The Thing with Feathers
On sale September 5, 2017
Happy November, Blink readers! I’m so excited to introduce you to our upcoming title, The Thing with Feathers, the story of Emilie Day, a sixteen-year-old girl trying to keep her epilepsy secret as she navigates the classes, cliques, and crushes of her new high school.
Here to celebrate the announcement of this book with me is author McCall Hoyle. McCall is an award-winning author and a high school English teacher (so she knows high school better than any of us!).
JM: Welcome, McCall! We’re thrilled to talk about The Thing with Feathers with you. Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the book.
MH: Oh, Jillian. This book is truly the book of my heart, and I’m thrilled to talk about my inspiration. Mostly, I am inspired by the teenage girls who I teach. They’re witty and smart and strong and beautiful but don’t always see themselves that way. I wanted to write a story about a girl who is forced to choose between defining herself on her own terms and defining herself by society’s terms. I hope readers will find themselves rooting for Emilie the way I root for the girls in my life.
JM: The title of the book is based on an Emily Dickinson poem. What similarities are there between our Emilie Day and the famous Emily Dickinson?
MH: Emilie Day loves nature and dogs and words and poetry. She’s curious and introspective—as happy exploring the world inside her head as the world around her. I think Emilie and Emily would have been fast friends had they lived in the same place and time.
JM: Spoiler alert: my favorite person (errr…dog) in this book is Hitch, Emilie’s assistant dog. Is Hitch based on a puppy you know?
MH: Hitch, Emilie’s golden retriever, is one of my favorite characters in the book too. He’s more human than some people. He loves Emilie fiercely and helps her learn the true meaning of unconditional love. And he was totally based on my mom’s therapy dog, Chip. The real Chip is noble and brave. If you watch closely, you can see him thinking and trying to please humans. One time we were running errands on a cool day and left Chip in the car for a few minutes. We also accidentally left groceries, including two freshly roasted rotisserie chickens in the back seat with Chip. We returned to a pair of mournful brown eyes and a bit of doggy drool, but he did not touch the chicken. The look on his face totally said, “I’m a really good dog, but this one was tough even for me.” Honestly, I could write a whole book just about the special bonds between golden retrievers and the people who love them.
JM: Chatham York is an extremely swoony love interest, but he isn’t perfect. How do you think he and Emilie complement each other when they’re both going through such different trials in their lives?
MH: In some ways, Emilie and Chatham are polar opposites. He’s all physical and dives into life and sports and relationships, ready to give one-hundred-and-twenty-percent. Emilie has good reasons to hold back physically and emotionally. But they share an interest in classic eighties movies and a sense of determination about accomplishing their goals. They challenge each other to be the best they can be.
JM: The setting of The Thing with Feathers—the Outer Banks of North Carolina—is practically a character in the book. What inspired this location? Have you spent a lot of time there?
MH: After graduating from college, I lived on the Outer Banks for several years. One of my favorite things about these barrier islands is their isolation and rawness and really their strength. They’re little strips of land jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean with their backs to the Albemarle sound. They look like they could be obliterated at any minute by a large wave or a small storm, but like Emilie, they’re stronger and more resilient than they look.
Thanks so much, McCall! Readers, stay tuned for more posts on The Thing with Feathers and from McCall, and be sure to preorder the book at the link below!
About the Book
Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.
Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.
Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”
From Golden Heart award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes The Thing with Feathers, a story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Sharon M. Draper.
About the Author
McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.
About the Cover
Love the cover as much as we do? Check out the exclusive cover reveal story with Romantic Times here.