Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview with Lena Coakley and CONTEST

About Lena:  Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In high school, creative writing was the only class she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She got interested in young adult literature when she moved to Toronto, Canada, and began working for CANSCAIP, the Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers, where she eventually became the Administrative Director. She is now a full-time writer living in Toronto. Witchlanders is her debut novel.

 Interview with Lena Coakley

I was thoroughly impressed with your novel being from a male point of view, which is quite unusual in YA.  Where did you get the inspiration for this?  BTW, I plan on keeping this for my 2 boys to read when they get older.

LENA: I’m so glad you intend to keep it for you boys!  The whole inspiration for the book came from an idea I had to put these two characters from two very different backgrounds together on top of a mountain.  It never crossed my mind that a book with a male protagonist might not sell, or that I should be intimidated by the idea of writing from a male point-of-view, until people started to bring it up, and by then I was committed to the characters!

Will there be a sequel to Witchlanders?

I’m not sure.  I think the book stands alone, but I’m tempted to write something about what happens to Ryder and Falpian when they go to the Bitterlands.  I guess it will all depend on how Witchlanders does.

What are you writing now?

Something I’m really excited about!  It’s a historical fantasy that takes place in England in the 1830’s, but it’s very new so I can’t say much more.

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write?

Mornings are the magic time for me.  I like to get up by about 7, have a swim, and get to my desk by about 8:30 or 9.  Then I’ll write to about 2 or 3.  I try to keep the writing momentum going by not taking two days off in a row, but it’s hard!  Weekends are ingrained in me, so I find I don’t get quite as much done on a weekend day as I do on a weekday.  I have a perfect little office with a floor to ceiling window looking out onto Lake Ontario in the distance, but sometimes I just have to get out of the house and write somewhere else.  Then I pack up my mini and find a friendly coffee shop. 

Did you have any input into the cover design or the description of the book on the back cover?

I didn’t have any input into the cover, but I actually wrote the jacket description myself.  Some people don’t like it because it doesn’t mention Falpian, who’s such an important character, but my idea was to keep that part of the book a bit of a surprise.  The cover was already set, so I tried to write something that would highlight the themes the cover had already touched upon.  My wonderful cover designer, Sonia Chaghatzbanian, has agreed to be interviewed on this tour, so if you’d like to hear more about the cover, check out her interview over on Reading Angel on September 7th. 

Who are your favorite authors?

Oh, so many!  For children’s books I love Maurice Sendak and Anthony Browne; for MG and YA, Kenneth Oppel and Garth Nix; for adult, Jorge Borges, Margaret Atwood and China Mieville.  I could go on and on!

What inspires you?

Authors who take risks like Philip Pullman, Melvin Burgess, Cheryl Rainfield and Aidan Chambers.  I have a strong urge towards self censorship and I need authors who are braver than I am to remind me not to water down what I have to say.

Thoughts on Librarians/Libraries

They rock!  What more can I say? I had a school librarian when I was growing up in Connecticut—Mrs. Carman, her name was—who may well have saved my life.  People underestimate what literature can do for a child.  My parents were wonderful people but they were both very ill.  There were times when they simply couldn’t care for me, and so I had an extremely chaotic childhood.  I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I hadn’t had books to broaden my world.

How did you adjust to living in Canada

It’s harder than it seems.  You might think that Canada and the States have almost identical cultures, but seeing each one from the other’s point of view has been a real eye opener for me. In fact, I’m sure there is some of that in Witchlanders.  After all, there’s a lot in there about crossing borders, living on two sides of a border etc.  I’m sure the fact that I am a cross border girl was rattling around in my subconscious when I wrote the book.

Thank you so much, Jen, and thank you for having me on your blog!!

Review for Witchlanders:


1 copy of Witchlanders
Fill out FORM
Ends August 30, 2011 Noon EST
Canada and US ONLY

The  Witchlanders Tour is also holding a contest to win a brand new Kindle. Details can be found at Books Complete Me

Tour Stops

Monday, August 22nd -The Page Turners
Tuesday, August 23rd- The Unread Reader
BONUS post! Tuesday, August, 23rd - The Zealous Reader
Wednesday, August 24th - Books Complete Me
BONUS post! Wednesday, August 24th - Rayment's Reading Rants and Rambles
Thursday, August 25th - We Fancy Books
Friday, August 26th - Read.Breathe.Relax

Monday, August, 29th  - Emilie’s Book World
Tuesday, August, 30th - The Mundie Mom’s
Wednesday, August, 31st - Enchanted Ink
Thursday, September 1st- Well Read Wife
Friday,September 2nd - A Journey of Books

Monday, September 5th- The Story Siren
Tuesday, September 6th - One A Day Y.A.
Wednesday, September 7th  - Reading Angel
Thursday, September 8th - Soul Unsung
Friday, September 9th - Alice Marvel’s


  1. I am currently reading this one and enjoying it. Great interview Jennifer.

    I love the kindle. Its gorgeous as is the cover of the book.

    Like you I plan on putting this one away for my son to read when he is older.

  2. I'd love to read this. Sounds really great!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  3. YES YES!! I want to know what happens when the two boys go the the Bitterlands!
    BTW, I also read WITCHLANDERS and loved it! :D

  4. Can't wait to read WITCHLANDERS!

  5. This sounds like a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing the fun giveaway opportunity today.

  6. I like the kindle too Cindy -- the cover of the book is beautiful and glad you are keeping it for your boys too!
    Good luck everyone!!! If you don't win, I hope you still all pick up the book as it is nicely done

  7. Excellent interview with Lena! And thank you both for the delightful giveaway!


  8. Great interview :) I'm intrigued by the story line.

  9. would love to subscribe by email.
    dorcontest at gmail dot com