Monday, September 14, 2020

Hayley Chewins Interview - The Sisters of Straygarden Place


Photo Credit: SLDV Portrait

Hayley Chewins is an author and writing coach. She grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, in a house so full of books that she learnt to read by accident. She’s fond of telling people that she writes books about magical girls with secrets—even if that’s not an actual genre. Her books are literary fantasy, surreal fairy tales, or weird magic. (Or: all of the above.)

Her debut, The Turnaway Girls, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2018 and made the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List of Best Feminist Books for Young Readers. Her second book, The Sisters of Straygarden Place, is forthcoming from Candlewick Press on October 13th, 2020, and has already been called “superb, spooky, and unforgettable” in a recent starred review. 

Hayley lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her soulmate/husband/fellow coffee addict, Liale, and their toy poodle, Darfer.

She is represented by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, otherwise known as The Most Amazing Agent Ever.

        
 

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (October 13, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 153621227X
ISBN-13: 978-1536212273

Praise for THE SISTERS OF STRAYGARDEN PLACE

Lyrical and imaginative, rich and riveting. This is Hayley Chewins at her best, writing about magical girls with secrets and sisters who rise above the odds. An absolute must-read! —Christine Day, author of I Can Make This Promise, an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book

Chewins’ prose is exquisite, her eerie concepts heart-wrenching...Superb, spooky, and unforgettable. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chewins (The Turnaway Girls) weaves a vivid, otherworldly tale of family and secrets, with a gothic setting that serves as a character in its own right. Through themes of identity, forgiveness, and longing, Mayhap’s unpredictable quest becomes intensely personal, especially as the sisters reinvent their familial relationship. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A strong opening and consistent sense of urgency makes this an ideal choice for reluctant readers interested in slightly spooky fantasy. Give to fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Kenneth Oppel’s The Nest, or The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee. —School Library Journal
 


Tell us your latest news. 
THE SISTERS OF STRAYGARDEN PLACE got a starred review in Publishers Weekly! 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Seeing a story that once only existed in your imagination become a real object—a physical book. Nothing beats holding your book in your hands for the first time. It feels like magic. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I hope more that they feel something—for the characters, for the world. I want my books to feel vivid and engrossing. 

Your new book is THE SISTERS OF STRAYGARDEN PLACE. Can you tell my Book Nerd Kids a little about it? 
THE SISTERS OF STRAYGARDEN PLACE is a MG fantasy/horror about three sisters who have been abandoned by their parents and left in the care of a magical mansion that’s surrounded by roof-high silver grass. The house takes care of the girls—feeding them, clothing them, tidying up after them—and they have little black dogs called droomhunds who curl up inside their minds at night, to help them sleep. One day, the eldest sister, Winnow, goes walking the grass. When she returns, she falls ill, and starts to turn silver. It’s up to middle sister Mayhap to find out what happened before she loses her sister forever. But as she investigates, everything she thought she knew about her family and her life starts to unravel. 

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
Stories give life meaning and provide hope. Plus, they’re beautiful, and beauty is therapeutic and life-giving. 

What part of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine did you enjoy writing the most? 
I loved getting to know the sisters and discovering their secrets. I also loved writing their conversations. And I loved describing their clothes! 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I’d introduce Mayhap to Flick Hudson from The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski. After being stuck inside for over a decade, I think she’d enjoy leaping into all the different suitcases! 

TEN FAVORITE BOOKS READ THIS YEAR
  • THE STRANGEWORLDS TRAVEL AGENCY by L.D. Lapinski 
  • BLUE TICKET by Sophie Mackintosh 
  • THE FOUNDLING by Stacey Halls 
  • YORK by Laura Ruby 
  • THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula K. Le Guin 
  • MERMAID MOON by Susann Cokal 
  • THE MERCIES by Kiran Millwood Hargrave 
  • HERE IS THE BEEHIVE by Sarah Crossan 
  • KINGSBANE by Claire Legrand 
  • AFTER THE SILENCE by Louise O’Neill 
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 
The Italian word for a toy poodle is barboncino. (I know lots of ridiculous poodle-related facts.) 

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 
Make choices with your heart, not with your head. And trust yourself. 

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid? 
I was a kid in the 90s and I’d like to keep it that way! 

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 
That I loved learning. 

Name one thing you miss about being a kid. 
Waking up early to swim and staying in the pool all day. 

What is your greatest adventure? 
Discovering my stories. Discovering myself in my stories. 

What was your favorite book as a child and why? 
I loved FAERIES by Brian Froud because it was intriguing and a little frightening. 


A riveting middle-grade fantasy about sibling bonds, enchanted houses, and encroaching wildness, lyrically told in eerily beautiful prose

The grass grew taller than the house itself, surrounding it on all sides. It stuffed the keyholes and scraped against the roof. It shook the walls and made paintings shiver.

Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters' parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. "Wait for us," the note read. "Sleep darkly." Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine--feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company--while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game: Think of an animal, think of a place. Think of a person, think of a face. Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel. With luscious, vivid prose, poet and author Hayley Chewins transports readers to a house where beloved little dogs crawl into their owners' minds to sleep, sick girls turn silver, and anything can be stolen--even laughter and silence. 

You can purchase The Sisters of Straygarden Place at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you HAYLEY CHEWINS for making this giveaway possible.
5 Winners will receive a Copy of The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins.
WEEK ONE
SEPTEMBER 14th MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 15th TUESDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW & INTERVIEW
SEPTEMBER 16th WEDNESDAY TMBA Corbett Tries to Write EXCERPT
SEPTEMBER 16th WEDNESDAY Bookriot Edah REVIEW
SEPTEMBER17th THURSDAY Emelie's Books REVIEW
SEPTEMBER17th THURSDAY Gwendalyn's Books REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 18th FRIDAY The Bookwyrm's Den REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 18th FRIDAY Reading Adventures of a Book Dragon REVIEW 

WEEK TWO
SEPTEMBER 21st MONDAY J Long Books REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 21st MONDAY Rajiv's Reviews REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 22nd TUESDAY J.R.'s Book Reviews REVIEW & GUEST POST
SEPTEMBER 23rd WEDNESDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 23rd WEDNESDAY Author Kelly Riser REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 24th THURSDAY Ya It's Lit REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 25th FRIDAY My Fictional Oasis REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 25th FRIDAY Books A-Brewin' EXCERPT

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