Friday, January 30, 2015

Woven is a magical book from a magical publisher and I got the inside scoop from authors/part-time sorcerers Michael Jensen and David Powers King

Today is day four of the Woven blog tour! Huzzah! And I have an exclusive interview to share with you ("exclusive" meaning that in this case, these are all my questions and no one else's :) But first, here's all the relevant information regarding this GARGANTUAN release from publisher Scholastic

Here is the book description from Goodreads:

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.

Available now wherever books are sold

About the Authors:

Michael Jensen is a graduate of Brigham Young University’s prestigious music, dance, and theater program. Michael taught voice at BYU before establishing his own vocal instruction studio. In addition to being an imaginative storyteller, Michael is an accomplished composer and vocalist. He lives in Salt Lake City with his husband and their four dogs.

Photo credit: Michael Schoenfeld

Photo credit: Katie Pyne Rasmussen

David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to become a writer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He now lives in the mountain West with his wife and three children.


And now, the INTERVIEW

Please note that Mr. Jensen's responses are highlighted in blue and Mr. King's responses are highlighted in orange:

1) "Woven" is one of the most original fantasies I've read in years, and the "fabrication" magic works so well with its thimbles that protect you from harm, and the slip-stitches that allow fabricators to follow someone over great distances, and even the Needle of Gailner (which is an artifact of power equally impressive to "The One Ring") that I've got to ask: how did you come up with it? It's so awesome!

Michael: It started as a dream that I had years ago; I was crushed by a tree and became a ghost. I was so frustrated because no one could see or hear me. It was such an interesting perspective I wanted to share it in story form. I had the intention of making a musical out of it, but it ended up on the shelf until I met David. He caught my vision right away and we teamed up and started writing this book together.

2) Why did you go with leather armor for the knights of the kingdom? I thought that was an interesting choice instead of plate mail.

David: After some research we decided leather armor would be a nice change from how knights are usually portrayed. Leather armor is more casual for a festival setting and cooler, since the scene takes place in the summer. Plate armor is heavy and wasn’t easy to come by, but they do wear chainmail and armor as the plot thickens.

3) Did you have experience as a wrestler? I thought the scene where Nels wrestled the other knight was quite well written.

Michael: Neither of us have any wrestling experience (nothing professional anyway). It’s amazing what you can do with a little research and wrestling YouTube videos!

4) Names, names, names! Seriously, where did you get "Gailner", "Nels", "Ickabosh", "Fargut", and "Gleesel" (I love Gleesel!)? And by the way, I love how you broke stereotypes so well in this book! I expected Gleesel to be some monster, and she totally wasn't. Oh and do each of you have a favorite name?

David: Much of our inspiration came from medieval Scandinavia. We looked up old names that were popular in the era and area, like Tyra and Lars, and a few others we changed slightly. This helped us keep names similar and simple to read. One of the messages we hope to convey with Woven is that people aren't always what they seem on the surface. Even Rasmus is fighting for the greater good, though with reprehensible methods.

5) Was it a difficult choice for you to switch out of the narrative voice of Nels earlier in the book to being in Tyra's head after Nels was murdered? And why did you decide to step into Tyra's head and not just stay in Nels' head the entire time?

Michael: The point of view switch was natural. And refreshing! After Nels’s death, he could no longer be the main character of the story. Tyra is the one who interacts with the world of the living, so her POV is crucial to the story. Deciding whose perspective was most interesting in a given scene was the tricky part.

6) How do you get your tertiary characters like Gleesel and Fargut to resonate with such sparkle?

David: Every character in Woven has a history; and that history generates the motivation for their actions. We love the characters because they remind us of ourselves, even if they are sometimes a little eccentric.

7) As I read this, I kept thinking that it would make a perfect blockbuster movie by either DreamWorks or Disney, so let's just go ahead and go there since you have a HUGE publishing contract through Scholastic. In my mind, I pictured a full-blown computer-animated feature like How To Train Your Dragon or Frozen. You of the $160 million dollar animated films that go on to gross a billion dollars. But I have to ask, if it were your choice, would you want "animated" or would you want "live action" ala real actors like in the Harry Potter franchise?

Michael: It’s too early to know, but it would thrill us to see Woven brought to life on the silver screen, animated or otherwise. We have a series planned, so live-action might accommodate this best. The good news is we have received inquiries from studios, which is very exciting for us.

8) Can you tell us about some scenes that you probably trimmed from the book? You know, ones that didn't work out and maybe why you decided to trim them in favor of others? A project like this one that takes ten years had to have a lot of winnowing and editing, and I'm interested in your process.

David: We trimmed quite a bit from our original 120,000 word manuscript: a haunted lake, a dream/vision sequence, and even the last chapter had to be rewritten. Emily Dickenson wrote, “I hesitate which word to take, as I take but few and each must be chiefest.” Every chapter, scene, paragraph and word needed to move the story along. Trimming the fat was a process, but we both knew everything in the story had to have a purpose. No wasted words.

9) So there were some dangling "threads" in this book. Is there a sequel planned? Does Tyra fulfill her promise to Threadbare and return the Needle of Gailner to the land beyond the magical gate? Are you allowed to share any details of the sequel with us eager readers, and if so, what can you share?

Michael: We wanted to make a great book that could stand on its own with potential for more. These dangling threads are no accident. These threads will tie together in the other novels we have planned for this series, which will be a series of companion novels (same world, different main characters). We hinted who one of these main character will be at the very end of Woven.

10) What advice do you two rising stars have for authors out there that want to get published with Scholastic (or a similar publisher)?

David: Our path to publication was an unusual one, but we can say that major publishers are on the lookout for high concept storytelling. Really immerse yourself in the genre you write, look at what is out there, what is popular, and then make something unique that we haven’t seen yet.

11) Who drew the map? It's absolutely wonderful. I tried to make out the name on the signature but was unsuccessful.

Michael: Isaac Stewart did a fantastic job with the map. He happens to be the cartographer and interior artist for Brandon Sanderson’s books, so we are extremely lucky to have commissioned him. Isaac is planning to expand our world as we continue to write more novels in this series.

And there you have it folks. If you have one question for me, it's probably "What did you think of Woven when you read it, Mike?" So click HERE to read my review.

Rafflecopper Giveaway Link (One of 5 copies of Woven – signed by both authors): a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. congrats to David and Michael!

  2. That was a lot of trimming. Think you guys will use those scenes elsewhere?
    Inquiries from studios? That is uber-cool.
    And I like how you chose the names. I did something very similar with British names for my next book.
    Good interview, guys!

  3. It's interesting to see the creative process that brought Woven to life. It does like it would make a wonderful movie.

  4. Great interview. YouTube research sounds like a win! I think it'd be fun if you guys tried some of the moves you saw on each other. :)

  5. This was a great interview! Though the rafflecopter isn't working on my work PC (sadface. I do follow David on Twitter, though (and Michael on FB. and tweeted about it). I really love the map. All books should have maps

  6. A thoughtful and skillful interview. I feel like I now know these authors and you've made me interested in their book.

  7. Sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out.

  8. This was an excellent interview, Mike -- smart questions that elicited fascinating answers. Maybe Woven and its (currently theoretical) sequels can be the new Harry Potter for feature films. Woven certainly sounds as if it would be visually stunning.

  9. Fantastic interview! I love the concept of the magic and the names. This is definitely on my TBR list.

  10. LOVED reading this. Wonderful interview, Michael. I think this could be a movie. I have always wanted to write a book with another author. Who knows? Maybe someday. Best wishes, Michael and David. This has jumped to the top of my TBR list. That cover is A-mazing.

  11. Sounds interesting. It's too bad they haven't put it on Amazon Vine as then I could have gotten it free already.

  12. Thanks everyone, and thank you Michael for interviewing us. These were great questions, and it was amazing to share a dinner with you and your friends.

    Thanks a million, sir! :)

  13. An enthralling interview. It is great when an interview is both captivating and informative. David and Mike created a beautiful unique world and Michael O. you did an awesome interview.