The Castaways, Jessika Fleck - Blog Tour and Interview

Hello everyone! Let me bring you today Jessika Fleck’s stop for her blog tour for the Castaways! I really enjoyed this book, and if you want to read more about my thoughts on it, you can click here!

About the Book

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.

Goodreads Book Link:
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iBooks Buy Link:
Kobo Buy Link:
Entangled Publishing:

About the Author

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

The Giveaway

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

Click here!

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 has 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.

 The Interview

Thank you for taking the time to answer them, and thank you for writing such a great novel!

1)            The Castaways feature primarily children as the main characters, and they are pretty different from one another. If you can pick one, which one would be your favourite?

First off, thanks so much for having me at Booksarehereforyou, Sophie! I’m thrilled you’re a part of The Castaways blog tour! Okay… If I HAD to choose one ;), it would definitely be Bug. Bug is one of those characters that, as a writer (and hopefully as a reader also), really stays with you. She’s sassy and adorable and sweet as can be, but also strong and brave and resourceful. I’d love to give her her very own book. 

2)            What inspired you to write about the maze?

I’ve always found corn mazes creepy in a mysterious, beautiful sort of way. And by complete coincidence, when I started getting ideas for The Castaways, it was in October. Each year we take our kids to a pumpkin patch and, of course, we had to go through the corn maze. I was already musing over the story of a girl who was being bullied and, while walking through the maze (it was completely silent aside from our footsteps), everything came together for me–what a perfect place for Olive to flee and hide and what an amazing portal to a fantasy world! 

3)            Do you have a favourite book?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That story completely undid me in all of the right ways. Just… Le sigh. 

4)            What was the hardest part for you in writing this book? The easiest (if such thing exists)?

Oh boy… The hardest part was definitely finding a good balance between the fantasy part of the story and the contemporary side of things. In the beginning, Olive’s time in Texas was much longer and there was more backstory and set up which, we found, really slowed the pacing. So most of that was left on the cutting room floor. Also, working with so many characters was a challenge, but, in the end, I was satisfied that each was well-rounded. As for the easiest… I’d have to say writing Olive. She was such a joy and a very forgiving, cooperative main character. 

5)            What is your writing process (like, a typical day)?

Because I homeschool my kids (I have two daughters), most of my writing is done in the evenings at coffee shops. Most mornings I get up before my girls and take care of emails and social media obligations. But in the evenings, I go to my favorite coffee shop, order a matcha green tea latte, fire up Spotify, and get to work. I’m working on a few different projects at the moment, so it sort of depends what gets my attention based on priority. Sometimes I split my time in half and will, for example, do book promo for the first half and then move onto edits for my next YA for the second half. One thing is always consistent: there never seems to be enough time! (Or caffeine)

6)            Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

It probably sounds cheesy, but it’s so true–I can’t emphasize DON’T GIVE UP enough. I’ve been writing and pursuing publishing for years now. I’ve experienced many highs and lows (and I don’t doubt that will continue), but had I given up during those low moments when I wondered if it was all a big, fat waste of time, I wouldn’t be celebrating my debut novel being published! Persistence is literally key. 

7)            Can you say hello to Olive for me? 

Of course! She says hi back! And if you’re ever in Hillings, TX, she says to look her up. She’d love to grab an iced coffee and give you the inside scoop about what happened behind the scenes on the island. ;) 

Thank you again and have a great day!

Thank you, Sophie! It’s my pleasure!

This was the best opportunity, thank you again to Jessika Fleck and now everyone go read the book :D


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