Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mistwood by Leah Cypess Review + Interview

The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwod.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty--because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can't help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

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If you guys follow me on twitter, you saw my immediate reaction after I finished reading Mistwood. It was something along the lines of...

"Just finished Mistwood by Leah Cypess--- WOW! This book was absolutely amazing! Just, wow. Wow again. And one more wow."

I did not see this book coming! There were so many twists and turns, and while I'm usually pretty good at predicting outcomes, I didn't guess anything right at all. The best part was, it was so well written and so well put together that despite all the shocking twists it was never hard to follow what was going on. It also wasn't what I was expecting. The cover art and the premise of shape shifters made me think it would be more paranormal fantasy with werewolves or something, but this was more like Graceling in all the right ways.

In fact, I liked it so much I decided to contact Leah and let her know, and she was kind enough to answer some questions for the blog!

ME: You started Mistwood seven years ago. At what point in the writing process did you decide to purse publication?

LEAH: That was my goal from the beginning. In fact, Mistwood was the fifth manuscript I submitted to publishers seeking publication.

ME: Mistwood has so many twists and turns! Did you plan them out ahead of time? Did anything in your story take you by surprise?

LEAH: I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I started the story without knowing anything about what would happen or how it would end. Some of the plot twists I discovered while I was writing them. Others I had an idea of ahead of time, but I wouldn't say I planned them... I just
kind of waited for the right time to spring them.

ME: What is the hardest part of writing for you? The easiest?

LEAH: The actual writing is both of those things, depending on the day. Some days the words fly from my pen and I barely feel like I'm making things up... it's almost like the story already exists and I'm just taking transcription. Other days, I can't figure out what comes next or who my characters are or why I ever thought I could be a writer in the first place.

ME: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

LEAH: Well, the first step is obviously to hone your writing. I wrote on my own for many years before I joined critique groups, and I think that was valuable, because it allowed me to find my own voice and build confidence in my writing before submitting it for criticism. Once you've reached that level, though, a critique group or critique partners is extremely helpful.

If you're ready to send your work to agents or editors, my main advice would be (1) to not give up and (2) to not pin your hopes too much on a single manuscript. Like I said, Mistwood was the fifth manuscript I submitted for publication, and I truly believe some of the earlier ones were also publishable (and maybe I'll manage to resurrect them someday), but they didn't hit the right editor at the right time. Having the best manuscript you can is important, but there is also a large element of chance involved. So while you're submitting that first manuscript, you should be working on the second -- and the second probably shouldn't be a sequel. It should be something you can send out fresh.

ME: What are you working on next?

LEAH: I'm currently revising a companion novel to Mistwood, which is scheduled for publication in 2011.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

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Thanks again to Leah for taking the time to answer my questions! And you guys all be sure to check out Mistwood-- it debuts TODAY!!


  1. Thanks, Kat, for the great review and interview. Now I have another book for my TBR pile. Groan. I'm never going to get around to rereading the great books already on my bookshelves.

  2. Thanks for the great interview. Now I've got another book to add to my ever-growing to-read list.

  3. Great interview!! Now another book goes on the list! I'll be broke by the end of the year. LOL. :)

  4. Great interview, Kat! I'll have to check Mistwood out.

    In other news, some INCREDIBLY SLOW person will be sending you a package SOON. (Hey, it's more fun when you have NO IDEA when it's arriving, right?) Uh.

    Hope revisions are still going well! :)

  5. Good interview. I like the emphasis being on honing one's writing. An author does not wake up one morning with greatness, she/he works hard at the craft to reach excellence.

  6. I have an award waiting for you at my place. :)