"To sell a book, you need a description on the back. So here's mine: My name is Fiona Loomis. I was born on August 11, 1977. I am recording this message on the morning of October 13, 1989. Today I am thirteen years old. Not a day older. Not a day younger."
Fiona Loomis is Alice, back from Wonderland. She is Lucy, returned from Narnia. She is Coraline, home from the Other World. She is the girl we read about in storybooks, but here's the difference: She is real.
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is her neighbor in a town where everyone knows each other. One afternoon, Fiona shows up at Alistair's doorstep with a strange proposition. She wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into a clearly troubled mind. For Fiona tells Alistair a secret. In her basement there's a gateway and it leads to the magical world of Aquavania, the place where stories are born. In Aquavania, there's a creature called the Riverman and he's stealing the souls of children. Fiona's soul could be next.
Alistair has a choice. He can believe her, or he can believe something else...something even more terrifying.
What would you do if your next door neighbor asked you to write her biography and then claimed that she traveled to another fantasy world on a regular basis? If it was me, I would think that she is crazy but I would be very intrigued to hear how deep the rabbit hole goes. Alistair Cleary got the honors of this feat and was at first very excited but like most of the rest of us, ended up pondering his decision when he dove deeper.
What I really liked about this mind bending and dark novel is the combination of fantasy and reality. It reminded me a lot of the television show "Once Upon a Time," where the main characters jump between fairy tale land and reality. I am a huge fan of stories relating to this drama and this book definitely followed suit. The writing style is very fun and witty at times as the characters have some awesomely creative one-liners that liven up the book a lot. What is even better is that the book keeps you guessing whether Alquavania (the fantasy land) is real or not through a good portion of the story. I like a book that gives you details but keeps you on your toes to the very end. This is definitely a book worth checking out as it is very unique to what is typical these days and will keep your attention to the last page.
*Reviewed by Chris*
1 Who is your favorite character to write about?
I could lie and say that I liked writing about them all equally because I love them all equally, but that would be a bunch of bull. The truth is, Kyle was the most fun to write. Partly because he’s the type of guy who says outrageous things, but also because what he says is often the opposite of what he might be feeling. He tries to acts wise, but he’s really just a kid (albeit an 18-year-old kid) winging it. He acts tough, but he’s doing it because he’s scared. Writing for a character like that poses some challenges, but the challenge is what makes it fun. Plus, he gets some of the best dialogue.
If you could be any character who would you be?
Jeeze, considering that not many of them end up in a good place, I’d have trouble choosing, but I admire Fiona the most. She’s brave and resilient, if sometimes confused. If Alistair is the heart of the book, then she’s the soul…in more ways than one.
What was your favorite part of writing the ending?
Getting paid? Seriously, though, I knew basically how it was going to end from the moment I started writing it, so reaching that point was a big relief. But considering that the ending is also the beginning of a new story, it rekindled some excitement (and anxiety) in me. I know that some people won’t understand the ending, or will at least be puzzled about it, but I personally love endings that require a little work on the readers’ parts. There are a lot of clues to the nature of the ending hidden throughout. Rereaders might find them.
What was the most exciting part of this book for you?
Hmmm…there are few, but when things take a turn around Halloween, I feel the true dangers and emotions of the story reveal themselves. I won’t give anything away (read the book!), but when a character in skeleton makeup shows up, I get a little terrified myself of what transpires, and I wrote this thing.
Do you need complete silence to write?
Not necessarily. I can play music, but nothing high-tempo and nothing with lyrics, or intelligible lyrics at least. Background, mood, relaxed. I’ll listen to Explosions in the Sky, which a lot of people know from the TV show Friday Nights Lights. Also Mogwai which people might know from the French show The Returned. When it comes to revision, I prefer silence, because I want every word to be precise and I tend to read things out loud at that point.
Are you currently working on anything new?
The not-so-big secret is that there will be two sequels to The Riverman. I’m editing Book 2 right now, while writing Book 3. I won’t say anything about them except that they’ll probably surprise you. They aren’t necessarily what you would think of as traditional sequels. And the story takes some interesting turns.
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