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guest post; Ravenswood blog tour-Raina Kadavil- How TVOT Came to Be

Title:  The  Voice  of  Thunder
Author:Raina  Kadavil
Genre:  YA  Epic  Fantasy/Adventure
Length:  497pages
Release  Date:  August,  2015
ISBN-­‐13:  978-­‐1511759502
IMPRINT:  Chimera
Fiery-­‐haired,   witch-­‐eyed   Zaara   Theroux   has   all   but  resigned  herself  to  the  dull  life  of  an   Asterian   princess   when   her  engagement   is   suddenly  interrupted   by   the   elusive   Jay  Sattler,   who   has an   irresistible  proposition   for   her:   he’ll   show  her  the  world  –the  good,  the  bad, -the  beautiful  and  free  her  from  her   royal   captivity,   if   she  promises  to  open  her  mind. Suddenly,  Zaara’s  quiet,  boring  life  is  shattered  and  she  is  thrown  into  a  world  where  not  everything  is  as  it  seems:  where  dragons  soar  and
breathe  fire;  where  people  like  her  are  gifted  with  affinities  for  water,
fire,   earth,   or   air;   where   a   rebellion   is   rising,   seeking   a   justice   that  involves   destroying   her   perfect   world   and   everything   she   has   been  raised  with…including  the  love  of  her  life.  As  Zaara  joins  the  rebellion,  she  learns  more  than  she  had  intended  about  the  strange  and  tangled  history  of  the  world  she  lives  in  and  the  role  she  herself  has  to  play,  as   keeper  of  the  rare  fifth element,  in  preserving  that  balance  between  order  and  chaos  in  the  mythical  land
Writing has forever been the thing that keeps me sane; words were and are my first and truestlove. They sated me and deterred tantrums when I was a toddler; they got me through AP examsand breakups as a teenager; they’ve made me better, gave me a passion that’s so much bigger  than myself – they’ve given me the world and beyond.My mother loves to tell everyone from my friends to strangers the story of how she’d punish meas a child, not by taking away my toys or computer, but with threats of not reading to me that night. Her favorite bragging line is, “I bought her books instead of toys and took her to the librarinstead of the park, and taught her to love readinginstead of watching TV…and that’s what made her successful.” I roll my eyes when she tells the tale, but it’s true – the love for words that she gave me have taught me how to think instead of whatto think, and that has made all the difference in my life. As the years passed, a love for reading translated itself into a love for writing. My memorization of every word of “Cinderella” at the age of two evolved into reading “Harry Potter” eleven times on the plane to Arizona at the age of eight, and into the
copycat stories I wrote on looseleaf paper stapled together into “books” – knockoffs of “The
Boxcar Children” and “The Pony Pals.” I even did the big-eyed, smudged-graphite illustrations, back then. Even as I grew up, I never lost my enchantment …When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up,there were many answers over the
years (among them, fashion designer and paleontologist), but “author” was always at the top of the list. But writing for me was never so much an ambi tion as it was a passion – there’s alwaysbeen a part of me that knew that publishing was the ultimate goal, but it was never the thing Ifought for the way I fought for As in math (my personal Waterloo). Instead, it was simply the guilty pleasure I used to keep me sane. I started writing what eventually became “The Voice ofThunder” at ten years, in the sixth grade.Back then, it was called “The Last Extra Ordinaires” andfeatured a host of characters who held [an entirely coincidental] resemblance to myself and my friends. Writing was to vent feelings, but it was also for the pure love of weaving together words  to create something that had never  before existed, something that had come genuinely from the most wild and overgrown portions
of my mind. The story evolved as I wrote and rewrote over the next few years; it especially
picked up the following summer, when I spent a summer in India with no Internet or electronics.Today, “The Voice of Thunder” bears quite literally no resemblance to “The Last
Extra Ordinaires,” even down to the names of the characters. It was during my sophomore year ofhigh school, at fourteen, that I made up my mind that the
pages and pages of scrawled-up notebook paper I had on my shelves were going to become a novel. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeastern United States, ravaging Southern New York. By candlelight, I began writing what slowly became “The
Voice of Thunder.” Honors Chemistry and Pre-Calculus classes over the next few months we
re occupied by my scrawling into notebooks, trying my best to look like I was taking notes on chemical equations and logarithms,when what was actually being brought to life by my pen were Zaara Theroux and her wildadventures in Asteria. By the time I left class for s
ummer vacation that June, I had a completedmanuscript.

I always dreamed, but never expected, that by the time Igraduated high school, I actually would see my name as the byline of a novel. Children with big, wild dreams are too often discouraged,by parents or teachers or the realists of the world –engineering is a more viable career path, and grades are the most important thing if you want to get into Harvard. Both of these are true. But children with dreams that seem intangible are the ones who move the world, who take the world in their hands and mold it to their will, instead of letting it mold them instead. Children who dare to believe in their dreams despite what society tells t
hem are both incredible and dangerous –they remind us that the social norms we swear by can crumble easily, and will crumble if the right dreamer puts their mind to it. I am grateful every moment of my life and every page of my novel to the people who have believed in me as I grew –my parents, my family, my teachers, my friends, the changemakers that seem to crop up everywhere – for watering the garden of my dreams instead of taking shears to it. I want that for every child, someday – and I hope my novel will give young adults a channel through which to dream. Like Blythe, I’m a believer that if you push the world, the world will change. This novel is my nudge to the world.
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Guest post – by Shelley Brown – How Bunkie Came to be

Author pic
Author and illustrator Shelley Brown, M.A., spent much of the last two decades as a business writer and graphic artist. An avid lover of the outdoors, whenever she wasn’t working, Shelley could be found backpacking, rock climbing and biking in National Parks across the U.S.
In 2012, however, Shelley contracted a tick-borne illness that prompted her to leave the high-intensity environment of the corporate landscape to try her hand at writing and illustrating children’s book. Her experience was the inspiration behind her first boo k, Peter, Pancho and the Pesky Tick, followed by Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie. Never losing her affinity for the outdoors,today, Shelley expresses her appreciation mostly through her writings and illustrations.
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Bunkie made his presence known through a culmination of various factors. I have
always been a fan of animals and have had a large variety of animal species as pets, including a blue-gray rabbit named Georgia, many years ago. Georgia wasfriendly, intelligent and quite affectionate. I was surprised at how similar having a pet rabbit was to having a pet cat or a pet dog. The memory of Georgia set the stage for Bunkie’s affable personality and served as the proto-type for Bunkie’s physical appearance
Additionally, around the time that I began writing Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground
with Bunkie, my aunt had unintentionally acquired two pet rabbits that had escaped captivity from the home of a nearby neighbor. To my aunt’s dismay, the furry visitors were making daily appearances in her tomato, black-eyed pea and flower patches –devouring them all – despite her multiple attempts to stopthem. My aunt posted these events regularly on, and my husband and I were following the story. The final influencing factor is simply that I enjoy drawing and writing. Prior to beginning Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie, I had written and illustrated a shortbook for young children about checking for tick bites after spending time outdoors. I enjoyed the process of writing and
illustrating that book so thoroughly, that I couldn’t wait to start another book. I began the
second book, before I had even attempted topublish the first. All of these factors culminated  in the creation of Magic, Mayhem and Life Undergroundwith Bunkie and influenced the creation of the Bunkie Bernstein character. The characterof the flying squirrel came from my experience rehabilitating flying squirrels in myhometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Through the rehabilitation of flying squirrels, Ibecame a flying squirrel owner, and became quite familiar with their elusive nature, making this animal a perfect fit for the mystery character in the final chapter. I dedicated Magic, Mayhem and Life Underground with Bunkie to the first flying squirrel that I rehabilitated, who my husband and I affectionately named Finne
us. Virtually everything that means anything in life is born out of some sort of strife, and for
me, this was particularly true with regards to the creation of this book. Not long ago, I
was employed at a large corporation, writing proposals for hundreds of millions of dollars
in new business for that company. I had been there for several years, when I contracted atick-borne illness that I have had a very difficult time healing. Eventually, I became too sick to stay with that company. It was very difficult to start over, and financially, that hardship was magnified. However, had I not become sick, I never would have found the time to write and illustrate children’s books – something that I enjoy much more than business writing for an inhuman, indifferent, mega-corporation