I loved everything about Moonlit. Debut author Jadie Jones does an excellent job building a loveable and flawed heroine, Tanzy Hightower, while also creating a suspenseful plot, love-to-hate bad guys, and a jaw-dropping ending (as in–I e-mailed her to say: WHEN IS BOOK TWO COMING OUT??). I stayed up late into the night to finish this book once I got near the end, and then I had trouble sleeping once I finished. Moonlit is one of the best books I have read all year. I adore it. I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour and introduce you to Jadie!
Here’s a quick summary of the book: Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses and has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods. When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t. But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself?
Yes, I have a copy to GIVEAWAY!!!! (Thank you to Jadie, WOW! Women On Writing blog tours, and WiDo Publishing.) There’s a Rafflecopter form below. Tell your friends who love YA contemporary fantasy to check this book out. (Hint: there’s even a “past lives” theme. . .)(U.S. readers–print or e-copy available; international readers, an e-book is available for giveaway.) And I also got to interview Jadie about her book, so here we go!
Margo: Hi Jadie, welcome to Read These Books and Use Them. I am excited to host you and Moonlit, a YA fantasy, today. From reading your bio, I know you had a lot of experience with horses. How did you turn your real life experience into a fantasy novel for teens?
Jadie: I didn’t really “fit” at my high school. It wasn’t a horrible experience or anything, but I didn’t feel like I belonged. Spending time with horses literally transported me into a different world. It gave me somewhere to belong outside of high school. I’ve seen horses do this to anyone who lets them. Horses are a source of tangible magic in this world. I wanted to tap into their instincts and the relationships they have with people.
Margo: That’s awesome. I don’t have a lot of experience with horses, but I feel the same way about dogs. Why did you choose to tell your story for the YA market?
Jadie: There’s something very liberating about writing for young adults. That time of life – the curiosity and sense of adventure – sticks with us long after our teen years are behind us. It’s when the decisions we make have the possibility of affecting us in a very real, lasting way, and we’re learning what that feels like. It’s also a volatile, brutal, beautiful time of life. It’s a lot of fun to revisit through writing.
Margo: Did you find it difficult to create your fantasy world? What were some tricks you had for keeping everything straight? Advice to other fantasy novelists?
Jadie: For me, creating a fantasy world is like a board game: the game works best when the rules are clear, simple, and easy to communicate. That way, the characters and the setting stand out, and the idea of a whole new world is more easily accepted because its relationship with the existing world is organic instead of complicated. My fantastical characters are very talented, so their limits had to be crippling. It’s no fun to have an all-powerful something that can do what/when/however. Then defeating that all-powerful something often becomes too contrived.
Margo: I think that’s why I loved your book so much. I had to suspend my belief in “the way the world works” just enough to get carried away, but not so much that I had to go back and reread to figure out what was going on! Your characters, Tanzy and Lucas, are your hero and heroine. What qualities do they have that you so admire?
Jadie: I admire Tanzy’s loyalty. It’s her biggest strength and her most vulnerable weak spot. At the same time, I also admire her doubt. She does her best to analyze every situation. As for Lucas, I admire his abs. I mean his absolute devotion. I think every girl wants a guy who would search the earth for a thousand years to find her.
Margo: No doubt! Did you give them a tragic flaw? If so, what? I always find it hard to give my characters flaws! I want them to be perfect.
Jadie: They do have flaws! Tanzy is headstrong to a fault. She can also be rash, especially when it comes to defending someone she cares about. She makes some decisions in Moonlit that she will have to pay for in the sequel. Lucas is a law-abiding citizen to a fault. Where Tanzy would rush in, paying no mind to the consequences, Lucas respects the oaths he has made, even if he doesn’t agree with them. He wasn’t always a good guy, so he’s trying to win back the faith of other creatures like him.
Margo: What are some themes that today’s teens will really be able to relate to in Moonlit?
Jadie: Tanzy loses all of her blood in a horrible accident, and it’s replaced with something very old and definitely not human. The instincts in that blood are completely different from her own, and she has to learn how to balance the two. I remember feeling that way–sometimes overcome by these inner highs and lows that I didn’t understand and had a hard time controlling. Another aspect that I think will speak to teen readers is the Unseen world – a place where no one is ever born or dies, but simply is. In high school, it feels like everything is always changing but also stays exactly the same. It’s maddening.
Margo: So true–I love both those ideas. Anything else you want to add?
Jadie: I really like to explore the gray area – the darkness that good people are capable of and the glimpses of light within an “evil” character. I like to dive beneath the surface.
Margo: Thank you for your time and for sharing Moonlit with us!
Jadie: Thank you so much! I am honored to be here, and thank you for letting me talk about this dream of mine.
Don’t forget to enter to win MOONLIT below!