Mia Kish is afraid of the dark. And for good reason. When she was a toddler she fell deep into her backyard well only to be rescued to great fanfare and celebrity. In fact, she is small-town Fenton,Colorado’s walking claim to fame. Not like that helps her status at Westbrook Academy, the nearby uber-ritzy boarding school she attends. A townie is a townie. Being nationally ranked as a swimmer doesn’t matter a lick. But even the rarefied world of Westbrook is threated when emergency sirens start blaring and the school is put on lockdown, quarantined and surrounded by soldiers who seem to shoot first and ask questions later. Only when confronted by a frightening virus that ages its victims to death in a manner of hours does Mia realize she may only just be beginning to discover what makes Fenton special.The answer is behind the walls of the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia’s dad, the director of Fenton Electronics, has always been secretive about his work. But unless Mia is willing to let her classmates succumb to the strange illness, she and her friends have got to break quarantine, escape the school grounds, and outsmart armed soldiers to uncover the truth about where the virus comes from and what happened down that well. The answers they find just might be more impossible than the virus they are fleeing.
Guys, I am so excited today to feature The Well's End, an upcoming novel by Seth Fishman from Putnam Juvenile! This awesome new addition to the world of YA is set to release on February 25, 2014 (one day apres my birthday, mind you), and it promises a whole lot of mystery, thrilling adventure and maybe just a touch of terror to make you think twice about those things that go bump in the night. Seth dropped by to answer a few of my questions today....and there's even a giveaway for all of you lovelies, so stick around to the end!
Hi Melissa! First of all, thanks to you and your kind readers for their time. I hope this is something interesting to you, and that I provide some vague form of entertainment for your day! This is a good question, with a fairly nebulous answer. I'm from West Texas, which means that if we wanted to go skiing, we went to New Mexico and Colorado on these long trips, so I've been there a number of times in snow and in summer, and feel a sense of teenage familiarity with the area. I made up the town, of course, but I also needed mountains, snow, and the ritz of places like Aspen and Vail nearby. So, it all came together.
2. You have an MC that's a swimmer! This speaks to me (ie: the blog title)...of all the sports in all the world, why swimming?
I'm kinda terrified that you'll read the book and be like, 'no way, swimmers don't do that...' But I made Mia Kish a swimmer for a number of reasons. One is that she fell down this well, which means she was in the dark and in/around water. So she swims to conquer her fear. Another reason is that I wanted her to swim under the ice of a frozen lake, and she has to be good to be able to do that. I interviewed my friend, Matt Block, who used to be nationally ranked in college, about swimming and learned all sorts of things I never knew, like drag suits and how you sweat tons in a pool but never realize. I hope it all works realistically!
3. Mia is terrified of the dark, and it sounds as though The Well's End might be just creepy enough to terrify your readers. What do you think might be the scariest aspect of this book for us?
Great question. I think I made a number of scenes scary (at least, to write, ha), and I hope that comes through. But specific moments aside, I wanted to tackle the idea of trauma defining a person, and how everything they do will be seen through the lens of that trauma. Creepy death, icy cold water, these things, in the book, are more than just plot points, but efforts to make Mia confront herself and her past. Getting lost in the memory of her childhood fall feels so scary to me.
4. Kate Beaton, an incredible artist, has created some brilliant illustrations for The Well's End, including fantastic sketches of your main characters. Do you think she captured their likenesses and personalities in these images? Why, or why not?
She is amazing isn't she? Sadly, there will be no interior art in the book, so these are just one offs, but I think Kate did an awesome job capturing the feel of the characters. To do so, I sent her very long descriptors of each character and we went over them a few times, her asking really smart questions and working really hard to get it right (she went way above and beyond). The physical descriptors of these characters are all spot on, but I love how she has the mood too. Mia, standing at the edge of the icy lake, is just so inside herself. It's perfect!
5. The Well's End releases from Putnam Juvenile on February 25, 2014. What about this book do you think will capture readers and get them dying for a copy as the release date approaches?
Ooh, tough to answer this without sounding to self-congratulatory! But, I'd say that I read lots of YA and I tried to write something that's a bit different. The goal, for me, was to feel realistic, to have characters you recognize and connect with, but then, suddenly, pull you out of your comfort zone and into a new place, so that by the end, you're not sure how you got there. It's a book that's hard to define via genre/category, and I think this is something that's really appealing when I read books. So there's that. But it's also fast-paced and fun and mysterious, which I hope hits you for an entirely different reason!
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And now, the giveaway! Thanks to the extreme generosity of Putnam Juvenile, one lucky winner will receive an advance e-galley of The Well's End, as well as a piece of original art from Kate Beaton. Be sure to check out more of her character work for the book HERE. This giveaway is open to US/Canada only...simply fill out the Rafflecopter to enter!