In 2012 I read and reviewed Margi Preus’ wonderful Shadow on the Mountain, a historical YA novel set in WWII Norway. I really enjoyed that book, so when I was approached about being part of the blog tour for Margi’s latest novel, Enchantment Lake, I didn’t have to think long about my answer. While Enchantment Lake is a new direction for the author, moving away from historical novels and into mystery novels, it sounded just as interesting as her previous novels. I’ve already read Enchantment Lake – look for a review tomorrow – and I can tell you it was a very fun read. Today, however, as part of the blog tour for the launch of Enchantment Lake I have not only an Author Query with Margi Preus, but also a giveaway for the book. Check the bottom of the post for details of the giveaway. But first enjoy my interview with Margi!
Let’s start with the basics. Who is Margi Preus?
Feeder of birds, lover of snow, reader of books, writer of stories. Wife, mother, sister, aunt.
How would you introduce people to Enchantment Lake?
There’s murder and mayhem on Enchantment Lake, along with some wacky aunts, a lazy sheriff, a poisoned hot dish, a shrinking island, venomous snakes, sunken treasure, mysterious goings-on in the peat bog, raucous loons and squabbling gulls, and all the things that threaten our northern waterways; invasive species, potato farming, even mineral extraction. Will our hero figure it all out before it’s too late?
Enchantment Lake is your first non-historical novel. What made you decide to move to a more contemporary setting?
I actually started the story that became Enchantment Lake quite a few years ago, so it’s possible that I was working on this even before I began writing historical fiction. This story was a fun pastime when I was at our lake cabin. Kind of like doing a jigsaw puzzle and leaving it on the table to work on a little more the next time you’re there.
Francie seems as if she has a lot more adventures in her. Is Enchantment Lake the first in a series of novels or is it another standalone tale?
I have thought it might be a series of four—one for each season at the lake. We’ll see.
Shadow on the Mountain, which I really enjoyed, and West of the Moon are both set in Norway and contain much of Norwegian history and folklore. Where did your interest in Norway come from?
My family is terribly Norwegian, since time immemorial. There are probably some Vikings back in the lineage. West of the Moon is inspired by the diary my great- great-grandmother kept as she emigrated from Norway in 1851. Also by the Norwegian folk and fairy tales I grew up hearing—and loving—from my storyteller father.
West of the Moon and Heart of a Samurai both see youngsters emigrate to America, willingly or not, and follows their journey adapting to a new home. Is that element of the outsider needing to learn to fit into a new environment echoed in Enchantment Lake at all?
Well, yes, I guess it is, now that you mention it. Francie is a city girl, having spent most of her life in New York City. She spent summers at the cabin as a young girl, but hasn’t been back for a number of years. So she is a bit of an outsider, yes. Even more so in book #2, should I ever complete it.
What’s next for you? Any appearances or signings planned?
I have book launches for Enchantment Lake in Duluth, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Hudson, WI (March 19, 27, 28, and 29 respectively) At the moment, I’m packing to go to Norway to promote the Norwegian edition of Shadow on the Mountain, and very much looking forward to seeing Erling Storrusten (the inspiration for that book) when I’m there.
Is there something else you’re passionate about other than writing and books?
Other than reading and literacy, the out of doors and everything in it. Birds. Whales. Bees. Polar Bears. Tigers. Monarchs. White Pines. Snow. Lakes. The North Country.
As a book reviewer, I’m all about the book enabling; I can’t help but want to make people read all the good books out there. But I can always use help. What are your top recommendations of books we should look out for in the coming months?
I don’t have the jump on anybody, and I’m sure there are plenty of great books coming out, but I have read a couple of advance copies that I’d recommend: Lizzie and the Lost Baby by Cheryl Blackford and In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III.
Finally, I have to stay true to my roots and ask a librarian question to finish off with: Do you shelve your books alphabetically, by genre or do you have an ingenious system?
You are giving me credit for being far more organized than I am. My ingenious system involves stacking books in random order on the floor by my bed or on tables or on the stairs, or on any available surface. I do have a lot of bookshelves, but those are already full.
Bio (taken from the author’s website): Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author and playwright. Her first novel for young people, Heart of a Samurai, is a Newbery Honor Book, a recipient of the Asian Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature, and an NPR Backseat Book Club pick. Shadow on the Mountain is a Notable Book for a Global Society, and her newest novel, West of the Moon, is included on many Best Books of 2014 lists. Her picture books include Celebritrees; Historic and Famous Trees of the World, a 2013 Flicker Tale Awardee.
Margi served as the artistic director of Colder by the Lake Comedy Theatre for 25 years and with her collaborator Jean Sramek has written hundreds of comedy sketches, a couple of comic operas and dozens of plays for young people and grown ups. When she isn’t writing, she likes to ski, hike, paddle or sit quietly with a book in her lap.
As part of the blog tour I get to giveaway three signed copies of Enchantment Lake, courtesy of the publisher. The giveaway is for US and Canada addresses only and to be in with a chance, please comment below with a way to contact you and telling me your favourite childhood summer haunt. The contest will be open until Saturday 11 April midnight CET and I’ll announce the winners on Sunday 12 April.
Check out the other blog tour stops by clicking the banner below!