your definition of technology. It would probably be a stone age tool for chipping stone. It could be argued that everything more modern than that is convenience before necessity. It would hurt to lose my cell phone, though.
When you are writing, do you have a set routine that gets you started or just go with the flow?
I do a lot of planning, but I finding that to get in a word count, I really just have to get in and type. Otherwise, I find myself on Facebook a few hours later no further along than when I started.
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate? Coffee! (Mixed with hot chocolate is awesome.)
Sweet or savoury? Savory
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Day or night? day
eBooks or paperbacks? A book is a book is a book. :)
Favourite all time book? The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
Thank you for stopping by today Wendy and talking with us.
PraiseRefreshingly intelligent and loads of fun!
I lost a few hours as I read this book. It's a Young Adult novel that is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is perfectly played out.
~ Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review
The mystery was intriguing - I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was guessing for most of it and that's pretty hard to make me do.
~Julie, Clean Teen Reads
Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.
~ Ivan Amberlake, Author
About the AuthorAuthor Wendy S. Russo Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.
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