Hi everyone! Today, I have the immense pleasure of welcoming my friend and phenomenally talented author, Claire Legrand, to Pop! Goes The Reader as we prepare to reveal the stunning map for Claire’s forthcoming middle grade release, Foxheart! Coming to a bookstore and library near you October 4, 2016, Foxheart tells the story of Quicksilver, a girl who suddenly discovers she has the ability to perform magic, and must confront the implications and responsibilities of this newfound power in a fantastical adventure being likened to Howl’s Moving Castle. Illustrated throughout by artist Jaime Zollars, today Claire and I are revealing what was perhaps the most daunting and important of Jaime’s creations, the Star Lands Of Long Ago map, which beautifully captures the world that Claire has crafted in her latest release. In addition to this exciting reveal, Claire and Jaime explore the artistic process and inspiration behind this illustration in an exclusive interview, and Claire and Greenwillow Books offer five lucky readers the opportunity to win a large-sized print of Foxheart‘s map!
About Claire Legrand
Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now she is a writer and former librarian living in central New Jersey (although her heart will always live in her home state of Texas). She is the author of The Cavendish Home For Boys And Girls, The Year Of Shadows, Winterspell, Some Kind Of Happiness, and the upcoming Foxheart, which is a 2016 Junior Library Guild selection. She is also one of the four authors behind The Cabinet of Curiosities, an anthology of dark short fiction for middle grade readers.
(Please click to enlarge)
Author Claire Legrand (Author) and Jaime Zollars (Illustrator)
Pages 480 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Fantasy
To Be Published October 4th, 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon.com ● Chapters ● The Book Depository
Foxheart is a classic fantasy-adventure about the danger of lies and the power of truth, the strength found in friendship, and the value of loving and being loved…even if it means risking your heart. Full of magic, adventure, and an original and compelling cast of characters, Foxheart is a fast-paced fantasy reminiscent of Howl’s Moving Castle.
Orphan. Thief. Witch. Twelve-year-old Quicksilver lives as a thief in the sleepy town of Willow-on-the-River. Her only companions are her faithful dog and partner in crime, Fox — and Sly Boots, the shy boy who lets her live in his attic when it’s too cold to sleep on the rooftops. It’s a lonesome life, but Quicksilver is used to being alone. When you are alone, no one can hurt you. No one can abandon you.
Then one day Quicksilver discovers that she can perform magic. Real magic. The kind that isn’t supposed to exist anymore. Magic is forbidden, but Quicksilver nevertheless wants to learn more. With real magic, she could become the greatest thief who ever lived. She could maybe even find her parents. What she does find, however, is much more complicated and surprising…
Acclaimed author Claire Legrand’s stunning and original novel will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Diana Wynne Jones.
1. Without spoiling readers, what was your first reaction upon finishing Foxheart? Do you have a favorite character?
I felt such a real connection and relationship between the characters. I did not have a pet of my very own as a child and so I never quite felt (or perhaps even understood) the bond that is possible between a person and their animal. But the story and writing in Foxheart really made me feel that bond in a way that I have not in life! The characters all grew and changed in believable ways throughout the tale, and the ending was perfect in that it wasn’t – the story felt authentic and possible in an extraordinary way for a fantasy title. This made the book so satisfying down to the last page.
Even though Quicksilver is an amazing and strong character, I quite enjoyed watching Sly Boots’ journey throughout the book. He is a wonderful compliment to her strength and the way that he adapts and changes around her through their adventures is fun to experience.
2. What inspires you as an artist? Did you listen to music while you worked on the Foxheart map? Who are some of your favorite artists and illustrators?
Like many creatives, I’m inspired by mystery. I am intrigued by secret societies and all of the questions for which we still don’t have answers. I enjoy finding peculiar objects at flea markets and speculating about the life they’ve had. I seem to stock up on books of historical print and pattern, symbols, old maps, codes and ciphers, women warriors and fairy tales from around the world.
In the sketch phase of the Foxheart map, I worked in silence. A map requires a certain amount of focus to see and understand. Alas, once all of that thinking part was through and edited and revised, I most likely played bad television in the background while rendering it out. This tactic usually keeps me in my seat while fussing over detailed drawings. I have to choose bad television because I don’t want to get too caught up in it, nor do I want to miss any good television that deserves my full attention. Hence, I rarely watch any good television because I’m saving it for some imaginary day when there’s no drawing to be done.
3. Describe your process for us. What are the steps you take when diving into illustrating a book?
I am big on list-making. I write lists of lists to write. Therefore it is only natural that I start each book with lists. I list characters and story elements I like. I list words that come to mind. Places and moods, colors and appealing adjectives are all game. I refer to this list later when I’m stuck or bored with an image. Sometimes just adding one of the wildcard words from my initial list can makes a sketch work much better. Starting with many possibilities ensures that I have lots of inspiration behind me for those times when I will inevitably get stuck!
Once I have pages of words to support the sketches to come, I start drawing characters. I think I probably drew Quicksilver 7 or 8 times before feeling like I had her figured out. She is small but strong. She is hard but hurt. Visualizing her as tough but still a child was the goal. With Fox, there was a playful feeling I wanted to capture, and I used tons of reference to teach myself to draw movement more successfully for this project. I drew 100 dog sketches to get the ones that appear in the book! This was a challenge for me. Every story I am privileged to work on requires different tactics and skill sets. This process takes time, but is the reason my job never gets old! I also understand how important these books are to their writers, and try my best to capture the right feeling in my interpretation.
4. What’s your favorite element of the Foxheart map? (Mine might be the winding roads and ice caves in the Far North! But it’s so hard to choose! It’s all so gorgeous.)
I have always been a sucker for a mountain scene. Many of my images include tall pointy mountains, and so of course I took this opportunity to draw more of them for the Foxheart map. I most enjoyed drawing the castle, caves and mountain villages for the Star Lands of Long Ago.
5. What’s up next for you? Any exciting new projects on the horizon?
I’ve been working on several cover illustrations with interiors this year, and middle grade fantasy has become my favorite type of project. Besides being so excited for Foxheart to be released to lucky readers this fall, I’m also excited to see Enter A Glossy Web by McKenna Ruebush hit the shelves in September. It is the first in a quirky series featuring a tween red-haired girl, (but with a very different nature than Quicksilver), and includes about 25 of my illustrations inside. This fall I’ll also be working on the cover and interiors for Kate Milford’s amazing sequel to Greenglass House. Besides covers and interiors, I’m finally developing my own picture book concepts and dummies and hope to have some stories ready to pitch soon. It has been a busy year full of wonderful stories!
You can find Jaime on her Website, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy Store!
As an extra special bonus, Claire and Greenwillow Books have been generous enough to offer five lucky readers the chance to win a large-sized print of Foxheart‘s map! This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
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