Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Blackwatch blog tour, character insight and 5 signed books to giveaway!

To visit the next stop on the Blog Tour for Blackwatch please visit:
Wondrous Reads who hosts it on Friday 21st April :) 
Giveaway now closed!
Today we're celebrating the publication of Wintercraft: Blackwatch by Jenna Burtenshaw and are excited to be taking part of the blog tour for Blackwatch.
Jenna's here to give readers an insight into one of the major characters from both books, Kate Winters.  We've also got a giveaway, courtesy of Headline!
5 lucky readers will each receive:
  • poster
  • postcard
  •    signed book 

Please join me in welcoming Jenna back :)
The Girl In The Fire

The very first image I had of Kate Winters was a girl standing in the middle of a burning bookshop holding an old book.  I knew she was a girl in danger, but from the way she was standing stoically with the flames raging around her it was obvious that she was made of strong stuff.

At the beginning of Wintercraft, Kate lives with her uncle Artemis above a bookshop in Morvane: one of Albion’s largest northern towns.  Since her parents were taken by wardens when she was five years old, Artemis’s determination to protect Kate from the dangers of their world has led her to live an isolated life.  She works with him and her friend Edgar in the bookshop every day and rarely mixes with other people in the town. 

When Artemis’s greatest fear become reality and the wardens return to Morvane, all of his preparations prove useless.  Morvane is harvested for more people to fight in Albion’s war. Artemis is one of many people who are stolen from their homes, and wardens burn down the bookshop with Kate and Edgar still inside.  In one night, the only life Kate has ever known falls down around her as she is hunted through the tunnels beneath her town and eventually captured by the High Council’s most ruthless and terrifying man: Silas Dane.

I knew it would be difficult to take Kate from the isolated girl she is at the very beginning of the story, to the powerful and confident young woman that she would become as the series continued.  She is not a superhero.  The only abilities her uncle gave her were a distrust of people and a love of books, so when she is thrown into danger she is not the type of character to come out fighting right from the beginning.  She is a methodical person, not a spontaneous one.  She assesses situations, gathers information and then takes action.  The experiences she endures in the books are so far from those of her old life that it takes her a little while to adapt.

I wanted Kate to be quite an ordinary person within the story.  She’s not a sword-fighter or a traditional ‘magic-wielder’.  She is sceptical of the idea of life after death, so when she uncovers a natural aptitude for seeing into the veil between worlds, it fazes her.  She has always been taught that stories about the Skilled are just that: stories.  She is a very logical person, so suddenly being able to do something that defies common logic puts her in a very difficult position.  The events of Wintercraft take place over just a few days, but by the time Blackwatch begins, Kate is beginning to find her feet.  Her natural confidence starts to spread and shine as she attempts to take control over the new life that has been thrust upon her.
I love Kate as a character.  She is human.  She makes mistakes and sometimes finds herself overwhelmed, but she tries to do what feels right and she never gives up.  I see her as a quiet survivor.  She does not look for big events to happen in her life, but when they do arrive, she is more than capable of taking control.  She thinks on her feet and protects the people she loves. 

The ideas of family and loyalty run just under the surface of the Wintercraft books.  Kate feels a responsibility towards the ancestors that have come before her, she wants to help her uncle and ultimately protect the book that cost her parents their lives.  In Blackwatch and beyond, those family links begin to break a little.  Kate has to think more as an individual and soon finds that her greatest allies do not necessary share her blood.  There are connections made as she moves through life that run much deeper than that.

Kate was the very first character who inspired the entire Wintercraft series.  She is quiet, yet strong.  Logical, yet open-minded.  She is not the delicate girl her uncle thought he had to hide away.  She is independent and resilient, and – once earned - her loyalty is unshakeable.  Without Kate, the story might never have had a beginning.  Without that first image of her standing in the flames, the world of Albion may never have existed.  The books tell her story, from a quiet shop girl to a young woman whose choices will have more influence upon her world than she could ever have imagined.  It is a pleasure to write for her.       

 The giveaway is open to UK residents only, please leave a comment about this post along with a contact email address.  Winners will be sent their prizes direct from Headline.  Giveaway closes on 25th April, so be quick!

To visit the next stop on the Blog Tour for Blackwatch please visit  Wondrous Reads who hosts it on Friday 21st April :)


booketta said...

Sounds good. Please enter me for the giveaway.

Sarah said...

I bought a copy of Wintercraft when it first came out but still haven't read it yet. Looks like I really should get around to it because it sounds fab & I'm looking forward to reading Blackwatch already :o)

Fab guest post & thanks for the giveaway!

sarahsreviews at ymail dot com