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Review, Interview & Giveaway

Far World – Water Keep
J. Scott Savage
413 pages
September 2008

I don’t even know how to review this book. I’ve seen the reviews starting to pop up (dude, Scott sent his book to something like 150 bloggers…crayzy) and since I don’t want my review to sound eerily similar to other reviews*, I have stuck my fingers in my ears, closed my eyes, and been ignoring anything and everything that mentions Far World.

But now! Now I am reviewing the book! *the clouds part and angels sing* I finished this book over a month ago, but things got in the way like my new husband and I settling into living together and finding a spot for his stuff. Sometimes that spot was in our home…sometimes that spot was in the garbage can. 😀

SO, finally I have time to review the book. But I don’t know where to start.

Hmm…Let me start here:

My husband finished this book in two sessions. One session was at night when I was reading it and he said Whatcha readin’? (sound familiar?) So I showed it to him and next thing I know he’s read like five pages and so I graciously (*snicker* I think he had to pry it out of my hands) allowed him to read it while I read the other book that I wasn’t thrilled to start but ended up LOVING. He finished about half that night and the other half waiting for our plane to come back home. When I asked him what he thought, he said, It was good. I’ve asked that question a couple of times and he appears to be a man of few words when discussing books because that phrase is all I could pry out of him. He did mention he thought the discussion questions in the back were a little silly for a young adult’s fantasy book. I would probably agree…except that people can find deeper meaning in the strangest places, such as in the book The Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England.

The obligatory plot synopsis: Kyja lives in FarWorld where everyone but her can do magic (and the animals and plants can talk) and Marcus lives on Earth where onlyhe can do magic but he thinks it might be a fluke and Kyja saves Marcus from almost getting eaten and pulls him into FarWorld and they find out from Kyja’s friend, Master Therapass (a master wizard), that he has kept a secret for thirteen years (Kyja and Marcus are both thirteen years old *gasp*) and that’s why the Dark Circle wants to kill Marcus and their only hope is finding the four Elementals (water, fire, air, land) and convincing them (the Elementals) to help Kyja and Marcus by opening a drift between Farworld and Earth.

The book was great! I loved it! There was action! Adventure! Evil creatures! Talking plants! Cool pets! Kick-a** magic!

Water Keep starts off with a bang and never lets up. The dialogue in the beginning is somewhat juvenile as Marcus has to deal with bullies at school who seem like the typical bullies in most books: big and dumb. I realize as I type this that most bullies are just that: big and dumb. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy reading about characters that seem to be cookie cutter bullies. However, I was thinking the whole time, If I read this when I was 10+ years old, I would have eaten this up. But as an adult? Not so much.

Aside: Scott, I’m being very very nit picky. Your book is great but I thought I should temper my review with something other than ohmygoshthisbookwassogoodican’twaittoreadittomyownkids… 

Enough of me. Let’s talk to Scott!

*ahem* I was supposed to provide a setting, and I wanted to play some Yahtzee so I could redeem myself from losing four times in a row to my 90-year-old grandma, but after admitting to each other neither of us was above cheating, we just decided to chat. You’re coming into the interview when we start confessing our propinquity to cheating…

Scott: I’ll have you know that I tend to cheat at Yahtzee though. For example, look at that weird guy outside your window. Yahtzee!!!

Trish: The last time I was at a friend’s house playing a game they brought up the fact that I’m always trying to cheat. But you’re only cheating if you get caught, right? Otherwise you’re just PLAYING THE GAME. Speaking of games, what’s your favorite board game?

S: I have a huge closet full of games. I have nearly as many games as I have books, and that’s saying something. My maternal grandmother was the same way. So it’s hard to pick a single game. I really like Last Chance and I also like Apples to Apples.

T: Do you ever “let” your children win when you’re playing games?

S: All the time.

T: Sucker! I wouldn’t. Okay, fine, I would… What did you do before you were a writer?

S: Same thing I do now, just with less time to do it. I actually counted once, and I think I’ve had about 75 jobs over my life. French Chef, Internet CEO, plumber, mall Santa Claus, you name it. For the last sixteen or so, I’ve stuck to high-tech sales.

T: Is there any job that you haven’t done that you would like to?

S: Yes. I want to be a Jungle Boat Captain at Disneyland. I would totally love to make up jokes for that.

T: If you could have an extra eye or an extra ear, which would you have and where would you put it?

S: An extra eye. And I’d put it in my pocket so I could say, “Gum?” then reach into my pocket and pull it out. Then when people screamed, I could go, “Whoops! Wrong pocket.”

T: Which superhero do you think is the coolest? Superman? Spiderman?

S: Okay, here’s my thing. Can you be the coolest when you are totally invincible except around a certain rock? I mean nothing can hurt you, you can reverse time. You are faster than light. Are your hair has that whole Grease thing going on. Give me a hero that can get cut now and then. Plus “My super sense is tingling,” just isn’t cool. Spidey.

T: Which vegetable do you hate the most?

S: Well I would say tomato. But it turns out tomatoes are a fruit, which for some reason really disturbs my eight-year-old son. So I am going to have to say jalapeno peppers-primarily as a result of trying to earn a dollar from my dad when I was about five. Enough said.

T: I know you’ve talked about criticism before…but has it gotten easier the longer you’ve been a writer? Is criticism easier to take from your editor as opposed to a reader?

S: I don’t know that criticism per se is ever easy to take, regardless of who it comes from. I mean, we all joke about how you can have a person who has only read two books in their life, they hate you genre, they found your book in a dumpster, and they say, “You stink.” And it still hurts. It’s just the nature of putting yourself out in front of the public. But what does get easier is feedback. In fact, we beg for feedback. Tell me what worked for you and what didn’t. We always want our book to be better, so we love it when people say, that scene seemed weak. Or, I’d really like to learn more about a certain character. That is something we can fix. “You stink?” Well, I guess I can take a bath.  

T: Is there one thing that you’ve always thought, If I earn x amount of dollars on these books, I’ll buy ____?

S: For me personally, the definition of total writing financial success is when I can buy a cabin on a lake. But I’m a lot more focused on what I can control. Getting good reviews, visiting stores. Maybe winning an award. Money is so hard to control, but good writing is all in my hands for better or worse.  

T: Have you read Scott Adams’ blog? Because your writing on your blog is eerily similar, I think.

S: No. I’ll have to go check it out.

T: Are you a squeeze toothpaste from the top or bottom kind of guy? Is this something you and your wife have ever fought over?

S: No, I’m a squeeze from the bottom kind of guy. Fortunately, we each have our own tubes, which avoids any toothpaste problems-except for the occasional mirror finger-painting.

T: Last but not least: What do you think is the worst kind of torture? This question is inspired by a conversation that was had at a dinner party last night. I contend any torture having to do with your teeth, some thought anything to do with your fingernails, and others said that it’s been researched that the worst kind of torture is putting someone on a plank upside down, putting cloth over their head, and pouring some water on their head. Apparently, the person feels like their drowning and will tell everything they know.

S: Hmm, I’ve had some pretty bad dreams about my teeth crumbling in my mouth, so that’s high on the list. But I think I’m going to have to go with being forced to watch Spiderman III continually. “Please no more emo. I’ll tell you anything you want!”

Isn’t Scott awesome?

As promised, there is a giveaway! One copy of Far World – Water Keep will go to one lucky person. All you have to do is comment here. That’s it! But if you wantto stand on your head while drinking milk, I won’t stop you…but it won’t get you an extra entry. Sowy. You have until July 30th to enter. I’ll choose a winner on July 31st. Good luck!

*Once I get a phrase or a way of saying things in my head, I cannot think of any other way to say it, which is why I have to avoid reading other reviews while I’m trying to write my own review.

| Tags: , , , 23 comments »

23 Responses to “Review, Interview & Giveaway”

  1. jill

    I loved this interview!!!

  2. Kim L

    I’ll have to come back and read this later, because I’m reviewing this one as well.

    Tag, you’re it

  3. studentofsaga

    I would love to win a copy of this book – I love reviewing young adult fiction! BTW, thanks for the nice comment on my blog!

    Kris of Studentofsaga at wordpress.

  4. jenefur

    Hey, my husband WAS a captain of the Jungle Cruise and made up stupid jokes. I still hear them today.

  5. wordlily

    Great interview! The book sounds fun, too. 🙂

  6. Hil'Lesha

    Great interview!

  7. Elizabeth M.

    That was completely entertaining: both your review and the interview. Now I am totally psyched up to read this! Thanks for having the giveaway.

  8. Nancy, aka Bookfool

    I’m so ticked that I wasn’t one of those 150 bloggers he asked to review. Thank goodness for the Trishes and Bellezzas who are giving Far World away!!! Please sign me up! I can’t stand on my head, anymore, but I used to be able to walk on my hands. That was sooooo long ago. I know, no bonus points. Oh, well.

  9. bkclubcare

    This was hilarious to read. Thank you! Trish – I love your i-viewing skills, great questions and background to your questions. very fun.

  10. Catholic Bibliophagist

    Fun interview! I’m doing YA for my summer reading project so I’d be interested in reading this. YA is a genre I’ve pretty much neglected since the mid ’70s when it seemed that all the new books were uniformly dreary and depressing. But my online friends assure me that Things Have Changed and have given me a list of titles to read.

  11. Heather

    enter me please 🙂 thank ya.

  12. mellymel

    well, i’ll go ahead and say it – this is a book that i can’t wait to read to my kids. whew. feel better? seriously, it’s so hard to find good kids books so thanks for the review.

  13. C.B. James

    What fun. Please enter me. I promise to pass the book along to a suitable YA reader.

  14. Helene

    Great interview and review! I wanted to let you know I’m also giving away an autographed copy of inner architect written by Susan Hanshaw, which is a great book for anyone making a major career change.

  15. monnibo

    I love YA fiction and I love fantasy. Sounds like a neat book. I’d love to win! Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. Jackie B.

    Great interview! This book looks likes it would be a good read. I would love to win it! Thanks.

  17. Ramya

    nice interview.. i enjoyed reading it.. do enter me for the book giveaway as well.. it looks like a nice book to read!

  18. Pamela White

    Thanks for the wonderful review. I would love to read Far World.

  19. Diana Corlett

    Interesting review. Sounds like a book I could read to my grandchildren. Love to win it! Thanks for the contest.


  20. Anita Yancey

    Sounds like a great book. One I would like to read. Please enter me, and thanks.

  21. Sarah Buki

    fun and creative interview!

  22. Kathy Conley

    Sounds like a great book and it was a cool review!

  23. kathy pease


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