The Castaways by Jessika Fleck #BlogTour @jessikafleck

Book Title: The Castaways
Author: Jessika Fleck
Release Date: April 3, 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous. Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.   When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing. Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.   Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home. But victory may require more betrayal, sacrifice, and heartbreak than she’s ready for.

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jessika Fleck author of The Castaways.
Hi Jessika, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thanks so much for having me, Sara! I’m so excited to be here at Ex-Ballerina to chat about writing and The Castaways! As for me, I was born in Illinois, but raised in the suburbs between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas (my parents decided to escape cold winters when I was about two years old). I married my high school/college sweetheart and we have two lovely daughters. We’ve lived in Hawaii, Virginia, Colorado, Vermont, and Illinois (so far). I began writing about eight years ago on a complete whim when my girls were very young and I was in need of a creative outlet. Several years later, here I am and I’m still as in love with the process as I was that first day I decided to jot some words into a notebook.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To publish as many amazing books as I can and to always find inspiration and passion in writing. As for big picture goals? To publish a middle grade book or two or three. Big, big picture goal? Obviously to snatch that coveted NYT Bestseller title. But. One day at a time.
Which writers inspire you?
Definitely the early female authors like the Bronte Sisters and Virginia Woolf and Mary Shelley for sure. I also hold a special place in my heart for Sylvia Plath. Contemporarily, the great J.K. Rowling, Markus Zusak, Marie Rutkoski, Leigh Bardugo, and Patrick Ness to name a few.
So, what have you written?
My first piece of published work was a short story for YA Imagination Magazine called The Blackbird’s Grave. As of 4/3/17, The Castaways is out--yay! And my next novel, The Offering, is set to release fall, 2018 from Swoon Reads/Macmillan.
Where can we buy or see them?
Read more about The Offering here:
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Oh, Olive. I adore her and she was so lovely to write. Olive is first and foremost a sixteen-year-old girl. She’s close with her family and lives a pretty standard, suburban, teen life. But. She’s being bullied. Which is anything but typical or okay or standard. What I think is most special about her is Olive’s evolution throughout the story. The adventure she’s forced into really transforms her and she comes out on the other end having found out how deep she’s able to dig and how great things happen when she does.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I’m deep into revisions for The Offering and I’m working on revising my first MG project for my agent. Very exciting, stressful times over here! I’m basically living on coffee and chocolate.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Oh goodness. I’m not super great at casting my main characters, but I could definitely see Odeya Rush playing Olive.

When did you decide to become a writer?
Like I said in my earlier answer, writing, for me, really happened on a whim. I used to draw and paint and sculpt, but after having children I didn’t have the time or space or energy for those mediums any longer. When I really needed a creative outlet, writing just sort of fell into my lap.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
I homeschool my two daughters, so I’d say that’s my full time job. But it also feels like I write full-time. So… ;)

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Usually, I write in the evenings at coffee shops after my husband gets home from work. I also work on Saturday and Sunday mornings. On good days I wake up before my girls do and spend some time in the early morning taking care of promo and emails and other writing-related obligations. Because my life is pretty non-structured outside of writing (::waves at other homeschooling families::),, I just take whatever ‘extra’ time I have and run with it.

Do you write every day, or when you have time?
Every. Day.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a recovering pantser, lol. I used to 100% take a loose idea and let my muse guide me, but that makes for very long, painful editing sessions (and editing is definitely not my favorite). I now use a pretty detailed but not too stern four act outline for my stories (huge shout out to my amazing CP/writing BFF, Jeannette, for this!). Then I transfer those points into a chapter by chapter outline. Then I write. Sometimes things change, but the bones of the story are already set which is an invaluable help. It’s been hard to transition, but, oh my gosh, so worth it!

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
This book is a stand alone novel. I have had requests for a sequel or companion novella already though. Which I love! How amazing is it that readers are so pulled into the characters and their world that they want more?!

Do you read much and  if so who are your favorite authors?
I always have a decent stream of books I’m reading on my Kindle. I’m totally addicted to reading at night before I go to bed (unless I’m in one of those CANNOT PUT THIS DOWN books then the thing is basically glued to my eyeballs). A couple of my favorite authors are Markus Zusak, Alice Walker, and Patrick Ness.

What book/s are you reading at present?
Currently, I’m reading the ARC for Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn (keep your eye out for this one!) and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
To be yourself, fully, and not to get caught up in the judgements/expectations of others.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Oh gosh… The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That book chewed me up in all of the best ways. His words sang and danced and slayed. Just… Le sigh.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t. Give. Up. And plot.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I’m pretty accessible online but if readers hit up my website or join my newsletter or just Google my name, they’ll find their way to me and my books!

Blog: (click the blog! tab)
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.):
Goodreads Book Link:
Amazon Buy Link:
Barnes & Noble Buy Link:
iBooks Buy Link:
Kobo Buy Link:
Entangled Publishing:

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Thanks for having me and for all of the great questions--I had a blast!

Goodreads Book Link:
Amazon Buy Link:
Barnes & Noble Buy Link:
iBooks Buy Link:
Kobo Buy Link:
Entangled Publishing:

Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her work verges on fantastical and dark with a touch of realism. She is a regular contributor to the fantastic kidlit blog, Kidliterati, and is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Author Website:
Author Twitter: @jessikafleck
Author Facebook:
Author Goodreads:

Giveaway Info: Prize Pack with The Castaways + swag. An Amazon gift card in the case of an international winner.   

The Excerpt  
But everything’s clear. I do know where to go. “I’m going to find that boulder—” I suck in shallow breath. “The…hhh…maze.”

“It’s no use. We’ve tried everything. It doesn’t work! Wait!”

But I’m not listening because it <i>has </i>to work. It’s the only way. If it got me in, it’ll get me back out.

I run until my body, my mind, and, mostly, my lungs give up. Because, problem is, Will’s right. I don’t know how to find it.

I stop.

Will stops.

Bent at the waist, hands on my knees, I cough and spew, trying to catch my breath. The hyperventilation has passed, but my insistence on sprinting like I’m a track star when my

lungs and legs have no business running, has taken its toll.

I look up.

Will isn’t fazed. At some point he took off his shirt and now stands with his hands on his hips, chest rising and falling, barely winded. His abs flex with each effortless breath. “Get

it out of your system?”

It’s when my stomach springs that I realize I’m staring at his body. I quickly glance away and completely ignore his question. “Take me there.”

“I told you. It’s no use.”

“Please,” I whimper. Tears race down my face.

Tucking his T-shirt into the back of his pants, Will walks in another direction.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m taking you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

With Will now leading the way, I watch his suntanned back, the sweat beading at his shoulders and slowly, one by one, how the beads roll down the center crease. I’m in a daze

or a haze or a trance because all I see is his back, his muscles contracting and tightening with each step, and, like magic, we’re there.

The mossy boulder stands before us and, I swear, it mocks me in all its ordinary, commonplace glory.
  Follow the rest of the tour here:

No comments:

Post a Comment