A Mortal Song
by Megan Crewe
Publisher: Another World Press
Release Date: September 13th 2016
by Megan Crewe
Publisher: Another World Press
Release Date: September 13th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy
Sora's life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.
Heir to Mt. Fuji's spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother's last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents' true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world's natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.
As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she's ever known.
"Megan Crewe's A Mortal Song is engrossing from the first chapter. The world of the kami is beautifully fantastic and delicately drawn, and the switched-at-birth scenario made me instantly feel for both of these resilient, brave girls. A Mortal Song has lots of magic, lots of heart, and lots to love." -Kendare Blake, author of Three Dark Crowns.
Hello Megan! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.
It’s impossible to pick just one! I can say that the book I’ve re-read the most in adulthood is Megan Whalen Turner’s The King of Attolia, because it is so good and I basically want to absorb everything she does with her writing.
Favorite TV show?
Also really hard to narrow this down… Maybe Star Trek: The Next Generation? I loved that as a teen and still enjoy it when I rewatch.
See above re: picking just one. ;) But my go-to answer is The Princess Bride, which I do love very much.
Your Favorite Song?
Varies from day to day, but what I think of as my theme song is Ani Difranco’s “Joyful Girl”.
Pizza or Hakka-style crispy ginger chicken.
Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
Hmmm. Most of the fictional places I’ve read about would be pretty dangerous to live in! Let’s say the planet in The Keeper of the Isis Light (Monica Hughes), the magical world of the Magic Thief series (Sarah Prineas), and Hogwarts, post-Voldemort’s defeat.
Who is your perfect fictional boyfriend?
*points to favorite book* I must admit to being inordinately fond of Eugenides, although I suffer under no illusions that he’d be a perfect partner. ;)
“You are what you love, not what loves you.” from the movie Adaptation
What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?
My favorite books and characters, of course!
If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be?
Douglas Adams. Just to listen to him talk about whatever he wanted to. I’m sure it would have been both illuminating and entertaining.
Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about A Mortal Song and the world in it?
A Mortal Song is basically a reversal of the standard “main character finds out s/he is secretly a supernatural being” storyline, where instead the protagonist grew up believing she was magical, only to discover she’s actually a human changeling put in place as a decoy to protect her parents’ real daughter. It’s set in modern-day Japan, and incorporates all sorts of places there, from isolated forest valleys to big, vibrant cities like Tokyo.
Can you tell us a little bit about Sora and her personality?
Sora is very dedicated to what she believes is her life’s purpose and also very determined to serve it well, so she can’t help finding the revelation that she’s “just” an ordinary human being hard to take. But she’s gradually able to see that many of the things she treasured about being kami—music and dancing, making a difference in people’s lives—can be a part of her new life as well. She’s sensitive to other people’s emotions and always wants to understand why they do what they do, but she has difficulty forgiving someone she trusted if they break that trust.
How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?
The basic concept came to me after reading a couple of books back to back where the main character found out she wasn’t human but a magical being hidden away for her own protection. I started wondering what it would be like to end up on the opposite side of that sort of trade—to have to deal with having your powers stripped away rather than learning to use new ones. It felt like a premise with tons of potential for character growth and angst!
I also wanted to challenge not one particular story but the broad body of work that seems to suggest it’s better—more exciting, more meaningful, more useful—to be a supernatural being than simply human. I think there are some pretty extraordinary elements to human nature, and I wanted to offer some appreciation to those.
Tell us your favorite quote from A Mortal Song.
That’s hard to answer, but one of my favorite quotes is this bit where Sora compares kami and human bravery: “Being human, the answers aren’t obvious. You have to choose whether you do the difficult thing or the easy thing. It takes a lot more courage to do the difficult thing you don’t have to do, that scares you, than to just... follow what you automatically know to do.”
Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?
The first kissing scene was a lot of fun. I enjoy writing the romantic parts in general, and that one was nicely placed amid a bunch of ongoing plot tension, plus allowed lots of awkwardness and uncertainty in the aftermath. (I may be a little bit of a sadist when it comes to my characters… ;) )
If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for A Mortal Song – Which one would you pick?
“Evolution” by Ayumi Hamasaki. It’s been the unofficial theme song for the book from early on in the writing process!
Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters?
I have actor “models” for most of the major characters, but unfortunately I think most/all of them would be too old to actually play them now! If time travel were possible, Sora would be played by Aoi Yu, Keiji by Tatsuya Fujiwara, and Takeo by Takeshi Kaneshiro. (See pics here: http://www.megancrewe.com/blog/?p=3015) I never was able to find anyone who quite captured Chiyo’s essence.
Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read A Mortal Song (specific music, snacks…)?
I think the perfect setting for reading the book out be somewhere outdoors where you can hear the wind in the trees, with a fresh pot of tea at your side.
What’s next for you?
I’m still waiting to find that out myself! Although A Mortal Song was a foray into self-publishing for me, I’m continuing to write for traditional publication as well. I do intend to have at least one YA novel out next year, by one means or another, but which one it’ll be is up in the air at the moment.
Something to say to our Book Addicts?
Thank you so much for all the ways you support authors, whether by simply by reading, or by leaving reviews or talking books up on social media, or anything else! Readers are my favorite people. J
Thank you so much for everything, Megan!
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she's spent the last six years studying kung fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.
Megan's first novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her second, THE WAY WE FALL, was nominated for the White Pine Award and made the International Reading Association Young Adults' Choices List. Her Fallen World trilogy (THE WAY WE FALL, THE LIVES WE LOST, THE WORLDS WE MAKE) is now complete and she has a new trilogy forthcoming in October 2014, beginning with EARTH & SKY. Her books have been published in translation in several countries around the world. She has also published short stories in magazines such as On Spec and Brutarian Quarterly.