Welcome to the first day of the Songstone tour! It's bound to be a blast. At any time, you can check out the Tour HQ. Enjoy the tour!
About the Book
Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld (or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can’t see him for what he really is.
Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.
Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village—a storyteller who'll be chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and she'll risk her life to take it.
A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.
You can find Songstone on:
~ Amazon (Kindle)
~ Barnes & Noble (Nook)
About the Author
Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.
1. Why did you decide to focus on the legends of the Māori? That's an original, refreshing idea!
Thanks, Rebeka, and thanks for having me here! I didn't set out saying, "I think I'll write a story based on the legends of the Māori!" I didn't gather books on their myths & folklore, which would have been the logical place to begin if that had been my intention from the start.
The original spark of an idea came to me when I was on vacation several years ago. We'd rented a cottage on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee (New Hampshire). The island has boat-only access, which seemed liked an exciting idea. It was actually a bit terrifying for me, because I hadn't had much experience with boats (ironically despite the fact that was my father was in the Navy! ;)). So I was way out of my comfort zone. Fortunately, as a writer, being out of my comfort zone is a pressure cooker for new ideas.
I started daydreaming about this girl who needed to cross a very dangerous lake, and I knew somehow her quest was imperative. She had to go, but she needed the help of a journeyman to get across. (Perhaps my husband, the experienced boater, unwittingly inspired the role of "hero to the rescue"? LOL)
How I got from that initial spark of an idea to New Zealand was a roundabout trip. My research often leads me down a convoluted trail. I'm not methodical in the beginning days of a new project. I'm scouting for anything that catches my eye and fires my fascination. (On the premise: If it's not fun and interesting for me, why would it be fun or interesting for a reader?) I combed the internet for images of possible settings. I went to local libraries and flipped through table-sized (ok, practically!) photo books on geography.
I saw it as a gorgeous place that could kill you. (Perfect! ;))
So my search for a setting drove me to New Zealand (and other Pacific islands). A lot of what fascinated me about New Zealand was the incredibly gorgeous landscape. It's a stunning place, but it's also filled with all sorts of dangers. It's an island with steaming sulfurous lakes and active volcanoes. From there, my scouting brought me to Māori myths and the legends of the pakepakehā.
"In Māori tradition patupaiarehe, also known as tūrehu and pakepakehā, were fairy-like creatures of the forests and mountain tops. Although they had some human attributes, patupaiarehe were regarded not as people but as supernatural beings (he iwi atua)." From www.teara.com<http://www.
Note (aka author disclaimer): Though Songstone was greatly inspired by Māori legends, I don't claim that it's a faithful representation of Māori myth. I have a great respect for their culture. I'm also aware that the world of Songstone is very much colored by my own imagination, personality, and worldview. (For instance, in early drafts I kept thinking of comparisons to snakes, but there are no native New Zealand snakes. The deadliest creatures on their island--back then anyway, pre-European contact--were great lizards and sea creature, like sharks, so I had to pluck out my snake references. :))
2. Where did your main character spring from? How did you build her?
The image of a girl on a dangerous quest was the first thing that came to me. Her physical characteristics were later inspired by the legends of the patupaiarehe: her red hair, very white skin, and green eyes (the patupaiarehe were said to have blue or light colored eyes, and green suited Kita). I also imagined she'd go through a life-altering transformation on her journey.
The idea of her being adopted came from my own experiences as an adoptive mom. Kita is a fish out of water. She was found as a baby lost in the forest and adopted by a family from a local village. Writing this story in a fantasy setting, far removed from life here at our house, was a way for me to more freely explore the more painful issues associated with adoption. An adopted child has suffered a tremendous loss that shapes his/her world. For some kids it's more painful than for others. For Kita, I amped the stakes as high as possible. She's not only a foreigner to her adoptive family, she has the appearance of a mysterious people feared for their mystical powers, so she's ostracized. In many ways, she doesn't belong to either world. Her quest initially is to escape from her evil master, Matiko, but as the story unfolds it's also a quest to discover who she is and where she does belong. It's a quest to discover her real family, which means many different things.
As a teen/young adult, she's also discovering who she is and what she's capable of. Those years are often about leaving home behind for the first time and discovering self. That journey often leads right back to home, when we discover the people in our lives are what really matters most. :)
3. Without spoilers, what is your favourite scene in the book?
Oh, wow, that's hard! I love a bunch of the scenes, all for different reasons, some for the action, some for revelations, or, mostly, the romantic moments.... I'm a real romantic at heart. ;) But I'd have to say either the scene when Pono gives Kita a small-but-meaningful token and then does something rather extraordinary on her behalf. There's something in particular that's tormenting her, and his action on her behalf is, to me, amazing and perfect. (I'm trying to not give away too much!) It actually came about as a surprise to me. I didn't know going into that scene what he was going to do, and yet as it unfolded it seemed like it was meant to be from the first page. Writing is at times a very mysterious process. There are moments of discovery which come as if someone else knows the grand plan, but only gives me little bits and pieces at a time. LOL I also love the Epilogue. Without saying too much, it makes me happy. :)
Having read this book, I know what scene you're referring to, and it made me fall in love with Pono even more! He's such a prince charming, without even being a prince! ;)
Songstone was a novel full of lush locales, dynamic characters, and VERY evil villains. It took me to a place I'd never been, an island I assume is based off New Zealand. I adored the jungle setting and felt transported to a whole new world. Kita and Pono's slow-to-burn romance was sweet and steady, and Pono was a male character I couldn't help but cheer on! He was kind and very much a gentleman, who also had vulnerabilities. It was awesome to see this kind of character as the romantic hero in a Young Adult tale, rather than the brooding, masochistic type.
The one detail that gave me the creeps a wee bit was the magic. The villain in this story is a sorcerer, and the power he had over the villagers was absolutely terrible. I wish there had been a bit more of a line between what the normal villagers did and what the villain did--they both used magic, but the story never delved into whether or not the villagers' magic could twist their souls. I think exploring further their religious mythos as well would have added another layer of depth.
I did like how Kita struggled with her own thirst for power and recognized that it was a bad thing. She was a very well-rounded character, not always acting as she should but altogether very human and very relatable. I loved her various revelations and her slow journey to becoming more open with other people.
There were a few storylines that weren't completely wrapped up at the end, leaving it open for perhaps further adventures. I would love to see where Kita and Pono go next. I think--and hope--they have a lot of adventuring left to do!
Lena is generously offering a bunch of cool prizes to one lucky winner!
We’re doing a sweet summer giveaway in conjunction with the blog tour! The giveaway is open internationally, and one winner (randomly drawn) will receive:
· A signed copy of Songstone (Paperback)
· A sea glass necklace with turtle charm (Picture will be included on the blog tour home page and in the introduction post)
(designed by The Studio of Glass)
· A $10 Dairy Queen gift card (U.S.) or a $10 Amazon.com gift card (international)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am hosting an EXTRA GIVEAWAY for an e-copy of one of Lena's books; the winner's choice of Aire, The Language of Souls, and Songstone.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Monday, July 22nd
- Introduction to the tour at Seasons of Humility
- Interview and review at The Other World
- Spotlight at Lisa Amowitz
Tuesday, July 23rd
Wednesday, July 24th
Thursday, July 25th
Friday, July 26th
Saturday, July 27th
Sunday, July 28th
Monday, July 29th
Tuesday, July 30th
Wednesday, July 31st
Thursday, August 1st
Friday, August 2nd
- Conclusion of the tour at Seasons of Humility