Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Katherine Marsh talks heroes, plus win her new book!

Today's post is all about Katherine Marsh and her new book Jepp, Who Defied the Stars! As you might have seen earlier in the week from my review, this is a book that is well worth your time! A gorgeous mix of historical and fantasy elements, Jepp's story is hard to stop reading once you start!

I'm lucky enough to have Katherine Marsh herself here today. She'll be sharing a guest post with you and was also kind enough to bring along a copy for giveaway! So read on my friends, read on.

Greetings, Bibliophiles and thank you, Jessica!

My new book, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, features one of the most unusual heroes you’ll ever meet. Jepp is not quite four feet tall. He has two birthdays and a name that’s not his own. This sounds like a riddle, doesn’t it? In a sense, it is, one that reading Jepp, Who Defied the Stars will answer. But I will reveal a little more about my book and Jepp as I tackle Jessica’s assignment to share the literary heroes I adore most.

Hero is probably the wrong word since some of my favorite books are populated by the female variety--heroines. One of my favorite books as a kid was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Loved this book. It’s the story of Karana, a 19th-century Native American girl, who ends up left behind on an island off the California coast. Like Jepp (who served the eccentric 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe), Karana is a real historical character. A one-girl Robinson Crusoe, she managed to survive alone on the island for eighteen years. As an only child who sometimes felt lonely, I really identified with Karana. Jepp, who ends up stuck on an island too at one point in his adventures, would identify with her as well.

Most of us don’t have to survive nature but all of us have to survive nurture. There’s heroism too in facing up to your family—to who they are, to their mistakes and flaws, to who you are apart from them. As anyone with parents know, it can be quite epic (just ask Jepp!). Another of my favorite heroines, Sal, the narrator of Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, embodies this type of heroism. Just like Jepp, over the course of a journey away from home, Sal learns painful secrets about her family, particularly her mother. Her heroism is displayed in how she decides to process this information—and her refusal to let it negatively define her.

While Karana faces up to self and Sal to family, my final favorite hero, Octavian Nothing, faces up to society. The Octavian Nothing books by M.T. Anderson tell the tale of one teenager’s struggle against racial injustice against the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War. Like Jepp, who is a dwarf, Octavian, who is the son of an African slave, is an outsider who must battle prejudice at every turn. Like Jepp, Octavian finds himself imprisoned by people who see him as a plaything. His subsequent rebellion is a feat of both physical and intellectual heroism.

I haven’t quite answered the riddle about Jepp’s two birthdays or his name—you’ll have to read the book for that--but hopefully I’ve wet your appetite for a tale spun from real history, with adventure, family secrets, outsiders, and a small and unusual hero who will loom large.


For more, check out or follow me on twitter @MarshKatherine or on facebook/katherinemarshauthor

I’m the author of the upcoming historical YA novel Jepp, Who Defied the Stars (out October 9th!), the Edgar-award winning The Night Tourist, and a sequel, The Twilight Prisoner (read if you like ghosts, New York City history, and Greek myths).

A few interesting tidbits about me: I used to write for Rolling Stone magazine, I’m a Scorpio, and I’m really claustrophobic so if you meet me in an elevator, for god sakes, give me space!


A huge thanks to Katherine Marsh for stopping by!

As promised, you can enter to win a copy of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars of your very own!

Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Open to U.S. and Canada only.
Winner will be chosen on 10/2/12.



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