Monday, January 5, 2015

Author Interview & Giveaway ~ Markelle Grabo, YA Fantasy Writer

I have an exciting post for you today! I'm sharing an interview with Markelle Grabo, the author of the Journey into the Realm series. The Elf Girl looks like a great read for fans of YA fantasy with fae, elves, and magic.☺ There are three books in the series right now, but the fourth book (The Dream Catcher) is releasing in February.

Also, there's a great giveaway at the bottom of this post! There a prize open to US residents and one open internationally.

Enjoy the feature!

Here's the Goodreads description for book one, The Elf Girl!
The beginning of an incredible journey...

At fifteen, Ramsey Wilder spends every day receiving numerous taunts and insults from those around her because of her strange, exotic looks. With her pale skin and striking features – not to mention the pointy ears – she struggles with self-confidence, often feeling out of place in her small home town of Wisconsin. 

One night, Ramsey nearly drowns from what she can only describe as a magical encounter, and when she meets a beautiful pair of siblings who happen to have the same physical features as she, Ramsey learns that she is far more different than she once realized. She is an elf. 

Whisked away to a magical Realm with unique beings like her, Ramsey finds herself placed with the duty of finding her long lost sister. Kidnapped by fairies in the middle of a dangerous war between fae and the elf kind, her sister is the key to a secret surrounding Ramsey’s past that could potentially affect the outcome of the war. Without her, Ramsey will never know why her parents sent her to live with the humans in the first place, or why threats far deadlier than the war itself seem to be waiting in the wings.

Dangers lie waiting for Ramsey wherever she goes, and as she delves deeper into the world of fantasy, she learns that magic isn’t always wondrous and beautiful; it can be cruel and wicked. 

Surrounded by mystery, magic…and even a little romance, Ramsey sets out to save her sister, unveil her past, and discover herself. 
add to goodreads

Check out the sequels on Goodreads as well!
The Spell Master (#2) and The Stolen Child (#3)

Markelle Grabo was born on January 18, 1994. At an early age she took to reading, spending countless hours devouring book after book. In fifth grade, she decided that she wanted to be like the authors she favored. She wanted to tell her own stories. An avid lover of fantasy, she typed out idea after idea, however, nothing was substantial enough to call a novel. On Easter morning of her freshman year in high school, she looked back on an old idea for a story about a girl who didn't know she was an elf and had to travel to a magical world in order to learn her destiny. She took those few pages of writing and reworked them, continuing thereafter until it became her first full-length manuscript. A year later, when she was satisfied with her work, she sent it to an editor. After rereading and editing it so many times she lost count, Journey into the Realm: The Elf Girl (the first in a six-book series) was ready for publication.

When Markelle isn't writing or reading, she enjoys singing, musical theatre, acting, running, tennis, watching epic movies, drinking coffee, dancing for no apparent reason, shopping for more books, laughing at pretty much anything, spending time with friends and family, taking care of her pets, organizing stuff, listening to music that inspires her writing, talking to God, and most of all, thinking about ideas for her writing.

When not studying for her English Degree at Loyola University, Chicago she lives in her hometown of New Berlin, Wisconsin with her amazing parents, Maryanne and Scott, her two cats (Sylvester and Pogo), and her three rabbits (Josie, Moose, and Coraline). Her friends mean the world to her, and along with all of the adventures and support they've shared, they have also adorned her with a string of nicknames, the favorite being Marcel (It's a long story...).

And yes, she definitely believes in fairies.

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Hi Markelle!

Who do you recommend your series to? (For example: for fans of a certain book, movie, etc.)

I recommend the series to anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure. Fans of Lord of the Rings will like the elves, but my interpretation of elves is a little more modern, so it will still be a fresh experience for readers. I like to call my series a modern twist to fantasy.

What kind of personality does the heroine of your series have? What struggles does she face?

Ramsey struggles with self-esteem after having been ridiculed for so many years due to her unique physical appearance. In the beginning of The Elf Girl, readers meet a Ramsey who doesn't see herself as beautiful. She feels like an outsider and can't relate to the people around her. She gains a lot of confidence when she travels to the Elf Realm and lives among her own kind, but she is still often unsure of herself and her actions. She is overwhelmed by the revelation that she is an elfen and that she is meant to rescue a sister she never knew existed. The secrets of her past also make it difficult for her to make informed decisions. But Ramsey is determined to live her best life, and she faces every challenge head-on. Despite her troubled past, she still has hope for a bright future, so she doesn't give up easily.

I'm always intrigued by the mention of romance in a book description. Can you tell me a little about the love interest (or interests) in The Elf Girl?

Romance is mostly teased in The Elf Girl, meaning it's not the main focus and is developed in much greater detail in the following novels. But I still wanted romance to be a factor in the early stages of Ramsey's journey as a way to contrast her life in the Human Realm and her new life in the Elf Realm.In the Human Realm, Ramsey is ignored or shunned because of her physical appearance. However, in the Elf Realm, she's considered beautiful and is judged more for her actions than her appearance. This drastic change of environment prompts Ramsey to fall quickly for Stellan, one of the elves who brings her to the Elf Realm. Ramsey's inexperience and naivety - not only as a girl who has had trouble connecting with others but also as a teenager - leads to a relationship that is sweet and exciting but also confusing and rocky. In this first novel of the series, Ramsey knows very little about romantic love or what it takes to build a lasting relationship. As she matures throughout the series, that knowledge also grows.

What have you learned (about yourself, about your writing, that sort of thing) since you started writing the Journey into the Realm series?

I've discovered that I am very much a dialogue writer. I find that an intense conversation between two characters can be more thrilling than a fight scene. I love developing a character through his or her words, especially in a series with a first-person point of view. Readers know Ramsey intimately through her thoughts, but they grow to love or hate other characters based on their words and actions.

Have you always had an interest in fantasy?

I've always loved fantasy, but my interest really grew when I was in fifth grade. My aunt passed away unexpectedly and I inherited some wonderful pieces of fantasy-themed artwork, some of which she created. That art inspired me to write about fantasy. It's what motivated me to write the Journey into the Realm series. In fact, the Tarlore castle in The Elf Girl was inspired by one of my aunt's paintings.

And lastly, would you rather be a fairy or an elf? Why?

Definitely an elf. Elves are magical and otherworldly, but they are very human when it comes to their emotions, which gives them a great amount of depth that I love to explore in my writing. As an elf, I believe I would retain my humanity while also exploring the endless possibilities associated with magic - the perfect balance.

Thank you for answering my questions!


1. The first two paperbacks in the series (The Elf Girl and The Spell Master), signed along with a companion Elf Girl journal and bookmark to one (1) US winner.

2. One set of the first three eBooks to one (1) winner (International).

This giveaway ends @ midnight on January 19th. Remember to read my giveaway policy before entering.

Here's what the journal and bookmark looks like.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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