Book Reviews / Guest Authors

Book Review & Interview-The Mind’s Eye- K.C.Finn

 

TheMind'sEye

I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.

15-year-old Kit Cavendish and her 10 year-old-brother, Leighton, are traveling by train to a village in North Wales, while their mother remains in London to help with the war effort. Kit suffers from a physical disability; therefore she spends the majority of her time in a wheelchair. However, Kit has an extraordinary physic gift- she’s able to visit other people’s minds, to feel their emotions, see through their eyes, and even speak to them. One day Kit finds herself inside the mind of a 17-year-old Norwegian boy named Henri. As their bond strengthens, Kit utilizes her physic gifts to help Henri survive World War II. Meanwhile, Kit has to deal with the absence of her mother and father (who has seemingly vanished) her physical disability, and the Ty Gwyn family drama.

As Kit and Leigh travel to the Ty Gwyn farm, Officer Lewis assures them: “Oh it’s a lovely village this, you’ll have everything you could ever want in Bryn Eira Bach,” (13). Kit isn’t so sure. “I felt a bitter taste in my mouth, but I smiled back before I looked out the window. Unless this distant village could somehow make me able-bodied again and then give me a handsome young chap to go dancing with, I knew that Lewis’s promises, and my hopes, couldn’t ever come true,” (13).

While there are numerous novels which take place in World War II, K.C. Finn’s The Mind’s Eye offers a fresh perspective. An outsider would most likely assume that Kit is fragile; a poor girl confined to a wheelchair. An insider however, quickly realizes how physically and mentally strong Kit really is. In fact, utilizing her physic abilities, she helps numerous people survive the war. It’s interesting to see Kit’s view of the war: “From the top of the dune a row of black figures had appeared as if they had emerged from the night sky itself,” (184).

The Mind’s Eye is extremely well written and well executed with colorful characters (bratty Blod and surly Dr.Bickerstaff were two of my favorites) and the perfect amount of romance between Kit and Henri. “It felt like someone had released a flock of birds into my chest; every part of me trembled and fluttered as I firmly decided that this was the best feeling of my life,” (158). Anyone who enjoys historical fiction, paranormal activity, and an unlikely hero, will enjoy this amazing novel.

Make sure to check out the cover (which is fabulous) and read K.C. Finn’s ‘Inspiration Behind The Mind’s Eye’ at the end of the novel.

K.C. Finn, Keep Calm and Answer These Twenty-Six Questions

1. Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been? As I’ve progressed in my career as a writer, one crucial thing I’ve learned is that a vocabulary full of bizzare and obscure words is fun, but it doesn’t get you anywhere in this field! Whilst I adore odd words and am a collector of strange dialects, I find that in my writing the real talent is using simple words that everyone can understand, but placing them in the best way to craft something new and beautiful from their usage.

2. What is your favorite color? Green. I’m not really a big fan of nature or anything like that, so I’m not sure where my attraction to all things green comes from, but I love it!

3. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Cardiff, South Wales which is part of the UK (it’s not in England, for those of you who think it is!). I actually do live in the north of England now but I grew up in South Wales and it’s influenced a lot of my recent work including my newest novel, The Mind’s Eye.

4. What is your favorite football team? I am not a sports fan at all. When I visit the States I do enjoy watching baseball, AF and basketball live but that’s more for the atmosphere and the culture of the event than to support anyone specific. I find that sports venues in the UK are not very pleasant places so it’s nice to be able to come to the States and see it as more of a family-friendly event.

5. Who is your favorite author? Vladimir Nabokov taught me everything I ever needed to know about the human condition and what it really means to connect with a character. Humbert Humbert will be forever etched into my soul.

6. What is your favorite book? As per the answer above, I would say Lolita. I do love to read books that were banned for one reason or another, but in terms of moden prose I’d say The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss is pretty stunning.

7. What do you do when you are not writing?  I enjoy reading and watching good television and films. I have a long-term medical condition which prevents me from any more exciting hobbies than that, I’m afraid!

8. Do you have a day job as well? Sadly not any more. My condition has forced me to leave work at the present time. I was a teach and a private tutor which I enjoyed immensely, but it’s a job that requires a lot more energy and stamina than most people give it credit for!

9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Don’t just expect to put a book out there and have everyone flock to read it. This business requires hard graft and a mind for marketing. You need to be spending every free minute you have networking and engaging with your readership. You can’t expect to earn a place on their bookshelves otherwise.

10. Is being a writer a curse or a gift? I lost my confidence as a writer for several years after some incredibly negative feedback during my time at university. At that time I felt that my overactive imagination and the stories and characters that invaded my head were a nuisance because I didn’t feel skilful; enough to bring their stories to life. Now of course my life is a very different story! I actually prefer the tales in my head to real life a lot of the time and it’s wonderful to be blessed with a writer’s mind.

11. Where do you write? Wherever I’m comfortable. I’m usually on my own for a few hours every morning so I get the living room to myself. I can park on my big, comfy sofa with the laptop on my knee and just let the words flow. I write best first thing in the morning nowadays.

12. Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write? I usually have to have complete silence whilst I’m writing, which isn’t always that easy to achieve! Occasionally when I’m really in the zone of a piece I can abide a little noise around me, but if anyone tries to speak to me they’re not likely to get an answer until I’ve finished what I want to do!

13. What do you typically drink while writing? I’m not someone who stops for breaks when I write, so typically I’ll set a cup of tea down, write for three hours and then go ‘Oh crap, I forgot to drink my tea’.

14. What challenges have you had in regards to your writing life?  My illness is the biggest thing getting in my way right now. It’s a chronic condition that affects my mobility and concentration and leave me in pain and fatigue every single day of my life. I get very upset with myself if a day goes by and I haven’t made progress on my current projects, but slowly I’m learning to accept that moderation is the key to getting things done!

15. When did you first start and when did you finish your book? This particular novel was written by accident actually. It took less than forty days to write, edit and proof into the book you see today. I woke up from a nap with a vague idea of Kit and her abilities in late September and I was doing NaNoWriMo from November the first, so I knew if I was going to knock this novel out it would have to be finished in less than six weeks! It was a daunting ride but I really enjoyed the challenge of it.

16. If your book is made into a movie, which actors/actresses do you envision playing the parts? For Kit I imagine Georgie Henley, who is famed for her part as Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia series. Henri actually looks like the ballroom dancer Aljaz Skorjanec in my head, so I find it hard to pick an actor for him! Doctor Bickerstaff would have to be played by Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey and Dominique Swain is a nice fit for the character of Blod Price.

17. What does your protagonist think of you? Would he/she want to hang out with you? I think she might pity me actually, because I gave her a similar condition to my own, except I gave her the chance to recover and improve. My illness has no cure and my condition is constantly deteriorating, so I don’t think I’d be that fun for Kit to hang out with since she’s getting healthier!

18. How do you market your book? What avenues work best? I’ve found that it’s not really about smacking twitter or facebook with endless lines of advertising in order to make your books fly off the shelves. What really matters is the networking you do with readers, bloggers and fellow authors, because their influence and opinions are what a lot of other people will base their judgements on. If you can get a good network of people together and all support one another, then you start to see everyone rising to a collective level of success as time goes by. We’re not in competition with each other, after all.

20. What has been the toughest criticism so far? There hasn’t been much criticism for The Mind’s Eye at all as yet, everyone seems to love it which is amazing for me. One thing I’ve noticed recurring in comments I get is that Kit and Henri seem to be a lot more mature than 15 and 17. What I would say to that is: remember that this book is set in 1939. Maturity was a very different thing to what it is today, teenagers had to grow up and assume adult roles very quickly, especially in wartime, and The Mind’s Eye is a reflection of two young people doing just that.

21. What has been the best compliment? To find that people really received the character of Steven Bickerstaff well. I was unsure about his presentation and whether readers (especially younger readers) would understand his mental anguish and the issues he’s dealing with in the story, so to have so many people come back to me and say that he’s their favourite character has been a wonderful experience! He carries a lot of my own personal bad qualities and issues, so it’s been a huge relief to see people have empathy for his personality and really embrace him!

22. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? Kit is in a wheelchair at the start of the novel and throughout it she suffers from juvenile arthritis. I chose this condition for her because it carries a lot of the musculoskeletal symptoms that I have to face every day of my life. It has been an honour to see readers giving Kit so much respect for the disability she has to deal with and still being able to view her as a strong young woman even though she’s physically weak. If that same attitude could be translated into people’s real lives, then people like me would have a lot less bad energy to deal with day to day.

23. How did you come up with the title? The character of Idrys Pengelly actually calls Kit’s power ‘the mind’s eye’ during the book. I didn’t originally have a title for the novel at all but after I’d written that section I came back to it and realised that it had the appropriate intrigue and mystery for a title.

24. Will there be a sequel? Yes! I’m pleased to say there will be five books in the series all together. The books leap forward in time each time to bring you a different period of British history with a different main character, but all of the characters are connected to Kit in some way so you’ll still see her and other characters from The Mind’s Eye returning to the story from time to time.

The second novel is called Leighton’s Summer and it jumps to the end of the war in 1945, focusing on Kit’s brother Leighton (now 15) as he spends the summer with his grandmother in the seaside town of Blackpool, where of course huge trouble and drama ensues. The Mind’s Eye is released on April 1st and Leighton’s Summer will be out within a fortnight after that so that people can continue the tale right away. The third instalment is planned for September 2014.

25. What project are you working on now? I currently have about five projects going! I have two novellas that continue by self-pub urban fantasy series Shadeborn due out in June so I’m working on those, but I’m also preparing a non-fiction book about my illness and toying with a Victorian gothic horror novel that scares the pants off me every time I sit down to write it!

26. What question did I leave out that you’d like to answer? Nothing! That was a total marathon and I really enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the chance to talk so comprehensively about my work!

Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and Thank the Lord You’re Welsh (only Catatonia fans are going to get that one!)

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13 Comments

  1. I’ve been there with #10. I wonder if most writers have that moment where they’re made to believe what they’re doing is pointless, so they quit. Yet they always return at some point.
    Charles Yallowitz recently posted…The Home Fire is here!My Profile

  2. I have a Welsch background too!

    Loved the sound of this book, really. I’ll have to check this one out. Isn’t the best part of books in finding different perspectives? Plus, I definitely trust your opinion Kristy, and it sounds like you like it.

    I had a great time reading the interview as well. I’m glad the author found her confidence again and presses on even if her body isn’t keeping up with her spirit! Good for you!
    Katie Cross recently posted…Proofs, Bookmarks, and Your Faces.My Profile

  3. Wonderful interview! This book sounds interesting by an inspiring author. Best wishes for success, K.C.!

  4. Thank you so much for the feature Kristy! <3

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  8. Pingback: 57: Keep Calm and Happy Easter!

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