Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Griffin Cryer by Julia Hughes: Interview and Excerpt

 




If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?

 

I grew up on the legends of King Arthur, and adore T H White's "Once and Future King" and of course, Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Mists of Avalon". King Arthur and his knights, along with the mystical Merlin are supposed to be sleeping in some crystal cave, ready to return when we have need of them. If this happens during my lifetime, I fully intend to continue their story, and this time the ending will be very different – we'll keep the magic alive!

 

Tell us about your current release.
"The Griffin Cryer" – suitable for young adults, and all those who've ever dreamed of riding a griffin:

 

Synopsis: Frankie Shaunessy's friends are out of this world!

It's an easy mistake to make - instead of whistling and calling for her dog, fifteen year old Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another world. The Rider is tall, blond and extremely rude. On the other hand, Balkind is the sweetest, most lovable griffin Frankie's ever met, and Frankie is determined to help the Rider and his griffin find a way back to their own world.

Dealing with parallel universes, disgruntled warriors, and hungry griffins is the easier part of Frankie's life. At school, Frankie learns friends can become enemies, teachers aren't always right, and the boy of your dreams can be all too human.

 

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

Yes to both! My critique partner is Stephen Spencer, who is incredibly gifted and can turn a pig's ear into a silk purse. I have one beta reader who I trust enough to read chapter by chapter; Dody Cox has an enormous empathy for words, and tells me instantly what is working and what isn't. For "The Griffin Cryer" two teenagers "volunteered"! Jenny Worstall, another talented author who also teaches music read through and enabled Frankie to become a musician. With their help, I know I've written the best story I can, and any adverse reviews are the result of someone not being grabbed by the story, rather than the story not making sense. 

 

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

I'll do it in one :D

After reading "The Griffin Cryer" you'll know how it feels to fly on the back of a griffin.

 

Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?

I'm more likely to be thought of as extravert than introvert, but I'm best described as confident. There's a reason for this: I don't care what anyone thinks – that's their opinion – this is my life. Once you realise you can sing and dance to your own beat, you'll find others who like your style and want to join in. Others won't – and that's cool too.

 

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I have synethesia. As a young child, I thought everyone saw words in colour, then realised I was a little bit different. So I kept quiet about this until a few years ago, when a documentary came on the telly (good old telly!) I'm not alone! Other people see colour in music, some even taste words – as a result there are words they cannot bring themselves to say! The most valuable cross over sense though is the ability to 'see' numbers interacting with themselves, and sums magically working themselves out!

 

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

"The Griffin Cryer" ends with the Rider and Frankie on Ella-Earth, our world's twin – only a world in which evolution has taken a different route, and mythical beasts exist. Magic also exists – so I guess you could say this is my way of creating a setting Merlin would feel at home in. How can I resist exploring further? Readers of "The Griffin Cryer" have been kind enough to say that they hope there will be a sequel – and if I get my way – there certainly will be!

 

"The Griffin Cryer" is soon to be released as a paperback, and I'd be delighted to offer a signed copy as a giveaway to your readers and blog followers.

 


 
 
 

Frankie Shaunessy's friends are out of this world!

It's an easy mistake to make - instead of whistling and calling for her dog, fifteen year old Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another world. The Rider is tall, blond and extremely rude. On the other hand, Balkind is the sweetest, most lovable griffin Frankie's ever met, and Frankie is determined to help the Rider and his griffin find a way back to their own world.

Dealing with parallel universes, disgruntled warriors, and hungry griffins is the easier part of Frankie's life. At school, Frankie learns friends can become enemies, teachers aren't always right, and the boy of your dreams can be all too human. Told in approximately 53,000 words, suitable for young adults, and all those who've ever dreamed of riding a griffin.

Cover art by Laura Wright LaRoche of 
LLPix.com Designs
Julia's website: JuliaHughes.co.uk or tweet @Tinksaid





 
This excerpt is from Chapter eight of "The Griffin Cryer": Instead of calling her dog to heel, Frankie has accidentally summons a griffin, complete with rider from another dimension. The griffin has rescued Frankie from a very nasty encounter with two bullies; but it won't be long before the police arrive. Frankie has sneaked the griffin and Rider home and into her garden. They are talking in a shack built by Frankie's brother.
 
 

Two prominent veins fringed with feathers ran either side along the top outline of Balkind's shoulder blades. When Frankie cupped her hand over one, it throbbed against her palm. She traced the vein with her hand, and Balkind shivered. Her hand travelled along the vein, which measured her arm's length, before folding back on itself. When she thrust her fingers between the fold, she felt a soft leathery skin, which also pulsed; it must have its own network of minor veins. The major artery folded back on itself several times, and Frankie estimated that when fully outstretched, Balkind's wing span would be around thirty feet from wing tip to wing tip.
'What happens if you fall off?'
'You pray your griffin catches you before you hit the ground.' 
Frankie's head jerked around to look over at the Rider, sprawled on the sofa bed, across the shack from her. With sirens blaring in their ears, they'd hurried along the service road running behind the length Frankie's street, and snuck into her rear garden. Then Frankie had doubled back into her house, and called to mum that she'd be in the shack for the next hour or two, practising her piano scales. She raided the fridge, then raided the medicine cabinet, and twenty minutes later, the shack reeked of TCP antiseptic. Now Frankie felt her nerves beginning to calm, as she played her hands along the griffin's wings. Balkind's eyes were semi-closed, and he crooned with the happiness of a griffin who had feasted on three tins of best quality dog's meat. She could only offer the Rider left-over chicken drumsticks and some cheese sandwiches, but it appeared they were satisfactory. At least, judging from the empty plates stacked on the old kitchen table, alongside a digital piano keyboard.
 
Now Frankie stared at him, but apart from a mocking look in his eyes, the Rider's face was expressionless. She forced a smile: 'Was that another "silly question"?'
The Rider glanced up at the ceiling, as though to say "give me strength" and Frankie just knew he found all her questions "silly".
'At least I don't have to ask what a service road is – or a car!' 
The Rider frowned, and Frankie arched her eyebrows mockingly, widening her eyes. Raising her hand, she rubbed Balkind's shoulder in the exact spot the Rider stroked him. Balkind responded by collapsing his knees and crouching down, and Frankie swallowed a gasp of surprise. Smirking at the Rider, she sat down close to Balkind, crossed her legs, and pulled the griffin's head into her lap.
'Tell you what. I'll ask you five "silly" questions, and you can ask me five "silly" questions.'
The Rider's frown deepened. 'But how do I know if they're silly or not?'
Frankie couldn't help herself. 'Ask yourself the question again, only slower,' she taunted. Ducking his head, the Rider glowered at her, and then the corners of his lips tugged up into a smile. Frankie wanted to tell him that he really needed to work on his sense of humour, but didn't. The Rider came from another universe, one in which fun seemed to have been outlawed. An air of expectancy swelled inside the dimness of the shack.
'Who goes first?' The Rider finally broke the silence.
'Was that your first question?' Frankie teased, and then giggled when he retorted 'was that your first question?' Cradling Balkind's head with one arm, she stretched out with the other towards a stray tennis ball, and chucked it in the Rider's direction. He dodged, caught it and chucked it back. 'You've got quite a good aim, for a girl.' He said, as Balkind snuffled at the tennis ball, as though trying to determine if it were edible or not. Frankie raised her eyebrows again, wrinkling her nose for good measure, and a question arrived in her mind. Without thinking, she blurted it out: 'What will you do if you can't get home?'
The Rider stilled. He rested his elbows on his knees, then steepled his long fingers together, and rested his chin on his hands. His eyes focused on something very far away, as he considered what his options might be if he couldn't return home.
Frankie squirmed, 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean – look, you ask me a question now – you don't have to answer that one,' she stammered. The Rider shook himself, and stood up. He walked over to the wall opposite to the one Frankie leaned against, and peered at a map of the British Isles. 'Is this Albion?' he asked. Frankie wrinkled her brow, and with a last stroke of Balkind's head, moved it gently from her lap to the floorboards, and stood up.
'That's a map of this country.' She said, stalking over in bare feet to stand beside him, and tilting her head to look at the familiar landmass. She'd given it to Michael on their twelfth birthday, when he was still obsessed with collecting different minerals and relics from the past. 'It shows all the ancient settlements – where artefacts are likely to be found. See – here's Stonehenge – this here is–'
'–Glastonbury Tor' the Rider interrupted. 'And the Wessex ley-line runs from here–' his fingers scythed across the map, brushing from Dorset, through Stonehenge across to London '–to here.'
'The Wessex what what?' Frankie asked, standing on tiptoes to peer closer at the map. 'That's not one of my questions by the way.'
'Sounded like two to me.' The Rider peeled the map from the wall, and casting a glance around the room, walked over to place the map on the kitchen table, moving the empty plates and digital piano keyboard to the floor. Then he pulled the makeshift desk over to the sofa and sat down, patting the cushion beside him, inviting Frankie to take a seat. 'Make yourself at home, why don't you?' Frankie muttered, as she sat down next to him.
'Third question,' The Rider told her, smoothing the map over the desk. Frankie wanted to say 'fourth actually,' but kept quiet, and kept her advantage. Balkind lifted his head to peer at the sofa, and seeing nothing edible, or of interest to griffins, slumped his chin back to the ground with a grunt.

 

End of excerpt. © Julia Hughes 2013.
 





Julia's bio in her own words:

"I'm an eldest child and walking my younger brother and sister to school and back, I'd tell them stories – a captive audience! On leaving college, I worked at the BBC, helping write stories for their "Schools' Programmes". That was back in the day, before satellite telly made it over to the UK and 'Auntie Beeb' ruled the air waves! I gave it all up for the good life, and moved down to Cornwall, one of the most beautiful counties in England, and often known as 'God's own country.' I think the greatest compliment I received was 'Julia's more Cornish than the Cornish.' I picked daffodils in winter and made pasties for the holidaymakers in the summer. But all good things come to an end: I upped sticks to be closer to my family, and landed in a little village just outside London, and have been here ever since, scribbling away at my stories. "

I don't specifically write in any one genre, an idea will flitter into my mind, and the story develops. My first three titles, "A Raucous Time", "A Ripple in Time" and "An Explosive Time" are action adventures, while "The Bridle Path" is romance. I think I'd overdosed on the testosterone flying around in the previous three books and wanted something a little more feminine and romantic.
My latest title "The Griffin Cryer" is an adventure/fantasy. What makes this genre special is the opportunity to really allow imagination to take flight, and even create whole new worlds for readers to explore.

To win a signed paperback copy of "The Griffin Cryer" just visit my site and leave a comment on any of my blog posts, adding 'please enter me into your free contest to win a signed paperback copy of "The Griffin Cryer". A winner will be picked at random on the 14 of March. Julia's website: Julia Hughes.

 

Enter for a chance to win a Print copy of The Griffin Cryer.
2 Winners will be picked!
 



8 comments:

Jenny Worstall said...

Thanks for the mention, Julia! Fascinating to read about your synethesia - I know musicians with this but didn't know it could apply to words too.

tinksaid said...

Thank you Laurie for a wonderful feature - lovely to be here on your site meeting your readers & thank you too Jenny, for all your expert advice so generously given,
Julia x

Dody said...

Another intriguing tidbit about you, Julia, to add to my fav authors'fun info file: synesthesia. No wonder your tales ring so many of my chimes; more than having vivid scene descriptions, the scenes are splashed in color! Being a beta reader for you certainly spices up the reader in me...Thank you.

Amanda Ray said...

Well, were I to have a griffin, I'd probably name it Keira if it were a girl and Declan if it were a boy.

Tia Dalley said...

Lakota, which means friendly ally....I think it would be perfect

Bethie said...

I think I would name it something mundane, like Blue.

Rain Jeys said...

Cool. I'm a Julia, too, and I wish i had synethesia.

What would I name my griffin? Hmm. Maybe I'd name it Grrr. I have a kitty named Grrr. She probably wishes she was a griffin.

VampedChik said...

I'd have to meet it and get a feel for it. We took a week to name our new puppy. We named her Sasquatch and call her sassy and holy cow it fits. She has such an attitude. But if it was a boy possibly Raiden I've always liked that name. :)
-Amber