I am really looking forward to this. It has been several years now since I actually sat down and read the book. I'm excited to revisit Una and all her various adventures.
There will be questions at the end of each segment, and there will be giveaways at the end of each week. If you would like to be eligible for a giveaway here's what you have to do: Answer at least one question each day of the week. Everyone who does that will have their name entered in a drawing, and the THREE winners will be selected each Sunday. I'll be giving out copies of my three other novels, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Starflower.
Also, if you have any questions yourself, feel free to ask in the comments. I will try to answer them over the next couple of days.
And now, time for the story . . .
Two Children: Those of you who have been following my series will know that I always love to explore into my characters when they were children. Children are so much more honest than adults. They are who they are, good, bad, or mischievous. I really enjoyed the opportunity in this prologue to glimpse Una and Felix in an unguarded moment of play. No one is watching them . . . at least, so they think.
The opening: I wrote many, many drafts of this novel before it finally went to print. This prologue was actually added rather late in the process, only a few months before printing. I wanted a chance to properly introduce the Wood itself, not to mention Monster.
Monster: One of the most popular characters in the series makes his first appearance here in the prologue! The blind cat emerging suddenly from the Wood, distracting the two children from their purpose of crossing the Old Bridge. Was it chance? Or was it protection against things neither Una nor Felix could guess?
The mood: This opening segment is full of dreamy, fairy-tale writing. My hope was to create a mood of childhood magic . . . that delicious sense that the world is full of mystery and danger, but not a too-present danger.
The siblings: Una and Felix have quite the teasing dynamic here! Una's a bit bossy, sending her little brother on various errands. (This may or may not have been based on my own life . . . just don't ask my little brothers!) And Felix is such a stinker, startling her and trying to steal her journal . . . and making fun of her poetry! What a pill. Though, one can't help but think her poetry might deserve it . . .
The wood thrush: One of the most important recurring themes in this story makes a quiet entrance here in the prologue. Who would have guessed how important the wood thrush would become from this first little mention!
Time Period: Despite the fairy tale setting--and some of the marketing for this book which has presented it as a medieval fantasy--there are plenty of little details throughout the book that imply this story is not set in a medieval time period. In this prologue, for instance, Una uses a pencil when writing in her journal. She also wears buckled shoes with heels.
My Personal Favorite Lines:
"Faithful gremlin . . . you must seek the fabled Flowing Gold of Rudiobus, lost somewhere in this raging river." She indicated the stream that trickled down the side of Goldstone Hill. Raging river it was not, but facts never stopped the course of Una's imagination. (p. 8)
He flopped down at her side, grinning, and held a glob of mud under her nose.
"Eeeew, Felix!" She pushed his hands away. "Stop it!"
"It's all that was left," he said.
"All that was left of what?"
"The Flowing Gold," he said. "I think it got melted by a dragon." (p. 10)
"I'll brush her fur and give her a good meal--"
"He doesn't need a good meal. He's heavy!"
"She's blind and lost," Una snapped. "She needs a good meal. Isn't she lovely?"
"He's ugly." (p. 13)
(I still giggle at Una's assumption that Monster is a girl!)
Questions for the Text:
1. This section served the purpose of introducing the personalities of Una and her brother. What did we learn about Una's personality in this prologue? How do you think this revelation (or these revelations) set up for Una's later adventures?
2. This one is for those who have read further into the series. There are two major references to items that will be important in later books. Can you name those two items and the books they feature in?
3. What were some of your favorite lines from this scene?