Oh, my marvellous blogglings, do I have a treat for you today! Firstly, we get to chat with an author (yes, cue fangirling…an author!!!) and secondly you get my fantastic thoughts on her book — and wait! it’s not all! — then there is a giveaway!
Calm down, yes, calm down. We can get through this together without screaming our heads off. Are you ready?
Let’s do this. I’m excited!
Interview with the author, Rachael Craw!
Rachael Craw: reader, dreamer, joker, singer, believer, writer and lover of words.
I grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, studied Classical Studies and Drama, became an English teacher and dabbled in acting. I even auditioned for Shortland Street. Spark is my debut YA sci-fi/crossover novel, the first in a trilogy being published by Walker Books Australia.
What was the process behind coming up with the title for Spark?
Rachael: Oh boy, I love this question. I don’t think anyone has asked me that in an interview before! Good one, Cait!
Way, way back 5.5 years ago, my first saved document for the manuscript was titled ‘Borders’ because much of the story is about crossing/transitioning from one state of being to another. The synthetic gene lurking in Evie’s DNA is activated and she goes from being a regular girl to a human ‘Shield’, a crossing over and she can never go back. Also one of the important landmarks in the story (both physically and symbolically) is the ‘Border River’. I toyed with another title: ‘Beside the Border River’ but felt it sounded too much like a romance novel and while there is a romantic thread through the story it isn’t the main point and I wanted something edgy that would give a hint of the sci-fi element.
Then the title changed to The Keeper – that’s what I originally called Shields. So, The Keeper lasted for about 4 years until Walker Books Australia picked it up and the rather brilliant marketing team suggested this term/title was a little over used and tired sounding. I agreed. As I started brain storming for a new title it inspired my desire to change the names of all the genetically engineered roles. Keepers, Seekers and Triggers became Shields, Strays and Sparks. ‘Spark’ became the official title and I love it because it indicates the chief thread of the storyline, saving Kitty and it also suggests a beginning, the ignition of the story and also the spark of first love.
Ooh, it certainly went through a few name changes! I love that you went with SPARK. Powerful! Do you have a favourite quote from SPARK?
Rachael: Wowsers, Cait! Another fantastic question I have never been asked before! I have a couple. Probably this one (part of it appears on the back cover blurb):
…I want to cry for him, for me, for the loss of innocence that comes with the blood in our veins. Killers by design. “You think God has a loophole for people who don’t have a choice?”“Hope so,” Jamie says. “Otherwise we’re screwed.”
Yay, I’m glad you like my questions! So can you tell us a little about how you went from finished manuscript to book deal?
I shall happy dance with you!! I’m still so gobsmacked by the brilliant twist at the end! Did you know how you wanted the finale to work straight away? Or did it come to you as you wrote?
Oh you got the balance perfectly. What’s your favourite part of the writing process? Drafting, rewriting, editing…eating chocolate, etc.?
I absolutely love how approachable (and fabulous!) you are on twitter. What are your views on hanging out with your readers? Do you worry about criticism or accidentally reading negative reviews?
Can we beeeeg any news about the sequel(s)?!
I AM SO EXCITED FOR IT. Okay, and last question! Since Spark has a superhuman flair, can you make a (terribly difficult) decision and tell us your favourite Marvel Avenger?
I am an Iron Man sort of person myself too! Thank you so much for chatting with us, Rachael! It’s been awesome!
Evie doesn’t have a choice.
One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.
The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.
And then there’s Jamie. irresistible. off-limits.
I really loved this book and I have 2 very large opinions about it.
Opinion #1: It balanced delicately on the verge of superhero stereotypes…but….
Opinion #2: It had a GLORIOUS AND BRILLIANT plot twist that exploded my mind and made me tackle hug the entire 450-pages and promise to read all sequels forever and ever amen.
It’s basically a superhero story.
I love superheroes! I do! Spark followed this concept of 3 types of people with modified DNA: type #1 wanted to kill people, type #2 needed protecting from the killers, and type #3 were the protectors. Awesome, right? I loved that.
The characters were fabulous! It’s narrated by Evie who has to protect her BFF, Kitty. Kitty has a twin brother called Jamie who is hot (of cousre). Evie and Jamie had a “thing” when they were younger, but it rekindles when the story takes off. I liked Evie and Jamie’s relationship and the smushy scenes were balanced with the kick-your-butt-to-the-other-side-of-the-planet scenes. Although Kitty took a backseat the whole time. I’m sad. I like it when best-friends take the front row. And Evie sure fainted a lot. Regular wilting daisy.
My only frustration came at the huge emphasis on physical beauty.
But let’s not forget the explosion of AWESOME at the end.
I did not see that plot twist coming and it built into something that clearly will be explored in the sequel. I’m excited! Bring it onnnnnn.
– Australian only!
– Prizes sent directly from Walker Books
– You totally have to strike a superhero pose before entering. I’m just sayin’. You do.