Welcome to Barren Island Books, the author interview series that’s in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. You know the rules by now: my guests are exiled to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with those books for a long, long time …
My interviewee this week is Rachel McClellan, author of young adult Jekyll and Hyde novel Unleashed – currently on tour! When she’s not being banished to a desert island, Rachel can be found at www.rachelmcclellan.com and mcclellanbooks.com. Stay tuned for more information and a giveaway at the end of the interview!
Rachel, thanks for joining us. First of all, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself – just so we know who it is we’re sending into exile. Illogical fears, unusual birthmarks, whether you’d rather wrestle a bear or punch a shark, that kind of thing.
Thank you for having me! What a fun interview! I’ll get through the quick boring stuff first. In addition to Unleashed, I’m the author of the young adult Fractured Light trilogy. I also wrote a humorous memoir titled Confessions of a Cereal Mother about raising four young children. I love anything supernatural or superhero-ish.
A few interesting tidbits about me? The first boy I ever kissed is currently in jail for murder. I’m so glad that tween romance didn’t last! I’ve been skydiving and would easily do it again. And I’m scuba certified. To say I love adventures is an understatement!
Then you're going to love being exiled :-) And what about your own work? What are the inspirations behind it? What would make someone else choose it to accompany them into exile?
One of my favorite novels is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s such a great, layered story focusing on the dual nature of man. I really wanted to write something geared toward young adults that would capture this same feel.
I would hope someone would choose Unleashed for their exile adventure because it would help keep them sane. Everyone has an internal beast just waiting to be unleashed. I can imagine being stuck on an island would make that transformation pretty easy! Hopefully my book would remind them of the perils of releasing such a creature with no moral compass.
Now let’s move on to the books you’re going to take to the island with you. First up, it’s your favourite childhood book – perhaps the one that got you interested in reading in the first place, or the one you read over and over when you were young. Which will you choose, and why?
The childhood book that first struck a nerve in me was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I would take this to the island because it would remind me of all the adventures I can have if I so choose, while also serving as a reminder that I need to find my inner gift/talent.
It was one of my favourite childhood books, too – I still check the backs of old wardrobes, just in case! Next, the book that made the greatest impact on your life. This could be one that inspired you to become a writer, or one that made you look at the world in a whole new way – maybe even one that resulted in real-life romance or adventure.
Tough one. I’d probably have to choose Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because it would remind me to work hard and be responsible for my own actions. It would also keep me from having a daily pity party, being all alone and all.
For your third book – and you’re probably going to need this one, all alone on a remote island – I’d like you to choose your greatest comfort read. You know, the one you turn to when you’re sad or ill or just need a little pick-me-up.
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. I’m always inspired when I read about him.
I expect we can find you a box set :-) Fourthly, it’s your unexpected treasure: a book you didn’t expect to like but did, maybe one outside your usual genre or that you picked up with low expectations but were pleasantly surprised …
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell. It’s a zombie book, which isn’t something I usually read, but man was this one good!!
And finally, I’d like you to choose your instant classic – the book you think most deserves to be read and reread by future generations. It’s up to you whether this book is already considered a classic or is something more obscure.
Since I’m already taking Atlas Shrugged, then I would have to choose A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. There are so many great lessons to learn in this book about the importance of having an imagination, being kind to others, forgiveness, and so much more!
Ah, another childhood favourite that you and I share :-) We’ll get those five books packaged up ready for your journey. Since we’re not completely heartless here at Barren Island Books, we’ll also let you take one song/piece of music, one film and one other item of your choice into exile with you …
One song?? That is heartless! I love music, so to choose just one is downright criminal. But … if I must choose, I’ll take Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones. I’ll take The Count of Monte Cristo for my movie selection, and one last item would have to be a bulk case of toilet paper.
Very practical! Now, before we whisk you away, you have one last decision to make: where you want your remote island to be located. You can choose anywhere you like for your exile, in this world or another.
My exile would be in Superhero World. Haven’t heard of it? That’s a shame. I have a key. All kinds of good and bad guys with abilities live there, including vampires, because they can be superheroes and villains too. And they are all crazy good looking! This exile’s going to be awesome!
Sounds like fun. I might even pay you a visit. So that’s it – you’re ready to go. Thank you for joining us, and enjoy your trip!
Unleashed by Rachel McClellan
Follow the tour schedule here.
Rachel McClellan, author of Unleashed and many others, was born and raised in Idaho, a place secretly known for its supernatural creatures. When she’s not in her writing lair, she’s partying with her husband and four crazy, yet lovable, children. Rachel’s love for storytelling began as a child when the moon first possessed the night. For when the lights went out, her imagination painted a whole new world. And what a scary world it was …
Ready for the Unleashed giveaway? Enter below via the Giveaway Tools form!
Good luck, and happy reading and winning!