MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY FICTION AUTHOR INTERVIEW, REVIEW, & GIVEAWAY : Unicorn Island by Donna Galanti
*What's the "story behind the story"?
The idea for Unicorn Island actually came quite simply. To write a book “about a strong, misplaced girl who has to take care of a unicorn”. From that, I spent six months bashing around the concept and then my amazing editor helped me polish it more. I love stories that are magical but also set in the real world—and that’s what guided me. It was super fun to immerse myself in this world again in writing book 2, Unicorn Island: Secret Beneath the Sand, which releases on the Epic! platform this May and in hardcover in the winter of 2022.
*What's your favorite thing about writing? Least favorite?
I love coming up with new story ideas. I usually get them when I’m walking in the woods and they often come fully formed. This is an exciting moment when that flash happens! And I especially love diving deep into my characters and discovering what motivates them—and also what holds them back. I am a character-driven reader and writer. I love plotting but the characters are what brings the plot alive. The least think I enjoy about writing is re-outlining a novel when the first draft needs much more work than I thought!
*What were your thoughts when you saw your finished book for the first time?
It was so beautiful! Andrews McMeel Publishing did such an amazing job with putting it together. The foil on the front and spine make it glitter with magic. The hardcover is filled with gorgeous and atmospheric images as well. The illustrator, Bethany Stancliffe, really did a fantastic job bringing this story to life.
*What do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing?
I am an avid outdoor and nature lover. You can find me off biking, kayaking, or hiking every day. I love to find the wildest places to go alone. As an only child growing up on a mountain in Upstate New York, my playground was the forest. I spent my days roaming along old rock walls with my dogs, gazing up at the sky from secret spots, and writing my poems and stories in the nooks of old trees.
*What are you currently working on?
I just finished revising a contemporary middle grade novel to send to my literary agent. It’s about a thirteen-year-old girl, Sarah, who works to save the endangered loons where she lives in a lakeside campground that her family owns and operates. As she navigates the loss of her mother, tries to fulfill her dad’s dream of keeping their campground afloat, and attempts to complete her mom’s dream of hiking the end of the Appalachian Trail—Sarah discovers a dream of her own. As you can see, it has many nature elements in it that appeal to me. I also have three other manuscripts in various stages of being written or revised.
Thank you for having me here today!
Unicorn Island presents the tale of a young girl who goes to live with her uncle only to discover that he is the caretaker for a group of unicorns hidden on an island cloaked in fog. Sam befriends Tuck, the son of the local vet, and together they help take care of the unicorns. Galanti has written a fun fantasy book that early chapter book readers are likely to enjoy. The large text makes the book easy to read and the full color illustrations add to the attractiveness of the book. Recommended for young readers who love unicorns and a relatively straight-forward tale of adventure.
UNICORN ISLAND GIVEAWAY
This runs February 9th at 12a.m. through February 15th at 11:45p.m. USA and Canada only.
The Unicorn Island Prize Package includes:
$25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Unicorn LED night light and key chain
Unicorn stickers, 2 pencils, 2 erasers
Bookmarks and autographed bookplate