Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview + Giveaway: Lena Coakley, author of Witchlanders

I can't even begin to express how excited and delighted I am to be joined here today by my new favorite YA fantasy writer, Lena Coakley. Lena is a fellow Canadian, who resides in Toronto - which makes me love her even more (yay, Canada~!). Her debut YA fantasy novel, Witchlanders, is the most beautiful piece of fantasy I had the pleasure of reading in a long, loooong time. Beautiful settings, compelling plot line, charismatic characters and exquisite story telling - all that makes Lena's novel a MUST-READ for any fantasy fan (YA or not!).

Guys, please give a warm welcome to Lena!

E: Evie
LC: Lena Coakley

E: Welcome to Bookish, Lena! I’m so thrilled to welcome you to my blog! Your debut novel, Witchlanders, in one of my top favorite reads this year! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
LC: Wow! Thanks Evie! I’ve worked behind the scenes for a number of children’s book organizations like CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers, but I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I live in Toronto but I grew up in the states and I’m a duel citizen, so maybe crossing borders was on my mind when I wrote Witchlanders. Other than that, I love reading and I’m a huge fantasy and science-fiction nerd.
E: Who or what inspired you to write "Witchlanders"?
LC: It all started with the two main characters, Ryder and Falpian. I loved the idea of putting these two very different people from two very different cultures together at the top of a mountain to see what they’d do. Many of the issues I tackle in the book—religious clashes, the mother’s drug addiction, the long-term effects of war—I didn’t set out to write about, but there’s nothing like writing a book to find out what your subconscious is chewing on.
E: Do you mind telling us how long did it take for you to write it?
LC: My writing group had its ten-year anniversary just as this book was being accepted by Simon& Schuster. We keep a journal of what we read each month and when we looked back we found that I’d workshopped chapter one at the very first meeting! I didn’t think it had taken me ten years to write Witchlanders, but obviously, it had!
E: How would you describe the "Witchlanders" series in 5 words?
(5 words?? Eek!)

Witch’s son finds his magic.
E: The lead characters in your book are absolutely fantastic – I love both Ryder and Falpian! The supporting characters are no less fascinating! Which of your characters would you say is most like you? Are any of your characters based on people in your own life?
LC: Oh, I’m definitely most like Ryder. He’s skeptical, an introvert, a bit taciturn, and a bit ironic, just like me. Many people who read the book say they like Falpian better because he’s funny and easier to get to know, but I have a soft spot for Ryder. I really know what makes him tick.

The only person based on someone from my own life was Aata’s Right Hand, the white witch, who I physically based on my niece Jasmine. It was amazing to finally see the cover of the book and find that the model they used actually looked like her! (Jasmine also got to play the part of Aata’s Right Hand in my book trailer.)
E: Where is your favorite place for writing? Do you have any special writing rituals?
LC: I love my writing desk at home, but every once in a while I just have to get out of the house and write somewhere else. If I’m feeling that way, I usually go have breakfast at a great little cafe in the Distillery District in Toronto where I can plug in my mini and write for the morning.
E: What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are interested in writing YA fantasy novels?
LC: Be persistent!
E:  What genres do you like to read in your free time?
LC:  Oh, YA fantasy is definitely my first love, but right now I’m also trying to read the literary classics I haven’t gotten to yet. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights is definitely the strangest, most perplexing novel I’ve read in a long time. I love it, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand it.
E: Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
LC: Ursula Le Guin never disappoints me. I think everyone should read A Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness. Sabriel by Garth Nix is one of my all-time favorite books, along with the dystopian novel Feed by MT Anderson. And for something completely different I’d have to say David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I have to read that book about once every ten years; it’s a whole world unto itself. There is a complete (not really) list of my favorite books over on my website at
E: Do you have any other hobbies that you enjoy?
LC: I love to swim and I love to travel.
E: If you could have a paranormal power, what power would you want and why?
LC: It’s not very practical, but I’d have to say flying. Every once in a while I get to fly in my dreams and it’s a great feeling!
Random Questions:

- white or dark chocolate? Dark.
- coffee or tea? Coffee.
- favorite character? Gandalf
- favorite movie? Blade Runner
- favorite Summer destination? The pool!
- favorite TV show? Dr. Who (nerd alert!)
- M&Ms or Skittles? M&Ms
- ebook or printed copy? Printed copy right now, but I might be swayed in the future!

Lena, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing your next books!
(DYING to read the sequel to Witchlanders!!!)

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Lena Coakley and her books, please visit his website: Lena Coakley or/and read my review of Witchlanders.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Expected publication: August 30th 2011 by Atheneum

     High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.
It’s all a fake.
At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?
But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—
Are about him.

Giveaway Time! 
Thanks to the FANTABULOUS people @ Simon and Schuster Canada I have one copy of Witchlanders up for grabs!

Open to Canada (sorry Internationals!) if you're International - don't despair, check out my Summer Hottest Releases Giveaway - Witchlanders can be won there!
Ends: Monday, September 12th

*Mandatory entry: be a GFC follower of my blog and leave a comment with your email address (and some love!).

*Extra entries:
+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter
+5 Follow Lena's blog HERE
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada ->  @SimonSchusterCA or/and @SimonPulseCA
+5 Comment on my Review of Witchlanders
+10 Tweet about this giveaway using @SeoEvie and @LenaCoakley!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


mermaidvision said...


+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @LenaCoakley
--both as @mermaidvisions
+5 Follow Lena's blog
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada -@SimonPulseCA (as @mermaidvisions)
+5 Comment on my Review of Witchlanders
+10 Tweet about this giveaway using @SeoEvie and @LenaCoakley:!/mermaidvisions/status/108248550017736704

Thanks for the contest! :D


Brenna said...

Ah, yes! I love Canada-only giveaways once in a while aha.

GFC follower: Brenna

+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie (@EverAfterEsther)
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @LenaCoakley
+5 Follow Lena's blog HERE (GFC: Brenna)
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada -> @SimonSchusterCA or/and @SimonPulseCA
+5 Comment on my Review of Witchlanders (under GFC: Brenna)
+10 Tweet about this giveaway using @SeoEvie and @LenaCoakley!

Total = 32 i think? Thank you for the giveaway! :)


Margaret said...

Count me in. I'm a follower. Sounds like a good read!


Gwenny said...

Oh this sounds like a great read! Thanks for the giveaway, and great interview!

GFC Follower Gwenyth Love

*Extra entries:
+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie - Yup! @gwenythlove
+5 Follow Lena's blog - Yup! Gwenyth Love
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada - @SimonSchusterCA or/and @SimonPulseCA - Yup both! (Do I get double! LOL)
+5 Comment on my Review of Witchlanders - Yup!

Coreena McBurnie said...

This looks like such a great book.

GFC follower: Coreena McBurnie
+1 Twitter follower
+5 Twitter follower of Lena Coakley
+5 follow Lena's blog
+5follow S&S
+5 comment on review

Thanks so much for the contest.

Laura (All of Everything) said...

How did I not know Lena was Canadian!? Need to read this one, thanks for the giveaway!

I'm a follower
+1 twitter follower @allofeverything
+5 twitter follower of Lena @allofeverything
+5 twitter follower of both S&S's @allofeverything
+10 tweeted


Chrystal said...

I cannot wait to read this and would love the chance to win a copy! Thank you so much!

*Extra entries:
+1 Twitter @SeoEvie (I'm @snowdropdreams)
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @LenaCoakley (done @snowdropdreams)
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada (done @snowdropdreams)
+5 Comment on my Review of Witchlanders (I'm CHRYSTAL! great review)
+10 Tweet about this giveaway using @SeoEvie and @LenaCoakley! (!/snowdropdreams/status/108329887940608000)


Lena Coakley said...

Can I just say--Wow! Evie gets a LOT of RT's on Twitter! Thanks for entering, everybody and good luck!

Proserpine said...

Love to read about Canadian writer! I'm looking forward this book! Love your quick questions on your interviews! Thanks for the giveaway!

I follow your blog as Proserpine,
I follow you, Lena and simon & schuster CA and Simon Pulse on twitter:PCravingBooks
and I tweet about the giveaway!!/pcravingbooks


A Beautiful Madness said...

Yeah! New Follower!
+1 Follow you on Twitter @SeoEvie (@emdelorme)
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @LenaCoakley (@emdelorme)
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada (@emdelorme)


lostinagreatbook said...

Great interview! Thanks for the chance to win this fantastic book!


*Extra entries:
+1 I follow you on Twitter @SeoEvie
+5 I follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @LenaCoakley
+5 I follow Simon & Schuster Canada -> @SimonSchusterCA and @SimonPulseCA
+5 I've commented on your Review of Witchlanders
+10 I tweeted at!/lostingreatbook/status/108338852749508608

Cary Cheyenne. said...

Great giveaway!!

I'm REALLY looking forward to this book!

I am a GFC Follower: Cary Cheyenne.

My email is:

+1] I am following you on Twitter, @CaryCheyenneXO.

+5] I am following Lena on Twitter, @CaryCheyenneXO.

+5] I am following Lena's blog, my GFC name is the same, Cary Cheyenne.

+5] I am following @SimonPulseCa, @CaryCheyenneXO.

+5] I commented on your review.

+10] I Tweeted about the giveaway here:!/CaryCheyenneXO/status/108422715723100160

Extra entries total = 31.

Lieder Madchen said...

I have to read this book!!! Thank you so much for the chance!

+1 I follow you on Twitter - @LiederMadchen
+5 I follow Lena on Twitter
+5 I follow Simon and Schuster CA and Simon Pulse CA on Twitter
+5 I follow Lena's blog
+5 commented on your review
+10 tweeted:!/LiederMadchen/status/108458416380448768


The Lovely Getaway said...

+1 Old follower here, great interview! thanks so much for this chance!

+1 Follow on Twitter @lovelygetaway
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @Lovelygetaway
+5 follow Simon & Schuster via @lovelygetaway


Sarah said...

Yea for fellow Canadians! Especially Canadian writers!

Bonnie said...

How did I not know that Lena Coakley is a Canadian author? I think that makes me even more excited to read this book!

Thanks so much for the giveaway Evie!


samantha35 said...

great giveaway
follow via gfc

Darlene said...

I'd love to read this book!

GFC - Darlene
darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

+1 Follow you on Twitter

+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter (@DarleneBookNook)

+5 Follow Lena's blog
(GFC Darlene)

+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada at @SimonSchusterCA and @SimonPulseCA (@DarleneBookNook)

+10 for tweeting:!/DarleneBookNook/status/109471742841470976

Thanks for the giveaway!

Breezy1323 said...

GFC follower, thanks for the chance

Kereesa said...

She loves Sabriel! Already I like her.
GFC follower:
Follow you and @SimonPulseCA through @KereesaReads

Shae Carcar said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I love to swim as well. And I have dreams too... but never about flying it's always about falling. I dont really like those dreams all too much, but eh... I can't control my subconscious well some people can... I really wanna learn to control my dreams, that's be so awesome!
shae_carcar (at) yahoo (dot) com

Sydney said...

I'm a GFC follower! Heard alot of grat things about this book!


Sydney said...

I meant great LOL

Miss Page-Turner said...

Wow 10 years?! So being published is an ever greater present:)

SweetShenanigans said...

Totally agree with the YA fantasy!
GFC: SweetShenanigans
email: girl23rocks at hotmail dot com
+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie (@Alliegal101)
+5 Follow Lena Coakley on Twitter @LenaCoakley (@Alliegal101)
+5 Follow Lena's blog as SweetShenanigans
+5 follow Simon & Schuster Canada -> @SimonSchusterCA as @Alliegal101
+5 Comment on my Review of Witchlanders as SweetShenanigans
+10 Tweet :!/Alliegal101/status/111591243666030592

Breanne said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
I follow you on Twitter @RazzMyBerry

bmweida at yahoo dot com

Tiffany Mahaffy said...

Thanks for the giveaway!! I am a follower:) I don't twitter :( miss out on lots of +'s that way lol but I did:
+5 Follow Lena's blog &
+5 Leave a comment on the review :)

Good luck to all and thank you for the chance at this!!!!
Tiffany Mahaffy

P.E. said...

Thanks a billion for the giveaway! And great interview, I like your questions. I want Witchlanders so bad!

Email: tantalizingillusions(at)

+1 followed you on twitter (I'm AshesTantalize)

+5 Follow LEna Coakley on Twitter

+5 SimonSchusterCA

+5 SimonPulseCA

+10 I tweeted! :)

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