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.