Wednesday, January 30, 2019

{Blog Tour} THE ANTIDOTE by Shelley Sackier—Author Interview + Giveaway

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The Antidote
by Shelley Sackier


Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.

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Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Add the book on Goodreads!
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / TBD

Check out the book playlist here: SPOTIFY
Read an excerpt HERE!
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with Shelley Sackier


LM: What inspired you to write The Antidote?

Shelley: I come from a long line of self-proclaimed witches, seers, astrologists, and chefs. (I put that last one in because I think we all know just how magical food is if touched by kitchen wizards.) These women used to fill my ears with the most eye-widening tales about who they were, but surprised the bejeebies out of me by insisting that I, too, was just like them. I just didn’t know it yet.

For years, being far too embarrassed (or Catholic—it could be both) to believe in such a thing, and far too wary (and Catholic—I can definitely hear the nuns now) to engage in such a thing, I simply ignored them during their visits and tried making a wide berth. But the world is a tricky little thing, and if you, like countless others, support the argument that we have no free will, then the inevitability of my old aunties’ and elderly female relatives’ soothsaying premonitions were not unexpected.

Wonky things happen to me all the time. And just like The Antidote’s heroine, Fee, you cannot squish down the true essence of who you are. It just … leaks out.

LM: Tell us a little bit about the main character—Fee—who is she? 

Shelley: Fee is a walking dichotomy—two contrasting sides of the same coin. On one hand, she is desperate to break out of the confines within her world—the one where she is controlled by others, hidden by several, and deceived by all, and on the flipside, she is dominated by her own fear of who she truly is, as evidence of her forbidden magical skills leaking out unbidden, and attempts to squelch the growing voice inside her, the one demanding truth and freedom.

Fee is kind, but quick of temper. She is curious, but also safeguards her ignorance. And she is loyal, despite the mutinous behavior she must employ when her principles insist upon it.

Fee, like all of us, is in search of answers to the pressing questions of life. But before she can gain access to them, she is put to the test in ways that would have many of us surrender those pursuits of explanations. She is both brave and full of dread, but will push through fear for the benefit of herself, but mostly for the welfare of others.

LM: Can you share one of your favorite quotes from The Antidote with us?

Shelley: Both of my favorite quotes take place within a letter from Fireli’s healer, Savva, who’s also Fee’s lifelong mentor. One I can share, but the other I can’t—it would be too revealing! The letter is to Fee and the quote is thus:

Things are not as they seem. You are not who you are. And that which you know is only a fraction of what you should.

LM: Give us a little behind the scenes story about this book!

Shelley: With every book I write, I am overly involved (read obsessed) in the research process. One YA historical novel I wrote took over ten years to complete, as I crisscrossed three countries, scoured through library stacks, and hunted through castles in order to nail as much of the detail as possible.

With The Antidote, some of that castle trespassing was inordinately helpful. But the research was more akin to visiting old bookstores to forage antiquated medical textbooks, spending hours with herbalists in dusty apothecary shops, and booking appointments with chemists and druggists who patiently mapped out all emetics of ancient remedies—aka, all the plants that can make you puke.

So much fun. (Apart from that last little bit.)

LM: What was your favorite scene in the story to write?

Shelley: The battle scene! As many a great story is want to have one of those. And as a writer, whose primary focus is choosing the most precise and perfect words to direct the narrative arc and allow the story to blossom in its unfolding, this was all about action.

There was a great necessity to create sentences that would drive the story forward with anxiety and passion, with dread and with turmoil. Words that hold fervor, that create a sense of frenzied need in the reader. I cannot tell you how much fun it was to try to manipulate (in a good way, of course!) a reader’s emotions to reach a peak of rousing engagement and then slide them back to a place of satiated comfort.

One usually only gets one good solid battle scene, and therefore, you’ve got to give it your all. 

LM: Tell us what you enjoy doing when you're not writing!

Shelley: I study the art and science of making whisky—and occasionally put that knowledge to work by creating this liquid gold. I’ve worked as an apprentice to a couple of master distillers, learning and laboring in their distilleries both in America and in Scotland. Obviously, it is yet another peek into the behind the scenes adventures that fertilized the many budding vines within The Antidote. Personally, no matter how much science may explain away what happens within those giant copper pots, it’s all magic to me!

Other than that, I do laundry.

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Shelley Sackier grew up in a small farming community in Northern Wisconsin continually searching for ways to grow warm. Realizing she would never be able to enjoy ice cream like real people should, she left the state and lived the blissful life of a traveling musician. Discovering her stories needed more space than two verses a bridge and a chorus could provide, she began storytelling in earnest. And then in Virginia. Which is where she lives now and continues to write. Her first novel, DEAR OPL (Sourcebooks 2015), is a tale about a snarky, overweight thirteen-year-old, who suffers from loss everywhere in her life except on her body. Her next novel, The Freemason's Daughter (HarperCollins, 2017) is a story about a 16 yr old Scottish girl living in 1715 who's raised entirely by six burly Scotsman--and they're all smugglers. The Antidote (HarperCollins February 2019) is a YA novel about magic and medicine, and the witches who wield them both.

To learn more about Shelley, visit shelleysackier.com where she blogs weekly about living on a small farm atop a mountain in the Blue Ridge and how it’s easiest to handle most of it with homegrown food, a breathless adoration for tractors, and a large dose of single malt scotch.


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Huge thanks to Shelley for answering my questions today!

Readers, please continue on for giveaway details! ~


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Reading!

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