SECRETS OF THE HOME WOOD: THE SACRIFICE
BY JULIE WHITLEY
***** FIVE STARS
Review By E.D. Bird
I have to admit that it took me a little while to get into the book, but that’s probably because it’s not my preferred genre. Having said that however, once I did get into it, I couldn’t put it down. The pages just kept turning themselves…
Lewis Carroll would have been very proud of this fantasy tale, and I think it would make a Magic Movie. The author has cleverly constructed an amazing story which contains all the mystery and suspense any reader wants to find in a novel. From strange creatures at war to undying love – you’ll get it all in this fabulous family fable.
I highly recommend this book to people of all ages!
FIVE STARS *****
REVIEW BY E.D. BIRD
So thrilled to see my interview with BooksGoSocial, I just had to share. Thanks, BGS for this opportunity!
Today we are chatting to Julie Whitley author of Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice
Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
I am a grandmother and I have just learned to scuba dive! Overcoming my fear was a great accomplishment and now I love diving. You’re never too old to learn something new or conquer something that scares you.
What kind of books do you write?
My debut series is an adventure/fantasy geared towards YA, but enjoying a cross-over audience. I love building a world and bringing it to life for my readers.
What inspired you to write?
Reading inspired me to write. I have had a life-long passion for books. When I was nine years old, I decided I wanted to put my own stories on paper and spent many hours writing and illustrating. I continued with writing sporadically throughout my adult years with creative writing courses. Retirement finally allowed me to knuckle down and complete my first novel.
What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
To keep up with what my daughter was reading, she would pass along her books to me. I truly enjoyed the YA genre. One thing I thought was missing was the whole family. I like that the young protagonists are portrayed as independent and brave, but I didn’t care for the adults as being either absent or evil.
So in my book, I took an approach that I feel makes it stand out. I revolved the points of view of the three members of the family, Jonathon the son, David the father, and Sarah the mother. A crisis between them precipitated a physical separation. Through this loss, they realize how much they all still need each other. The obstacles and trials they experience separately, gradually bring them together, but they’re not safe until they step outside their own problem and stop the looming war.
What is the hardest part of writing – for you?
The hardest part of writing for me is being consistent and disciplined with sitting down to write. I have the story constantly revolving in my head, but when life has other plans for my time, I put aside my writing time.
Where do you like to write – what is your routine?
I write in bed first thing in the morning. If I come downstairs to write, I am fair game for my family.
What do you do when you are not writing – do you have a day job?
I am retired from nursing. I worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care as a Transport Nurse. While I loved my job very much, it took its toll, so I opted for early retirement.
Other than writing, I also love to paint in watercolours and oils.
Do you work with an outline or just write?
I do a little of both actually. My first book was of the “pantser” style, with just a vague outline in my head. It took me a long time to move through the story that way, though, since I was constantly having to wait for the characters to speak up. My second novel is a little more organized. I have an outline for the first half of the story and a basic idea where it will end. I extend the outline as I write.
What advice would you have for other writers?
Write, connect with fellow writers, join a writing group if you can, find a class that’s helpful, have an editor you can work with who is not family.
How important is marketing and social media for you?
I have met a lot of wonderful people through social media. I know marketing is important, but I’ve found it very difficult. It is getting a little easier as time goes on and my experience grows.
What’s your next step?
My next step is to finish the sequel to Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice. It is called the Stalker.
Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice by Julie Whitley is available here.
If you are interested in book promotion, please visit http://yourbookpromoter.com
Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice is now also available at PJBoox in Fort Myers, Florida! So exciting to see it on the shelf.
Today, I received the rating and feedback from the reader judges of my book Secrets of the Home Wood: the Sacrifice for the Wishing Shelf Book Awards. What a great way to start the day! I am thrilled and pleased to share.
Number of Readers: 28 Stats Of the 28 readers:
26 would read another book by this author.
22 thought the plot was the best part of the book.
6 thought the setting was the best part
26 thought the cover was good or excellent.
26 though the author was a good writer.
‘This book was so good. I like fantasy so this was perfect for me. I liked how scary the wood was and how it hid such a huge secret.’ Girl, aged 14
‘Cover was very good and made me want to read it. Blurb was exciting too. Started well, not too slow like many books. I liked Jonathan a lot. He was brave and smart too. Exciting ending.’ Boy, aged 13
‘I liked how the hero was trying to save his family. It made him more interesting and real. Lots of fun fantasy and sci-fi. It was well written and easy to follow. Not too much description which was also good.’ Girl, aged 14
‘This wasn’t as good as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but it was almost. I thought the title wasn’t very catchy.’ Girl, aged 14
‘Best book I read this month.’ Boy, aged 15
‘A fantasy-filled adventure packed full of twists and turns. A finalist and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book
After months of anticipation, I received the notice yesterday that I am on the finalist list for the Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Scanning down the list in the various categories, my heart rode an escalator of emotion as I looked for my name. Was it there? And then, I saw it. My glee hit the room like confetti - but I was all alone at the time. A let down with no one to share my news. So I immediately turned to Facebook and posted my excitement. How wonderful to have so many great responses sharing the moment with me! I am truly grateful.
Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice by Julie Whitley - Book Review by Laurie Fisher
Exactly how one little family can figure so greatly in helping to prepare for an upcoming battle between two nations makes for fascinating reading in an amazing fictional story called Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice by Julie Whitley. As a reader, I was extremely nervous about what would be revealed in the Home Wood. An emotional crisis between a woman, Sarah James, and her husband David, inadvertently leads them deep into the Home Wood, an area long forbidden to all of them. This astoundingly fresh, and brightly hued forested world stretches and prickles the imagination in every way.
Then their son Jonathon traces his father's steps into the Home Wood drawing readers along on a unique and unpredictable journey. This family are soon forced to re-examine their values and priorities. Forging new relationships with myriad inhabitants of the Home Wood is a huge adventure with many surprises. unfolding. The first inhabitants they meet are called the San, and from the tips of their long ears down to their toes, they struggle with similar misunderstandings, trials and triumphs as the James family. The San leader has heirs who are also San warriors. Their relationship issues are compounded by imminent war with mighty opponents who had once been peaceful allies.
This story is written with thoughtful personal reflections from Sarah, David, and Jonathon as they find inner resources enhancing leadership, empathy, courage, and the meaning of sacrifice. The author skillfully alternates chapters written from their individual perspective. This lends to the suspense, and it's easy for readers to discern what each character has at stake, and how they face every unique challenge arising from every unexpected turn. The story and the characters are both wonderfully human and creatively magical. This mythical fiction effectively reflects ancient and current themes of the politics behind wars, various strategies, and the histories between warring nations. With an ordinary human family and extraordinary creatures, Ms. Julie Whitley has meticulously created a one-of-a-kind fictional allegory of historical battles that everyone can surely learn from. I recommend this book for all, and I do hope this author has envisioned a sequel to this incredible adventure.
-Book Review written by Laurie Fisher and edited on January 25, 2016
It has been crazy the last couple of months, between travelling and Christmas preparations and spending time with my grandson. I didn't have the time until this morning to have a look at my Amazon account. A wonderful review was posted on November 6th and it has me a little choked up. I just had to share.
By Ember on November 6, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Julie Whitley's Secrets of the Home Wood drew me in immediately, and if it weren’t for other unavoidable obligations, I could have easily gotten through this book within a few hours. I did not want to put it down!
Even though it’s geared towards YA readers, as an adult I was able to fully immerse myself into the fantastically created realm on the other side of the creek within Home Wood—definitely not your typical patch of forest. I will admit that I don’t read fantasy, but that will be changing now. The author has set a high bar in my search of other books that will have the same effect, mainly shutting out my actual surroundings and being right there with each and every character.
Inside you will find waiting for you well drawn characters, rich descriptions, and smooth prose…the only disappointment is finding yourself on the last page. Along Jonathan’s journey there is pride, terror, heroism, and love. A family meant to be together, torn apart, and all in search to find their way back to one another.
Don’t let the YA put you off. This book can and will be enjoyed by people of all ages and I will definitely be recommending it. I dare you to prove me wrong by getting a copy and reading it for yourself. I promise you will not be disappointed!
Note to author: Please say book two is on the way!
Friday morning, my husband brought the paper upstairs to show me this cool sight. My book made the GO section in the Hamilton Spectator in the great company of other local authors. It was thrilling.
Writing is a solitary task. The response to my post about this event has been heart-warming and motivating. Back to the keyboard! I have been stuck on Chapter 7. I feel the creative juices stirring again.
Thank you all for your lovely support!
I spent the afternoon creating an art book of examples of my paintings that range from my early teens until recently. I am giving away the ebook. If you sign up to my email list http://www.juliewhitley.com/contact.html and I will send you the link!
An avid reader who became a jotter of stories and poems that led to a life long dream of writing a novel. Loving the journey.