Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Welcome to Author Janet Lee Carey

Janet Lee Carey is the award-winning author of eight Children’s and YA novels. School Library Journal’s starred review says, “Verdict: This is quite simply fantasy at its best–original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving.” Janet links each new book with a charitable organization empowering readers to make a difference in the world. She tours in US and abroad presenting at schools, children’s book festivals, and conferences.

Photo by Heidi Pettit

Face book:

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The power to heal

Beach or Pool?

Shoes or Sandals?

My parents called me Shanner. I liked that. My older brothers called me Miss Priss – hum . . .

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m writing the sequel to Dragonswood. A love story in a time of murder and magic. I might tackle a graphic novel at some point.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Writing is its own reward, but I’m also lucky enough to hear from readers. A teen boy wrote to say, “Reading Dragon’s Keep changed the way I look at my life.” Another reader said, “I have lost quite a few people, because of cancer, or car accidents, and one person from messing with a gun when they were drunk. At first I didn’t understand, well then I read your book and . . . it helped me get rid of the pain.”
Reading those letters helps me remember my task is a sacred one. A book read at the right moment can change your life.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Keep reading. Keep writing. Find a good critique group that supports you because it’s a hard climb and every new book is a new mountain.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I usually wish I was more like my main character. Tess is much braver than I am. Both of us are deeply loyal. Say something unkind about one of my friends and you’ll see what I mean. But since all the characters come from somewhere inside of me, I also like to ask , “How am I like the witch hunter?” or “How am I like the dragon?” Sometimes I have to dig deep, but there Is a dragon there.

In this scene the dragon, Lord Kahlil, assesses Tess to see if she’s worthy to go on a journey with the fey folk to Pendragon Castle:

Lord Kahlil lowered his cupped eyes, inspecting me. Such mirrors these. What did they see? The dark slit pupils were the length of my hand. The golden irises were like bright curtains drawn back to a diamond-shaped night window.
“Come closer,” he said, smoke coiling from his nose.
He pointed with a single talon. “Turn around, Tess.”
I sighed. The blacksmith bid me turn around, inspecting my soundness for marriage. Morralyn asked the same when I was naked in her flit chamber. Now the dragon wanted me to turn. What did turning have to do with anything? Was there something telling about my back or buttocks I should know of?
I obeyed, my slippers crunching in the pebbles.
After a long pause, Lord Kahlil flicked his tongue then spoke in a low voice to my father.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
Peter Jackson did such a tremendous job with the Lord of the Rings movies. I’m really looking forward to The Hobbit.

If you were a bird, which one would you be?
A red-tailed hawk. I watched one just yesterday wining high over Phantom Lake.

Which authors have influence you most how?
I’ve been influenced by the fantasy authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, Juliet Marillier, and Kristin Cashore, historical and mystery authors like Ellis Peters, Philippa Gregory and Indu Sundaresan whose delicious books take me back in time. And modern teen fiction by Justina Chen, Holly Cupala, and Katherine Grace Bond (whose first teen book will be out in May). All of these authors are masterful storytellers who create memorable characters, and places I want to return to. Finally I love the sound of language and these authors craft language that sings.


I see visions in the fire sometimes, images of the past or what is yet to come. The fire-sight does not lie. But I did not see the witch hunter who would ride in to scour our town of sin, so I did not know to run.
Wilde Island is in an uproar over the recent death of its king. The uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is fraying and the royal witch hunter begins a vengeful quest to hunt down girls with fire in their hearts and sparks in their soul.
        Strong-willed Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet near the mysterious Dragonswood, wants more for herself than a husband and a house to keep. But in times like these wanting more can be dangerous.
        Accused of witchery, Tess and her two friends are forced to flee the violent witch hunter. The journey is bleaker than they ever imagined and they have no choice but to accept when an enigmatic huntsman offers them shelter in the dangerous Dragonswood. Staying with him poses risks of its own: Tess has no idea how to handle the attraction she feels for him—or the elusive call she hears from the heart of the Dragonswood.

“Painful, cathartic and cautiously hopeful; a fairy tale for those who have given up on believing in them, but still yearn for happily ever after.”  — Kirkus *starred* review
“Perfectly crafted combination of history, mythology, and fantasy . . . The political intrigue, mythology of Merlin, and romances that bloom . . . will have readers racing toward the end and then going back to savor the events more slowly.”  –School Library Journal *starred* review.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Dragonswood plus bookmark
Open to US only
Ends 3/4/12

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