Tuesday, June 28, 2016

INTERVIEW with Julie Eshbaugh, author of IVORY AND BONE and INT giveaway of SIGNED Hardcover!

Dear All:
I am so thrilled and excited to have the wonderful Julie Eshbaugh highlighted on my blog today, who has recently debuted her wonderful IVORY AND BONE. If you haven't read this yet, you must!!!

I have to say this book cover is goooorgeous!!! And is super important to the story as well, a perfect combination!

Goodreads Book description: A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Buy links:

My rating: 5 couches

My Review: Let me just say up front that this is usually not the type of book I'd pick up. The thought of prehistory fantasy kind of makes me think of cavemen who go around and bash things in the head with a rock with grunts. How would you make this sexy or appealing? Well, turns out, you have to be Julie Eshbaugh.

I don't want anyone to have the stupid reservations I did, because seriously, no one, including Julie, would want to write or read about something like that. This book is gorgeous and pulse pounding as it builds up to the intense finish, and this unbeliever is a total groupie now.

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh stars Kol, who is the eldest son of his clan, who is expected to marry, but the problem is, their clan has no women of marrying age. Enter Mya, the oldest daughter of a nearby clan, who seems to harbor some dark secrets in her troubled eyes, and she has nothing but biting and rude words for Kol, who let's face it, is the nicest guy in prehistoric history. This seems simple, but it's anything but, and as Eshbaugh eloquently and painstakingly takes us through both the past and present, Kol's world and his way of thinking are completely shaken and changed by a single girl.

I loved this book. I actually was reading two other books at the time, that were at the top of my TBR pile, and I abandoned them both to blaze through this book. Eshbaugh takes some really wonderful risks here. First, obviously is the fact it's a prehistory fantasy. I love that even this genre is innovative. Secondly, the novel is mostly written in partial second, where Mya is referred to as "you." This may seem jarring to the reader at first, but the usage of this narrative makes so much sense as it is a story told by Kol to Mya. Stories play such a large role in this novel, and in one particular twist, it takes on extra eerie meaning. I love how Eshbaugh effortlessly weaves storytelling into Kol's emotional journey.

And Kol. This guy... it's hard to even imagine someone nicer. Yes, he's naive, and he has character flaws, but he's an optimist and a good guy at the core. You can't help but root for him, and want to take him for yourself. Hey, if Mya isn't going to come around, there are many of us who will snap him up immediately! That said, Mya is a really fascinating character, and I love that she says so much without even uttering a word. And I won't talk too much about villains, but let's just say that I loved this person in a twisted way and am still thinking about what went down.

Overall, a really ambitious and beautifully written debut that takes a lot of risks and soars with flying colors. Eshbaugh is a writer to watch.

Author Blurb: Julie Eshbaugh now lives in Philadelphia after having called Utah, France, and New York City home. Early on, Julie focused her artistic energies on filmmaking and online video. She made two short films and then spent several years producing an online video series for teens which received several honors from the Webby Awards. Creating videos for teens led to writing novels for teens, and Julie has never looked back. Ivory and Bone is her debut novel.

Author Interview
We've chatted about this briefly, but I wanted to ask about a couple of risks you took (which I loved and think you pulled off marvelously). First, prehistory fantasy is definitely a genre I haven't really seen around, which is great, but at the same time, risky because people don't know what to expect. Can you talk a bit about how you decided to select this as your setting, and why it was important for you to do it this way?
This is a great question, and it’s not one I’m asked very often. To be honest, when I first conceived of the story, I didn’t really think of setting a book in prehistory as a risk. I knew it was an unusual setting, but I was so excited about exploring a world and time period I’ve always been so interested in. When you write historical fantasy, it’s so important that you love the period you choose, because you will be immersed in it for a long time! And for me, research doesn’t really end at any point—I’m still researching as I work on Book Two.

The other risky move you made, was writing this novel in a partial second person, as a story being told to someone. Can you talk a bit about narrative and how you went about deciding to write it like this?
I love when narrative style serves a story in a unique way. When I first began drafting IVORY AND BONE, I planned to write it in first person, present tense, because I felt that would lend an immediacy to a world that could easily feel very foreign to the reader. The first scene I drafted, though, is the scene that became the prologue, and it just came to me in this storyteller style where Kol is talking directly to Mya. Later, after a few chapters were drafted that way, I went back and tried to change it to a conventional first person, but it seemed to lose something, so I kept the storyteller style. Though I did realize it was a risk, I think it fits the time, when telling stories out loud was so important.

Stories play a large role in this book and how tales are handed down the generations in the clans. Can you talk a bit about storytelling and if any of the stories were inspired by other old tales from Grimm or ancient fairy tales?
I did give a lot of thought to the importance of oral tradition to the clans in the book, because they have no written language to preserve their stories. In the world of IVORY AND BONE, when a story is forgotten or some truth from the past is unknown, that lack of knowledge has consequences. Other stories have been handed down for so many generation, they’re treated with the reverence of scripture. I really enjoyed creating the origin stories and the other traditional clan histories, and they are all straight out of my imagination! If they were influenced by Grimm or any other fairy tales, it wasn’t consciously.

I know most authors don't have much say in the covers, but I absolutely love yours. Can you talk a bit about what your experience has been getting this particular cover?
Thanks! I love my cover, too! This wasn’t the first cover for the book, though. The original cover was text based, and survives still on the spine. Each letter was carved, and the “O” in BONE was shattering. I really loved that version of the cover, but when I saw the revised version with the shattering ring as the prominent feature, I loved it even more!

While all of us are swooning for Kol, do you have particular book boyfriends/girlfriends/other?
I would have to say Mr. Darcy is my most beloved book boyfriend, though I’m pretty sure if I met him in real life I wouldn’t be able to tolerate him.

Do you have beta readers or critique partners? Why or why not?
Usually two or more friends will read my work and give me critical feedback. I try to have a few people I can ask, because my writer friends are often busy with their own deadlines. I think it’s important to get feedback while you’re developing your work, to see what’s coming together and what might still needs work. That’s why I ask more than one person to read. I look for feedback that overlaps. If I hear the same advice from more than one reader, I can be pretty sure they’ve found something that needs attention.

For writers that are starting out, do you have a piece of advice you wish you had known before you started?
I think the best advice I can give is to trust yourself and keep going. Being a writer means facing rejection. It happens to everyone. So don’t let the rejection plant seeds of doubt. Trust your voice. Persevere. Your next book could be the one that becomes your debut novel!

What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on the sequel to IVORY AND BONE! It continues the characters’ stories. 

And now for a super generous giveaway from Julie herself! This is a signed Hardcover copy of IVORY and BONE and this giveaway is INT!!! Go forth!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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  1. I am super excited for this book. I've never read anything that is even remotely like a prehistory fantasy. I can't even imagine how cool and unique a story this is! Crossing my fingers that I get the chance to find out. I'm always reluctant to read 2nd person, but sometimes it can be very effective, especially a partial, which I don't believe I've ever encountered before. Thanks for the great chance! ~Kristy Petree, U.S.

  2. Such a unique concept for a book, I've never read anything like this before and I'm really excited!

  3. I love the concept of this. YA prehistoric fiction? Yes, please! Can't wait to read this. I'm waiting for my library to get it in.

  4. I've never heard of a prehistorical fiction before this book! I'm a big fan of historical fictions so I can't wait to read this one! And I totally agree with Julie, that cover is gorgeous! (I live in the US)

  5. I'm still a fantasy newbie, so this sounds like just the book to read while I discover what form of fantasy I like to read best. (Stephanie, US)

  6. this sounds so interesting! I am pretty keen to read this one. And what an awesome cover!

  7. I am 30 years old but still can't get enough YA! I must say that this read is such an original and unique idea that I will have to read this book! Pre-history is an amazing genre to explore and I know that Julie did an amazing job on writing it! To break the barrier of repeated YA science fiction and fantasy and aim for an almost out reach subject was not only brave but a very commendable decision!!!! I can't wait to read this!!!

  8. I might also swoon over to Kol �� I've never read a prehistory fantasy but Ivory and book might change me to love that genre, it looks interesting and I'm also curious about the uniqueness of the narration as if Kol is actually talking to me? Plus the cover! it's perfect!I fell inlove with the cover already!!!!! Adding this to my TBR list�� (Kenny,INTL)(just trying my luck if I ever get to win a copy of this amazing book haha)

  9. I used to be a science teacher before I became a high school librarian, and all prehistory was my favorite subject to teach. I even had to buy all of the Discover Channel shows like Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts. So I am very excited to read this book as it sounds right up my alley! Thanks for sharing all this information about the book and the author! (Lisa Mandina, US)

  10. I absolutely need to read this book! I participated in the BBTC chat on Twitter and the few teasers I read there made me very curious. I also am curious about the idea of second person. I think that's a brave way to write a story, but I love what Julie said, that it makes sense for the story because that's how stories got to live in that era before humans invented writing and the alphabet. So it kind of makes sense, and it makes me want to read the book more. I'm curious to see the original cover, although this cover is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for the giveaway! (Ruby on rafflecopter, INT)

  11. Oh wow this is something totally new for me to sink my teeth into. You're totally right about the preconception about prehistoric fantasy but after reading your review I'm intrigued and definitely want to try it. The cover is also gorgeous so this is definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks! (Ingeyla, INT)

  12. I have heard many, many good things about Ivory and Bone and I am looking forward to when I get a chance to read it. (Int)

  13. Julie, you definitely had me at 'clan'. I love history books, because they're somewhat new for me, but still manage to pull me in every time. History is nice at school, but even better in books, because there can happen so much more. Plus, prehistoric fantasy? Hell yeah! That sounds amazing.
    Hate to love relationships are my favorite. (If I saw that correctly in your review, Christina.) I can't wait to dive into this one! The synopsis already sounded amazing. Good luck on the sequel, Julie! (Nienke, INT)

  14. Ivory and Bone is one of the most anticipated reads I was waiting in June! Love everything about this book from the cover to the teasers she shared. Can't wait to read it, I preordered it and so happy w/ my swag! Thank you so much Julie, so excited to read your story. (INT)

  15. I would love to read this awesome fantasy novel, love the cover!!! (US)

  16. This book looks so unique and imaginative! I adore PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and the incorporation of the historical elements of one of the most intriguing times in history, the Ice Age, is just amazing! Julie is also blessed to have such a gorgeous cover! :) (US)

  17. I have been stalking (but in a nice way! Hehe) the tour stops for this book because it sounds SO COOL. And I've loved learning all about the ins and outs of it via interviews. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!!

  18. Hello there! I'm Sofea from Malaysiaaaaaa. Thank you for such an interesting write up of the book. I've heard many good things about it and am looking forward to reading it myself.