{Interview} with Hawk author Marie Powell

Hawk Marie Powell Blog Tour

We’ve got a great interview and giveaway to share with you today! We chatted with Marie Powell about her Young Adult Historical Fantasy, Hawk, and this is what she had to say:


Thanks for stopping by Swoony Boys Podcast today, Marie.

Thanks for hosting me!

Tell us a little about Hawk. What sparked the idea for you to write this book?

Well, it really started on a family trip to Wales. We were walking around Dolwyddelan Castle, reading panels on Welsh history. We were struck by what happened to the Welsh in 1282-4. Places had been renamed, the Welsh weren’t allowed to remain in town overnight or speak Welsh. My kids are Metis through their father, and it seemed really similar to the treatment of First Nations in Regina in the last century. Yet everywhere we went, we saw the resurgence of Welsh language and culture. How could they bring back a language they had been forbidden to speak for 700 years? But they did. We could see the Welsh town names painted over the English names, and Welsh first on the highway signs. Somewhere on that trip, Hawk began for me.

How interesting! What was your favorite part of Hawk to write?

That’s such a tough question! Writing Hawk was like taking dictation, writing down what I could see happening in front of me. I enjoyed doing the research, and delving into Welsh history for nuggets I could use to write more detail into a scene. And I enjoyed writing through the minds of animals for Hyw, and writing Cat into and out of her visions. Writing the Mari Lwyd’s New Year’s visit was fun. But it’s hard to say any one part was my favourite to write. When you’re in the zone, your mind opens up and your whole perspective changes. I love that.

*nods* What kind of research did you have to do to make the story seem believable?

The research was a real challenge. After the 1282-3 invasion, Welsh books and records were deliberately destroyed, and places were renamed or replaced. Garth Celyn and most of the other Welsh royal courts were erased from history so well that archeologists have only found the remains of one so far. So there’s a lot of room for speculation. I relied on the biography Llywelyn ap Gruffudd by J. Beverley Smith, the 11th Century Journey Through Wales by Gerald of Wales, websites like the Castles of Wales and Cilmeri.org, and other sources I’ve listed in the book. I connected with scholars, academics, librarians, and amateur historians, checking one source against another until I had boxes and computer files full of information. I’ve gone to Wales a couple of times, and taken a Welsh class at Nant Gwrtheyrn. We drove the mountain roads searching for the castles and courts of the Welsh princes. We were at Pen-y-Bryn the day an archeological dig started to see if it was Garth Celyn (the jury is still out though). I have a lot of research, but I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Wow! Let’s talk about the characters. How do you build your characters? Do you know every single detail of their lives?

You know, just when I think I know everything about a character, something surprises me. I use detailed character charts, but I also do a lot of writing, from free-writing in my journal with character prompts and collages to side-scenes that influence what I know about a character. I really like to walk around inside a character. Our trips to Wales helped me too. During one of our trips, we saw the waterfall where Hyw and Cat swam when they were young, and I even recorded some bird song to play later when I was writing. I’ve actually written the prequel to this novel, spanning the time from their early years until Hyw gains his gift in Shrewsbury.

It took about eight years to write, revise, and edit Hawk, and the characters changed a lot during that time period. Characters grow during a story, and I had to make room for that, because I was dealing with so many unknown variables. I’d come across a fact or see a place, and think, “How would Hyw react? What would Cat do?” And then I’d run to the computer and write the scene.

It definitely shows in your work. If you could introduce one of your characters to another character from any other book, who would it be and why?

I’d pick Merlin, from T.H. White’s Once and Future King. By 1282 Wales had been at war for so long, and so many people had died, I knew they’d lost a lot of their lore. Cat and Hyw have their uncle Gawain and their mother, but they could use someone to help put all the pieces together. Where are you, Merlin?

You’re so interesting, Marie! Do you have more plans for Hyw, Cat, and Llywelyn?

I sure do! I’m excited to be writing the sequel, Hawk & Crown, right now. And I feel really grateful that readers say they’re looking forward to reading it.

We can’t wait to check that out. How would you describe yourself in three words?

Persistent. Persistent. Persistent.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Don’t give up!

That’s great advice. Do you have any current or future projects you can tell us about?

The big one is Hawk & Crown, coming out in 2016. I’ve got other novels and short stories on the go as well, including more set in this time period. I love writing, so I always have a few stories on the go.

Well, we can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks again for coming by. We can’t wait to get our ::grabbyhands:: on Hawk!

I’m so happy to hear that! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks!

***About Marie Powell***

Author Marie PowellMarie Powell (www.mepowell.com) is the author of 30 published books, including the young adult historical fantasy Hawk (Five Rivers, 2015) and Hawk and Crown (Five Rivers, 2016). She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and her award-winning short stories and poetry appear in such literary magazines as subTerrain, Room, and Transition. She lives in Saskatchewan, and her writing workshops are popular across the province. Read more about Hawk and Welsh history on her blog at www.mepowell.com/blog.

Find Marie Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

***About the Book***

{Interview} with Hawk author Marie PowellHawk by Marie Powell
Series: Hawk #1
Published by Five Rivers Publishing on August 1, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 294
Goodreads Buy the Book

Hyw yearns to join his father in serving the charismatic Llywelyn, Prince of Wales. If only Hyw dared tell anyone of his ability to scout through the eyes of a hawk, it might help secure his place in the royal guard. Cat, his sister, longs to inherit the magical ability that runs through her mother's line. If only she could see her future, now that she is 13 and promised to a boy she barely remembers.

When a messenger summons the prince to a secret meeting, Cat and Hwy find themselves in the middle of a war that threatens to destroy all of Wales. Can they master their special abilities in time to save the royal family—and themselves?

Set among the actual events and personages of late 13th century Wales, Marie Powell has constructed a fantasy novel that recreates what life might have been like for two teenagers coming of age.


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  1. Thanks so much for joining the HAWK blog tour, Kassiah!!!!


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