I come to really enjoy middle grade over the years and when I heard about this one, I was so excited about it. This tour is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours and I’m very excited to be a part of it!
TITLE: The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars
AUTHOR: Shivaun Plozza
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy
PUBLICATION DATE: November 17, 2020
A boy and his pet fox go on a quest to find a wolf who has eaten all the stars in the sky before the Shadow Witch destroys the stars and removes good magic from the world forever.
Long ago, the land of Ulv was filled with magic. But that was before a wolf ate all the Stars in the night sky, ridding the world of magic and allowing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil, to flourish. Twelve-year-old Bo knows the stories but thinks the Stars and the wolf who ate them are nothing more than myths—until the day Bo’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that Ulv is in danger and the only way to prevent the Shadow Creatures from taking over is to return the Stars to the sky.
And so Bo—accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, a girl named Selene who’s magic is tied to the return of the Stars, and Tam, a bird-woman who has vowed to protect Bo at all costs—sets off on a quest to find the three magical keys that will release the Stars. But Bo isn’t the only one who wants the Stars, and the friends soon find themselves fleeing angry villagers, greedy merchants, and a vengeful wolf. And all the while, an evil witch lurks in the shadows and time is running out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her debut novel, Frankie, was a CBCA Notable Book and won a number of awards, including the Davitt Awards and a commendation from the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her second novel, Tin Heart, sold in three foreign territories, received two starred reviews, and was nominated to ALA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars, is forthcoming in 2020 from HMH Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House Australia. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies, and when she is not writing she works as an editor and manuscript assessor.
Congratulations on the publication of your new book! How has the publication experience been this year compared to your previous books?
It’s been so strange! It feels eerily anti-climactic. Publication is always a strange feeling—you work so hard for so long but there’s no distinct moment where it feels like it’s over, you’ve done it and you can celebrate. It’s an ongoing process and if you’re not careful you can forget to stop and take stock of what you’ve achieved. But releasing a book during the pandemic has been even more anti-climactic because you can’t head instore to see your book on the shelf and you can’t gather with your friends and family to celebrate and the marketing and publicity opportunities have all but dried up. It’s odd and sad but I’ve still achieved something to be proud of and there are far worse disappointments in the world, especially right now. Did anything inspire The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars?
Did anything inspire The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars?
It began as a short story written twenty years ago that was steeped in Scandinavian folklore. When I eventually sat down to turn it into a novel it slowly moved away from that initial inspiration as I began to focus on themes likes fear and anxiety and family. The book is about facing fears—both individual fears and community fears—and overcoming them.
What made you choose a fox as Bo’s sidekick?
I’ve always been fond of foxes but they often get lumped into negative roles in books—sneaky, sly, evil etc. One of the things I was interested in exploring in the book was characters who act against expectation, who burst free of archetypes. I’ve also always been engaged by animal and human relationships in stories and wanted to explore that bond.
How would you describe The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars in just one sentence?
A boy and his pet fox embark on a quest to return the stars to the sky after a magical wolf ate them.
Do you have a favorite scene or quote from The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars?
The scene I most enjoyed writing was where Bo meets the Un-King. I wanted that scene to be fun, humorous and weird so I had a lot of joy in writing it. It also wasn’t a scene I had planned for—it appeared out of nowhere, a tiny spark of inspiration I followed for the fun of it but which ended up being integral to the plot.
Was anything cut from it that you were sad to see go?
No, I’m pretty good at cutting what needs to be cut and letting it go. I think working as an editor has trained me to be pretty objective about it. I’m quite ruthless with the red pen, actually!
If Bo could go on another adventure, what do you think that adventure would be?
I purposely left a few elements of his story unresolved because I have ideas for how his next adventure could unfold but I also like endings that aren’t neat bows—I enjoy leaving room for the reader to imagine what happens next. Generally speaking, I think Bo’s next adventure would be about him striking out into the world more, now that he knows how big it is and that he doesn’t have to be defined by anyone’s ideas of him.
Did you always know how the book would end or was it a surprise?
I almost always have a clear idea of how my stories will end and it’s rare that something changes and I’m surprised. In this case, I knew how the story would end from the beginning of the writing process. There are always surprises along the way as you write—this book held more surprises than most—but the ending was not one of those surprises.
Thank you so much to Shivaun Plozza for doing an interview with me!