Thursday, March 29, 2012

Neversink Blog Tour Interview

Neversink
Jen and I were very lucky to get an advance reader's copy of Neversink by Barry Wolverton to review from Kellie at Walden Pond Press a couple of months ago and we both loved it! When Kellie contacted us to be part of the Neversink blog tour, we immediately said yes!  When we were reading Neversink, Jen and I were intrigued with many aspects of the novel and are excited to share with you our interview with Barry Wolverton. We also get to giveaway a copy of his novel to one lucky blog reader!

Teach Mentor Texts: What type of research of puffins, walruses and owls did you do for Neversink? 

Barry Wolverton: I dressed and lived as a puffin to learn their ways and their language. No wait, that was “Dances With Wolves.” I read field guides and other natural history books to get the details right, but read a lot of folklore for narrative inspiration. Animals figure so prominently in the mythology of early peoples, it was fun to think of how my creatures, pre-humans, might have done things to later influence human behavior. Rozbell inventing what we call the crown, for instance. Or the Chinese scribe, Cang Jie, who according to legend invented writing after observing the marks left on the ground by birds — that inspired the idea of walruses inventing a written language based on their hide scars.

TMT: Is Neversink, the island, based off of a real place? 

BW: Yes, Iceland. And the political conflict with the Parliament of Owls and the fish tax is loosely inspired by the Iceland-Denmark conflicts. There really were Cod Wars!

TMT: You have been part of putting together documentaries, educational books and online content for Discovery, National Geographic, Scholastic and others.  What has been your favorite adventure? 

BW: The production company I worked for in the DC area went to some amazing places to film: Argentina, Turkey, Bangladesh, Mauritius. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to any of them! Scripts were mostly written and refined from watching footage, not being on location. For books and online content, I went on adventures of the mind — to the library.

TMT: That's kind of what reading is all about, right? That reading can take us places! Lockley's journey is very much a hero's journey- did you consciously follow Campbell's monomyth? 

BW: Not exactly. I am familiar with Campbell and had studied versions of the hero’s journey, mostly in screenwriting books, but I didn’t outline the book step-by-step that way. I mostly had this notion of Lockley being a classic underdog (underbird?) hero, physically unimposing, like Bilbo Baggins, and revealing his strength through conflict, both internal and external. But no doubt many of my decisions (like the character of the Great Auk, an embodiment of the mentor), were influenced subconsciously by having seen or read many successful stories built around the Campbell structure.

TMT: What is your favorite hero's journey? 

BW: I love Arthurian legend in its many forms and the epic quest story.

TMT: Many authors contend that to be a great author you have to be a reader.  Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?  

BW: I’m sure there are some famous authors who claim not to be big readers. I don’t know that there are any absolutes to being a great author, but I will say this — I’m not sure why you would become an author if you weren’t a reader. What would possess you to create a story in the novel form if you had not at some point been awed or dazzled or inspired by something you read that showed you how magical a book could be?
  
TMT: We seem to be often in awe and inspired by what authors are doing in our favorite books! Are you reading anything good right now? Or do you have a favorite genre?

BW: I just read The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas and am eager to read the rest of the series. I was also very impressed with N.D. Wilson’s The Hundred Cupboards trilogy. And although it’s YA (I think), I have to say how much I loved Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy. So I guess it’s obvious that I love fantasy. Oh, and I just started The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by fellow WPP [Walden Pond Press] author Christopher Healy, and I’m happy to say it deserves its advanced praise.

TMT: At Teach Mentor Texts, we're all about promoting literacy and spreading the love of books. How would you finish the statement: Reading is... 

BW: the best thing you can do for your brain, other than eating brain food.

A giant, walrus-sized thank you to Barry for answering our questions! 
Barry and Neversink are making many stops during this blog tour. 
You can read posts at Nerdy Book Club and at Cari's Book Blog from Tuesday and Wednesday.
And be sure to visit these other blogs over the next couple of weeks: 
Friday, 3/30 – Review & Giveaway at Buried in Books
Saturday, 3/31 – Guest Post at Buried in Books
Saturday, 3/31 – Review & Giveaway at Icey Books
Sunday, 4/1 – Review & Giveaway at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Monday, 4/2 – Review & Giveaway at The Write Path
Tuesday, 4/3 – Guest Post with The Other Side of the Story
Wednesday, 4/4 – Interview with There’s a Book
Thursday, 4/5 – Interview & Giveaway with National Children’s Book Examiner
Friday 4/6 – Author/Editor Interview at Another Gray Day
 

YOU can also be part of the Neversink celebration by tweeting to support Puffins in the wild: 

Tweet for Puffins!: The NEVERSINK Adopt-A-Puffin Campaign

In honor of Neversink, Barry Wolverton's debut novel, Walden Pond Press is lending their support to a great organization: The National Audubon Society's Project Puffin. From Tuesday, March 27th through Friday, March 30th, for every 100 tweets of the following message, Walden Pond Press will contribute money to adopt one puffin from Project Puffin: 
RT @WaldenPondPress In honor of #NEVERSINK by @wolvertonhill, help us support Audubon's Project Puffin! Every 100 RTs = 1 puffin adopted.
Provided they reach at least 100 tweets, they will select one classroom, school, or library at random from all participants in whose name the puffin(s) will be adopted. More info here: http://www.waldenpondpress.blogspot.com/2012/03/tweet-for-puffins-neversink-adopt.html

We are excited to be able to use the book to raise awareness for this great division of Audubon, one that is educational, yet could use the extra publicity. Thanks again for all your support! Onto the giveaway!

**This giveaway is now closed! We will announce the winner here on Monday, April 2nd, 2012!**

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