Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE BOY, THE WOLF, AND THE STARS! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Shivaun Plozza to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it and Shivaun Plozza!
The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars by Shivaun Plozza
Published on November 17, 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
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A boy and his pet fox go on a quest to find a wolf who has eaten all the stars in the sky before the Shadow Witch destroys the stars and removes good magic from the world forever.
Long ago, the land of Ulv was filled with magic. But that was before a wolf ate all the Stars in the night sky, ridding the world of magic and allowing Shadow Creatures, beasts made of shadow and evil, to flourish. Twelve-year-old Bo knows the stories but thinks the Stars and the wolf who ate them are nothing more than myths—until the day Bo’s guardian, Mads, is attacked by a giant wolf straight from the legends. With his dying breath, Mads tells Bo that Ulv is in danger and the only way to prevent the Shadow Creatures from taking over is to return the Stars to the sky.
And so Bo—accompanied by his best friend, a fox called Nix, a girl named Selene who’s magic is tied to the return of the Stars, and Tam, a bird-woman who has vowed to protect Bo at all costs—sets off on a quest to find the three magical keys that will release the Stars. But Bo isn’t the only one who wants the Stars, and the friends soon find themselves fleeing angry villagers, greedy merchants, and a vengeful wolf. And all the while, an evil witch lurks in the shadows and time is running out.
If you could trade lives with any book character for a day, who would it be and why? What about a week? A month, year, or forever?
I think this is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked! I’m going to choose Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones) because then I’d be a temperamental, highly eccentric, terribly handsome wizard, which would be fun (for a month or two at least). But if I was going to trade lives forever I’d insert myself into the Moomin books (Tove Jansson) because it’s such a beautiful world and as a kid I wanted nothing more than to live in Moominland so it would be a childhood dream come true.
What would you do if you spent the day with Bo? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
Bo and I would visit the Great Future-telling Birch of Ny and have our futures told (we’d have to be careful the tree doesn’t trick us of course) and then we’d visit the Scribe because she’s one of my favorite characters and she’d be a hoot to hang out with. We’d eat apple crackling and at night we’d sit and watch the stars or, if we were feeling really adventurous, we’d head to the Valley of One Thousand Deaths to catch a falling star and make a wish.
If Bo were to hang out with characters from other books, who would they be and why?
Oooh tricky question! I could see Bo hanging out with Morrigan Crow from the Nevermoor series (Jessica Townsend) because I think they’d appreciate each other’s sense of humour and band together over being ‘cursed’. I could also see him getting along with Birdie, Jem and Ned from the City of Orphans series (Catherine Jinks) because he’s an orphan too and he knows what it’s like to confront all kinds of scary monsters. He’d probably love to meet Dilah from White Fox (Chen Jiatong) but Nix would get jealous!
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
It would have to be the research that sparked the short story I wrote twenty years ago which then inspired the novel. I read about the huldre (the invisible folk) from a book about Scandinavian belief and legend. From the front they look human but from behind they are hollow or like tree bark. I wrote a short story about a young boy who met such a being in the forest. Later, I couldn’t stop thinking about who that boy was, why he was living in the forest and what the rest of that story world was like. By the time I finished writing the novel there was no longer a place for the huldre in it, which is a shame.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars?
My favourite scene is when Bo meets the Un-King. It came about quite late in the writing process and injected some much-needed playfulness into the story. And it had a roll-on effect—it gave me the confidence to open up the story to a greater contrast of humor and heartbreak. There were already moments of lightness but creating the Un-King character and writing this scene gave me the freedom to add more humour throughout.
Were there alternate endings you considered, or did you always know where the story was headed?
I always knew how it would end. I find it impossible to start writing a story if I don’t know how it ends. While I change the beginning and middle of my stories a lot, I rarely, if ever, change the endings. In many cases, the end is what comes to me first and the story becomes about how the characters got there. In the case of The Boy, The Wolf, and The Stars, the character came first and then the beginning but as soon as I understood why he was living in that forest I knew what the ending was and that’s when I was ready to start writing.
Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her debut novel, Frankie, was a CBCA Notable Book and won a number of awards, including the Davitt Awards and a commendation from the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her second novel, Tin Heart, sold in three foreign territories, received two starred reviews, and was nominated to ALA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle-grade novel, The Boy, the Wolf, and the Stars, is forthcoming in 2020 from HMH Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House Australia. She is a frequent contributor to anthologies, and when she is not writing she works as an editor and manuscript assessor.
Have you added this amazing book to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!