Author: Amanda Hocking
Customers come in droves to see Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow. But little do they know that not everything they see is a trick. The carnies that travel with Davorin actually have real powers. Necomancy. Telekinesis. Levitation. It's a very special show, starring extraordinary performers.
The show works like magic at every stop, every night. Until.....Caudry, Louisiana.
Something is very strange about Caudry. The troop can feel it as they pull into town. A force. A feeling. Something not quite right.And, immediately things start to go wrong.
Mara, whose mother is a fortune-teller, feels it too. Even though she has never shown even a hint of her mother's power, or any supernatural talent for that matter, she feels the strange, heavy feeling that surrounds the town.
The dark feelings turn into danger when an unseen monster starts stalking the performers. Mara is torn between her new feelings for a boy she met in town and wanting to protect her sideshow family.
The show has to stay in the town for the entire week in order to be paid. But something evil is stalking them. Will the show go on? Or will the evil in Caudry destroy them all?
I loved this book! The quirky characters amid the backdrop of an old-fashioned sideshow were intriguing from the start. Mara is torn between wanting a normal life and loving her nomadic life with the rag-tag band of travelling performers. She feels unnecessary sometimes because she doesn't share any of the abilities of her fellow performers. Her confusion about what she wants from life only deepens when she meets Gabe, a townie who shows interest in her. Should she allow herself to fall in love when she's only in town for a week? And how will Gabe react when he discovers she is a carnie, travelling with the show?
The tension built at the perfect pace, not revealing too much too soon. The ending is exciting with an interesting, unexpected twist. I did feel a momentary bit let down by a portion of the ending being seemingly a bit to quick, a bit too easy -- no spoilers from me -- but I was immediately re-energized by an even bigger surprise that Hocking had up her sleeve to reveal at the very end.
At times, I felt the author spent a bit too much time cementing the idea that the story was set back in the 80's. Lists of movies playing at the theater, mentions of songs on the radio, just too many nods to the decade. It seemed a bit forced. But, that really didn't detract from the story.
The cover art is amazing!! The minute I saw the cover, I knew I just had to read this book!
Freeks is the first book by Amanda Hocking that I've read. The story is so creative and inventive...I can't wait to try more by this author!
Freeks releases January 3 from St. Martins Press. Amanda Hocking has written several other books including the Trylle Trilogy, the My Blood Approves series and Hollowland. To learn more about the author and her books, check out her website here.
GIVEAWAY: I am giving away one hardback copy of FREEKS!! TO ENTER: 1. Follow me on Twitter (@JuliWyant),
2. Retweet Twitter Blog Tour post: https://twitter.com/JuliWyant/status/814092042527707136
3. Leave a comment on this blog post below with your Twitter name.
US ENTRIES ONLY. Winner chosen randomly from all entries on January 3, 2017 at noon EST. The book will be mailed to the winner by the publisher!! :)
AMANDA HOCKING Q&A
1. Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
If it’s just the characters from FREEKS, and only one could win, I would put my money on Luka or maybe Roxie. Luka because he can heal from injuries, which gives him a crazy advantage, but Roxie is smart and she’s a survivor. Plus, she has the power of pyrokinesis, which I think I would come in handy in a battle to the death.
2. What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer silence?
I almost always listen to music when I write, unless I’m writing a really difficult scene. Sometimes the silence helps me focus, but most of the time, I prefer music. For FREEKS, I got to make a really fun 80s playlist, so I especially enjoyed working to that.
3. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve looked up in the name of research – or what do you think the government has maybe flagged you for?
There are sooo many things. For FREEKS, I had to do fun stuff like, “What does a dead body smell like?” and “How much blood can a human lose?” And then after those macabre questions, I did a bunch of googling on fireflies and tarot cards. My search history when I’m working can be pretty exciting like that.
4. What was your favorite part of writing FREEKS?
I love Southern Gothics and I love pulpy 80s horror movies, so I was excited to be able incorporate those things in FREEKS. But my favorite part was actually Mara and Gabe. I think they complement each other well, and it was fun writing their banter and flirtations.
5. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing your main characters from FREEKS?
For Mara, I envisioned Cassie Steele from the start. I used to be a hardcore Degrassi fan, and I loved Cassie Steele on that. For Gabe, I like Ryan Guzman. I saw him in a Jennifer Lopez movie, and I was like, “Yep. That could be Gabe.”
6. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I usually write between 11 am and 7 pm. I’ve tried to write earlier in the day and have more of a 8-5 type schedule, but I am not a morning person. My brain just doesn’t want to work much before noon.
7. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I usually have a goal in mind before I start writing, but it varies. Some days, it’s slow going and I hope to get at least 500 words out. Other days, I fly through with thousands of words. So it depends on where I’m at in the book, when it’s due, and how I’m feeling about the whole thing.
8. When you develop your characters, do you already have an idea of who they are before you write or do you let them develop as you go?
With all my main characters, I have a really good idea of who they are, and it’s just a matter of showing that to the readers. With the side characters, they tend to be rather one-dimensional, and they grow into the story as they’re needed.
9. How did writing Freeks differ from your writing your previous novels?
FREEKS was the first thing I had written in awhile that was started out just for me. For most of the past ten years, I have been writing my books with the intention of publishing them, with the audience and readers and trends in mind. I think I had gotten a little burnt out on trying to make everyone happy (mostly because it is impossible to please all readers all the time), and I just wanted to write something that for the sake of writing it.
And that turned out to be a gothic love story about a teenage girl travelling with a band of misfits in the 1980s. It was a very cathartic writing experience for me, and it reminded me of exactly why I loved writing in the first place – I love getting lost in the world, with the characters.
10. If Freeks had a theme song what would it be?
Either “Hush” by Limousines or “Head Over Heels” by Tears For Fears.
11. Can you please tell us a little bit about Freeks and where you got the inspiration to write it?
I was going through a rough patch, creatively speaking, and so I just sat back and tried to think of my favorite and what I loved most that I would want to write about.
When I was a kid, I used to get old books at garage sales all the time, and I distinctly remember getting Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King and a few old V. C. Andrews novels, which are pulpy Southern Gothic-esque novels. I also watched The Lost Boys and Pretty in Pink over and over again (I think I literally ruined the old VHS of The Lost Boys from watching it too much).
So I basically threw all those things together in a soup, and I picked apart the things I liked and wanted to explore more. That became a travelling sideshow in the 80s stopping Louisiana, where a supernatural monster is afoot, and a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is smith with a local boy with secrets of his own.
12. Freeks is full of many amazingly talented characters and I imagine it was really fun to create some of them, but which one was your favorite and why?
Mara and Gabe are my obvious favorites, since they’re the main characters because I was drawn to them and their story the most. Both of them of them have complex feelings about family and personal identity, and their instant chemistry was fun to write.
But I think Gideon – the namesake and head of sideshow – was actually the biggest surprise, which made him fun in a different way. In the original outlines of the story, he was much a different character – very one-note and cruel – but he completely changed and evolved as I was writing.
13. The book is based off of a type of traveling circus that is full of many mysterious acts. If you were to attend a Freekshow, which act would you want to see most?
My favorites are usually the acrobatics, but I think if I attended Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, I would be most excited to see Gideon’s magic act. With his skills and knowledge, I think it would be a really amazing show.
14. What do you hope readers will take away from FREEKS after reading it?
With some of my other novels, I deal with heavy themes like life and death, identity, honor, mortality, classism, and family. And while I do definitely touch on those themes in FREEKS, I mostly wrote it as an escape for myself, and that’s what I hope it is for other readers. Life can be hard and frustrating, and I just wanted to write a fun book that readers could get lost in for awhile.
15. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Probably how chronically shy I am. Writing is a weird profession, because a good 90% of it is perfect for introverts – you sit alone by yourself and make up imaginary friends to go on adventures. But the last 10% – which involves introducing the whole word to your imaginary friends – is the most exciting and rewarding part, but it’s also the most difficult when you’re as shy as I am.