Happy Monday, TMGEP followers!
We’re back with our second “Author of the Week” Book Giveaway (for more information on our concept behind the giveaways, click here to read our first giveaway post).
This week’s spotlight guest, Jennifer Alvarez, is the author of the popular series The Guardian Herd. Her first two books, Starfire and Stormbound have become extremely popular over the past two years. This coming February, Alvarez will release the third book in her series, Landfall.
Check out our interview with Jennifer Alvarez and then enter to win our giveaway–instructions at the end of this post!
TMGEP: First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jennifer: I’m a native Californian, and I’m the author of the new middle-grade fantasy series called The Guardian Herd. It’s about five herds of pegasi who are at war with each other and a special black colt who will inherit great power on his first birthday, if he lives that long! The leaders are afraid of the power and have decided to execute him. I’m also a wife, married nineteen years, and the mother of three school-age children.
J: I started a diary when I was eight years old. Soon I was writing short stories and poems, and I dreamed of writing novels. I wanted to create new and exciting worlds where I controlled EVERYTHING. I think this is because my own world was so chaotic. I moved a lot as a kid and changed schools often, but it wasn’t planned. It was unpredictable.
T: How did you come up with the story line for your first book Starfire?
J: I’ve always wanted to write about horses, but I felt like every horse story had already been told. One day, while driving my car, I imagined a herd of thousands of pegasi flying in the clouds. They were migrating. The idea of these winged horses caught fire in my mind. As soon as I arrived home, I began writing about them. Actually, I feel like Starfire wrote me. It was an incredible experience.
T: Can you tell us what your first book Starfire is about?
J: It’s about a special foal who is born a dud, a pegasus who is unable to fly. He’s bullied by the other pegasi, and they call him a “horse”. But Star is born under a prophecy and the leaders of the five herds are afraid of him. On Star’s first birthday, he will become the most powerful pegasus in Anok when he inherits a magic called starfire. With it, he will either become a great healer, or a great destroyer, and no one—not even Star—knows which he will become. Because of this, the over-stallions of the five herds plan to execute him before his first birthday. Book one is about Star trying to survive. He has a small group of friends who risk everything to help him.
T: HarperCollins Publishers released a collection of books whose characters struggle with bullying issues called “Stop Bullying. Start Reading.” Strarfire is listed as one of the books in this collection. Why do you think Starfire was chosen?
J: I think it was chosen because my main character Star is bullied for being differently-abled. He can’t fly like the other foals, but he ‘s a fast runner, like a horse. So the other foals tease him for that because they don’t value speed on land, they value flight.
T: How does Star deal with bullying?
J: Star has a calm and thoughtful personality, so his reaction is to absorb the bullying most of the time. It bothers him, but he focuses on the positive. Here’s a line from book one about Star: “He didn’t have a lot of friends in Sun Herd, but the friends he had were the best.” Star nurtures his positive friendships and tries to ignore the bullies, but sometimes that becomes impossible, like when one of them tries to kill him!
T: How can Star’s struggle help one of your readers who may be struggling with bullying?
J: I’m certainly not an expert on how to cope with bullying, but I think readers will relate to Star, and they’ll see his gifts. By understanding that he doesn’t deserve the bullying, maybe they’ll be comforted that they don’t deserve it either. Because Star is different, he brings out the best and the worst in others—but that is always a reflection on them—not on Star.
J: Star might tell them something close to what his adopted mother told him. He’d say, “Focus on who you are, not on who they are.” Star learns not to let other pegasi tell him who he is. He’s also quick to forgive. He understands that most bullies are fearful of losing their power, full of self-dislike, or they’re being bullied themselves. As a writer, I like to heal my bullies and turn my underdogs into heroes. I believe most characters are redeemable.
T: Where can readers find your book Starfire?
J: The first book Starfire and the second book LANDFALL are available at bookstores across the country, and they’re available online at book retailing sites. Any bookstore that doesn’t have them, can order them. They’re also available in audio and ebook formats.
T: For all your anxious fans, when will the third book in your series, Landfall be released?
J: Landfall releases on 2/02/2016, in hardcover. On the same day, book two Stormbound will release in paperback. The paperbacks have bonus short stories at the end that aren’t in the hardcover versions. There are four books planned for the series at this time.
T: Is there anything specific you want to say to the readers?
J: Just know that you are the author of your life. Bullies don’t define you any more than flatterers do. You decide who you are and you choose how you want to act and react. I focus on being grateful for everything that is good and beautiful in my life. And I think life gets better, so hang in there! I had a tough time in school, but everything has improved for me over the years.
Thanks for checking out our interview with The Guardian Herd author Jennifer Alvarez!
This week we will be doing three raffles:
- An autographed, hardcopy cover of Jennifer Alvarez’s first book, Starfire.
- An autographed, hardcopy cover of Alvarez’s second book, Stormbound.
- A set of character trading cards from The Guardian Herd book series.
We’re excited to give these amazing prizes away to three lucky readers!
GIVEAWAY ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS:
To enter TMGEP’s Author of the Week Giveaway, email email@example.com with your NAME and PHONE NUMBER (don’t worry, we won’t call you unless we can’t get ahold of you via email to claim your prize!) by Thursday, December 17th at 11:59PM PST. A winner will be selected at random, contacted and announced on Friday, December 18th.
And now for the less exciting stuff…
This is a sweepstakes involving The Mean Girl Extinction Project and an outside party henceforth referred to as “Author of the Week”. Both parties are aware of the sweepstakes and the donated prize. The value of the prize will not exceed $50 (US).
Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the United States ages 18 and older. Sweepstakes begins at the time of blog post and ends the following Thursday at 11:59PM PST. No purchase necessary. All entries must be received via email. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winner agrees to have their name and likeness used for media and publicity purposes. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in TMGEP’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded.
Sweepstakes is hosted by The Mean Girl Extinction Project, California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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