Read on for an interview with CAST OFF author Eve Yohalem, and a giveaway (US only, ends 6/20/2015).
About the Book
A tale of pirates, mutiny, and friendship on the high seas, perfect for fans of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.
It’s 1663 and there is an extra passenger on board a Dutch merchant ship setting sail for the East Indies. Twelve-year-old Petra has stowed away to escape her abusive father. But she quickly realizes that surviving for months at sea will be impossible without help. So when Bram, the half-Dutch/Half-Javanese son of the ship’s carpenter, finds her hiding spot, Petra convinces him to help her stay hidden... and help disguise her as a boy.
If Petra is discovered and exposed as a girl, she could be tossed overboard, or worse... returned to her father. And if Bram is exposed for helping her, he could lose the only home—and family—he has. As tensions rise on the ship, with pirates attacking, deadly illness, and even mutiny, Petra and Bram face impossible decisions that test their friendship and threaten their dreams of freedom.
Told in alternating voices and filled with secrets and intrigue, this richly researched novel is historical fiction at its best.
About the Author
Eve Yohalem's first book was Escape Under the Forever Sky, which Booklist called “riveting.” She lives with her family in New York City. To learn more, and download a free curriculum guide for Cast Off, visit her website: eveyohalem.com and on Facebook.
Q&A with Eve Yohalem
Read Now Sleep Later: Cast Off is told from two points of view. How did you keep your characters organized? Are there parts of the story you would try to tell from one POV then realize it was better told from the other POV?
Eve Yohalem: When I first started writing Cast Off, it was in the third person and only in Petra’s point of view. About fifty pages in, I realized Bram needed to be heard. And after maybe the third draft I decided the story would be much more exciting and immediate if it was told in their own voices. Sometimes the choice of POV was obvious—for example, if the scene only involved one of the characters. But sometimes I wrote it both ways and then picked the one that was better. In case you can’t tell, writing Cast Off involved a lot of re-writing!
RNSL: Your main characters are different genders and come from different cultures. Do you think one was easier to write than the other based on the common traits between you and the character?
EY: The challenge for me wasn’t cultural or gender differences, it was—and is—the character’s emotional state during a given scene. Scenes where my main characters are miserable are painful to write. I have to fight the urge to be protective of my characters, because books where everybody is happy all the time are really boring.
RNSL: When you were the age that your book's audience is now, were you a reader/writer/both?
EY: I read nonstop as a kid. At one point my mother consulted a doctor to find out if it was normal to read so much. Thankfully, he told her not to worry about it.
RNSL: Your characters have some pretty deep emotional struggles in this novel. Are they built from experience, study, a bit of both? Why did you decide to write about these struggles for this age group?
EY: Both Petra and Bram are outsiders. Petra is a lone girl on a ship of 300 men. Bram is the mixed-race, illegitimate son of the ship’s carpenter so he’s stateless and nameless. In addition to storms, fevers, and mutiny, they battle loneliness, fear, and persecution in their search to find their place in the world. I’m really not trying to be flip when I say this, but isn’t that a perfect metaphor for middle school?
RNSL: If you're working on a future project, can you tell us a little bit about it?
EY: Sure! I just finished writing a new book called True Fact about a twelve-year-old girl with diabetes who spends the summer searching for sunken treasure with her German shepherd and the obnoxious daughter of a famous Hollywood director. I’m also one draft into a sequel to Cast Off.
RNSL: If there is a book out there that you wish you'd written? What is it, and why do you wish you'd written it? (I'll tell you mine--The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, because it made me feel so much and was so lyrical and beautiful in prose!)
EY: I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife! I really really wish I’d written the George and Martha books. What a friendship!
RNSL: Cake or pie? (or both?)
EY: Pie. Specifically blueberry, key lime, banana cream, peach, or cherry. But, really, almost any pie will do.
Blog Tour Schedule
Mon, June 1 - Book Monsters - http://thebookmonsters.com/
Tues, June 2 - The Hiding Spot - http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com/
Wed, June 3 - Books Unbound - http://booksunboundblog.com/
Thurs, June 4 - Unleashing Readers - http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
Fri, June 5 - Read Now, Sleep Later - http://www.readnowsleeplater.org/
Mon, June 8 - Mother Daughter Book Club - http://motherdaughterbookclub.com/
Tues, June 9 - Cracking the Cover - http://www.crackingthecover.com/
Wed, June 10 - The Compulsive Reader - http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/
Thurs, June 11 - The Children's Book Review - http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/
Fri, June 12 - I Read Banned Books - http://www.jenbigheart.com/
Win a copy of Cast Off--just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. US only, ends 6/20/2015.
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