Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Classic Children's/YA: Ryan Graudin on Redwall by Brian Jacques Plus The Walled City Giveaway

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Brian Jacques's Redwall series, so I'm extremely excited to welcome The Walled City author Ryan Graudin to the blog today to talk about why she loves the books, and to share a couple of fantastic photos! I'm also delighted to be able to host a UK and Ireland giveaway for a copy of The Walled City - many thanks to Nina at Indigo for arranging the post and prize.

I was an avid reader as a child, but there were few series that captivated my imagination like Brian Jacques’s Redwall. This children’s fantasy series featured anthropomorphic woodland creatures who frequently went on quests and had to defend their red sandstone abbey (Redwall) from the “vermin” hordes that occasionally attacked. Mice, squirrels, hare, badgers, moles, voles, hedgehogs, otters and shrews general composed the cast of heroes, while the villains were usually rats, foxes, weasels, ferrets, stoats and wildcats.

There were twenty-two books in the series, published from 1986 up until 2011. The first book in the series (aptly titled Redwall) introduces readers to the abbey, where a young mouse named Matthias has to go on a quest within the Abbey’s walls to find the lost sword of Martin the Warrior, to defend Redwall from Cluny the Scourge and his evil army of rats. The Redwall books are memorable for their songs, feasts, riddles and battles.

As a child, I read this series fervently. I saved my allowance for weeks to buy the books, wrote fan-fiction based on the novels and interwove the saga’s plots into my outdoor playtimes. I would trap through the woods pretending to be a hare from Salamandastron, or an otter from the Island of Lutra. I even became part of an online fan club and a Redwall message board. I sent Brian Jacques semi-regular fan mail, with drawings of his character Martin the Warrior, and once he even responded to say he loved my drawing! (I can feel the giddy twelve-year-old fangirl rising up in me as I write this).

When I was thirteen, I got the chance to meet Brian Jacques. His 2000 “millennium tour” of the US brought him to my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. It was my first experience meeting a real author, and I was aptly starstruck as I listened to him read aloud from Marlfox. I remember being so flustered when he picked me out of the crowd during the Q&A session. We were only allowed to get him to sign a single book, so I chose my favorite (Pearls of Lutra).

The series is aimed largely at middle grade ages, though it could (and should) be read aloud in entertaining voices to younger ones. I cannot wait to, one day, share the series with my own children. 

Many thanks for a fab post, Ryan! Keep reading to find out more about Ryan, The Walled City, and - if you're in the UK or Ireland - enter to win a copy of The Walled City! Also, there have been lots of other fabulous posts on the blog tour - take a look at the banner over to the right for a list; don't forget to check one of my favourite blogs, Wondrous Reads, tomorrow for another post.

The Walled City is a cut-throat world of gangs, drug-dealers and warlords and every day is a struggle to survive.

THE WALLED CITY is a dark YA thriller set within the walls of a lawless slum city where Jin Ling searches for her lost sister and Dai struggles to complete an impossible mission.

A fantasy setting inspired by Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong, Ryan's novel has a rich authenticity and an intense atmosphere, and its pace will enthral the reader from the very first page.

Disguised as a boy, Jin Ling searches for her missing sister, Mei Yee, who was sold into the brothels of the Walled City. She relies on her speed and cunning but how long will her luck hold?

When a mysterious boy, Dai, requests her help with a dangerous mission Jin Ling's inclined to say no - this is a world where no one can be trusted - but the mission offers her a vital chance to see inside the brothel where her sister may be being held.

Jin Ling and Dai join forces, but will either of them survive the mission? Is Mei Yee still alive? And how will any of them ever escape the stifling city walls?

THE WALLED CITY will be published by Indigo on 6 November 2014
9781780621999/ Trade paperback at £9.99 and ebook at £5.99

About Ryan Graudin
Ryan Graudin was born in Charleston, South Carolina with a severe case of wanderlust. When she's not travelling, she's busy photographing weddings, writing and spending time with her husband and wolf-dog.

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