I am reviewing Farworld by J. Scott Savage, known affectionately to me (since I am his BFF) as Mr. Savage. This review is also a contest. I know that Mr. Savage has indicated he would be providing Advanced reader copies to the winner of my contest, however the best way to support an author (and I like supporting authors) is to actually buy their books. So I am providing the contest winner an actual signed, hardback copy of Farworld-Waterkeep. The contest rules are: leave a comment and my ten year old (who has a farworld poster hanging over his bed) will pick your name from a boot. I chose boot because hats are so cliché.
Because J Scott Savage is currently on tour promoting his new book, Farworld, he is unavailable to interview on my blog. But I was fortunate enough to contact one of the main characters in the book and spend some time with him for the interview. His name is Bonesplinter . He had no problems in taking J Scott’s place . . . in fact, he insisted on it. The review will follow the interview.
We decided to meet in New York because Bonesplinter had never been to a Broadway play and really wanted to see Wicked while he was visiting our dimension. He showed up late to the theater, leaving us little time to talk before we hurried in to find our seats before they lowered the house lights. I admit I felt a bit of gratitude once the houselights were lowered due to the hideous twisted scar running down Bonesplinter’s face and the way his silver eyes seemed to roam as if looking for prey.
Me (whispering to Bonesplinter ): With the lights down we’ll have to wait for intermission to do the interview.
Bonesplinter: What? Wait? Nonsense! We can do it right now!
Me: Um, look the orchestra’s already started. We should really wait for intermission.
Bonesplinter: I wait for no one! Do you not know who I am?
Since he’s now yelling, someone kicks the back of my chair and hisses SSSSSHHHHHHHHH at us.
Bonesplinter: Did you hear how snakelike that man sounds? He must be a Thrathkin S’Bai. (Bonesplinter lowers his voice) Though he’s not nearly as dedicated as I am or I would have met him before now. I’ll bet he’s one of those Slacker S’bai.
Me: Yeah right. Let’s just watch the show okay? Intermission will be the best time for me to write down your answers since the lights will be up.
I assume this appeases Bonesplinter since he turns his attention to the stage. I breathe a sigh of relief since I paid hard earned money on this show and would like to actually see it. Bonesplinter might be able to make his business cards look like money, but I have to pay the old fashioned way—with real cash.
Bonesplinter wipes his eyes and motions towards the stage: ~sniff~ that was just beautiful. That green skin of hers is so beautiful. It’s so hard being the bad guy you know? I really connect with her.
Me: Yeah, about that . . . What first interested you in becoming the nemesis for Marcus?
Bonesplinter: Have you not seen my master? Hello? He’s got not just one Summoner, but two! TWO! You don’t cross a guy with that kind of power. He asks you to off some kid and you do it just because he asked.
Me: Not that I’m taking sides or anything, but did it not occur to you that the kid has already had a pretty tough life and totally deserves a break?
Bonesplinter: I offered to give him a break. I wanted to start with his arms and move on from there, but that slippery kid just disappeared on me!
Me: This might be some kind psychological need to live up to your name, don’t you think?
Bonesplinter doesn’t respond, but growls at the lady seated next to him. I look around for medical help when she passes out, but her husband drags her off. She’ll probably be fine.
Me: So . . . Broken arms. I getcha on that. Do you ever want to do anything else with your life? I mean, once all the bones are broken?
Bonesplinter: Oh sure, sure. I’m planning on being a great painter. There’s a huge untapped market who would be interested in oil on canvas done with a snake tail brush.
Me: You don’t say? That’s impressive. So you really think there’s a market for that sort of thing?
Bonesplinter: They sell elephant paintings at the zoo. A snake is vastly more interesting than an elephant.
Me: Of course. So, back to the book, do you think you and your boss have a chance to defeat this kid?
Bonesplinter: Definitely. Those elementals are a bunch of fluffy ishkabiddles. They won’t be able to help him.
The lights go down again as the second half of Wicked begins. When the witch comes on stage again Bonesplinter starts whistling. The man from behind us is kicking our chairs again.
Bonesplinter: That witch is a real looker, don’t you think?
Me: Yeah, she’s a cutie alright. Let’s watch the play and finish the interview when it’s over.
Bonesplinter (standing on his chair and screaming): Elphaba! Will you marry me?
Me (hunkering down in my seat and wishing I could disappear like Marcus does, and wishing I’d waited for J Scott to finish his booktour so I could interview him instead of the unruly minions of his imagination): Ssshh Bonesplinter, you’re gunna get us kicked out, pal. Why don’t you sit down? We can talk after the play is over.
Bonesplinter lets out a strangled cry as the security guards come down the aisle with their flashlights and drag him out of the theater.
Bonesplinter: Jules! See if you can get her phone number for me!
I try to smile at the guy behind us who is glaring at me (as is the rest of the theater) and give Bonesplinter a thumbs up, figuring with his snake eyes, he’ll be able to see that in the dark. I try to turn back to the play, but the guard now has a hold on my arm.
Guard: Ma’am, we’ll need you to come with us for questioning.
Me: Can’t we wait until the play is over?
The guard tugs my arm up, so I guess that’s a “no.” The audience applauds as I am ushered out of the theater. Dang it. I wish I would’ve bought the cheap tickets from TKTS.
Review: Farworld is a must read for fantasy lovers of all ages. I read this in its first draft form while on a family vacation. I skipped going to the hotel pool because I couldn’t stop reading. The second and third time around were even better! My boys absolutely love it and feel I am the coolest person alive because not only do I know Mr. Savage, but I have his phone number programmed into my cell phone and he actually answers when he sees it’s me calling to whine chat.
In Farworld, everyone can perform magic–everyone buy Kyja, that is.
Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place — Farworld.
When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.
But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass’s secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld’s only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals —water, land, air and fire —and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.
As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst the evil Dark Circle can throw at them —Summoners, who can command the living and the dead; Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark mages known as Thrathkin S’Bae.
Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.
So the bottom line is: I read it, loved it, and am buying you your own copy to read and love too.
I tell the kids I plan on writing down all the horrible things they do so I remember why I’m glad they moved out when they get older. But the truth is, even when they act slightly evil, they are seriously funny and I fully enjoy having them around. Dinnertime is usually the silliest time of our day. Settling kids into chairs and keeping all three of them quiet long enough that we can actually offer thanks for the food proves to be much harder than one would think.
It doesn’t make it any easier when we all have eyes closed and Murky starts breathing like Darth Vader and Bing says, “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” I try not to giggle, because once I start, they all feel as though I’ve given permission for them to get silly. Then it’s another ten minutes to settle them down again. But I can’t help it; they’re just funny to me.
Murky asked us if we were going to celebrate when they move out. Mr. Wright (waxing philosophical) said, “I will celebrate the life you have in front of you.”
“So you mean you really will celebrate? Aw Dad! That’s harsh!”
And though Mr. Wright is right, I *will* be celebrating the lives they will be starting, I will also mourn the lives they will leave behind. I will miss the stifled giggles at my dinner table.
We play a game at dinnertime where we each get to tell the best part of our day and why. It started several years ago because I had a day where the publishing world had cut me to my soul and I could not think of one good thing in my life.
Desperate for something–anything to fill the hole in my soul, I asked my kids to tell me their favorite parts of their day. Each answer helped to sandbag the happiness back into my heart, keeping it from leaking out.
The game was so much fun for the kids, that they did it the next night, and the next until it has become a tradition. We sit at the table and each get to tell what we liked best about our days. Through this method, I’ve been able to keep my finger on the pulse of my family. Some days the kids can’t think of anything good. Some days they need the rest of us to help them find good things in their lives. But mostly, it’s a time to be silly, to laugh, and to breathe like Darth Vader.
Yes, there are good things in my life. They sit at my dinner table and make shadow puppets on the wall with their silverware. I am not lying when I tell them my favorite part of the day is right then and there, celebrating their lives.
Jewel Adams is an author that is exactly as her name implies—a perfect jewel. Jewel Adams was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. Her hard childhood spurred her imagination and later on those imaginings fueled her love for writing.
She moved to Utah in 1989 and started writing seriously a few years later.
She is a wife and the mother of eight children (which makes her a saint in my book). When she is not home schooling her children or writing, she loves to curl up with a box of chocolates and read, her favorite books being romance and fantasy novels.
She frequently speaks to youth and adult audiences. She has a great love for the youth and because of her own painful childhood, she is always anxiously engaged in helping them to understand how marvelous and special they are.
Jewel is the author of nine (count ‘em folks, NINE) novels, her most recent publication being The Journey.
The war between good and evil is as old as time itself–
so is the absolute truth that each choice is accompanied by a consequence.
Ciran is about to be faced with both.
Two roads lie ahead. Only one leads home.
Which will she choose?
Before I begin my interview with Jewel I want to say a few things about her. When I first met jewel it was at a booksigning where many authors were in attendance. She was easily approachable and delightful to speak with. I loved her instantly. But beyond that I’ve noted some things about her. I’ve been in charge of various functions and writer’s conferences over the last few years and something I’ve found is that as soon as Jewel shows up, her first question seems to always be, “How can I help?” She’s always jumping in and saving the day by being exactly where she’s needed when she’s needed. She is a delight to have in a group because she is so amicable and not overbearing (we’ll reserve the irritating overbearing personality trait in authors for me). I just love her and hope you all love her too.
Hi Jewel! Thanks for joining us.
- When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? How long did it take from that moment to publication?
In high school I used to write poetry, but I didn’t consider writing books until I moved to Utah in 1989. I met another author who kind of gave me the bug and that was it. I totally fell in love with writing.
- 2- So often writers are told to “write what they know,” Do you feel you take a lot of personal experiences and incorporate them into your writing, or do you gather information and scenes from outside sources, or do you find that you do both?
I do a little of both. A have given a few of my characters some of my past experiences and have tried to get across through them what I learned from those experiences. Lately, though, I’ve done a mixture of mine, as well as others’ experiences, and some gathered info.
3- You’ve written many novels, do you find it easier to tell a story in a fairytale format or is the contemporary world easier to tell a story in?
Actually I find it easier to write in contemporary first-person, but this fantasy stuff has been a lot of fun. As a kid, my mind would travel to other places from time to time, but I don’t think my imagination was as vivid as it should have been because my situation forced me to grow up too fast. Now I’m having the opportunity to let my imagination run wild, on purpose, and that’s pretty neat:o)
4- Your book deals with journeys and decisions made along the journey. What do you hope people will carry away with them when they close the book and get back to their real lives?
I hope they will understand that everything we do in the present will somehow affect our future and that no action taken is without a consequence. I hope the reader will come away wanting to be a better person and understand that it’s the small things that make the difference.
5- You’ve done both traditional publishing and self publishing. Being that many authors are struggling to find their place in the market and since you’ve had experience with both sides of the writer coin, It would be interesting to hear your take on both sides. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?
With traditional publishing, it’s great not having to worry about distribution or spending money printing books.
With self-publishing, I like being in control of my book. You have to do a lot of marketing, but you have to do some marketing with a traditional publisher too. They both have their ups and downs. You can make good money either way depending on how much goes into marketing and advertising. So either way is good for me.
6- What is the biggest surprise for you in being an author?
Well, one has been just meeting people that like my writing enough to come back for more. It makes me think, “Wow, I guess maybe my books aren’t so bad after all.”:o)
It has also been pretty neat meeting and hanging out with other amazing authors, like yourself, of course. The friendships make it worth it.
I’ve neglected the blogging world a bit and truly apologize, but don’t take it personally–I’ve been writing. Oh can I just share my relief in this blessed miracle? I mean, I was writing before, but it felt soooo forced. The book wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t sure who my audience was, which made it that much harder to focus.
This new book has all the ease of a hot knife through butter. It’s just coming all at once. I know how it’s going to end. I know what the middles (which let’s be honest, are hard to write) are going to contain. I feel free.
It’s all Jeff Savage’s fault, or is it J Scott Savage? You all know who I mean–anyway, we spent some time on the phone with me whining (i know, hard to believe) and he asked what I was working on.
“Nothing.” Short replies from writers are significant. Short replies from me in particular are usually indicative of being ill, depressed, or ticked off. At the moment of this conversation, I was depressed–hence the whining.
“Nothing? C’mon. I know you. You have tons of stuff.”
And he was right. I ALWAYS have tons of stuff churning through my head, but I wasn’t actively writing any of it, which means I was working on ‘nothing.’ “Oh there’s lots of things I could be working on. I just don’t know where to put my focus.” This flippant comment was followed by the thought, Light! I’m working on nothing. I’m a failure! Do your hear me–FAILURE!!!!
Jeff then asked, “Which one do you most WANT to write?”
And I didn’t know. None of them? All of them? Perhaps what I wanted was to be locked in a padded room where I could rock back and forth and sing karaoke to myself. On non karaoke nights, I could chant, Nothing nothing nothing . . . .
“You’re not having fun anymore, are you?” he asked. Really. I wonder if Jeff and his wife Jen are secret therapists. He pegged it. I wasn’t. Writing had become work. For the first time ever, I couldn’t summon anything just for the joy of it. I was worried about audience, and publishers, and market. I’d become so obsessed with carving out my own place in the literary world, instead I carved my little scribbler’s heart right out and threw it away.
And the thing is, writing affects every aspect of my life. I’m a better wife when I am writing. I am a better mother when I am writing. I am a better person when I am writing. So imagine a year going by with no novel to show for it. What kind of wife, mother, person did I become in that year? I won’t answer that. You don’t really want to know. Oh, Mr. Wright would argue for my sake and lie to you all about how great I am. He’s cute that way. And the kids might argue, just because I’ve been reading them Farworld and they love me for it, but I’ve been whiny at best.
So I shelved the work going nowhere and started something new. I decided to not think or dwell on marketing, or who might publish this story, or what this story might mean for my career as an author. I wrote because it was fun.
It’s so much fun!
It’s like drinking ambrosia and feeling rejuvenated again. I feel like I can breathe again. And Mr. Wright will be glad to know that the sulky female living in his home has been evicted. You can probably hear the rejoicing from wherever you may be.
This newfound joy comes at a good time for me since I am heading to New York–where I need to be at the top of my game and content with what I’m doing. But I am not merely content. I’ve fallen in love with writing again. Yes, Jeff . . . I’m finally having fun again.
So last March, I applied to the Rutger’s University One on One Writer’s conference where I get to meet agents, Editors, and Newbery authors. Add that to the fact that Rutger’s University is a stone’s throw from Manhattan and you have the recipe for one wicked cool vacation. In order to go this conference, I basically had to send them everything I would normally send to query an agent or editor. So they got writing samples, my query letter, synopsis–everything.
And I waited.
While waiting, it didn’t ever occur to me that I might not get accepted into this little day school for writing. After all, we’ve already established that to write is to walk on that fine line of egomania and manic depression and as far as this conference was concerned, I strayed to the egomania side.
And months flew by with no word. Then I get an email from one of those in charge of the conference letting me know I failed to send in a SASE. %^$#@!!!! How sheepish do I feel? Baaaaa-aaadly sheepish. But I’m still not worried, right? After all, I am Julie Wright, author of four novels and winner of several writing awards. Why would they turn me down when I obviously have so much to offer?
Enter HUSBAND– stage Wright.
Normally my Mr. Wright is the only thing that keeps me from ingesting cyanide. But he has his days of stating what is brutally obvious to him when I am being brutally oblivious. “Babe,” he says. “Why would they ask you to send a SASE if they were going to accept you. Why wouldn’t they just state you were accepted in the email?”
Oh the wretched logic as I plummet from my self-imposed pedestal. But I didn’t stay down too long. After all I have several really fabulous bites looking at my Hazzardous Universe series right now and I’m working on other novels, and I simply don’t have time to worry about a writer’s conference. PPPHHT! Who needs ‘em!
I do. Of course. I am just needy like that and I really *wanted* to go to this conference where I can be in New York and doing writer business type stuff and feeling validated in the career I’ve chosen.
So naturally I spent some time meandering on the manic depression side of a writer’s life.
And then the SASE arrived in my mailbox. Mr. Wright calls them love letters. I wonder if he thinks that’s funny . . .
I opened it, feeling that sickness that comes with envelopes with my name and address on them written in my own handwriting.
It’s an acceptance . . . Yeah BABY! It’s an acceptance! In a SASE!!!! Who knew good news ever came in those things?
This is awesome for many reasons.
- Mr. Wright was wrong about something. This rarely happens and so is a moment to celebrate (or to at least gloat over).
- My parents and husband decided to come with me so we can all enjoy New York (And we aren’t taking cash this time due to the being pick pocketed on the subway deal that happened last time we were there)
- It means my writing does have merit after all (phew)
- I found out that a SASE doesn’t always contain form letters and personal rejections that feel worse than the form letters.
- Did I mention I’m going to New York?
Pack the bags baby!