Author Chat with Tim Wynne-Jones (The Starlight Claim), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US/Canada Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Tim Wynne-Jones author of
The Starlight Claim.
Read on for more about Tim and his book, plus an giveaway!
Meet Tim Wynne-Jones!
Tim Wynne-Jones is the accomplished author of numerous young adult novels, including The Emperor of Any Place, Blink & Caution, The Uninvited, and The Ruinous Sweep. The Starlight Claim revisits the site of (and some characters from) his acclaimed novel The Maestro a generation later. In 2012 Tim Wynne-Jones was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his services to literature. He lives in Ontario, Canada.
Meet The Starlight Claim!
Fast-paced, evocative, and intensely suspenseful, Tim Wynne-Jones’s latest psychological thriller finds a teenager setting his wits against the frigid wilderness and a menacing crew of escapees.
Four months after his best friend, Dodge, disappeared near their families’ camp in a boat accident, Nate is still haunted by nightmares. He’d been planning to make the treacherous trek to the remote campsite with a friend — his first time in winter without his survival-savvy father. But when his friend gets grounded, Nate secretly decides to brave the trip solo in a journey that’s half pilgrimage, half desperate hope he will find his missing friend when no one else could. What he doesn’t expect to find is the door to the cabin flung open and the camp occupied by strangers: three men he’s horrified to realize have escaped from a maximum-security prison. Snowed in by a blizzard and with no cell signal, Nate is confronted with troubling memories of Dodge and a stunning family secret, and realizes that his survival now depends on his wits as much as his wilderness skills. As things spiral out of control, Nate finds himself dealing with questions even bigger than who gets to leave the camp alive.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write The Starlight Claim?
I’ve never been able to say this before, but fans were the inspiration for this novel. Specifically fans of my 1995 novel, The Maestro. Whenever I meet readers of that book, they ask good questions about what happened to Burl, the novel’s hero, since it’s not all that clear at the end. (I sometimes make endings a little hazy.) Fans also wanted to know what happened to Burl’s horrible father. (Some offered… shall we say alarming suggestions.) Apart from that, I’d always wanted to revisit the setting of The Maestro, so a sequel seemed like a great idea. Time got away on me, but here it is at last, almost a quarter of a century later. Long enough for Burl to have a sixteen-year-old son of his own, Nate, who ventures up to Ghost Lake with a weight on his heart even heavier than the weight on his back, little knowing what awaits him there. More than he bargained for. You can read a bit about this in my blog.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Okay, let me be perfectly honest: I love adventure stories. I always did as a kid and I still do. I love action, and in The Starlight Claim, I’ve written the best chase scene I’ve ever concocted, a snowmobile chase with a startling finish. That’s all I’m saying. . . .
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
Write the story you want to write. That said, sometimes you read a book and want to write a book just like it. I get that. Emulating your favorite kind of book or the style of your favorite writer is not a bad idea. Emulate is such a good word: it means “matching or surpassing (a person or achievement), typically by imitation.” You can learn a lot from imitating someone you admire. But when push comes to shove and you want to write a book of your own, make it your own. We all want to hear your story, what matters to you.
YABC: What new book are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I’m going to cheat on this question. The literary event I’m most looking forward to this year will be the beginning of the televised version of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The titles of that trilogy are among my top ten favorite books of all time, and it will be thrilling to see them in this BBC-HBO co-production. I’m so excited about this release that I’ve written a blog post about it. Read it here. (Look for the title “His Darker Materials.”)
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
Glad you asked. I keep a little notebook of all the books I read, and on New Year’s Day I look back through it and make a short list of award winners. There isn’t any award, but as far as I’m concerned there ought to be. My fave of 2018 was The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. 2019 is looking very good, eight months into it. I’d say it’s a toss-up right now between Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and David Downing’s Zoo Station. The latter is a thriller set in Berlin during World War II. There are six books in the series, and I ended up reading all of them over the last few months.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’ve got a collection of short stories coming out in 2020 called War at the Snow White Motel. I love writing short stories; this is my fourth collection. Edgar Allan Poe said something like the best thing about a short story is that it’s short. What he meant, apart from making a pretty good joke for a guy who was so hung up on dark and dreary, was that you can finish a short story in one sitting and not be drawn away to do other stuff like homework or dinner or brushing your teeth. Anyway, I love the nine stories in my new collection, and I hope you’ll get a chance to see them, too.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
I love this question! Add to what? If you mean is there anything I’d like to add to a big bowl of paella, I’d have to say more paella — especially shrimp and chorizo. I’d also like to add another month or so to summer, which goes by all too fast where I live. I’d like to add more hours to the time I get to read and more rain on the roof when I’m in bed and a whole lot more happiness in the world.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more, drafting or revising?
This is a hard question. I love being under the influence of a big idea, one I’m willing to spend a year or two working on. But really? The first draft of a novel is horrible to write sometimes, at least for me. I don’t sleep very well because these new friends (characters) keep waking me up with ideas of their own. I don’t do a very good job shopping for groceries, because I find myself wondering what food so-and-so would like to eat — or throw at somebody, if she or he was really, really mad. In a word, I get obsessed, and that can get pretty infuriating and exhausting. But once I struggle my way through to the end of that first draft and kind of know how the story ends, then I’m excited as can be to start revising. I said “kind of know” in the last sentence. That’s because things can change a whole lot in a revision. Big things. Sometimes I’ll drop a character and add a new one. Sometimes I’ll drop a whole subplot that I like but that doesn’t really help the main story. And yes, the ending might change, too. But the thing about a first draft is that having finished it — and still liking the story! — you know you can finish it again, until the end is exactly what you want it to be. When I’m into the second and third and fourth draft of a novel, that’s when I’m happy as can be to be a writer.
The Starlight Claim
By: Tim Wynne-Jones
Release Date: September 10th, 2019
Publisher: Candlewick Publishing
One winner will receive a prize pack of Tim Wynne-Jones’ YA novels:
The Starlight Claim, The Ruinous Sweep, Emperor of Any Place, The Uninvited, Blink & Caution ~ (US/Canada Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*