Friday, July 8, 2011

Feast Giveaway & Interview

Feast: Harvest of Dreams
By Merrie Destefano
Paperback: 320 pages
Also available on Kindle
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Released: June 28, 2011

Summary: Madeline MacFaddin ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest . . . the time to feast.

Once again Maddie's dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own . . .

I'd love to see inside Merrie Destefano's head. I imagine it would be brimming with fairies, dark creatures, brave loyal dogs, beautiful flowers, luscious forests, and all of the characters from her books. Feast is dark, yet hopeful. It's about loss, but also about love and acceptance. There are moments of intense courage and moments of profound danger. Reader's will love the imagery, the characters and the author's beautiful style of writing.

Merrie and I became acquainted on Twitter before her first book, Afterlife, was published. She's such a kind and generous author who always takes time for her fans and other writers. I love her style of writing in both books, though it's rather different in each one. Merrie made time to answer a few questions for me, and I wanted to share them with you today.

Brenda: Did you create the world for Feast before you started writing the actual story, or did it develop as you went along?

Merrie: In almost all of my books, I figure out certain elements beforehand, but the bulk of the story is born during the writing. I don’t enjoy writing if I have already created a complicated, blow-by-blow outline. For me, the fun is in the journey. That said, I knew Ash’s story very well—both his back story and his world—but most of this was discovered while writing the first version of the book. I wrote 150 pages of this novel, threw it out and then started over. In that process, I learned a lot about who and what the Darklings were.

Brenda: Your writing is so descriptive and full of emotion...did this come naturally or did you develop it as you went along?

Merrie: Thank you! I honestly think that each book has its own unique voice, based on the characters, the story, and the setting. I wanted Feast to have a lyrical, fairy tale feel, so I tried to give a comparable voice to the book. In Afterlife, I was going for more of a gritty, noir, almost detective-thriller style, so the voice in that book was a bit different. During my final edits, I try to pay close attention to areas that might need more description. For instance, I may need to bulk up a scene if it doesn’t seem to fit the tone in the rest of the book.

Brenda: This book is much different than your first one, Afterlife, so I'm wondering which idea came first and how different was writing Feast?

Merrie: Wow, that’s a tough question. Afterlife must have come first, but it was originally a completely different book. The book progression went approximately like this:

1. White Burn (unsold novel, first version of Afterlife, set on Mars)
2. Once to Die (unsold novel, second version of Afterlife, set on earth)
3. Voices (unsold, unfinished, very scary novel)
4. First 10-20 pages of Feast written while writing Voices.
5. In the Beginning (another unsold novel)
6. Afterlife
7. Feast

Now, for the second part of your question: How different was writing Feast? Quite a bit different. Feast is set in the current day, in a setting near where I live, so I had very little research regarding setting and the world-building wasn’t nearly as complicated as it was in Afterlife.

Brenda: Once you rest up from promoting Feast, what's on schedule? Have you already started a new project, or is a sequel in the works for either of your books yet?

Merrie: As far as writing goes, I’m currently working on an e-book novella that would be a prequel to Feast. It’s titled Cursed and I hope to have it out soon. I also recently finished another book, but I’m still working on the edits. Right now I can’t say very much about it, except that I think it’s an incredible book and I can’t wait for it to get published. And I would love to do a sequel to Feast. I have so many story ideas about the characters involved and I just loved the setting.

Brenda, thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I really enjoyed all of your questions.

Merrie is giving away a special package to one of my commenters that includes a signed copy of FEAST, plus some cool swag of bookmarks and buttons. This is a picture of the prize:

To Enter: All you have to do is leave Merrie a comment or question. Be sure to leave your email in the comments (you can put it as such: email at email (DOT) COM if you wish.) I'll use the random number generator to pick a winner on Monday, July 11th. You'll have all weekend to comment.



Tore said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds very good.Please enter me in contest.

Anonymous said...

How interesting this book sounds, I can hardly wait to read it! Please, enter me in the contest.

Merrie Destefano said...

Thank you SO much for having me on your blog today! I had a great time answering your questions and I'm excited about the giveaway. Yay, free stuff!! ;)

Skitty said...

Feast sounds delicious!! Merrie, I would like to know what some of your literary inspirations are. Books, authors, etc.

Please enter me in the contest. Yay free stuff indeed!

Nancy said...

I love stories that are hopefull. Setting it on Earth probably wasn't any easier than in space, right? The cover is fabulous and I hope it does well.
twitter @NLBadger

Diane Pollock said...

Would love to win, sounds awesome!

Robin said...

This book sounds great and I am going to go look for Merrie's other stories too!

robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Brenda Hyde said...

Thanks for the interview Merrie- and the nifty giveaway:)

ReneeRearden said...


I love the description of Feast, and the cover is fantastic!

The blog article was very interesting. I have to say, reading the order of your novel writing sequence made me wonder how many people live in your head at one time! =D

Do you often have ideas for other projects while writing a specific book?

I can't wait to read Feast!


*yadkny* said...

Hi Merrie!
Feast sounds like an awesome read!

Thanks for the more in-depth look into your writing mind... always intersting to learn the story behind a story. I'll be keeping my eye out for Cursed:)

yadkny (AT) hotmail (DOT) COM

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I love books where dreams play such a big role, throw in dark & twisty and it's gonna be a winner.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

throuthehaze said...

I love the summary of Feast. It sounds like such a great book. Thanks for the giveaway!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

donnas said...

Congrats on the release! I am looking forward to reading it.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

whitewolfreads said...

When you first started writing, did you ever think you would get this far? I'm very exited to read Feast and congrats on the new release!

whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

mbreakfield said...

This book sounds really good. I love that the heroine is called Mad Mac.
thanks for the giveaway.

Merrie Destefano said...

Hi! Great question: what some of your literary inspirations are. Books, authors, etc.

When I was a teenager, I loved books by Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Heinlein. Now I really like books by Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere), and Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak), and Diana Abu Jaber (Origin: A novel), and Robert Bennett Jackson (Mr. Shivers) and Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder.)

Merrie Destefano said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

Your question: Do you often have ideas for other projects while writing a specific book?

Unfortunately, yes! That was how FEAST came to me. I was working on another book and had to stop writing it to put down about 10 pages of FEAST. Then I wrote another book (AFTERLIFE), before I finally got to go back and write FEAST.

Right now I have a file of about 10 book ideas, some with 10-50 pages already written, that I hope to write someday.


Merrie Destefano said...

White Wolf Reads,
Great question!!
Your question: When you first started writing, did you ever think you would get this far?

Wow. That is so tough to answer. I think I've wanted to publish "a book" since I was 20 years old. (I have two uncompleted novels from when I was that age.) But I don't know if I actually wanted to be a novelist until the past ten years. I guess my attitude was, I wasn't going to give up until I achieved my goal. It was a lot of hard of work and a lot of rejections, but each one strengthened my resolve and forced me to strengthen my writing.