Today I'm pleased to introduce a fellow middle grade author, Suzanne de Montigny, and her fantasy novel THE SHADOW OF THE UNICORN, THE LEGACY. Welcome, Suzanne!
When did you discover you had a “sense of fiction?”
Oh, I’d say a mighty long time ago. I loved writing stories as a kid and wrote my first ‘novella’ when I was in grade six. You can probably guess what it was all about – unicorns!
What was your favorite book as a child? As an adult? How did those influence you as a writer?
I have to say I had two favourites as a child. The My Friend Flicka series, since I was such a horse girl, and the Anne of Green Gables series. I loved Anne because she was so different and didn’t mind it one bit. As an adult? I don’t know that I have a favourite because I just simply devour books. I read on the Skytrain and read before going to bed. It would probably be easier to tell you my least favourite, but that wouldn’t be nice.
What inspired you to write this book?
I like to think my father put me up to it at his funeral. For some dumb reason or other, I kept saying, “I feel like writing a book,” over and over again that day. Then, a few months later, I found an old box in the basement that contained a lot of childhood memorabilia. One of those items was a partial rewrite of my grade six unicorn story. I threw it in the recycling. Then, two days later, I grew curious as to what I had written. The pages had been rained upon, so I had to dry them out. Then, when I reread it, my imagination went wild. Two weeks later, the first draft was finished.
How would you describe your writing process? What must you always have while writing?
Well, obviously a computer! I find it much easier to write by typing because I play the piano and can write almost as fast as I speak. A nice cup of herb tea helps, and a notebook by my side to take notes is good too.
What has proven to be your most successful marketing tool?
Personal connection. Meeting people one on one either on internet or in real life. You see, I’m a really good salesperson. You wouldn’t believe the stuff people walk out of my garage sales with that they had no intention of buying! I can be very convincing.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Stop playing around on social media and get writing.
Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.
“It’s a giant fireball!” cried Azaria.
The unicorns stared in silence.
Azaria stood, his eyes fixed on the huge rock burning and hissing as it hurled toward the earth. Sparks flew everywhere, threatening to ignite the grasslands of the valley. The giant rock whizzed through the heavens until it disappeared from sight. The herd waited, but nothing happened. Several seconds later, a loud crash thundered far in the distance and the ground shook violently. Azaria’s body slammed into the ground.
The unicorns began whinnying and neighing at once.
“It’s what the dinosaur predicted!” shouted a male.
“There’ll be monsters on two legs!” A female’s thin voice pierced the air.
Azaria struggled to get up. He pushed with his two forelegs, but a sharp pain in his hip wouldn’t let his legs follow.
“Mother,” he called, “I can’t get up…Mother?” He listened for the reassuring sound of her voice, but she wasn’t there.
The unicorns continued to cry in fear and pain.
“What if there’s another one?” screamed a hysterical mare. “The valley will burn!”
“Quiet! All of you,” Mohala’s thunderous voice shouted over the frightened crowd. “We are unicorns! We are not hyenas. You will all stop the hysterics.” The noise subsided except for a few sobs. She continued. “Now listen to Polaris, the Great Stallion.”
Polaris appeared before his herd looking shaken, but still standing tall and proud. “Unicorns, we’ve just witnessed something very strange. I know. It’s very frightening. And yes, it could be the beginning of the change young Darius spoke of. But now we must be strong and stand united until we know what to do. Swallow your fear, for it’s our fear, not the fireball that threatens to destroy us. We have three strong herds and I know we’ll survive this. But let’s begin by helping those in need.”
Azaria felt soothed, yet confused by his father’s words. He struggled to rise again, but rolled back to the ground in pain.
“Father!” he called, “I’m here. I can’t get up.”
Aurora and Polaris finally appeared by his side.
“What happened?” asked Aurora.
“I fell on that sharp rock.” He tried hoisting himself up again. “If I can just get up a little further…” he groaned, “I could maybe stand.”
“Azaria, stay still,” ordered his mother.
The colt pushed himself up again, but rolled back helplessly.
“Stay still,” commanded Polaris.
“No…I think I can…” Azaria tried again.
Polaris lunged at Azaria with his horn. The colt fell back, frightened, but the horn settled softly on the very spot that stung. Azaria yelped.
“Don’t move,” Aurora commanded.
It came slowly at first – warmth that grew hotter and hotter until it nearly burned. Azaria squirmed and, just as he was ready to cry out again, the heat subsided and along with it, the pain. Looking up, Azaria saw his father grinning, one eyebrow raised as though he had just shared a very good secret.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
“How did you do that?” asked Azaria.
“A new lesson for you, my son,” he said. “Healing. Something you’ll be able to do once you get your horn.”
They can find me at:
And if they want to see my booktrailer, then can go to this link.
And here’s my Amazon page.
Thank you, Suzanne! THE SHADOW OF THE UNICORN THE LEGACY sounds like a wonderful, creative read for kids (and it's on my to-read list as well!)