BLOG TOUR: The Fandom

Q&A with Anna Day
author of The Fandom



What was the inspiration behind The Fandom?

You may already know this, but The Fandom combined two ideas. An idea by Angela McCann, in which a group of fans are transported into the world of their favorite story, and my own pre-existing novel entitled The Gallows Dance. So I feel like I need to break this question into two parts: the inspiration for my first novel, The Gallows Dance, and my inspiration for the final novel, The Fandom.

The Gallows Dance is a world in which mankind is divided into two camps, genetically enhanced, and non-genetically enhanced. This was inspired by my daughter’s birth. I just couldn’t bear the thought of her ever feeling not good enough, or feeling she had to change in order to be ‘perfect.’ I do feel our society is obsessed with perfection. We’re given a very narrow definition of beauty, and then pressured to adhere to it by altering our natural appearance. Often this is at a financial and more importantly, emotional, cost. There’s also huge pressure on young people to achieve at exams, and to be healthy, glowing citizens. This is obviously hugely damaging for people with Learning Disabilities and/or health issues. I wanted to highlight this obsession in my book. I guess I wanted to make the world a more accepting place for young people. I know a single book can’t change society, but you know, if it helps just one person feel more comfortable in their own skin, then I’m a happy lady!

The Gallows Dance was also inspired by my Psychology background. I’ve always been fascinated by group dynamics: the way one group lifts themselves up by shoving another group down. We’ve seen it throughout history, and it feels like we’re seeing it more now, and this breaks my heart. The way the genetically enhanced people subjugate and humiliate the non-genetically enhanced people was written to highlight this issue. Again, in the hope that raising awareness of an issue may help readers think and talk about it.

Which makes my book sound a bit soap boxy, but I really hope it isn’t!

The ‘fandom’ part of the book was obviously inspired by Angela McCann, as it was her idea. But during the actual plotting and writing of the book, I was just filled with my love of all things nerdy and fandom-ish. The world of the online fandom kind of passed me by due to my age, and the fact I was so focused on my career and family in my twenties and thirties. But I’ve always been obsessed with stories and bands and TV programmes. I have a list of embarrassing fandom stories. Just a taste: at ten, I painted a giant mural of Buddy Holly on my wall, it was terrifying, and in my early twenties, I held a Moulin Rouge mystery party, to which only four people came. So embracing all things fandom came so easily, and it was an absolute joy to indulge the part of myself who loves The Hunger Games andTwilight and Harry Potter.

Sorry, that was a long answer!


Who was your favourite character to write and why?

I loved all my characters, even Alice. But ultimately, it has to be Violet, the protagonist. I just connected with her so easily. Probably cos she reflects aspects of myself: she’s awkward, geeky and can’t climb trees, and she overthinks everything.


Do you belong to any fandoms and if so which ones?

The obvious ones, like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, though I tend to dip in and out depending on how busy I am and how much I need them. I actually have my own little fandom with my dad. We are a fandom of two. We love all the same bands and music and sci-fi. And we both obsess over stuff.


 If you ended up the main protagonist in YOUR favourite book how do you think you would react/adapt?

Well now I’m a Mum I think I’d be the super-organized annoying character who problem solved, carried a clipboard and provided healthy snacks. So basically, imagine Hermione Granger and make her a little more nurturing and snack-obsessed, and that would be me. I flatter myself, I’m sure. But in my head, I would be a middle-aged Hermione dishing out carrot sticks! Bring on the Dementors, cos I’ve got stable blood sugars.


What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of writing a book?

One of the most challenging parts for me is fitting it all in. I’m a single mum with two young children, and I work part time as a psychologist. It means sometimes I can feel like I rush things and haven’t given it my best, and that can be frustrating. Another challenging part is just that screaming anxiety that everyone is going to hate my writing. I manage it with distraction and denial and by listening to my mum when she tells me I’m the best!

The most rewarding part for me is the actual writing itself, I love pouring myself on to a page, and sitting back and feeling like I’ve really built something with words. Okay, that is an actual lie, the best thing is having lovely people telling me they like my book.


When reading The Fandom I felt that there was an emphasis on strong female leads. What do you think are the main qualities that makes a strong female protagonist?

This is such a good question. I think just making them human. So don’t make them too brave or selfless or clever. They should be filled with self-doubt and difficulties and broken bits like the rest of us. It makes them more believable, but more importantly, easier to relate to. And then, when they do something really brave or selfless or clever, there’s more of a character arc, and we, as readers, can think,maybe I could do that. The reason I loved writing Violet so much was she was a bit feeble, physically and emotionally, just like me!

Pages: 416
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: January 2018

THE FANDOM
by Anna Day


Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands ...





AMAZON UK | WATERSTONES | BOOK DEPOSITORY
 

Make sure you keep an eye out for all things Fandom this month as there are plenty of posts coming your way! Check out the rest of the tour on the pages bellow and I hope you enjoyed the Q&A with the awesome Anna Day!! Last but not least, if you haven't already, go pick up your copy of The Fandom now. 

#jointhefandom



If you haven't already check out my review of The Fandom HERE

REVIEW: Witch Born

WITCH BORN
by Nicholas Bowling


Pages: 368
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017
Received From: Chicken House


It's 1577. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots, and Alyce's mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London - but the chase isn't over yet. As she discovers her own dark magic, powerful political forces are on her trail. She can't help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders...


Witch Born is the story of Alyce, a 16th Century girl forced out of her family home when her mother is brutally murdered in front of her by the witchfinder. Fleeing the only home she has ever known Alyce runs to London in hopes of finding help but instead is greeted by the cold harsh gates of Bedlam. As the story unfolds Alyce is forced to find her way in an unknown and scary London with what feels like an army of witchfinders, ghosts and myths chasing her. But with the help of a young aspiring actor, Solomon, Alyce starts to discover secrets she ever knew existed and a royal plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

This is one of those books that had me hooked from the opening chapter. Personally, I have a fascination with this period in history and Nicholas Bowling's take on Elizabethan London is something not to be missed. He mixes the fantasy of witches and magic with the hardships of a Monarchy under constant threat, creating a London filled with treachery and possibility - just waiting for our young protagonist to take centre stage.

Even though Witch Born is set in a VERY different time to a lot of YA fiction Alyce's journey is the epitome of the coming of age story. Forced to leave everything she has ever know, learning to live on her own, discovering who she really is... what more could you ask for? Alyce as a courage that I really admired, and even when terrified she finds a way to do what she has to do. She grows through out the story and by the very last page I was dying to know what she was going to do next.

Overall, Witch Born was one of those books I just didn't want to put down. It is also one of those books that I can't say ANYTHING about without giving away too much. However, I can say that Nicholas Bowling's magical story telling brings to life a tale of family, friendship and betrayals that will have your jaw hitting the floor. So if you haven't read this one yet I highly recommend it.

REVIEW: The Fandom

THE FANDOM
by Anna Day


Pages: 416
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: January 2018
Received From: Chicken House




Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands ...

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.
 

Okay guys I'm so excited to FINALLY tell you all about this book! I read this last summer but due to its 2018 (how the hell are we in 2018 already!) release date I've had to hold back on telling you all about it and I have to say it is the hardest thing I have ever done!!! The Fandom instantly spoke to my inner nerd and from the second review copies started making the rounds I just knew I needed to read it. It is fasted paced, exhilarating, unique and so easy to read! From the second I picked it up I just didn't want to put it down.

The Fandom follows the story of a girl named Violet when her world gets turned upside down at comic-con. Violet, her two best friends Alice and Katie and her little brother Nate have been working on there cosplay for weeks and when they finally meet the leads of their favourite film, The Gallows Dance, they think the worst they have to expect is saying something silly. However, the room starts to shake and next thing they know they've found themselves in the middle of the world they've fangirled over. But as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because in the heart of their new reality this group of teens will have to find a way to finish the story they keep interrupting. They will have to survive the hardships any protagonist would and most importantly make it to the end of the story without loosing themselves.

The story itself is a mix of The Wizard of Oz and The Hunger Games. It mixes that 'we're not in Kansas anymore' feel with a world destroyed by human greed. I don't want to say too much about the plot because it will spoil it but I will say that the juxtaposition of the main characters in this fantasy world had me hooked from the very first page. I think every fangirl (or boy) out there has imagined what it would be like to end up in your favourite book, TV show or film but when the dangers our beloved protagonists face aren't in our imagination anymore but chasing you down the dirty streets of a war torn London it might just loose its appeal.

As far as the characters go I'm completely and utterly in love with Violet! She is the epitome of every YA reader I know and the way in which she grows and adapts to this new world makes her all the more loveable. She's relatable and she messes up more times than you think she possibly could, but that makes her human. She isn't immune to the greed, lust or even the ambition to be more than she was back home and it is her journey that made this book for me. Then again, I've always got a bit of a soft spot for the underdog.

Overall this book surpassed expectations and was one of the most enjoyable reads of 2017 for me. It kept be on my toes from the very first page and had me crying for more by the very last. The characters were captivating, the plot was exciting and the overall concept of the book had me reevaluating what it would be like to be a part of some of my favourite stories. The Fandom has a special place in my heart now and for a debut I take my hat off to Anna! If you haven't yet, go get yourself a copy of The Fandom! You can thank me later!!!


 I ADORED this book and I was lucky enough to get to do a Q&A with Anna which will be part of The Fandom blog tour starting on SUNDAY!! So be sure to check out all things Fandom on the blogs bellow and come on Tuesday 9th so see what Anna had to say!!

#jointhefandom



GUEST POST: Nicholas Bowling

Today I have something rather awesome for you all. Today I have the lovely Nicholas Bowling, author of Witch Born talking about why it is he writes historical fiction. I hope you all enjoy this guest post, it had me from the Bowling says KFC. 


Why Historical Fantasy?

Aged thirteen – so, old enough to know better – I wrote a history essay in which I tried to claim that the Bayeux Tapestry was a fake, because I had spotted a KFC family bucket among the legs of the charging Norman cavalry. To this day, I don’t know what it was that I had actually seen. I still somehow managed to get 14/20, thanks to the patience and indulgence – or perhaps genuine credence? – of good old Mr Neal.
Let the record show: I am not a historian. It’s perhaps a surprise, then, that I have found myself writing historical fiction, or, more accurately, historical fantasy.
Or perhaps it’s not (a surprise). Other, more articulate, more intelligent writers have put it better than me (if you haven’t listened to Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures, go do it, now), but suffice to say, history and fiction are not such strange bedfellows. It’s no coincidence that “history” is just “story” with a couple of extra letters, and I’ve always liked, and been quite good at, telling stories – particularly those at the stranger and more imaginative end of the spectrum (c.f. William the Conqueror and his bucket of chicken).
But why historical fantasy, as opposed to “pure” fantasy, or magic realism, or any other type of story for that matter?
In the Early and Pre-Modern Eras, most of the things that we would term “the stuff of fantasy” were vividly, frighteningly real. For us, “fantasy” books and films are thought experiments in which we can play out not just stories around us, but the stories we tell ourselves, in our heads – our dreams and fears and desires. Pre-enlightenment, though, these fears and phantoms could not be rationally explained away as the product of the subconscious or the imagination. The great thing about historical fantasy is that it can take those monsters conjured by the Early or Pre-Modern mind and make them as real as they seemed to the imaginer.
And this is not just bringing to life the superstitions of the uneducated. In the 16th and 17th centuries, magic, science and religion had not yet been comfortably categorised, and there was a good deal of handwringing (and occasionally bloodshed) when definitions were unclear, or misunderstood. A man like Doctor John Dee, who appears as a character in Witchborn, is a perfect embodiment of this. He was an alchemist, magician, astrologer, who claimed he spoke with both the dead and the angels; but he was also a talented mathematician, navigator, and counsellor to the Queen herself.
The prevalence and acceptance of the fantastical in a particular historical period also presents a functional solution to a writer of fantasy fiction. I am realising, as I write this, that this will probably just going to come across as laziness on my part. But here goes. World-building is hard to do right, and so often the choices made in creating a fictional world seem essentially arbitrary. (What do I call this town? Blenwyth? Blythven? Blythvenville? Belyhythhhg? Why? Because it sounds a bit Welsh, and hence sounds a bit like Tolkien? Oh.)
The restrictions of a ready-made historical period, you find, are not restrictions at all, but in fact the opposite: they free you to explore human drama in a world already replete with mystery and otherness. It’s a little like writing poetry – the strictures of rhyme and metre, the rules of the poem, create something far more interesting than anything in sprawling free-verse.
Besides, if there are no rules, you don’t get the fun of breaking them.

Find out more at www.chickenhousebooks.com and @thenickbowling

WITCH BORN
by Nicholas Bowling

Pages: 368
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017


It's 1577. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots, and Alyce's mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London - but the chase isn't over yet. As she discovers her own dark magic, powerful political forces are on her trail. She can't help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders...



Nicholas Bowling

Nick Bowling is an author, stand-up comic, musician and Latin teacher from London. He graduated from Oxford University in 2007 with a BA in Classics and English, and again in 2010 with a Masters in Greek and Latin Language and Literature, before moving to his first teaching job at Trinity School, Croydon. While writing Witchborn, he has also performed a solo show at the Edinburgh festival, and has co-written, recorded and released an album and two EPs with soul-folk singer Mary Erskine, Me For Queen. Witchborn is his debut novel.


REVIEW: Everless

EVERLESS
by Sara Holland


Pages: 352
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: January 4th 2018
Received From: Orchard Books



Time is a prison. She is the key. Packed with danger, temptation and desire. 

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry. 

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family. 

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever ... and possibly the future of time itself. 



This is without a doubt one of my (if not most YA bloggers) most anticipated book of 2018 and after demolishing it, rather quickly, I can understand why. The concept of Everless is intriguing and magical, it draws you in from the very first page and there is something about the world Sara Holland creates and the characters that roam it that make this book hard to put down. 

Everless is the story of Jules, a teenager of Sempera who, along with her father, have found themselves down on their luck. But in a world where time is currency, falling behind on your rent can have deadly consequences and when Jules realises her father can't take another withdrawal without risking fatality she takes in upon herself to save their family home by working at Everless. Jules grew up at Everless but that was a long time ago and returning has its own set of risks. Everless is home to Jules family secrets, her childhood crush and the person she and her father have spent years running from. But when you pay with time, with blood, you have to chose what risk is worth taking and which will leave you out in the snow. 

OMG! I loved this book so much! I was so excited when it turned up on my doorstep and i'll admit I had high expectations, but it did not disappoint. The story is fast paced and endearing, with some unexpected twists and turns along the way that had my jaw hitting the floor. I thought the whole concept of someones years, their life, being drained and turned into currency was really interesting and made the book a unique addition to the YA family. There was also something really magical about the whole setting of this book, with its old worldly feel and the way Sara paints a picture with her words is breathtaking at times. 

It is one of those books that I don't want to ruin with accidental spoilers so I will keep it short and sweet... well short for me. The characters, especially Jules and one other I can't say in case of spoilers (those who have read it will know who I'm on about) already have a special place in my heart. They all have their flaws and learn not just about themselves but about everyone around them as the story progresses making them all the more relatable. 

Overall, Everless is the first of a new exciting YA fantasy series and I'm super stoked to see what it has in store next for us. If you haven't yet, add this to your pre-oder list as I'd put money on this being the next big series that you don't want to miss. It has everything you could possibly want from a YA fantasy! It has magic, secrets, mystery, the start of a love story (I so desperately hope) and characters and a story that will leave you wanting more. 


Dear Unpublished Me - Dawn Kurtagich



This weeks Dear Unpublished Me is the last letter of the feature and comes from the Queen of YA horror Dawn Kurtagich

Dawn is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. Her debut YA novel, THE DEAD HOUSE, was called "... a haunting new thriller..." by Entertainment Weekly.   


WARNING - this letter made me cry (no shame) so fair warning, have your tissues at the ready! 

Dear Dawn of 2012,

Everything is going to be okay. I know that you’ve lost a lot. I know that you’re suffering, but trust me when I tell you there is always a silver lining, and yes, the night is always darkest before the dawn.

Right now, you’re lying in bed, wondering what it has all been for. The years of writing, learning, crafting, trying, failing, almost succeeding and failing again. The tears, the sleepless nights, the endless notebooks and inky fingers. That stack of rejection letters so high you never quite give anyone an honest answer about just how many you got. You cry every time a published author tells their story about how they got over a hundred rejection letters because the number seems so… small.

You had an agent—a junior agent with no experience—but still! You had one. Nabbed what everyone said might be impossible. You even had an R&R from an editor at Random House—wasn’t that the best day? You worked hard on that R&R, and on the next one… and you were brave enough to know that it wasn’t a good fit and stepped back. Right now, that seems like the biggest mistake you ever made. Your only chance, gone. Your agent has left the industry. Your books are trunked. Your mother is sick. You are sick. Your husband is grieving and you’re still here.

You’ve been broken in every way a person can be broken.

You’re going to die. You know it. Everyone around you is smiling, loving you, telling you that you’re going to be okay, but you’re in an oddly peaceful mindset when it comes to your own demise. Maybe it’ll be okay. Maybe your dream just… wasn’t meant to be.

You’re wrong.

You have something to say.

There will be hard days. Days that make you question everything—your morality, your faith (this one will be tough), your loved-ones. Your sanity. You’ll have days when staying alive is the real challenge. Because dying is easy. Other days, staying sane will be the only thing to cling to. Because sanity isn’t permanent.

You’ll hurt.

You’ll cry.

Then… you’ll feel nothing. And you’ll know it’s close.

You’ll spend your fourth wedding anniversary walking through a beautiful garden on the arm of the man you love most dearly, thinking it may be the last. And you’ll think: this is okay. This is my story. It’s enough.

You’ll get the call that will save your life the very next day.

And… you’ll return. You will heal. You will live. You will write. Your stubborn I-will-be-published-if-I-have-to-write-100-books-to-get-there mindset will return. You’ll remember your burning fire. You’ll feel the stories rushing back in because, after all, you were sick and now you’re not. You’ll hesitate for only a moment… but then you’ll write the story that needs to be told. Your magnum opus… your horror. You’ll write it, hone it, take your time.

And you’ll send it out into the world. You’ll get 10 offers of representation from agents who love your book and want to make it real.

You’ll go on submission and have a pre-empt after only 25 hours.

Your book will be the Buzz Book of the Bologna Book Fair. Twice.

You’ll see it published across the Atlantic. A book. A real book. Telling the story you were brave enough to tell.

And there will be more. 


So may more.

Hang in there. You’re a warrior.
Unlike previous features this week we're not doing a highlight of one of Dawns past books. No, this week I have something very special to share instead! I don't know about you but I'm a HUGE fan of Dawns books, The Dead House is one of my all time favourites (even if it did make me sleep with the light on for weeks) and I know, like myself, a lot of you lovely lot have been waiting patiently for her next book. 

Which I can now reveal is hitting shelves next year and the official title of Dawn Kurtagich's next book is...


Coming 2018! 

Keep up to date with all the info by following Dawn on social media


P.S. How freaking awesome is that title? Doesn't it just screams "I'm going to give you nightmares"?? 


 If you haven't read any of Dawns books yet here are some links on where to get your hands on them. 


  


  

Click on the UK or US cover to take you to Amazon and the title for Book Depository if you're not in those region.