Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Wishbird: By Garielle Wang + Interview + Giveaway

Welcome Back to the Kid Lit Blog Hop #22
I am so excited to bring to you to today a review for a newly released book by local Melbourne Author Gabrielle Wang.

This is another one of my awesome twitter following moments. I started following Gabrielle after she posted a wonderful comment about writing for children. Then I realised she was local to my city and was releasing a middle grade book soon, hurrah. I asked Gabrielle the details of where she was launching and she so generously sent me an invite. Hurrah, I have made another friend from the obscurity of twitter.
So I went to Gabrielle's launch of the The Wishbird at the an exquisite book shop by the way, full of delicious children's books.
Gabrielle started by reading her Prologue. The words were so beautifully woven, I was enchanted. Her Agent then spoke about working with Gabrielle and how she mentioned the book launch to another friend who said, "Oh Gabrielle, your magical friend". Everyone in the packed little book shop seemed to know and agree. This was one talented and wonderful lady. At the conclusion, little waiters and waitresses moved through the crowd and gave everyone a little white meringue shaped into a Wishbird. We all took a meringue and made a wish. He He, can you guess what I wished for.....  Well you will never know, he he
So here it is The Wishbird By Gabrielle Wang
Description from Amazon:
Oriole's beloved Wishbird is dying and she must leave the Forest of Birds to save him. But in the City of Soulless there are traitors everywhere, and when Oriole is captured, only a street orphan can help her. Can Oriole and Boy save Soulless and its bewitched king, or will the city's darkness prove too great even for magic?
My Review:

From the moment I started reading The Wishbird the words enchanted me. The prologue begins with Mellow "The Wishbird" drawing near to the last threads of life. He doesn't worry about where he will journey next, he worries for Oriole, sweet Oriole.
Oriole is a 12 year old girl who has never lived among humans. She came to live with The Wishbird as an infant and has been raised by the birds of the forest ever since. Her clothing is woven from silk spun by orb weaving spiders. Her every word is said in sing song fashion, as she has never ever spoken to another human being, only her bird friends. When Oriole realises her Wishbird is dying, she embarks on a quest towards the city of Soulless to alert the King to the Wishbird's conditon. The King and the Wishbird are forever tied together by the fabric of the universe and Oriole believes the King will have a solution. Soulless is an evil place, full of despair unlike anything Oriole has ever known and even the sound of her voice, places Oriole in great danger.
Her simple quest turns sour and Oriole finds herself in the dungeons, awaiting death. A chance meeting with a small orphan named Boy is her only way of escape. Boy has troubles of his own, on the run from his adopted and ruthless family of other orphan boys. Boy helps Oriole escape and joins her quest to save Oriole's precious Wishbird. Treachery is everywhere, and the city itself is under attack. Oriole and Boy find new friends who reveal the secret of Oriole's origins and together, they unite in their quest to save the Wishbird and the City of Soulless. The enemy is formidable, but one little girl with a sing song voice has the power to change it back to become a city of Solace.

This was a wonderful book with such intricate and vivid descriptions. From the loveliness of Oriole and her enchanted Forest of Birds to the rotting and desolate City of Soulless. There are some violent and dark moments which help to build the tension and fear not just for Oriole's quest but for her life. Every page of this enchanting tale gripped me to the very end. The illustrations that Gabrielle personally created for this book are stunning. They helped me visualise sweet Oriole and her plight throughout the story so beautifully. I would recommend this to upper middle grade (12+)
 5 Stars.

But wait, there's more.

You could win one of 6 copies

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Wishbird by Gabrielle Wang

The Wishbird

by Gabrielle Wang

Giveaway ends August 18, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Joining me in the blogosphere today is the lovely, Gabrielle Wang

Welcome Gabrielle.

Firstly, the story of how you came to write is truly wonderful Gabrielle, will you share it with us?
How did you first get your start in writing? ie Was your journey to publishing fraught with the rejections that we hear so many authors detail?

I think every aspiring writer should receive rejections. Rejections are the author's rite of passage because when you are finally published, you appreciate it so much more.
I have many rejection letters which I keep in a folder in my filing cabinet to remind me that it has been a hard road. My first lot came when I illustrated my own picture book more than 25 years ago. I lost confidence in my ability after that and gave up the thought of ever being published. For me it was probably a good thing because the timing was wrong. I would never give that advice to aspiring authors and illustrators today though.
My story is very different. In those days I had no idea I could write a novel because my only interest was illustration. In 2000 though, I had a vivid dream. When I woke up the next morning I wrote the dream down. This grew into a short story which then became my first novel, The Garden of Empress Cassia.
Again I received rejections, nine in fact. But in the end it was picked up by Penguin Australia and has gone on to win several awards and has been published in the UK, US, South America and Korea.
So the thing is, just because a number of publishers reject your work, doesn't necessarily mean that your novel or illustrations are no good. All it takes is one person to see your potential and that's what happened to me.
Where did the idea of The Wishbird come from?

My mother found a book in her classroom when she was in Grade six way back in 1935. It was called Green Mansions. She loved it so much that it began her love of reading. That book became like a myth in my life because my mum talked about it so much. She searched for years in secondhand bookshops until she finally found a copy which she gave me to read when I was fourteen. It is about a strange girl with a beautiful bird like voice who lives in a forest of birds.

How long did it take you to draft this enchanting tale and how did you come by the names for your characters?

The Wishbird took about two years before the final manuscript was completed.
Naming characters is very important to me. The meaning and sound need to reflect the personality of your character. Oriole was originally called Alethea, but later I decided to give her the name of a bird with a beautiful song. Also I think the sound of the word Oriole is lovely. The character Boy, whose real name we discover at the end of the book is Hero, was named after my dog. My dog by the way is definitely NOT a hero. He is even scared of spiderwebs blowing in the wind. I think he has a very vivid imagination.

What advice would you give to new and upcoming authors?
Read books by authors whose style you like. Write everyday. Take a writing class. Set yourself achievable daily goals. Edit your work 60 times before you send it off to a publisher. No, not really… But this was the number of times I edited The Garden of Empress Cassia. Read your work out aloud. Join a writing group with writers of a similar standard who ideally write for the same market, and who are at a similar stage in their writing careers. e.g. if you write for children it's best to have a writing group with the same kind of people. Self doubt about your writing ability is your friend not your enemy. If you think you are already good enough then you will not get any better. Be a good watcher and listener.

Where can we find Gabrielle: 
Thank you to Gabrielle for joining us today and happy hopping folks.


Welcome to the 21st Kid Lit Blog Hop. The Kid Lit Blog Hop takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. We have managed to create a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read. So, you are more than welcome to link in and take some time to make some new friends. Our summer holidays are in full gear and we have been one busy household. I may be a little slow hopping around but leave me a quick hello in the comment section and I'll be sure to give you a visit back. :-) Please join me in welcoming back our co-hostesses for this Hop, Suzanne de Montigny, author of The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy and Serena Schreiber, author of Finn's Ship. Welcome Suzanne and Serena! Please be sure to give each of our hostesses a visit to say a quick hello and we'll be sure to visit you right back!

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

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  1. Thanks for the great interview--sounds like a fascinating book!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Charlotte, I hope you entered the Goodreads giveway, you will be enthralled by this book. I am so delighted to have found it.

  2. Hi Julie, and good to "see" you again via KidLitBlogHop #21. You share with us all a story about how small the world is (a twitter friend right up the road) and bring us a wonderful guest! I love Gabrielle's story about not giving up and her writer's advice. Appreciate the visit with you two wonderful women.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Valerie. It was such a pleasure to read Gabrielle's book and attend her launch. I hope that you dropped over to goodreads to enter her giveaway. Hurrah

  3. Thats a beautiful review and I am glad to have read it! The story sounds exciting and very heart warming. I immediately entered the giveaway :)
    Thanks for sharing on the Blog Hop Julie!

  4. That book launch sounds incredible and the book looks really intriguing! Thanks for linking up with Booknificent Thursday! Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got this week!
    Tina from