Series: Song of the Sending #1
on October 16th 2014
They told him his world was destroyed.
And they were the last to escape.
They thought he was safe.
They were wrong.
Seventeen-year-old Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but that's not why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the scholars. Jim is a scholar--someone who can manipulate energy using magic--and he has no idea.
When a message arrives from Jim’s father--who supposedly died twelve years ago--Jim’s whereabouts are discovered, their carnival is attacked, and his mother is kidnapped. On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to save his mother, and discovering the truth about who he is.
But going home isn’t the same as being safe, and trust is everything.
Tell us about your book.
THE EXPATRIATES is the first book in a new YA fantasy series about a teenage boy, Jim Wales, who discovers his family’s been hiding him in a traveling carnival because he’s being hunted for his powers.
What inspired you to write THE EXPATRIATES?
This is such a cliché!! But, the truth is the book was inspired by a dream I had almost 14 years ago. It was a little scene where this dark-haired kid is walking through a meadow of golden grass with a tiger and there’s a falcon hovering in the air over him. He’s communicating with the animals telepathically. The whole thing is still so vivid, all these years later.
What can you tell us about the main character?
The main character in THE EXPATRIATES is a seventeen year old named James Wales. His friends call him Jim. He has the ability to communicate with animals telepathically, which comes in handy living with a traveling carnival! The story opens with him training a tiger to do some new moves for their carnival act. It doesn’t go well, and Jim’s concerned the tiger can understand the insults coming from Jim’s best friend, Sam.
Do you write in one specific genre?
At this time, I am focused on my fantasy series, but I have a constant tug from many different things in my writer-mind. I have ideas for sci-fi, creepy thrillers, some paranormal stories. I don’t feel committed to one genre overall. I have learned to let my passion drive me to the next thing, so I write these ideas down and add them to my idea book and get back to work on whatever is burning brightest.
Do you find it difficult being an indie author when so many others are doing it?
Just the opposite. I am an indie author because so many are finding success in self-publishing. There is a huge movement going on, as if we all weren’t aware, and I feel fortunate that I found the courage to take that leap.
What makes your book different from others in the genre?
THE EXPATRIATES is a fantasy adventure about a boy who discovers he’s being hunted for his power. It’s a fast-paced story with animals and magical creatures who are portrayed differently than readers of the genre have seen before. And while it is a hero’s journey, there is a lot of intrigue and lies on the road to discovery.
Your cover is fantastic! Who designed it and do you think a good cover is important part of publishing?
My cover was designed by Steven Novak at www.novakillustsration.com. He’s super to work with, and I can’t wait to see what he does with my next cover. I think a good cover is absolutely vital to capturing a reader’s attention. I learned something important while working on the cover, and that is to focus on the concept and the theme you want to portray, and not get stuck trying to be too literal in showing an actual scene from the story. Keeping that in mind really helped me get my head around what we needed to do.
“Shh!” Charlie stepped toward the midway, her head cocked to listen. “What in the world?”
I followed her gaze across the fairgrounds where the big top towered over the smaller event tents. Festive red, white, and blue flags atop each of them blew in the morning breeze.
“Do you guys hear that?” she asked.
“Hear what?” Hollis said, wiping sweat from his face. He held the swaddled bird against his chest.
The peaked canopy of the big top stood tall over the row of concession stands. The old marquee twinkled faintly in the sunlight, its red and yellow light bulbs spelling out Sweetwater’s Traveling Show. Everything was quiet.
“Charlie?” I knew better than to question her ears.
“What is it?” Sam asked.
“Shhh.” She closed her eyes and cupped her hands around her ears.
“I don’t hear anything,” I said. “Actually I don’t hear anything at all.”
Usually, on the day we arrived in a town, the fairgrounds were so noisy you could barely have a conversation without shouting. The roustabouts and canvasmen made a terrible racket erecting the tents and hammering the steel spikes into the ground. Then there was the constant hum of generators and cranes and trucks permeating everything as we all got things ready for the weeklong stay. Not to mention the animals screeching and squawking and the regular people noise. But from where we stood, it was eerily quiet. The whole place felt like a ghost town.
A mushroom of black smoke billowed above the big top in the distance. A rolling boom reached us a moment later.
“Whoa,” Sam whispered.
“Sweet Sisters. They’re here,” Hollis said.