Welcome! I’m so excited to be part of The Hawkweed Legacy Blog Tour. Today, Irena Brignull, the author of the amazing Hawkweed Prophecy series, is going to share her top 10 characters she would invite over to have dinner with her main characters.
ABOUT THE HAWKWEED LEGACY,
Hardcover, $18.00, August 15, 2017
Poppy is discovering a purpose for her powers in Africa, but she is haunted by a vision of her own death. Taken in by a boy and his great-grandmother, a healer, they vow to keep her safe-even if that ultimately means holding her captive. But Poppy never stops longing for Leo and, when she feels his magic begin to spark, she will do anything to be reunited with him.
Desperate to regain Poppy’s trust and bring her home, Charlock embarks on a plan to reunite Leo with his mother. What Charlock doesn’t foresee are the string of consequences that she sets into motion that leave Ember all alone and prey to manipulation, the clan open to attack from other witches, Sorrel vulnerable to Raven’s ghost, Betony determined to protect her son from his father’s fate, and which leave both Leo and Poppy in terrible danger.
ABOUT THE HAWKWEED PROPHECY By Irena Brignull, Trade Paperback (All new cover!) $10.99, August 15, 2017
Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.
Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.
Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?
Miss Haversham, Great Expectations
After being jilted at the altar, I think Miss Haversham really could have done with the support of a coven of witches. I can imagine her escaping the company of men and enjoying life out in the forest. Perhaps it would have prevented her ossifying and souring as the years went by. The bitterness she describes sounds savage – ‘sharper teeth than teeth of mice have gnawed at me’. Perhaps the witches can help heal these age-old wounds?
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
This calm, intelligent, thoughtful character might be just the right man to change the coven’s centuries’ old prejudice against the opposite sex. I think he’d understand them too. As he tells Scout – ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’. Poppy, Ember and Leo could all benefit from his fatherly wisdom too.
Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye
I like to think that Ember’s innocence and optimism, her burgeoning independence, might be the salve that jaded, exhausted Holden needs. Ember is the opposite of a ‘phony’ and Holden might help her ever becoming one. She, as well as Poppy and Leo, truly understand what it’s like to be an outsider.
Cassandra Mortmain, I Capture The Castle
Cassandra Mortmain was probably my first experience of a literary YA character. Well used to eccentricity, I think her sweetness and charm would make her a positive addition to the Poppy, Ember and Leo trio. Also, I’d love to read her diary entry about the dinner.
Sam Gamgee, The Lord of The Rings
Poor Leo has had a rough time of it in recent years. Abused by his step-father and brothers, he’s perhaps the most isolated of all the Hawkweed characters. Homeless and vulnerable, he could do with the friendship of someone as down-to-earth, loyal and brave as Sam.
I loved this character and her journey. As a hermaphrodite, she would really challenge the coven’s antiquated notions about gender. I like to think that, on knowing her, they would welcome her with open arms. I know that Poppy in particular would be drawn to her.
I’ve added Heathcliff because he’s the first literary character I fell for. I actually think he’d be a great dinner partner for Betony (from The Hawkweed Legacy). She too has a wild, passionate nature, and has lost so much in her life. I think she’d understand Heathcliff and Catherine’s love, the feeling that ‘he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.’
Celie, The Color Purple
Having endured so much abuse and bigotry in her life, I think Celie will relate to the coven and they to her. They care not for a person’s looks but only for their character. Also, Celie truly understands the bonds of sisterhood. With the help of her female friends, she has found her way through all the suffering to experience joy. The elders in the coven would definitely appreciate this notion – ‘I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.’ Celie might even open the witches’ eyes to a world beyond life in the forest.
Weird Sisters, Macbeth
I like to think of the three witches that Macbeth meets up on the moor as the ancestors of the Hawkweed witches. They certainly inspired the prophecy that trigger the events in the first Hawkweed novel. The Weird Sisters’ presence at dinner could make for an interesting family reunion.
Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter
The Hawkweed stories are full of strong female characters, but Hester Prynne is a true survivor. She refuses to be broken, despite society’s attempts to shame and isolate her. Like Raven, Charlock and Betony, she loves her daughter fiercely. Honest and compassionate throughout all that she’s endured, I think she’d be a great addition to the dinner.
I’m Irena Brignull, a screenwriter, novelist and mum. I live with my family in London but I was brought up outside the city in the beautiful Chiltern Hills. The other place that has my heart is Greece where many of my relatives are from.
My first novel, The Hawkweed Prophecy, was published in June 2016. The sequel, The Hawkweed Legacy, was published in June 2017.
I write screenplays too. My screenwriting credits include the Oscar nominated movie, The Boxtrolls, starring Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning and Simon Pegg. (I was nominated for Best Screenplay for that one at the Annie Awards in 2014.) My adaptation of The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne and starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, James Franco and Marion Cotillard, closed the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. I also adapted Skellig for Sky which starred Tim Roth, John Simm and Kelly MacDonald.
Before all this, I was a Script Executive at the BBC and then Head of Development at Dogstar Films where I was the script editor on Shakespeare in Love, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, I Capture the Castle and Bravo Two Zero to name a few.
And before that, I studied English Literature at Oxford University.
I don’t have much spare time but, in it, I like to read books and watch movies. It’s kind of my job, I know. But one day I plan to take up lots more hobbies – horse-riding, tap-dancing, baking, juggling…?
PRAISE FOR THE HAWKWEED PROPHECY:
“Brignull develops story and characters slowly, long, luxurious sentences balancing the magic and the mundane expertly and building the world of the witches by showing how out of place Ember is in it. Tension builds inexorably to the inevitable witch showdown, which brings small victories but not a happily-ever-after for all. The third person narration switches focus from character to character as they make frustrating, heart-rending, totally believable choices. Fantasy and nonfantasy readers alike will appreciate this gritty and intriguing coming-of-age story.”
“Brignull…debuts with an instantly engrossing novel…It’s a fantasy with the air of a classic, yet one that’s also entirely contemporary in its tight focus on identity, friendship, and romance. Ages 12-up.”—Publishers Weekly *Starred Review*
“Wildly delightful.”— Laini Taylor, author of The Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
“Wise, weird, a touch evil and totally charming, Irena Brignull’s tale of magic in our time is as rich and complicated as sisterhood. From the first page, I felt drawn into a modern classic.”
— Anna Godbersen, author of The Luxe and Bright Young Things series
“Irena Brignull’s The Hawkweed Prophecy is a book of wicked, beautiful magic. Compulsively readable and delightfully gritty, one does not mess with these Hawkweed witches.
— Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Three Dark Crowns
“I loved this book! Irena has created such beautifully complete world–our world, and nestled within it, a simmering world of magic. The Hawkweed Prophecy has everything: friendship, desire, delicious earthy magic, secrets and spells and at its centre, the wonderful young Poppy, on a journey of self-discovery. I so hope there is more to come!”
— Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and A Most Magical Girl
“The Hawkweed Prophecy was bewitching from the get-go. Irena Brignull does an amazing job weaving a tale of pure magic in this debut novel. She’ll have you on a roller coaster of emotions from the very first page. Get ready to be spellbound.”
— Paige McKenzie, author of the New York Times bestselling Haunting of Sunshine Girl series
“Brignull’s The Hawkweed Prophecy is a deft exploration of friendship, sacrifice and betrayal. I can’t decide who I love more, the sweet and trusting Ember or the spunky, dark Poppy. You can’t help but cheer for both girls, and ache when they are pitted against one another. I was completely absorbed in the sinister, complicated world of magic and witches. The coven is described so confidently and beautifully, it’s hard to emerge from the novel without wondering if these women are operating somewhere just below the surface of our world. Full of romance, heart and suspense, readers will find themselves staying up all night just to spend a little more time with Ember and Poppy.”
— Madeleine Roux, author of the New York Times bestseller Asylum
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