Tuesday, October 31, 2017

SPOTLIGHT w/INTERVIEW - YA - The Great and The Small by A.T. Balsara

The Great and The Small
by A.T. Balsara
Date of Publication: October 31st 2017
Publisher: Common Deer Press
Cover Artist: Ellie Sipila of Move tothe Write
Genre: Young Adult
Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Lead by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember.

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable...

Buy Links:

A loud crash boomed from the fish stalls, making them both jump.
A huge man wearing rubber boots and a plastic apron came charging down the aisle. “You filthy piece of… I’m gonna get you!” He was focused on something on the ground and didn’t seem to notice that he was charging straight at them.
Ananda’s father braced himself, toothpick though he was, in front of her. But the fishmonger barrelled past, following a streak of white and grey. A mouse! The man raised his boot, slammed it down on the mouse.
Ananda gasped. So did others in the crowd. The mouse squirmed in pain, its back paw crushed. A dark splotch of blood bloomed on the pavement. 
The man lifted his boot again.
Everything seemed to slow down for Ananda. “Stop!” she roared. She pushed by her dad and jumped between the man and the mouse. Blood pounded in her ears and her heart thrummed. She held up her hands to block him and shouted, “Leave it the Hell alone!” 
The man stumbled backward, tripping over his own enormous boot. He pulled himself up to his full height and glowered down at her. His face was as red as boiled lobster, and a sheen of sweat glistened on his fat upper lip and quivering jowls. He sneered. 
“What’s your problem, you stupid kid?” he snarled.
Ananda was too pumped with adrenaline to be cowed by this mastodon. She rose to her full five-foot-one-inch height and glared up at the giant. “I’m not the troublemaker here, you bloody, murderous jerk! What gives you the right to hurt an innocent animal?” 
“Are you crazy?” the guy sputtered.
Ananda wanted to sink her fist into his fat ham of a face. “No, you’re crazy! Torturing an innocent mouse who hasn’t done you any harm—ouch!” She was suddenly yanked to one side.
Her skinny father, with his thick glasses and mop of dark brown hair, stepped forward, putting himself between her and the fish-selling Goliath. Tom pushed his glasses up his nose. “Let’s all just calm down…”
Giant Fish-Guy began ranting, waving his meaty hands, drops of sweat flying off him like a dog shaking itself after a dip in the pond. Tom’s voice began to rise.
Leaving her dad to it, Ananda swooped around and crouched on the ground before the mouse. It was white with grey markings. It looked like it had a little cape. It was still moving, its long, pink tail flickering like a groggy snake.
“Come on, little guy,” whispered Ananda. “You’ve got to get up now.”
The small creature seemed to know it had been given a reprieve. It picked itself up, slowly peeled its crushed back paw from the pavement, gave itself a small shake, and lolloped away, holding its crushed paw to its belly. It made it past the gargoyle statue. It had just leaped onto the column when Fish-Guy caught sight of it. He swore and lumbered after it.
“Leave it alone!” screamed Ananda. She went to run after him but was stopped by an iron grip on her arm. “Stop him, somebody!” she shrieked.
By now, the entire market had stopped to gawk. The mouse was halfway up the column. Cursing, Fish-Guy hopped on one foot and ripped off a boot. He threw it. The boot bounced off the column.
The mouse kept climbing.
Fish-Guy threw the other boot. Missed!  
Ananda cheered as the mouse slid over the rooftop. “Yes! The mouse got away!” She jumped up and down, clapping, and swung around. Dozens of people were staring, jaws flapped open. She froze. In the crowd she saw one of the guys from her school. He looked like Ed the Hyena from The Lion King. His mouth was in perma-sneer mode, and his head thrust forward on his neck like someone was leading him by his pimply nostrils. He shook his head at her. “Loser,” he mouthed, and laughed. She’d seen his type a million times. A coward until he smelled blood. There was no way he was going to bully her.
Although prickling sweat had broken out all over her body, Ananda thrust out her chin. She smiled—a bright, fake mask. “Good!” she called to the crowd. “The mouse is safe. All’s well that ends well, right?” She curled her mouth into a sarcastic grin and stared down the hyena.
Buy Links:

The Book Junkie Reads . . . Interview with Andrea Torrey Balsara
The Great & the Small, released October 31st 2017

How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
You’d think that would be an easy question to answer, but I find it difficult to analyze my own writing. I would have to say that, whether I am writing picture books or young adult novels, the one thing that stays consistent is that I try to use only the words necessary to tell the story, and no extras. I love simplicity; especially simplicity that conveys depth and complexity. When I read a story that has achieved that, like To Kill a Mockingbird, I am in awe. I aspire to such simplicity in my own writing.

What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
To finish the projects that have been on the back burner for a while and to promote the books I already have out.

Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
For me it’s both. I had to learn the process of story writing. I had always dreamed of being an illustrator, and so it wasn’t until my sister, Michele Torrey, who is also a writer, pointed out to me that I had a knack for writing that it even dawned on me to try to do it professionally. I took correspondence classes from the Institute of Children’s Literature, which de-mystified the writing process, but it took a long time to learn. Now, many years later, my writing usually flows, but not until after I’ve faced the dreaded first draft. Once that’s down on paper, I get to play. I love reivising. I love the feeling when a scene finally comes together and becomes real. Or when the characters start to “write” the scene themselves, and I feel like I am simply the observer. That never gets old.

Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn't quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?
Definitely! I always have character and story ideas simmering on the back burner. I think it’s typical of writers to have far more ideas than time to write them. 

If you could spend one-week with 5 fictional character, who would they be?
I would love to spend a week with Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird, Frodo Baggins, from The Lord of the rings, Majnun from Fifteen Dogs, Jo, from Little Women, and the battle-hardened mice from the Mouse Guard graphic novel series.

Where would you spend one full year, if you could go ANYWhere? What would you do with this time?
I would stay in the U.K. and explore the old castles and hike the countryside. I happened to be born in the UK while my American parents lived there for a couple of years. There is this feeling of connection to it, to its history, that I have always had.

Can you share you next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
I am the illustrator for a picture book series (Happy the Pocket Mouse by Philip Roy, published by Ronsdale Press) and have the 5th book in the series to illustrate. I also have a picture book that I wrote and illustrated, called, The nightingale’s Song, which still needs work. It’s coming out this spring through One Voice Press. In December I will start research on a picture book story idea I have about a child born into modern-day slavery. Last year I took an online course about modern-day slavery and while it horrified me, it also inspired me to try and do something about it.

Author Links:
Hosted by
Presented by

No comments:

Post a Comment