Switchback by Danika Stone ***Guest Post; Find out how Danika Stone creates her Characters -- Giveaway***
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 28th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
An epic YA adventure story about two friends lost in the Canadian wilderness from Danika Stone, the author of All the Feels.
Vale loves to hike, but kind of hates her classmates. Ash is okay with his classmates, but kind of hates the outdoors. So, needless to say they are both fairly certain that the overnight nature hike with their PE class is going to be a hellish experience. But when they get separated from the group during a storm, they have worse things to worry about than bullies and blisters.
Lost in the Canadian wilderness with limited supplies, caught in dangerous weather conditions, and surrounded by deadly wildlife, it’s going to take every bit of strength, skill, and luck they can muster to survive.
Praise for Danika Stone:
“An enjoyable, fast-paced read.” — School Library Journal on Internet Famous
“The book is a dream. I loved absolutely everything about it. … From the chapter headers to every mention of nerd culture, All the Feels is a blast!” —Seeking Book Boyfriends on All the Feels
How I Create my Characters
I’ve always believed that the characters I write are more important than the plot. If I lose interest in writing a character, it doesn’t matter how interesting the plot I’ve come up with is, I’m done with the book. Same goes for reading. (Ask yourself how many times YOU have given up on a story because you just couldn’t relate to the main character.) Given this, I always start the writing process by developing complex, detailed (and hopefully believable!) characters for my books. Over the years, I’ve come up with a pretty unique way of doing this. I call it the “box approach”.
To begin, you need a shoebox. (Yes, any shoebox will do.) This is the home for all the bits and pieces of your character that you’re going to develop over the next few weeks. The box becomes their personality. To start with, forget about writing (for now, that is.) When I have an idea for a book, I usually have a vague notion of who the characters are, but they are rarely (if ever) fleshed out. The box does it.
I start by tossing a couple items that obviously belong to that character into the shoebox. Maybe it’s a combination lock from school, or a hair clip. Something that I see that I think “yeah, that works.” It doesn’t really matter what it is, because once that item is inside the box, the character owns it.
Over the next couple weeks, I keep myself aware of little items that might appear out of nowhere in my life, that somehow feel like they belong to my characters. With Vale, from Switchback, it was a small flashlight that I’d found inside the pocket of my winter coat. I put it in the box. For Ash, it was a twenty-sided die. Into the shoebox it went. Day by day, I started watching for mementos from my characters’ lives, and with each item, I came up with a little story to go with it.
By the time the shoebox was full, I had an entire backstory for each character, from the nature books that Vale reads to the video games that Ash plays. Each piece was a part of a puzzle that was uniquely them. When it came time to write, the planning had all been done, and all I had to do was close my eyes and imagine I was watching them.
With so much history boxed and ready to go, the words flowed!
Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens: INTERNET FAMOUS (Macmillan, 2017) and ALL THE FEELS (Macmillan, 2016); and adults THE DARK DIVIDE (Stonehouse, 2018) and EDGE OF WILD (Stonehouse, 2016).
Ms. Stone’s work has received both recognition and literary praise. In 2017, Chapters included EDGE OF WILD in “Our Favourite Canadian Fiction”, and INTERNET FAMOUS was nominated for the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (2018) as well as selected as one of Fierce Reads’ “9 Perfect Summertime Reads” (2017). EDGE OF WILD (previously entitled TATHAGATA) was a quarter-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award (2013), a finalist in the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize (2015), and took second place in the Publish or Perish contest (2015). ALL THE FEELS was selected for Swoon Reads’ fourth list (2015) and was nominated for YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (2016), and for CYBILS’ Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (2016).
Ms. Stone’s books have been reviewed by VOYA, Teen Reads, and School Library Journal. Danika has also featured in the BN Teen Blog, Clash, Quillable, Fierce Reads, Lethbridge Living Magazine, CJSR’s Word, and on CBC’s Daybreak.
When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.
GIVEAWAY!a Rafflecopter giveaway