Blog Tour: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

I’m so excited to be part of the Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky blog tour! I had the incredible honour of interviewing the author, Kwame Mbalia. The moment I heard about this book, it was an instant add for me. Check out my interview below and then preorder or request TRISTAN STRONG at your local library. Every one of the books from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint have been standout so far; you won’t be disappointed.


imageTristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N |  Kobo

Synopsis:

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia’s epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it–is that a doll?–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world.

Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

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Q: What inspired TRISTAN STRONG? What made you go ‘This is it. This is the story I’m writing now’?

A: Tristan Strong was written a few months after my father died, and my daughters were really struggling with this idea of grief. Along with that, I’ve always wanted to write a story retelling the folklore I grew up reading and listening to, so when the opportunity presented itself, I had to jump on it.

Q: Tristan is struggling with the grief of losing his best friend and the disappointment of losing his first fighting match. What do you hope readers will gain from the battles Tristan goes through – both internet and external?

A: Above all, I want to convey the idea that it is okay to grieve, to express grief, and that process can take anywhere from a month to forever. It’s natural. Tristan gradually learns what it means to lose something, whether it’s a match or a person you loved, and to continue through life.

Q: What has writing TRISTAN STRONG taught you? What’s your favourite part of the book?

  1. It’s my debut book so it taught me how to write, lmaoooo. A lesson I’m still learning and will continue to learn into the future. 
  2. My favorite part of the book is probably the ending scene when everyone’s on the page at the same time. I really got to put folktales and gods on the page. That makes me happy. 

Q: Your book is based on Western African gods and African-American legends. What kind of research did you do? Was there anything you wanted to include in the book but couldn’t?

A: Have you seen how large the book is? 496 pages. What didn’t I put in the book. No, but seriously, there are plenty more folktales and stories I couldn’t incorporate, but that’s what sequels are for, right? As for research, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and other historians who collected folklore in their travels were of immense help.

Q: What were the challenges of creating a magical world with a modern setting?

A: Everything. Worldbuilding is hard, yo.

Q: If Tristan existed in our world, what would he be reading and watching right now?

A: He’d be reading everything from Read Riordan Presents… and watching replays of the Spence/Porter boxing match, YouTube compilations of old Vine clips, and Steven Universe. 

aboutauthor

DSC_1811Kwame is a husband, father, writer, and pharmaceutical metrologist in that order.  His debut middle-grade novel, TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY (October 15, 2019) is published by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion.  A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, he enjoys impromptu dance sessions and Cheezits.

 

 

 

 


TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY_Blog Tour (1)

Be sure to check out the other blog tour stops as well as the host, Cake Literary.

Blog Tour: Witchlands Box Set by Susan Dennard

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Today one of my favourite fantasy series is being released in a brand, new box set with refreshed covers and a map poster! I am absolutely in love with these covers and I think they match the series so well. The new Truthwitch and Windwitch covers were redesigned by Cliff Nielsen, who already did an amazing job with Bloodwitch. The new, elaborate map was made by Jessica Khoury and it looks incredible. This box set is worth its weight in gold, so definitely go out and buy it! Not sure if this series is for you? Click on the titles above to read my reviews.

810QVVn65uLThe Witchlands series

Susan Dennard

Release Date: October 8, 2019

Publisher: Tor Teen

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N

Synopsis:

For the first time, experience the first three volumes of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series–Truthwitch, Windwitch, and Bloodwitch–now together in the Witchlands Hard Cover Boxed Set.

Magic. Adventure. Romance. War. … Welcome to the Witchlands.

On a continent ruled by three empires, many people are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others. Some command the wind, some the water, some fire, some metal. And some can master the truth, or time, or even death itself.

Now, as war breaks loose and magic is dying, two young women–a Truthwitch and a Threadwitch–may hold the key to a centuries old prophecy that could control the world…if they can survive.

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I think this new Truthwitch cover may be my favourite! Which one do you like best?

aboutauthor

DSC_5091editedSusan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series, as well as the New York Times bestselling Witchlands series, and she also hosts the popular newsletter for writers, the Misfits & Daydreamers. When not writing, she is slaying darkspawn (on her PS4) or earning bruises at the dojo.

She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about her on her twitterinstagram, or newsletter.


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Don’t forget to check out the other blog tour posts from now until October 15th by following the hashtags #Witchlands #WitchlandsBoxSet. Also, these amazing blog tour graphics were made by Kaite from My Way By Starlight.