Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Book Information supplied by Nancy Allen of the Avid Reader Book Tours
Title: The Child of Denys
By Nicole Gillette
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade Fantasy Fiction
Publication Date: 10/31/2012

BLURB supplied by Nancy Allen of the Avid Reader Book Tours 

When Katie finds a cat hiding in her mother's garden, she has no idea the kinds of adventure that await her.

 A new kid appears in school at the same time Katie's friends and family begin having nightmares, and she begins to have amazingly vivid dreams. In her dreams this new cat speaks to her, telling of darkness that has invaded the Dream Realm and encouraging her to begin a journey to help save not only the Dream Realm but the real world as well.

Max, the new kid in school, has a dog that seemed to adopt him. Just as the cat had claimed Katie. Max's mom recently died in a car accident and his father had a very difficult time dealing with her death. That left Max alone and without any friends other than his new dog.

Katie, her family and her friends learn that a simple, caring gesture is sometimes all it takes to change the course of the world. Join Katie and Max as they learn the true power of our dreams and the importance of our friendships.

The cover features a cat which ties in with the story of a cat befriending and kind of adopting Katie so it fits well with the book. the cover is relatively plain with boxes for the photographic image of the cat and another box for the title, with the author details positioned at the foot of the book. I aren't very keen on the cover as I feel the box for the title details could either be smaller fitting around the title or contain the authors name too. I find the cover to be a little too simplistic even for the taste of middle grade readers, it needs to be more eye catching, perhaps as dreams feature in the book have a dreaminess edge to it. I mean once you read the blurb the book does sound appealing and interesting but will the book make it off the shelf into the middle graders hand to read and be hooked by the blurb. To me the cover suggest that this book could be a factual book on cats rather than a great sounding fiction title.
Would I pick this up from a book store shelf? Apologies to the author, Nicole Gillette, but my honest answer is no. However reading the blurb I would be more likely to download/gift the e-book to a suitably aged child as with an E-book I feel the cover is somewhat less important, and doesn't necessarily feature as heavily in choosing a book as it does with a paperback copy.

Almost as if she was reading my mind, Phoebe said “Go child, eat this and nothing will harm you.”  She handed me what looked like a small stone.“This is just a rock!” I argued.  “We do not have time for arguing.”  Phoebe said impatiently.  “Eat and you will be fine.”  Fine?  How could I be fine?  Feeling like I had no other choice I began to wade into the water.
As I entered the water I put the small stone in my mouth.  On first taste it was as sour as a lemon.  I felt my tongue dry in response to the acidic flavor.
I began to chew the stone, and the sour taste began to change into a delicate, fruity flavor.  It was a flavor I had never tasted before, yet seemed so familiar.  It was like everything good I had ever eaten was combined into one momentary taste.  As I swallowed the last bit of the stone I felt an odd warm sensation in my head.
I braced myself for the cold I expected, but found the water was actually warm.  Not quite as warm as the water I run for my bath, but certainly not cold.
Wading deeper into the water I felt strange creatures brushing up against my legs.  “Do not fear, Child.”  Phoebe yelled from the shore. “If you are not afraid they will not harm you.”  ‘Don’t be afraid’ I thought, ‘Yeah right; they aren’t the ones in the water.’

Nicole Gillette (or Nikki to her friends and family) describes herself as a wife, mother, crafter, gardener, chef and whatever else is needed. She stays busy following her two children around to sporting events, creating amazing art pieces, writing, and running her online business "Creating Amidst Chaos".  (link urlhttp://www.etsy.com/shop/CreatingAmidstChaos)

Growing up in Northern Michigan Nikki learned to appreciate spending time outdoors. She enjoys camping, hiking and fishing and collects memories and mementos on her trips to use in scrapbooks, crafts, art projects and writing. Nothing is off limits to use!

As she began to explore different art techniques her friends and family encouraged her to teach lessons on scrapbooking and mixed media art. As a result she developed a series of written tutorials that are now available in e-book format.

In addition to the crafting tutorials she has written children's books that are engaging and entertaining for children and adults as well. Most of the inspiration for her writing come from the wonder she sees in the eyes of her children as they explore our world.

Nikki ensures us that as a 'Jack-of-all-Trades' you can be sure of only one thing. As time goes by she will develop and change so you can expect her projects and writings to do the 



What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Nicole Gillette, my friends and family call me Nikki.  I was born in the Detroit area of Michigan, but my family moved to the Traverse City area when I was young.  I grew up in a little town called Fife Lake.  After my husband and I were married we lived in the Lansing area for a few years, but I just couldn’t handle ‘city life’, so we moved back North.  I now live in South Boardman, the town just next door to Fife Lake.  My kids attend the same school I graduated from.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
The ideas for the book came from a few different places.  First off, my daughter Katie told us so many stories when she was growing up.  She told my dad once that “She hated it when I put spiders in her jammies, especially the pink ones!” (I assure I have NEVER put spiders in ANY of her clothes!!!).  She spent almost a year believing that she could ‘breathe through her ears’,  and many, many other little stories that were quite memorable.  Several of these stories made it into the book.
Secondly, when Katie was young she and her brother picked out a pair of kittens from the local shelter.  Katie insisted on naming her kitten Dennis - even though we knew she was a girl.  We spend days trying to persuade her to find a more appropriate name, but she was adamant - and to this day we still have a girl cat named Dennis. 
The relationship Katie has with Dennis is quite amazing.  She taught the cat to climb a ladder to get up into her bed, taught the cat to push a button (there is another story behind THAT!), and Dennis is almost always right at Katie’s heels where ever they happen to be.
Those two ideas together combined in my mind and swirled together a bit until I had to start writing.  From there I had a loose idea of what was going to happen but the plot kind of developed on its own.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I had many friends and family read the book and give me ideas for editing.  I think there were three different ‘pre-release’ versions I ordered until everyone felt it was ready.  I knew I had a winner when my husband took it out to his deer blind and go so taken in with the story he missed an opportunity to shoot a deer.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Some of the names were easy, like Katie and Dennis, but when it came to some of the places in the Dream Realm, and some of the characters there I did some research on the internet.  I found some names that had association with the characters I was thinking of, and portrayed the traits I wanted for those characters.  For instance - St. Denys is known in some places as a guide or guardian.

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
It is a little bit of both.  I had a loose idea of my characters but then once I found a name I added a bit of the lore behind that name to their traits.  Those stories I found about my characters helped fill in the holes I had in my mind about who they were, and what they were about.  It helped make them more ‘real’ to me.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
The characters developed as I went along.  It was kind of like meeting a new friend.  At first, you know the basics about them, but the more time you spend together the deeper your knowledge grows.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I knew the basic endpoint of the story, and I knew where it began.  From there the rest of it filled itself in.  There were several different ideas of who would be the ‘villain’ in the story, but I had to write the entire book to find out who it was in the end.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
In addition to an author I am also an artist.  I mostly do mixed media work, but I am know to dabble in many different mediums.  To see more about my art you can check out my etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/creatingamidstchaos

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?
Right now I am reading (actually re-reading) The Book Thief by Mark Zuzak.  I absolutely LOVE the characters and the way the story is narrated by Death.  It shows how  people can have hope, even in some of the darkest times.  I am reading it on my phone right now because my Nook has been apprehended by my daughter.  I do like an actual book, but it is so convenient to have hundreds of books right at my fingertips.  No more finishing a book on Saturday night, and having the library closed until Monday.

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
Yes, I have a set of books actually.  “The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver” and “The Adventures of Prickly Porky” by Thornton W. Burgess and “Fairy Tales of Long Ago” edited by M.C. Carey.  All three of these books were books my father read when he was young.  I had to hide them from my dad when I went to  college, I took them with me even though he didn’t want me to…..  He now knows they have a safe home on the bookshelves in my living room.


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