10 Bits of Trivia About the book by author Kaki Olsen
10. Family and friends' names litter the book, whether it's the psychologist named for the author's nephew or the restaurant that does in fact share its name with her best friend.
9. From first word to first publishing, the book took four years to write, revise, rewrite, query, revise and design. The total number of drafts was twelve, most of them minor corrections.
8. There is a very different ending stored on the author's computer that drastically alters the course of the characters' lives and explores one character's experience with depression. It was hard for the author to give it up because she herself has clinical depression and felt that writing honestly about the experience was very cathartic.
7. The cover artist is Rebecca J. Greenwood who, apart from being a published author and professional artist, has been a friend of the author for several years and even danced in a musical that the author choreographed one wild summer.
6. The first draft of this book was sent off just before the author flew to Ireland for the first time. The last draft was turned in just before she left for a birthday vacation in Spain. It has been revised anywhere from her brother's living room in San Jose, CA to a cheap hotel room in New York City.
5. The Byrne family is the central group in the book with David and Sarah and three children. Their surname comes from the Irish word for "raven," pointing out the avian connection. The names of their three children are likewise Irish: Maeve means "intoxicating," Aislin means "dream" and Brendan means "prince." The heraldic crest shows three upraised hands, which the author took as a sign that yes, there were meant to be three siblings in the family.
4. The story originally started nearly 40 pages later than it currently does, with festivities on the Fourth of July. Then the author's roommate asked one question and the prologue and 15% of the plot resulted.
3. The author was not afraid to ask for opinions on certain points. At one stage, she feared that something would offend women, so she took it to friends on very opposite ends of the feminist spectrum and allowed four others to weigh in. When all six loved the idea, she kept it.
2. The first dedications goes to a high school friend who wrote her fan mail in 1999, saying that she'd be a great author someday The second is for her roommate/proofreader/best friend, who spent hours at a time helping her brainstorm.
1. The author had to consciously reduce the number of Red Sox references because she grew up as a Bostonian Mormon, which meant that she spends less time at church than she does checking baseball scores during the season.
My review: I enjoyed reading this book! I have never seen Swan Lake and I really had no idea what the story behind the ballet was, so I enjoyed this book just for the great piece of literature that it is.
I liked Aislin and Maeve. I loved the way that Aislin had some funny situations because of her curse. I can't even imagine being cursed in the way she was. Having to be a swan during the day and a girl at night. I loved the way that the whole family really adapted for just her. Night time trips instead of day, allowing her the shower time as soon as she changed back and things like that. I loved the way that Maeve was so protective of Aislin, always looking for a way to help her and make her life a little bit easier. And having to take care of anything that Aislin would have needed to do during the day but couldn't. Aislin didn't love that all the time, but she accepts the help because she really has no other choice.
I liked the way the book bounces back and forth between Maeve and Aislin, so you know what they're both thinking and what has happened to both of them, because they are not in the same place at the same time very often.
I loved the sweet way that Aislin falls in love, and how it takes longer than she thinks, but it's really a surprise to her that she has fallen in love. This is a clean romance that you won't have any problem with your teenager reading, and if you're a little older than a teen, you'll enjoy it too!
I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
About the author: Kaki Olsen regularly contributes academic papers on zombies or wizards to Life, the Universe and Everything, a sci-fi/fantasy symposium originated at her alma mater, Brigham Young University. Her published works have appeared in such magazines as Voices and AuthorsPublish.
Giveaway: The author is running a giveaway tied to the book release. If you take a picture showing that you have bought the book and send it to me here, you will be in the running for a $25 Amazon.com gift card.