Monday, January 19, 2015

Blog Tour: The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant

Today I'm hosting a stop on The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant blog tour. Written by Joanna Wiebe and published by BenBella books, The Wicked Awakening is the second book in the paranormal V trilogy. I reviewed the first book in the series, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant in March of last year and I quite enjoyed it so I'm excited to share this book with you all today!

Even more so, I am thrilled to reveal my first guest post with you guys! Joanna Wiebe has very kindly written a lovely post about the significance of setting - trust me, you do not want to miss this one!

For additional stops on The Wicked Awakening tour, check out the tour page, brought to you by Kismet Book touring!

The Book

Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined.

Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves...or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben's destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?
The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant  will be available on January 20, 2015!

Amazon Barnes & Noble | BenBella 
BooksAMillion | Chapters/Indigo | IndieBound

Goodreads | The Unseemly Book Website

Book One in the series:

The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

After her mother’s death, 16-year-old art prodigy Anne Merchant moves from sunny California to the cold woodlands of Wormwood Island, Maine for what is supposed to be a fresh start. She is the newest student of Cania Christy, an elite boarding school that is as filled with secrets as it is with the world’s most privileged—and competitive—teens.
From the first day of school, Anne finds herself thrust into the Big V competition, an intense race to the top of the class. With enviable talents, she quickly becomes the enemy of every junior seeking the Big V—especially Harper, the presumed frontrunner.
Like every student, she is assigned a guardian, and a unique mission. Anne’s assignment is to “look deeper.” Anne is determined to succeed, and won’t let anything —not even her distractingly beautiful neighbor Ben—get in the way. But the deeper she looks the more questions arise, and the more she is forced to reexamine all of her assumptions—about the school, her classmates and even herself.
As layers of secrecy deepen, Anne leans on the friendship of Molly, a lifelong islander, and Pilot, the only junior not competing for the Big V, to make sense of this cloak-and-dagger world. But when people start disappearing, Anne uncovers a stunning truth that she must face head on—before she and everyone she loves is destroyed by it.
Guest Post Written by Author Joanna Wiebe
Book Setting: Is It an Afterthought or a Critical Character in Every Good YA Novel?

When you’re writing fantasy, setting is everything.

The fantasy genre, like no other, relies heavily on world-building to pluck readers out of their dry realities and drop them into a foreign world they can immediately start exploring.

That world may be on the verge of a cruel winter… or it may be a hundred feet beneath a post-apocalyptic Earth… or it may, in the case of my books, be a foggy Maine island enchanted with the power to vivify the dead.

As outlandishly different as the settings of some books may be, you’ll be interested to know that a lot of them are actually based on locales the writer knew well or simply saw frequently while writing his/her book.

For example, Isengard in The Lord of the Rings is a tower with buildings surrounding it in a circle, right? Well it just so happens that the University of Birmingham, where JRR Tolkein grew up, was in that very shape:

(University of Birmingham circa Tolkein’s time, credit)

The Wall in George RR Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire is based on Hadrian’s Wall, which Martin visited in Scotland:

(Hadrian’s Wall, credit)

And, speaking of Scotland, we’ve all heard that JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley was Victoria Street in Edinburgh:

This photo of Edinburgh Old Town is courtesy of TripAdvisor

For The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant – and the second book in the series, The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (Jan 20, 2015 from BenBella Books) – I relied on my own travels and experiences to help me shape the eerie, misty island…

Wormwood Island is inspired largely by my travels throughout northern Japan, where I lived for a year in the mountains. The town I called home was Kamikawa-cho, which translates loosely to the place at the top of the river. There, the rivers and woods were endlessly beautiful if not, much like Margaret Atwood lamented of the prairies, likely to cause death by landscape:
(Hokkaido, credit)

But my home of Vancouver Island, BC is perhaps most vividly represented in my books. The mist of the fictional Wormwood Island is the mist in which I live, a mist that is so dense and all-coating that walking outside during the autumn months feels like walking through a cloud:

(Victoria, BC, credit)

And the Sooke Potholes, which are just miles from my house, are the source of inspiration for the cliff off of which Anne and Ben jump in The Unseemly Education:

The general ruggedness of Wormwood Island is almost entirely inspired by Ucluelet, BC, where we often vacation for a little storm-watching (which, BTW, makes a pretty spectacular backdrop for writing a dark ‘n’ spooky story):

In fantasy and out of it, setting is as much as a character, often, as our beloved characters themselves. What would The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe have been without Narnia? Could The Book Thief have existed if set anywhere but Nazi Germany? And, of course, The Lord of the Flies would be nothing without the deserted island.

Setting, though seemingly secondary to the plot and its characters, is a critical factor in effective storytelling. It’s inextricably woven into so many of our favorite stories…

So tell me: what is the book setting that lives most vividly in your mind?

About the Author

By day, Joanna is a copywriter and the co-founder of and, a critique site for published and unpublished writers. As an undergraduate student, Joanna won several academic awards for excellence in creative writing: Canada's James Patrick Folinsbee Prize, which she won twice, as well as the Godfrey Prize.
After graduating, she lived for a year on the remote northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, which is the inspiration for the verdant Wormwood Island of the V Trilogy. She holds a BA in Honors English and an MA in Communications from the University of Alberta and lives with her partner Lance in Victoria, British Columbia.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant is her first novel and the first installment in the V Trilogy.

Find her on the web:

Website | Twitter | Facebook


BenBella Books is giving away 15 copies of The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (to US addresses only). Please enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win!

1 comment: