I'm super excited today to be a part of the promotional tour for Kit Grindstaff's young adult fantasy debut, The Flame in the Mist, hosted by Mod Podge Blog Tours. Kit is taking over the blog today to give us a little insight on protagonist Jemma and her world, so I hope you all enjoy!
Please tell us one thing Jemma would change about her life if she could, and three things she would never dream of changing no matter what.
The thing Jemma would want to change most about her life depends on when you asked her. At the beginning of the book I think she’d say, “No Ceremonies!” These happen once a week on Mord-days (Sundays to us), and involve rituals that the Agromonds perform supposedly to honor their Ancestors. But they actually serve a far more sinister purpose, and Jemma has become increasingly afraid of them, with good reason—they’re draining her energy and worse, her life force. She dreads Mord-days because of them. So without a doubt her life would be better without them.
As the story progresses and Jemma uncovers the truth about her past, what she'd change wish would be different. I can’t say how, because that would be a complete spoiler! But you can find out on page…No, I’ll leave that carrot dangling.
Three things Jemma would never dream of changing no matter what?
1. Her "rattusses", Noodle and Pie. (they're one thing, as they’re inseparable!) Even without her life at Agromond Castle and the way they help her through the worst moments, the rats are her companions and guides.
2. Marsh being at Agromond Castle. Jemma adores her, and more importantly, she’s the one person there that Jemma really trusts. Added to which, Marsh has told Jemma stories all through her life which turn out to be guidelines, like little beacons to light her way. She's also taught Jemma invaluable magic that she’s able to use in extreme danger. If Jemma hadn’t had Marsh at the castle to keep an eye on her and be her human (as opposed to rattus) guide, it’s unlikely she’d have survived.
3. Digby. Loyal, down to earth, and his dry wit keeps her in check. And besides, she has a crush on him. Who knows how that might develop?
If you and Jemma were to switch shoes and she became author to your protagonist, what might the prophecy she creates for you say/predict, and what types of companions (like Noodle and Pie) would she have accompanying you on your journey?
What a fun question--but challenging! I don’t have a great destiny like Jemma does; I’m just me from England, who’s been a songwriter for forever and has written a book which I’ve had the amazing good fortune to have published. So, how to look through Jemma’s eyes and process how she might see me back through my own mind, then interpret that…? Eek! I’m getting cross-eyed just thinking about it. Or cross-brained.
Ok, let me do what Jemma would do to focus. Close eyes. . . Breathe. . . imagine myself back in her time. . .I’m sitting cross-legged on a wooden floor. The room smells slightly musty. I can almost feel little rat paws pattering up my torso, the weight of them on my shoulders, whiskers brushing my cheeks. Outside, a cart rattles by, hooves clopping along the dusty street. A bird twitters…
And then a Vision of a woman, far, far in a strange-looking future, flickers into my mind’s eye. One through whom my story will be told, starting with that day at Agromond Castle when everything changed….
I see her in a land not her own, much larger than Anglavia. She has brown hair, and carries something like a lute but not curved at the back. She puts it down and picks up a flat rectangular box with a lid that she’s lifting—Oh! It lights up! Her fingers tap across little black squares, and words appear on the brightness—this is magical! What is she writing?
Suddenly the mass of words fly from the brightness and into a book. Not a leather-bound volume like those I’ve seen, but with its cover made of a kind of thin, shiny parchment. There’s a picture on it, of…Sprites, is that me? It is me! And now I’m in a strange room surrounded by books, and there’s hundreds of the one with me on its cover, in a big stack on a table. There’s a title in red: The Flame in the Mist. People are grabbing them, snatching them up until they’re all gone.
Now I see a different image of her. She has an owl on her shoulder, and a large cat-like animal sitting beside her. Both of them seem to be made of light, and there’s other luminal-like beings as well. And now words are floating up from my head, weird and echoey, saying, “One from whom songs have flowed for many a year will leave the mists of England”—England? Where’s that?—“and fly over an ocean to make a new life. She will write about a girl with Powers, whose story will be told far and wide around the world.”
That’s my story. This is so eerie…I’m seeing someone in the future who’s writing about me! I do see a real animal in her future, too—a dog, long-haired and bouncy…It’s vague. My Vision blurs. I’m disappearing...
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THE FLAME IN THE MIST
(releases today from Random House Children's Books)
The sun never shines in the land of Anglavia. Its people in constant fear live within a sinister Mist created by their rulers, the cruel Agromond family. Nobody dares defy them. But things are about to change, for the youngest of them is not like the others…
Fiery-headed Jemma, the family misﬁt, is increasingly disturbed by the dark goings-on at Agromond Castle. On the eve of her thirteenth birthday, she discovers the reason why: She is not who she thinks she is, and the Agromonds have terrifying plans for her—plans that could kill her.
But saving her skin is just the ﬁrst of Jemma’s ordeals. Ghosts and outcasts, a pair of crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these gradually reveal the truth about Jemma’s past, and
proclaim a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined.
With her trusted friend, Digby, and her two telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, Jemma faces enemies both human and supernatural. But in the end, she and her untapped powers might be the only hope for a kingdom in peril.
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There is going to be a Twitter chat with Kit on April 19th, so be sure and mark your calendars!
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