Monday, October 17, 2016

Vlog Post with Todd Fahnestock

Book Nerd Vlog Post

TODD FAHNESTOCK won the New York Public Library's Books for the Teen Age Award for one of his short stories, and is the author of the YA bestseller Fairmist as well as The Wishing World. Stories are his passion, but Todd's greatest accomplishment is his quirky, fun-loving family. The Wishing World began as a series of bedtime stories for his children. 

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Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Starscape (October 25, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765385880
ISBN-13: 978-0765385888

What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on The Wishing World? 

When I was twelve, I picked up Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three at my local library, and it blew open a door to another world. I’d never read anything like it before, and once that door was open, fantasy books were all I wanted. I zipped through the rest of the Prydain Chronicles and moved on to whatever else I could find in the genre. I devoured the original Shannara trilogy (Sword, Elfstones and Wishsong) by Terry Brooks and everything by Piers Anthony, especially the Xanth and Apprentice Adept series. After that, it was Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends. I carried those books around with me everywhere I went, and I lived for the moments I could immerse myself in them.

To this day, a part of remains stuck in that time, and I still want to immerse myself in fantasy worlds. I’ve tried several times to write modern realistic fiction. I haven’t succeeded. The story always ends up with time travel, swords or superpowers. The Wishing World is my first middle-grade novel, and I love this genre. It has more opportunity for whimsy and the purely fantastical. This surprised me at first, but my love of writing began when I was fourteen, so it really makes sense.

Who knows if I would have eventually moved on to more adult genres, perhaps literary writing? Instead, I stumbled across some early publishing success, and it cemented my interest in fantasy. By age twenty, I had written four novels but published none of them, then through a series of lucky connections and misadventures, I met the children’s author Gary Paulsen outside of the small town of Bemidji, Minnesota. He introduced me to Margaret Weis, and she took me under her wing. I asked if she’d look at my novel project. She asked if she had my permission to take the red pen to it. I heartily agreed, not realizing what was about to happen, and I got my first experience with a professional editor. With professional precision, she slashed three of the first five chapters of my manuscript. At the time, I was dumbstruck. This began building the thick skin necessary for every writer. Margaret gave me a great gift back then. Now I know how critical a great editor is, and I work constantly to be a good self-editor. I’m still pretty bad at it, but I work at it every day. So, after I gamely implemented Margaret’s edits, she offered me the opportunity to publish my first short story, Seekers, in Dragonlance Tales II, Volume 2: The Cataclysm in 1992. After that dose of confidence, I opened the floodgates and started writing fantasy every chance I got.

The influences of those early fantasy books are obvious in The Wishing World, but of those original novels, I think the whimsy of Piers Anthony’s Xanth stories most directly runs through The Wishing World. The colorful, seemingly random things that surface in Xanth, the fun word play, and the coming-of-age themes are easily seen in The Wishing World.

Your favorite characters from your books, including random facts about them.

1. Lorelei (The Wishing World) – Lorelei originally had strawberry blonde hair like my daughter. Elo didn’t like that idea. She wanted Lorelei to have black hair and blue eyes. Fun fact: Lorelei was going to be my son’s name if he had been born a girl.

2. The Mirror Man (The Wishing World) – He’s my ideal hero. Short on words, long on action. Fun fact: If you look into The Mirror Man’s mirrors, you’ll see your ideal (Doolivanti) self.

3. Sir Real (The Wishing World) – Sir Real, in his human form, is from Honduras circa the 1920s. His family had recently moved to New York before he came to the Wishing World. Fun fact: There are characters from all different time periods on Earth in the Wishing World, and people from other planets.

4. Squeak (The Wishing World) – Squeak is actually quite well-read. Some say he’s read every book in Veloran. Fun fact: He is half ferbletick (a creature you will meet in The Wishing World II: Loremaster), which is why he is so fast.

5. Gruffy (The Wishing World) – Though Gruffy is the size of a horse, he is only eleven-years-old, the same age as Lorelei. Fun fact: In the original oral story told to my kids, there was a story about Gruffy’s parents who’s names are Lord Stephen and Lady Cynthia.

6. Flicker (The Wishing World II: Loremaster) – Originally, I liked Ripple much more than Flicker, the Fire Princess, but Flicker and Lorelei developed a special bond in The Wishing World II. Fun fact: Water can be deadly to Flicker, and if she is dropped in water she will absorb it like a sponge and fall unconscious.

7. Ripple (The Wishing World) – Ripple’s accent made her so much fun to write, albeit difficult to understand sometimes! Fun fact: Ripple hides a secret, which is…(Oh wait no. Can’t drop that spoiler until you’ve read the book. J)

8. Lady of the Lake (The Wishing World II: Loremaster) – Though she only appears briefly, I love the Lady of the Lake. I kind of want to write a book all about her. Fun fact: The Lady of the Lake is from another planet, and she has no nose.

9. Licorice Man (The Wishing World II: Loremaster) – His Earth name is Luke. Loreleis’ best friend Jayla dubbed him Luke the Larynx because he can change his voice and do great impressions of celebrities. Fun fact: The winner of the Doolivanti Diary Contest (see my website: may get to have a cameo next to Licorice Man as a Doolivanti henchman.

10. Sir Ebral (The Wishing World) – Sir Ebral is unimaginative and pessimistic, but when the chips are down, he will jump in and get the job done. Fun fact: My kids have a long list of other Flimflam names that could not be put in the book.

"Whimsical and imaginative, with just the right mix of humor, heart, and adventure. The Wishing World is everything you could wish for in a story--and so much more!"--Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities

In the Wishing World, dreams are real. You can transform into your own hero, find wild and whimsical friends, and wield power as great as your imagination. But Lorelei doesn't know about any of that. All she knows is that a monster took her family.

It happened during a camping trip one year ago. Hiding inside the tent, she saw shadows, tentacles and a strange creature. By the time she got up the courage to crawl outside, the monster--and Lorelei's mom, dad, and brother--were gone.

Lorelei is determined to find her family. When she accidentally breaks into the Wishing World, she discovers a way. It's a land more wonderful than she could have imagined, a land of talking griffons, water princesses, and cities made of sand, where Lorelei is a Doolivanti--a wish-maker--who can write her dreams into existence.

There's only one problem: the monster is a Doolivanti, too. What he wishes also comes true, and he's determined to shove Lorelei out, keep her family, and make the whole Wishing World his. To save them, Lorelei must find the courage to face him, or her next wish may be her last.

You can purchase The Wishing World at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Todd and TOR Books for making this giveaway possible.
Skype or phone session (personal or school class). 
A Bundle of Starscape Books
Two Signed Copies of The Wishing World by Todd Fahnestock.

October 17th JeanBookNerd GUEST POST
October 18th Book Lovers Life INTERVIEW
October 19th A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW & TENS LIST 
October 20th She Dreams in Fiction REVIEW & EXCERPT 
October 21st The Silver Dagger Scriptorium REVIEW & EXCERPT 
October 22nd Taking It One Book at a Time REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
October 23rd Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & TENS LIST 
October 24th Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps REVIEW & FAVORITE BOOKS 
October 25th Rose's Book Corner REVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST 
October 26th CBY Book Club EXCERPT

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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