Friday, June 7, 2013

The Island by Jen Minkman Review, Author Spotlight and Excerpt & Interview

The Island

Jen Minkman

Expected Publication Date-June 1, 2013

*Novella* (80 pages)

Genre- YA Dystopian


‘I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look.

Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers.

If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier – the Wall.

Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that’s what everyone says.

I have never seen one.’

Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.

But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?


About the Author-

Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English, career counselor and teenage coach at a secondary school in Voorburg, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication.

In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack.

'I have always been drawn to writing. My first book was a sci-fi novel at the age of eight, which I painstakingly typed out on my dad's typewriter and illustrated myself. Nowadays, I stick to poetry, paranormal romance, chick-lit and/or fantasy. In my home country, I am the first-ever published writer of paranormal romance, and I will gradually make my books also available in English (seeing I have to re-write and translate the books myself, this will take some time!).

Our Interview

What would you have done differently if you were the main character of your book?

I would probably have freed the mysterious captive from the cellar. Not just because I am noble, but also because I’m a very curious person!

What was your inspiration behind this book?

Sometimes, an idea takes hold and doesn’t let go. In this case, the idea was to describe a society in which people live a certain way due to something that happened in the past... except nobody remembers what it was. In order for this kind of society to develop uninterrupted, it had to be set in a remote location or an island. That’s how I started, and then the rest kind of filled itself in.

Why did you become a writer ?

I started writing and making up stories when I was very young, so it was never a conscious decision. However, I decided to become a PUBLISHED writer in Holland when I finished writing my first full-length novel and felt it needed to be shared with the world because it was really good. I believed in myself and didn’t stop querying publishers until I had a book deal.

As a reader and writer I think it is important to get to know your fans and make a connection with them as an author who takes the extra step to hear what their fans think and want in their continued writing is continued success and key to selling more books .Do you agree with that ?

I do! I love reading what readers say about my books on Goodreads, for example. I do take care not to ‘stalk’ readers by always responding to what they write, but I do take the time to communicate with blogs that review my work and I always ‘like’ reviews people post on Goodreads. However, I don’t think I could write ‘what fans want’ because ultimately, I write for myself, which may sound strange coming from an author who wants to market her books; but I think I’d feel smothered if I ‘had to’ write things people wanted to read. I write stand-alone novels; not everybody likes that because people like reading series, but I frankly don’t feel very drawn to writing series right now. Never say never, though - I might do it in the future, but I’d still be doing it because I WANT to do it, not because it would sell well.

Do you have a favorite author or authors?

So many! I think Tonke Dragt (a Dutch writer) and Ray Bradbury inspired me to start writing my own stories in the first place, but reading New Moon by Stephenie Meyer inspired me to write my first novel, ‘Shadow of Time’, and to write more paranormal romance.

Do you like to write your books in a continuing series ?

Nope. I guess writing stand-alone novels enables me to create completely new and different worlds and characters every time I start a new project, and I like that. If I ever wrote a series, it would probably be high fantasy (in fact, that’s a project I started when I was twelve... but I never finished it).

If you could date any character from any book, who would it be and why?

Hehe :) I wouldn't mind dating Mr Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, or Jacob from Twilight & the rest of the books. But my very first ‘book crush’ was a guy named Pim Pandoer (from a Dutch book series) who was a bad guy with a heart of gold; somehow, bad guys who are good deep down are irresistible to me.

What kinds of books do you like to read in your spare time ?

I mainly read young adult fiction, sci-fi or fantasy. I also like to read books on religion & science, as the combination of the two interests me to no end.

Do you cry  when writing sad scenes?

Yes, I do. Sometimes I can feel sad for an entire day when I write a sad scene. Then I come back to it and pour more sadness into it. I think feeling those emotions makes for a more convincing book

Did you have a Cover Designer ?

In the case of The Island, Humble Nations created my cover. For my other books, I either made them myself or asked Clarissa Yeo, a very talented cover designer from Singapore.

Who is your fictional boyfriend or girlfriend crush ?

Right now I'd say Sawyer, because I'm watching ‘Lost’ like crazy!

If you were able to dine and have a one on one with your favorite writer/author who would it be ?

It would be either Thea Beckman or Ray Bradbury, but sadly they have both passed away.

Do just re-read your favorite books ?

I do all the time. Usually around X-mas when I feel nostalgic :)

Do you ever get in a reading slump like your readers do ?

Yes, but it mainly happens because I have TOO MANY books I want to read, and it overwhelms me! I never get in a reading slump because I don't want to read.

What is the funniest book you ever read ?

I love Sophie Kinsella’s books! I laughed out loud while reading Twenties Girl and I’ve Got Your Number.



Our Review

 This is a first for me reading this gene making my over all reading gene base a little larger now. I enjoyed the book.The story had a strong main character Leia who really made the story flow where you could not wait to see what move she made next.

The Synopsis is what made me read this story as I was curious to see where it would lead. I found the idea of why children would be separated from there parents at the age of ten to go off on there own and live and survive on a different part of the island and not returning to there parents and hometown until they wed to be extremely intriguing.

I originally read the uncorrected proof of the story and have to say that the cast of characters names( originally) to be much more of a mystery  then the final cut ones. I liked them because I found them to be different and not the original run of the mill ones making them a little bit more intriguing for me.

This story was a novella and could have very well have been a full length novel.The story has remarks from Stars Wars trilogy making it a little bit quirky .

One thing I found that surprised me is that they never explained why the children were forced to leave there parents in the first place later on of course everything comes to light and all is revealed .I think that is what kept me turning the pages that anticipation of finding out why ?

Leia is the ringleader of there little rebel ban.She has found out by another friend that the one in charge of them all is keeping things from them and takes it upon herself to find out what those things are.Things have been the same for 100 years now . But, the one in charge seems to be abusing his power and the others now  want to overthrow him and elect a new leader but, he is so powerful and feared it will not be an easy task.They need proof so they need to steal the book of legends to prove him a liar.

The island is divided by a wall and they are told that the  fools live on the other side but not one of them knows what a fool looks like or anything about them. There current living arrangements and beliefs are based on a legend written by there ancestors but know one ever questioned those beliefs until Leia decided she wanted to know more and went on a journey to find answers.

Leia's journey lead her to find a fool from the other side of the island learning that they really are not so different then they are other than the children live with there parents here and are happy about it.

From this point on the story becomes a whirlwind of questions and answers.So much starts to unfold all is foretold almost becoming a little bit overwhelming for the cast of characters and for yourself  just to take in all at once .Your in awe with this new world you have just discovered. Your learning so much about the past wondering if for generations you have been choosing to live separated from your parents all this time based on one misconception from one point in time?

A intriguing cast of characters made this story a fun young adult read.We are giving this read 4 stars !

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