Thursday, 24 April 2014

Interview + Giveaway: The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree
by Julia Debski

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance 
282 pages

Cover Artist: Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree revisits a classic Cinderella tale of abuse and sought after freedom from the confines of a cruel life.

Ivy Lune is not your ordinary girl for within her blood flows the secrets of an ancient species of werewolf; a secret that also foretells of a great war and a struggle for ultimate supremacy.

Ivy lives a life of isolation torment at the hands of her aunt and cousins for the majority of her life. Mistreated and neglected, she longs to escape the shackles of her prison-like life. And in that longing, she learns the truth of her identity. She learns her place in a long line of events that were set into motion many years ago. She finds intimacy and belonging in a much larger family.

All the while, unknown to her, there are dangerous forces are at work; old blood ties and murderous plots threaten her chance at happiness beyond her current life.

The Hazel Tree is a tale of mystery and romance set against a supernatural backdrop of terrifying and awesome power.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Shut Up & Read would like to welcome Julia Debski!  Thank you for joining us today!

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
There are two main characters in The Hazel Tree: Ivy Lune and Matthias Loupen, with the focus resting heavily on Ivy.

Ivy believes herself to be cursed, by her own fault. She has lost both her parents and her uncle. Her remaining family use her as a slave, starve her, and abuse her mercilessly. Despite this, she doesn't give up on life or become depressed. While perhaps a bit resigned by her situation, she remains determined and hopeful to find a way to escape her tormenters. (Also she wants to read books, which she used to do as a child before her uncle died. Escaping would mean being able to read books again.)

Matthias's live is a complete 180 from Ivy. He is the next in line to become Alpha, has had a stellar education, and wants for nothing that money can buy. However his life isn't perfect either. His relationship with his father is hostile at best, and his mother, a victim of rape by his father, has depression and has been missing as a parental figure for most of his life. He has relied on his tutors (and doctors, as he injured himself often) to guide him as he grew up. He is determined not to be his father's son but they are more alike than either of them realize.

Q:  What was your favorite scene to write?
I am torn between the prologue and the climax. I adore reading and writing imagery, which the prologue has a lot of and I loved how it turned out. It really set the tone for the novel. The climax features the most screen time for one of my favorite characters (Naples) and it gets into depth about the mythology in the novel, which was also very exciting for me.

Q:  What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try and have a proper writing session (2+ hours) at least once a week. These take place at the same Starbucks where I wrote a majority of The Hazel Tree and now work part time.

Q:  How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

I have moved around a lot in my life, and lived in several counties in Europe as well as a few states in the United States. I've experienced different cultures and people and languages, which is why I think I enjoy creating new cultures and worlds in my stories, and pulling a bit of real life into it. I was also raised in a very liberal and open environment so I was exposed to a lot of different things. I listened to family and friends discuss politics, business, people, the environment, the job market, art, music, alcohol, languages...anything and everything basically. I can't give you an exact example of how that has affected or translated into my writing but I'm certain it's there.

Q:  If you could be any character from your book, who would you be and why?
Is it bad to say that I don't think I want to be any of them? They are such strong and amazing people ( their own unique way...) but they have all suffered in one way or another in their life, and I know that there is still a lot of pain and suffering ahead. If I was to be any character though, I would love to be Judice. I mean, besides the fact of who WOULD'T want to be an awesome Scottish warrior championed throughout the land? But I think I'd like to be her because her experiences in life have been so completely different than any of the other characters, both in the past and now coming up in the future.

Q:  What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read a lot of books, though not nearly as many as I used to or as many as I wish. I also have two horses who are my life, and spending time with them in any way, shape, or form is always relaxing. Lastly, I've always been a fan of naps. Especially when cuddling with a cat or dog.

Q:  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I suppose my answer would be rather boring. I'd love to do a tour around Europe, focusing on England, France and Poland. These are countries where I have family and have grown up in, and I love any chance to go back to them.

Either that or New Zealand, because it's like the less dangerous version of Australia.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
20 under 40: Stories from the New Yorker by Deborah Treisman (short stories), A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (poetry), and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs (novel). Oh and I just bought It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden. It's like a pep talk in a book!

Julia Debski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1996. Her family moved around a lot during her childhood before finally settling down in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It wasn't until the 8th grade that she found her passion for writing. It was thanks to a particularly inspiring English teacher and a story that needed to be told. So she began to write, and she never stopped. 
Four years later she found herself with nearly a dozen started novels and short stories. As junior in high school she was introduced to Greg Wilkey, a self-published independent author of four novels. He soon became a mentor to her as she worked to write and self-publish her own novel. After two years of hard work, and a nearly a year of mentorship The Hazel Tree was published in October 2013. 

Twitter: (@juliadebski)

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1 comment:

  1. I enjoy fairy-tale inspired stories as much as I do fairy tales :)