One of the reasons I have been running this series of Staying in with… posts is to discover talented new to me authors. Today it gives me enormous pleasure to stay in with Elizabeth Jade who is at the start of what I hope will be a long and successful writing career.
Staying in with Elizabeth Jade
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Elizabeth. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you for inviting me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I have brought my first children’s book, Akea – The Power of Destiny. I have plenty of adventures for Akea in various stages of development, but this is the only one I’ve published so far. The second book is in the first round of editing, I’ve nearly finished the first draft for book three, and I have written parts of books four and six – I know I left out book five, but it doesn’t want me to write it yet. That probably sounds a bit strange, but I don’t really understand how it works either. As someone with Aspergers, I find it really difficult to relate to people, but I have a natural affinity with animals of all kinds which is why I like to work with rescue animals whenever I am able.
(Oh, I think animals are always easier than people actually! I love the fact that the books are choosing the order for you too – how interesting.)
What can we expect from an evening in with Akea: The Power of Destiny?
I often describe Akea as the captivating story of one young husky’s journey to find her place in the world. This is something that has been mentioned in several reviews. One of my favourite reviews is by Australian author, Dean Mayes, who said:
Part coming of age story, part family drama, Akea: The Power of Destiny is an accomplished and heartfelt epic that will inspire and delight young and old readers alike. Author Elizabeth Jade weaves a rich tapestry and takes the reader on a journey of adventure, danger, love and self-discovery – all seen through the eyes of a plucky young husky named Akea who finds she is the custodian of a legacy that she will have to face or reject.
(What a fabulous review. Dean has featured on the Linda’s Book Bag too and you must be thrilled to have such a super endorsement for Akea.)
The story is told from Akea’s perspective and one older reader described it as ‘A sensitive and heartening story that reminded me a lot of Jack London’s Call of the Wild. There is a fantasy background to Akea; the idea that her life is being guided by the Great White Volk (volk means wolf in Russian), and this is an aspect that will be expanded on in greater degrees as the series progresses.
(I must admit, I love the sound of Akea: The Power of Destiny.)
We first meet Akea as a newborn pup; even then her father could tell that she was special, although he wasn’t sure why. Her early days are straightforward until a wolf appears. Their owner’s gun scares it off but something changes within Akea and she realises she doesn’t belong with the huskies.
This is a fast moving story which sees Akea grow quickly and before long she has met the wolf, Kazakh once more. Akea is divided between loyalty to her loving family and Kazakh. She begins to learn more about her destiny and eventually discovers she isn’t just a husky, but has wolf blood running through her veins too.
Her journey isn’t easy; there are setbacks and losses along the way. However, her true place becomes clear as the secrets unfold. As in all the best stories, good and evil battle for supremacy, with several surprises and twists along the way. If I say any more, it will give too much away, so you will just have to read it for yourself.
(I will indeed, but it sounds to me that the aspects of Akea’s life could equally well apply to humans…)
I find it encouraging that my children’s book has been read and enjoyed by people of all ages. Some people have read it to their younger children who are under the target age of 8-12, so they can edit out bits, such as when Akea finds her sister in a forlorn state in an animal shelter. One usually reluctant reader decided their dad wasn’t reading it to them fast enough and took it away to read for themselves. And a gentleman in his 60’s read it because his friend told him it was so absorbing that he wouldn’t be able to put it down if he did. It’s been a really encouraging year and just the motivation I needed to get on with editing book 2.
(I think fabulous storytelling appeals to all readers, regardless of age Elizabeth!)
What else have you brought along and why?
I’ve brought along my illustrator, the amazing Anthony Wallis. We met through a Facebook group for authors and illustrators. I knew an illustration at the beginning of each chapter would be the ‘icing on the cake’ as it were, but as with most authors, funds were tight. So, I took the bold step of asking for illustrators who were looking to expand their portfolio into children’s illustrations and who would therefore be interested in doing the work at a reduced rate in exchange for sharing this new artwork on their websites etc. It actually worked and I selected the one who best balanced my needs and pocket. Anthony is now working with me on the illustrations for my second book, Akea – His Mother’s Son.
(My goodness, what wonderful illustrations. You must both be thrilled with how they have worked out.)
I’ve also brought along some dramatic readings I recorded. Listening to these puts chills down my spine, and I’m the one who read them. I hope you will enjoy them too. You can hear them here.
(These are so good Elizabeth. I’d urge blog readers to have a listen.)
It has been a real pleasure finding out about Akea: The Power of Destiny Elizabeth. Thanks you so much for staying in with me to tell me all about it. Good luck with the series.
Thanks for having me. It’s been an enjoyable evening.
Akea: The Power of Destiny
Akea is born into a family of sled dogs and a life that follows a predictable path, but from the day she first sees the lone wolf, Kazakh, Akea knows her future lies beyond the safety of her home. Kazakh is well aware of Akea’s destiny and the pack laws he will break to help her reach it. Regardless of the challenges ahead, he must make sure this young husky will be ready, even if it means his life.
Akea: The Power of Destiny is available for purchase here.
About Elizabeth Jade
Elizabeth Jade was born in 1998 and lives with her family in Wellington, in the county of Somerset in the UK. She was home-schooled from the age of 7, but only recently discovered that her struggles in school were due to Aspergers. She stumbled into writing at the age of 14 when she began to struggle with depression and anxiety, and quickly found her story ideas pouring out faster than she could get them onto paper. She has always had a passion for animals, being known as ‘The Cat Whisperer’ by the staff at the animal rescue where she volunteers, so it seemed only natural that her stories would revolve around them. With further adventures for Akea already written in her head, a wonderful journey is set to unfold for both reader and author alike. “I don’t write stories,” she says, “I just put a bunch of words onto paper and the characters do the rest. Plot twists are never planned, they just happen. If you let your imagination run riot, trust me, you’ll be surprised at the result, I always am.”
You can follow Elizabeth Jade on Twitter @AkeaWolfStories.