Today is October 1st, a very special day. Today, the debut novel of one of my closest writing friends, Verity, is released! And I have the honorable privilege of featuring her on my blog as well as interviewing her!
May I present, The Journey.
In a style reminiscent of the classics, Verity delivers a Tolkienesque tale that is sure to delight readers of all ages. Filled with relatable characters, fantastical creatures, and a story whose history is as deep as any great fantasy out there, the author tastefully weaves a delightful narrative that is sure to satisfy the appetite of any true adventurer.
When tragedy strikes the Thorne family, the remaining eldest, Fred, embarks on a quest with his two sisters to safety. While the idea of a “character goes on journey” plot line did not exactly interest me in the start, my fears were quickly put to rest and my interest piqued at the way Verity writes her novel. The unexpected does happen–and sometimes the expected too–and I was quite literally on the edge of my seat until the conclusion of the story, wondering if the siblings would ever have a happy ending at all. But I shall leave others to discover that themselves. 🙂
Fred Thorne must shoulder the full care and protection of his sisters after a fire leaves them homeless and friendless. He sets out to follow the last advice given to him by his great-aunt: Take the girls to Menevace, to the refuge home.
But the road to Menevace is fraught with bandits, famine, and unknown dangers.
The Journey follows the three Thorne siblings through rejection, captivity, and an increasing downward spiral of guilt as Fred fails time and time again to protect his family from the dangers of a hostile world.
Can the Thornes find a place of rest and safety? Will their journey ever end?
Dangerous cities, breathtaking creatures, and an incredible adventure awaits in this debut novel by Verity A. Buchanan.
Doesn’t it sound exciting???
Some of my favorite quotes include the following:
Fred’s own sorrow left him for an instant, and his heart went out to the stricken boy. If only he could speak to him, comfort him. He could not. And for Hedron he did what he could not do for himself: he bent his head and wept.
“There is like. I know like.” Her lips lifted in a laughing, secretive smile. “I even know that there is more than one kind of like, the like when you compare as well as the like of a person. But there is love, and love is something more, is it not? Love is more than twice more, even than three times more. Love is something different. Am I right?”
“If ever again we meet, Fred Thorne, it shall be as enemies, unless an unforeseen thing should arise.”
“And has none ever arisen before? Do not lose hope, my Lord Terlar. Someday there may be peace.”
And now, for the interview with the author!
1. What inspired you to write The Journey?
It was one of many stories my sister and I had invented for fun. Months later, in the middle of discussing it, I realized how remarkable it was. How different. And what an amazing book it would make. (Now, the actual book turned out quite different from the original story, but that’s another can of worms altogether.)
2. How long have you been writing about Legea, the world The Journey is set in?
Between seven and eight years.
3. What are your favorite parts in The Journey?
The climax, all the way. I still get shivers rereading it. Besides that, the scene with the man in Morarn in Chapter 2. Although he only makes a brief appearance there, he is one of my favorite characters and will turn up in a much later book.
I love all the interactions between Sandy and Marjorie, especially as Marjorie’s attitude towards Sandy changes to affectionate and motherly, and Sandy is unsure how to deal.
And everything with Hedron is my favorite. I have this huge soft spot for minor characters, and Hedron is my precious. He’s Sandy’s age; like her, he doesn’t exactly know how to deal with life. His situation is so much more precarious than he realizes, and when he comes tumbling down he’s lost. I just want to hug him.
4. If you had to pick one character from The Journey to go live on an uninhabited island with, who would it be and why?
I love this question! It really got me thinking.
Honestly, I would pick Daren Thorne. Daren is pragmatic and resourceful, and would be useful to supplement my mediocre survival skills. At the same time, he can be a good conversationalist once you get under his pensive exterior, so I wouldn’t go crazy with lack of stimulation.
5. Are there any songs that inspired parts of The Journey?
None that I’m aware of. However, I listened to music a lot while writing it: specifically, the Return of the King soundtrack and various Celtic pieces.
6. What authors are your inspiration and why?
J.R.R. Tolkien, because the man’s worldbuilding and intentional use of language are phenomenal. It’s because of him that I was creating maps, cultures, and (very amateur) languages at age 10.
7. What was your main goal in writing The Journey? It can be a personal goal, or maybe something special you wanted to portray in your novel, etc.
My main goal throughout writing The Journey was to show an unsure, reluctant young man coming to terms with his role in life. Fred is the archetypal Unwilling Hero. His sisters have no-one but him, but oh, how he wishes they did. He wants them to have the best, but oh, how he wishes he needn’t be the one to ensure it. And it’s not because he’s a lazy bum, but because he knows what an imperfect leader he is, and he’s terrified of failing them. It was the process of growing from a fearful, self-doubting character to a content and confident leader that I wanted to capture from the very beginning.
8. Was there anything you learned when writing The Journey?
So much. I learned first-hand how to write a character arc, and encountered questions I’d never had to ask myself before. “Am I doing this too fast or too slow? When is a good breaking point? Is it too early for another self-doubt reference?” I learned the difference between relatable emotion and melodrama. I learned that I love writing climaxes. I learned that my story was begging for a second POV, and that when you get rid of comical humor, you need to get rid of the comical tone as well.
9. What is some advice you would give to other young writers?
Listen to your story’s signals. I had a lot of “givens” for The Journey. A lot of pre-supposed plans that I didn’t even think about, they were so firmly established. Before I finished the first draft, I changed almost every single one.
The story I wanted to tell — Fred’s acceptance of his duty — couldn’t survive alongside them. In fact, it was being strangled out of existence. My lovable lead was all but unrecognizable under layers of sour comedy and melodrama. The story was crying out to be simplified; all the freak craziness and side plots needed to go! But it took me three months of dismay to figure that out.
What’s the story you want to tell? Don’t let anything stand in its way. Find out what’s crucial to it, and what’s extraneous, and get rid of the extraneous stuff like your life depends on it — because your story’s life does.
10. Do you plan to publish more of your books written in Legea?
Indeed I do! The Ceristen Series has three more books, followed by a four-volume epic saga which I’m currently writing. Here’s a peek at The Village, book 2, and what it has to offer:
Mitford meets high fantasy in this small-town story of loneliness, perseverance, and unlikely friendship. The Thornes’ story continues, expanding to entwine with many others. Complications with a secretive black house, a touch of slow-burn, sweet romance… enter the village.
Having also read the other books of the series not yet in print, I can testify that this first book is just a teaser of the reader-loving goodness that is yet to come. Excellent work, Verity, as always!