Monday, April 30, 2012

Hemlock Tour Stop

Kathleen Peacock is visiting Xpresso Reads today for the blog tour of her wonderful book, Hemlock. This is one of my top favorite reads of 2012 so I'm very excited to have her over for an interview. Let's first have a look at my glowing review! =)

Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock, #1
Release date: May 8th, 2012
by HarperCollins

Goodreads / Purchase
Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
*A copy was provided by HarperCollins Canada for review purposes*

There has been no shortage of vampire and werewolf novels in recent years. I was wondering how a new werewolf book could possibly bring about something new and original. Somehow, someway, Kathleen Peacock thought of an intriguing plot, wrote some fantastic characters, gave them life, unique voices, strong personalities, and wrapped it all up in this lovely novel full of mystery, friendship, and loyalty.

What makes this plot unique is obvious from the start: The werewolves are out. The public has been made aware of Lupine Syndrome. The Trackers, who are trying to contain the spread of this virus, are basically given free reign to be violent to whomever they think has been infected. Thus, as you can guess, the infected want to hide their secret. Then there's Amy -
our protagonist's best friend - who's just been murdered. See? We've got a simple werewolf lore with added suspense, a murder mystery, and anarchy, which gives us a pretty darn good page-turner! Also, this is the first book in a long time that I can honestly say has surprised me with the twists. It ambushed me! There are actually several of these twists wound together that made me take a step back… and blink.

An anarchist society such as Hemlock's really triggers some helpless feelings while reading. Everyone's at the mercy of the Trackers. They have all the power, and believe me, they use it. This actually reminded me a bit of reading a dystopian: feeling like you're trapped with no one to turn to for justice. One thing I'm curious about is the werewolf politics: What they're doing to fight this, what the camps are like, etc. However, seeing as this is the first in a series there's still time to get into this.

Inside this society, Hemlock possesses characters that shine throughout. Mac's personality is so honest I really grew to be fond of her. She's got incredible devotion, she's strong and her head is screwed on right. In addition, there are two of the sweetest, although polar opposite, guys after her. I don't dislike love triangles but I've read my fair share of them. Yet, I was delighted by the way Kathleen wrote the romance in Hemlock. First you should know that although the romance is always somewhat present underneath it all, it never takes the lead. The plot keeps at  center-stage with Mac's commitment to get to the bottom of Amy's murder. With that said, both guys in this book are incredible. Kyle is so adorable you just want to squeeze his cheeks. Jason- he's the bad boy. You'll hate his actions, but it's easy to see the huge heart that he's hiding underneath his tough exterior. Don't ask me which team I'm on, though, I have joined none. I refuse to choose! *Crosses arms*

As far as werewolf books go, this is easily my favorite to date; it has so much more. It's an all around wonderful novel that balances plot, romance, and action perfectly. It will keep you up till morning, either from its enticing pace, or its gorgeous cover that you simply cannot stop staring at!

Oh, and sidenote: The author is Canadian! REPRESENT, YO! >.<

5 Hot Espressos

Interview with Kathleen Peacock
Q. Let's first start by telling us a bit about how you came up with the story behind Hemlock.

I actually had the initial idea while walking to work and listening to emo breakup music. “It’s Been Awhile” by Staind started playing, and I just had this very clear picture of three teens in a hospital room. A girl had just been hurt, and her two best friends—both boys—were at each other’s throats.  

Q. Hemlock has two incredibly sweet, well-rounded male characters. How did you go about creating such vivid opposing personalities?

Kyle’s personality has really stayed true to the first few flashes I had of him as a character. In every draft the book went through, he always felt so much responsibility and wanted so badly to protect the people he cared about—especially Mac.

Jason has been a little harder to pin down. He’s so self-destructive, and it’s been a challenge to portray that side of his nature while balancing it so that you can understand why Kyle bails him out of trouble and why Mac cares about him so much. 

Q. If you had to pick one to go on a date with, would it be Kyle or Jason (and why)?

I can’t really pick because they’re seventeen...

That being said, when I was seventeen, I would totally have crushed on Jason. I always liked guys who were ridiculously out of my league and just a little bit broken.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you go with the flow or do you already know how this series will end?

I used to totally go with the flow, but over the course of the first book, I really became a fan of outlines—mostly because it was just too hard to figure out which clues should get dropped where without planning it.

In terms of the series, there are events in book two which will lead to revelations in book three, and I do have plans for each of the main characters. That all being said, I’ve never completely stuck to an outline, so nothing is set in stone.

Q. If you were a werewolf, what would you look like (in wolf form)?

Not to sound ultra-Canadian, but I think I’d look scruffy and kind of like a wolf version of The Littlest Hobo.

Thanks so much for having me on the tour Kathleen! I loved getting to know you and I can't wait for the sequel! *grabby hands*

Kathleen spent most of her teen years writing short stories. She put her writing dreams on hold while attending college but rediscovered them when office life started leaving her with an allergy to cubicles.

Hemlock, her first novel, will be released on May 8th by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins

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