Monday, October 7, 2019

Rachael Craw Interview - The Rift

Photo Content from Rachael Craw

Rachael Craw began her working life as an English teacher after completing a degree in Classical Studies and Drama at the University of Canterbury. She dabbled in acting, directing and writing for amateur theatre productions and small independent film ventures. Her passion for dialogue and characterisation finally led to long-form writing with the Spark series. Rachael's enthusiasm for classical heroes, teen angst and popular culture informs much of her creative process. She enjoys small town life teaching, writing and mentoring at the top of the South Island of New Zealand where she lives with her husband and three daughters.


Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press (October 8, 2019)
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Language: English

Young Adult Novel/Hardback

Praise for THE RIFT

"Thrilling … A fresh and original story; a standout in the fantasy genre. The romance between Cal and Meg blends envy, desire and uncertainty with a potent authenticity. Written with a sparse lovely poetry, The Rift demands an immersion that is intoxicating. I can’t recommend this enough." ―Isabelle Carmody, author of The Obernewtyn Chronicles and The Gathering

"Gripping, brutal, tender. You won’t be able to put this book down." ―Michael Pryor, author of The Laws Of Magic series and Gap Year in Ghost Town.

“Beautiful, dark and deliciously tense – an astonishing world that will hold you in its finely wrought claws.” ―Alison Goodman, author of the Lady Helen series and the Eon series.

"Masterful and brilliant! Beautiful world building, stunning writing, a cracking plot, perfectly paced and hot romantic tension. Craw has outdone herself." ―Fleur Ferris, best-selling author of Risk, Black, Wreck and Found

Storylines Notable Book Award, 2019
Finalist, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, 2019

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
My first novel, Spark, was inspired by a dream and a fascination with the power of DNA. I had recently made contact with my birth mother and I was overwhelmed by the resemblance between us, and how it’s possible to be so like someone in personality, mannerisms, temperament and talent without spending any time with that person. She’s a writer, too! It raised a question for me: could it be that who we are and what we will become is already coded in us at a cellular level? Also, I had just given birth to my third child, so I may well have been unhinged by sleep deprivation and pregnancy hormones but I was desperate to write. I sat on my bed one night and prayed for inspiration. It was an ugly-cry, snot and sobbing, type of prayer – like, here I am God; help me; where’s my big idea? I went to sleep and the answer came in a spine-tingling dream that became the prologue to the Spark trilogy. You can find out more about Spark and read the prologue and first chapter HERE.

Tell us your latest news.
The Rift was recently named a finalist in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults! It was a totally giddy making experience to be included in such an incredible line up of authors whose work I admire immensely. You can see photos from the award ceremony HERE.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I have always had a deep love for the sound and texture of words. In my teens, I fancied the bad boy romantic poets, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, on account of all the smoldering angst. I wrote poetry and plays and film scripts for my own entertainment and amateur productions. Dialogue is my first love. However, I never attempted long-form writing until I wrote Spark – I feared I lacked the patience and discipline. I totally underestimated the power of obsession. My writing mentors Barbara and Chris Else, wonderful New Zealand authors, have had the biggest impact in helping me shape my craft as a writer. The author’s I most admire are Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Knox, Patrick Ness, Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor, Jaclyn Moriarty and Katherine Arden. All for their preternatural gifts with language.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Engaging with readers who love my work and connecting with the YA writing community. Both are tremendously life giving in unique ways.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I always long to give my readers what I love to experience myself when reading a book. Full immersion. I want people to be totally lost in the world of the story, emotionally invested in the characters and rolling in the deep with beautiful language.

In your new book; THE RIFT, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
The Rift is a story about a community of Rangers who live on a remote island where they protect an ancient herd of mystical deer, whose antlers contain a priceless and potent healing compound known as Actaeon’s Bane. The herd are under threat from poachers and ruthless Nutris Pharmaceuticals fortune hunters. The other great threat to the herd is a rift in time and space through which hell hounds slip at full moon, seeking to destroy the off-spring of the mythical stag Actaeon. Meg Archer is the daughter of the Head Ranger, returning to the island the first time in 9 years. She and childhood friend Cal, an apprentice Ranger, must set aside their bitter past and work together to save the herd from hunters and hounds.

It is loosely inspired by the Greek myth of Actaeon, a hunter who went into the woods with his dogs and stumbled upon the goddess Artemis bathing. The goddess was so furious with Actaeon spying on her that she cursed him. He turned into a stag and was torn apart by his own hunting dogs. The Rift plays with the idea of: what if Actaeon didn’t die and that curse stayed in his blood line generation after generation. I liked the idea of this curse being so powerful that it would always be drawing those dogs through time and space, seeking to destroy his blood line.

What part of Cal did you enjoy writing the most?
I adore Cal’s relationship with his bonded scout, Reeva, most of all. Reeva is a raven and their connection is important to Cal since he has a condition that makes physical contact with humans, unbearable. Due to a Rift Hound bite in childhood, Cal has some unusual gifts and the side effects make him super-sensitive to the presence of life and death.

I loved the challenge of writing a romantic story between him and Meg, where touch is a major obstacle.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Meg?
I am always surprised by the love children bear for their parents even when there has been neglect or cruelty or injustice. Meg has so many good reasons to be furious with her father, and she is angry with him, yet it’s her innate desire for reconciliation that fuels that anger. It adds a razor sharp edge to her courage which I deeply admire.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Cal from The Rift would be a great friend for Evie in my novel Spark, they are both so brooding and angsty. They both deal with massive injustice. They both carry a burden in their DNA that forces them along a path they didn’t choose. They could do some epic glowering and scowling together.

  • 1. Meg Archer is a rock climbing, ex-Girl Scout with mad skills with a bow and arrow, returning to Black Water Island for the first time in 9 years on the eve of her 18th birthday.
  • 2. She has dark hair, long bangs and green and yellow eyes.
  • 3. She is the estranged daughter of Sargent, the Head Ranger of Black Water Island.
  • 4. Meg lived on the island until she was caught up in a Rift Hound attack in childhood. She has bite marks on the back of her neck and burn scars on the palms of her hands. She always wears gloves.
  • 5. Her whole life, she wanted nothing more than to grow up and become a Ranger.
  • 6. When she returns to the island she discovers that her childhood friend, Cal West, is now an apprentice Ranger. This makes her bitterly jealous. Cal does not even have Ranger blood.
  • 7. Meg’s father is a cold, hard man.
  • 8. Meg’s mother is funny, fierce and walks with a cane.
  • 9. Meg must overcome her bitter jealousy to work with Cal to save the herd. Their growing attraction adds to the complications.
  • 10. Meg forms a telepathic link with Cal’s raven, a bonded scout named Reeva. Cal is very indignant about this.
What is the last movie that you saw at the cinema?
Hmmm, I took eight 11 year olds to see Abominable, for my daughter’s birthday. It was pretty sweet.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
My family lived through the 2010/2011 Christchurch earthquakes. At the time, it felt like the end of the world. I have never experienced fear like it since. Our neighbourhood was completely wrecked. We lived in the Red Zone, which meant it was unsalvageable. When you visit that part of town now, it’s all paddocks, the houses were demolished. It still breaks my heart.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Definitely true love with guaranteed heartbreak.

What was the most frightening moment of your life?
The earthquakes.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
Gosh, my memory is so bad. I think it was Taupo, which is a little tourist town in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand.

If you could live in any period in history, where would it be and why?
Right now! If I had been born last century childbirth would have killed me.

As corporate greed is pitted against supernatural forces, two young friends must try to protect the precious Old Herd -- and their island itself.

For generations, the rangers of Black Water Island have guarded the Old Herd against the horrors released by the Rift. And Cal West, an apprentice ranger, fights daily to prove he belongs within their ranks. But even greater challenges await with the return of his childhood friend Meg Archer and the onset of a new threat that not even the rangers are prepared for. Now Meg and Cal, while struggling with their mutual attraction, must face their darkest fears to save the island from disaster. In a possible near future where Big Pharma is pitted against ancient traditions and the supernatural, Rachael Craw's gripping and brutal tale, inspired by Greek mythology, will immerse readers and leave them intoxicated by its richly imagined world.

You can purchase The Rift at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you RACHAEL CRAW for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE RIFT by Rachael Craw.
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