Author: Kaki Olsen

Author Interview | Getting into the heart of sequel author Kaki Olsen’s writerly mind! Author of “Swan and Shadow” a re-telling of ‘Swan Lake’!

Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

As soon as I put down my copy of Swan and Shadow, my head was swirling with creative thoughts and plausible ways in which Ms Olsen approached writing her after canon sequel on behalf of ‘Swan Lake’! I knew I wanted to work with the author directly to bring special guest features to Jorie Loves A Story, because her thought-provoking story deserved a special highlighting on the world-building and the manner in which she brought forward the original canon whilst giving it her own unique perspective on how best to tell Aislin’s story!

As you will note from our conversation, we differed a bit on what can be drawn out of the story’s context, which is something I noticed more than one reader is struggling with resolving, as revealled on her Guest Post which ran earlier this week, as I kicked off a focus on ‘Young Adult Lit’. I think the margin of error on behalf of readers like me who see a connection which may or may not have directly been the conscience choice to include by Olsen, proves that for each story we conceive as a writer, the same story can be seen through a different spectrum of probabilities by the readers who drink in the story through their own interpretations. This is one subject that is quite actively blogged about in the book blogosphere by my fellow book bloggers as well as readily explored through the twitterverse! I think it speaks to the layer of depth novels can etch out of their central core of narrative inasmuch as how individual reading and writing becomes per each person who picks up a story – either from the creation of it or from the after effect of reading it.

What inspired me to move forward with two guest features is to allow Ms Olsen the blessing of granting new readers the chance to become familiar with her writing style and her approach to granting new license of thought on behalf of a canonical piece which has resonated with fans of ‘Swan Lake’.

Enjoy her personal reflections on on Swan and Shadow!

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What I respected the most about how the story unfolds is the raw honesty – the muddling of how life can become when your trying to sort everything out all at once: school, relationships,

time commitments, everyday emergencies and family connections. Even fitting in an honest

Swan and Shadow by Kaki Olsen

relationship with your twin is hard when your both moving out of adolescence and shifting into adulthood. Olsen gives such a good footing of where Aislin is right now in her ‘living story’ to inspire the readers who will pick up the novel and find a bit of hope by the time the last chapter concludes. Hope is worth everything in the end.

Olsen is writing young adult fiction for the generation who celebrates this genre on a yearly basis – she’s writing realistic story-lines and giving honest to the point dialogue about how a character whose still sorting out their life is going to talk, react and perceive their world. It’s refreshing because this isn’t Upper YA nor is it more adult with leanings of YA; this is straight-up brilliant YA because it hones in on what is beautiful about #YALit.

quoted from my review of Swan and Shadow

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In the original “Swan Lake”, the Black Swan represented the origin of Odette’s curse to live as a White swan. In your re-telling of the story within “Swan and Shadow” you’ve separated Aislin and Maeve by colour coding them: Aislin is White, Maeve is Black. Was this meant to be a nod to the canon or a greater hint towards the overall story?

Olsen responds: If you take it at face value, this was inspired by the fact that Jodi Picoult writes her books from specific perspectives and puts the names at the beginning of chapters. I didn’t want it to be page after page of Maeve…Aislin…Aislin…Maeve. The original intention of the two codes is to plant a seed of doubt.

In both the canon and the book, the black swan and white swan are separate entities and rather than use the black swan as a force of evil, I used her as an antagonist. This means that at times, Maeve will do something that works against Aislin’s intentions and plans and it varies whether or not she has any remorse for it. I could cite several examples, but in the interest of not giving away too much, I’ll point out that Maeve goes behind her sister’s back at one point to take the SATs for her and Aislin takes it as a major drama because it is something she would have never asked for or wished for. She sees it not as a betrayal, but an unacceptable kindness that she can’t reciprocate. This is one of the most minor ways to have someone be antagonistic.

Does it make Maeve the evil twin? Absolutely not. One of the defining characteristics of this story is that the black swan, while working against her twin, is trying to make things work out for the best. Read More

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Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2016 by jorielov in After the Canon, Author Interview, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Fantasy Fiction, Inspired by Stories, Re-Told Tales, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Author Guest Post | Kaki Olsen writes about the depth of the human experience in her debut novel “Swan and Shadow” (based on Swan Lake)

Posted Monday, 25 April, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I had such a strong connection to the story within Swan and Shadow, I wanted to reach out to the author Ms Olsen to ask if she wanted to be a guest author on my blog – kicking off a week where I celebrate #YALit as this is one branch of literature I have a keen interest in seeking out whilst I find new debut authors to champion each New Year.

The Young Adult market has a wide selection of offerings but each year, I find myself trying to find a particular niche of offerings which are threaded with light and not too darkly underlit to push out the light completely. I appreciate finding stories set in the Contemporary world, the historical past or amongst the genres of Speculative Fiction which have the tendency to carve out new worlds of thought and dimension per each writer’s unique perspective and imagination.

I was quite taken by the level of depth Ms Olsen knitted inside her debut novel, and I wanted to explore those depths with her whilst giving her a chance to flex her wings with guest features which broached a bit deeper than the surface of her writerly inspirations. I definitely wanted to learn more about the supernatural attributes but at the core of the story, there is a coming-of age tale of a girl not quite confident in her own skin whose attempting to sort everything out one step of the way.

Underscored to the Fantasy elements are topics young adults will appreciate seeing in this novel, such as the highlighting of mental health and wellness and the struggle between sisters, of whom love each other dearly but do not always act in the best interests of each other. Olsen owns her story to such a degree of honesty, as to ground you directly inside the lives of her characters whilst giving you this curious story surrounding a shapeshifting swan! The back-story is one that is quite well known but it’s her interpretation of the story’s heart which stands out from the pack!

This Guest Post Feature kicks off my showcasing of Young Adult Literature – a special focus which will be re-occurring on Jorie Loves A Story straight til the start of Summer! I look forward to bringing a variety of stories to my blog, across genres and styles where characters are on the fringes of exiting their childhood but have a bit of growth left in their younger years before they fully embrace their adulthood. It’s a transitional part of our lives which endears me the most to the stories, but also, to the authors who find new ways of talking about this period of growth, discovery and self-awareness which everyone (lad or lass) can relate too.

Happily join me as I converse via:

#IReadYA | #IndieYA (movements of their own)

  Tags to promote these showcases: #JorieLovesIndies | #JorieLovesYA

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Aislin’s curse is the standard fare: swan by day, college student by

Swan and Shadow by Kaki Olsen

night, true love as the only cure. But does true love even exist outside of fairy tales? After having to cover for Aislin during her swan hours, Aislin’s twin, Maeve, is willing to resort to anything from matchmaking to magic to see her sister live happily (and human) ever after.

Will either of them get their wish?

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Topic of Interest: Shadow and Light can metaphorically tackle a wider depth of a human’s journey; how did you seek to define Aislin’s struggle to grow in strength and personal acceptance of her swan / human duality?

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One Saturday afternoon, I was standing in line for a book signing. I’d been a fan of Brandon Sanderson since my friend made me read her writing teacher’s debut novel and this was years before he was an award-winning podcaster, novelist and the man who finished the Wheel of Time series. I’ve always found him to be an approachable and unassuming man, which is what gave me the guts to comment on one of his observations.

The person standing in front of me was having him sign a middle grade book called Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians and said how much her son loved reading something that didn’t have to be homework. Brandon wittily said that he’s never been the type to write books that people would have to write papers on. I immediately piped up that I was presenting an academic paper on leadership in two weeks and had used a chapter from his first book as the foundation for part of it. He blinked, signed the woman’s book and, while signing my copy of Hero of Ages, asked me what I had written it on. I immediately quoted a passage from the book in which a young prince is taught about noble leadership by some well-phrased observations and questions posed by a glowing ball that used to be his constant companion. Brandon responded with something along the lines of, “Well, THAT’S not exactly what I thought that chapter was about” and laughed. Read More

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Posted Monday, 25 April, 2016 by jorielov in After the Canon, Ballet, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Chronicles of a Prospective Adoptive Mum, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Fairy Tale Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Methodology of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Re-Told Tales, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Supernatural Fiction, The Writers Life, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Urban Fantasy, Writing Advice & Tips, Writing Style & Voice, YA Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

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