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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

BLOG TOUR, #GIVEAWAY, AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Hawk by Marie Powell

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Hawk by Marie Powell
Genre: young adult historical fantasy
Published August 1st, 2015
Published by Five Rivers Publishing
294 Pages

Hyw yearns to join his father in serving the charismatic Llywelyn, Prince of Wales. If only Hyw dared tell anyone of his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, it might help secure his place in the royal guard. Cat, his sister, longs to inherit the magical ability that runs through her mother’s line. If only she could see her future, now that she is 13 and promised to a boy she barely remembers.
When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hwy find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy all of Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family—and themselves?
Set among the actual events and personages of late 13th century Wales, Marie Powell has constructed a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either 

growing up or as an adult?

Oh, so many! You’ll see some of them listed in the Further Reading list in Hawk, 

and my personal list is always growing. My influences growing up were pretty 

broad. When I was very young, Dad read bedtime stories to me that were 

technically above my reading level, like the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar 

Rice Burroughs, and books by H. Rider Haggard and Arthur Conan Doyle. I love 

science fiction by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Aldous Huxley, and T. H. 

White’s The Once and Future King has been a big influence on me. I came 

across Edgar Allan Poe in about Grade Seven. That year I volunteered in the 

school library with mostly Grade 8 girls, and one lunch hour I read “The Tell-Tale 

Heart” aloud to them. I still remember the whites of their eyes. ;-) I think I’ve been 

hooked on suspense and speculative writing ever since.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

The manuscript went through about eight years of editing and revision. My first 

editor was Glen Huser (Stitches) during my Master of Fine Arts in Creative 

Writing (MFA) degree studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He 

was very encouraging and kept me reading and writing until I had the first draft 

completed. That draft got me a scholarship to Highlights Chautauqua in New 

York State, and a mentorship with author-editor Patti Lee Gauch. The revisions I 

did after that event got me a CANSCAIP mentorship with Kathy Stinson. Dr. 

Robert Runté and Barb Galler-Smith did blue pencil edits at When Words Collide, 

an annual speculative fiction conference in Calgary. As well, three Beta readers 

gave me feedback, along with members of my local writing groups, the Phantasts 

and the Young Adult Critique Group. The list is long, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten 

people. After I sold the manuscript to Five Rivers, Dr. Robert Runté became the 

final editor. I think we did five passes through the manuscript, increasing the 

stakes and making small and large changes. I would have kept going but Robert 

called it.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or 

getting it published that you would change?

Not really. It was a personal challenge but also an incredible learning experience 

for me, and I appreciate every step. You have to be persistent, and work always 

to improve your writing.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I hope that never happens! 

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for 

your genre?

Up to now I’ve marketed my books to schools and libraries, as well as the 

occasional grandmother or aunt who wanted to encourage a young reader. This 

Marie Powell/Hawk

is my first young adult novel. So far so good, but it’s still a learning curve for me. 

I’ve done several readings already, and people have been intrigued enough to 

want to read more. I’ve also taken book tables at conferences and fan-expos. I 

sold 11 copies in one day at a conference, and that was so encouraging! I’m so 

grateful to the readers who have been putting 4-star and 5-star reviews on 

Amazon and Goodreads! This blog tour is the first online marketing I’ve ever 

done, other than listing it on my website, and I plan to do more of that. 

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The working title is Hawk & Crown, and it’s the sequel to Hyw and Cat’s story. I 

feel really lucky that people say they’re looking forward to reading it. Right now 

I’m working on edits, but I can promise there’s more shape-shifting, knife 

throwing, spooky visions, and a bit of romance in the mix.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

It’s based on the historical invasion of Wales in 1282, and I’ve tried to follow the 

fall of Welsh castles and courts, as much as we know from history, with a lot of 

reading between the lines. The main characters and their story are pure fantasy, 

based on Welsh poems and mythology. There’s a bit of family history thrown in 

here and there. The name Powell was derived from “ap Hywell” and the main 

character is Hyw, so I like to think of these characters as my ancestors. But I’m 

reasonably sure none of them could shape-shift. ;-)

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

That’s a tough question! I enjoyed all of it, really, from the research to the 

detailed scene-building to the revisions. The humourous scenes were fun to 

write, and some also gave me a chance to learn some Welsh culture. For 

instance, on New Years’ Day the Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) visits Cat and her group 

at the castle. But I couldn’t really say one part of the book was my favourite. 

Every minute I spend writing has to be carved out of my day jobs and other 

responsibilities. It’s what I love to do the most.

How did you come up with the title?

I’ve always called it Hawk. The first scene I wrote was the opening, when Hyw 

connects with the mind of a hawk. It’s gone through a lot of revision since, but it’s 

always been the title of this book, for me. I’m just glad my editor and publisher 

agreed!

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or 

idea you’d love to work with?

Most of my stories explore themes of possession and hauntings, and divided 

loyalties. Writing is like mining: you head into the darkness with your wits and 

your tools, and you never know what you’ll find. I love it, so I’m always planning 

short stories and novels. I think there’s a lot more for me to mine in these 

themes.

Scheduled during Teen Read Week! Check it out HERE!

About the Author:

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Marie Powell (www.mepowell.com) is the author of 30 published books,
including the young adult historical fantasy Hawk (Five Rivers, 2015) and
Hawk and Crown (Five Rivers, 2016). She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and
her award-winning short stories and poetry appear in such literary
magazines as subTerrain, Room, and Transition. She lives in Saskatchewan,
and her writing workshops are popular across the province. Read more about
Hawk and Welsh history on her blog at www.mepowell.com/blog.

The Giveaway:
(3) ecopies of Hawk by Marie Powell

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I'm in the middle of reading Hawk right now and every evening I look forward to entering its faraway, magical world. I'm impressed with the attention to detail. The story oozes with spirit and authenticity. And learning about the story behind the story just gives it that added dimension. A classic!

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