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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Story Secrets: STORK by Wendy Delsol + giveaway!

Today I'm excited to have debut author Wendy Delsol on the blog to chat about her contemporary myth-come-to-life, STORK - plus she has generously included a giveaway (see below for details).

I met Wendy through the awesome new YA blog, YA Outside the Lines, and am very pleased to welcome her!


Borrowing from Norse mythology, STORK is the story of Katla (Kat) LeBlanc, a sixteen year old who—following her parents’ divorce—moves from L.A. to her mother’s small Minnesota hometown of Icelandic heritage. With the school year already off to a bad start, Kat’s world is further upended when she is mysteriously summoned to a meeting of the local Stork Society: women with the responsibility of matching the undecided of hovering souls with the right mother. Kat is their newest—and youngest ever—member. As if this discovery wasn’t burden enough, Kat soon meets Jack, an aloof classmate to whom she senses an inexplicable connection. Additionally, when Kat finds herself in more than one life-threatening situation, she suspects that someone or something wants her out of town.

Holly Cupala: I love to hear the stories behind the story –what is the story behind STORK?

Wendy Delsol:
A long time ago, while watching the TV show Unsolved Mysteries, there was a segment about a young boy who claimed to have a pre-birth memory of flying above the earth and choosing his mother. The story stuck with me. Years later, when spinning what-ifs for a YA paranormal, I paired that story with the symbolic image of childbirth: a bundle-bearing stork. The next step was to create an ancient society of human Storks who have the ability to guide undecided souls.

Holly: What led you to YA as a genre?

Wendy: I tend to have aha moments while walking or driving. This one came while driving to a writers’ conference in September of '08. Prior to STORK, I had written three novels in the women’s fiction genre. I had already made the decision to give YA a try and knew that paranormal stories were popular within the genre. This was peak Twilight mania, so I knew that vampires and werewolves were hot. I was also aware that angels and fairies were doing well. Nonetheless, I intentionally conceptualized something different, in the hopes of standing out.

Holly: Did the process take you anywhere unexpected, either in writing or in life?

Wendy: I didn’t start writing novels until I was—gasp—post forty. Following months of debilitating migraines and forty-five minutes in a tumor-hunting MRI machine, I vowed to chase a long-secret dream: writing books. Eight years later, with a novel on bookshelves and two more coming out in 2011, it has, without a doubt, been the ride of my life.

Holly: How long did it take you to write STORK, and did you have to go through a lot of drafts? Did the story evolve as you revised?

I have described my state of mind while writing Stork as fueled. The story consumed me day and night. Despite a sports injury to my right arm that left me hunting and pecking with my left, I had a first draft in five months. I obtained my agent, Jamie Brenner of Artists and Artisans, with that first draft. Based on her editorial suggestions, I did one rewrite before she shopped it around.

Holly: Has any of Kat's story come from your own life?

Wendy: It’s no coincidence that my protagonist was the new girl in town. My husband’s job had recently moved our family from L.A. to Iowa, a move that was financially sound, but difficult nonetheless. Kat’s loneliness and homesickness were all emotions that I—even as an adult—was struggling with.

Holly: What do you most hope your readers will take away?

Wendy: I hope that readers will admire Kat’s spunk, confidence, and resilience. It would be gratifying, too, if readers find some of the wisdom of the older Stork women, Hulda in particular, as thought provoking.

Holly: The names in STORK are so interesting. How did you come to them?

Wendy: I love character names and often select them based on their meaning or etymology. Katla, for instance, is the name of a volcano in Iceland. Her last name LeBlanc (“the white” in French) symbolizes a white bird as well as the term white witch for a benevolent practitioner of magic.

Holly: What’s up next?

STORK’s sequel, FROST, is written and scheduled for release (again with Candlewick) in September of 2011. An adult novel, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls, will be published (by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin) on August 2, 2011. I also need to get cracking on book three (as yet untitled) in the Stork trilogy. Guess what I’ll be doing this winter?


I'm looking forward to it, Wendy, and thank you for stopping by!

Readers, what did you think of Wendy and the story behind STORK? Tell us what you think! Just leave a meaningful comment below before midnight on Monday, and one lucky US resident will win!


  1. I love the story behind Stork. I use to watch Unsolved Mysteries all the time and I remember that one! I've never seen or heard of a book that follows that kind of story line and it sounds fascinating! I can't wait to read it!


  2. I love the story behind stork, it's a really heartwarming concept and makes you think. My sister and I have a long standing joke. Well, not really a joke. She's older than me and would often tell me things when we were little because I believed everything she said. You know, older sisters LOL On top of her telling me I was adopted she also told me that she had flashbacks of being in my mom's stomach, I didn't have those flashbacks because I was adopted. Not really, but she liked to torture me. But I love the the story of the boy who said he had a memory of flying above the earth and choosing his mother. I can't wait to read this book


  3. This is a great storyline. I love not only how Wendy came up with the idea, but from the Q&As with Holly, I can't wait to get to know the characters. I've often thought that babies do in some way choose their mothers. So I'm especially interested to see how Wendy developed the storyline and her characters.It makes you wonder how much paranormal is real. I am excited to read this.


  4. I love all the thought that went into the character's name. So interesting. I've heard wonderful things about this book and would love to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  5. The first thing I thought when I read the book description was that this could be a new take on teenage pregnancy. How would Kat feel if one of her classmates were the best fit for the new baby's soul? I guess it's more complicated than that! But great interview. I love unusual names. Also liked the part where Wendy said she felt fueled while writing the first draft. That must be an awesome feeling. Thanks!


  6. I really want to read this one! It has been on my to-read list forever (well not really, but you know what I mean.) I think the whole premise is very interesting. Thanks so much for the giveaway! And great review and interview :)


    ilikethesebooksblog @ gmail . com

  7. I LOVED STORK! Having my own copy would be awesome.

    My favorite part about the book is the Icelandic influences. I've never read anything like it.

    I love that Wendy is a proud "post forty" author! I've known a couple authors that have had "near death" experiences that inspired them to write and I think THEY are inspiring.

    ~Enna Isilee

  8. I love how she came up with the character's name.
    Thanks for the contest!

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  9. Jillian -always aspiring-January 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    I always find the stories behind books fascinating, and this one in particular was very interesting. (Isn't it funny how creative types are influences by all matter of art, even television shows and movies?) I was on the fence about reading STORK, but now I really want to pick it up and find out what it's all about. And that cover is ethereal!

    E-mail: furuba4ever (at) hotmail (dot) com

  10. What an inspiring story...Too bad that it took so much pain to realize your dream! But, how amazing that you had the courage to pursue it. I am excited by the originality in this story and can't wait to read it!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  11. I love the story behind it. I remember watching Unsolved Mysteries all the time. They had some great stories on there. Some that still haunt me today.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  12. I like how she came up with a totally different idea and ran with it. I am honestly getting tired of reading about vampires, werewolves and fairies, so it's good to finally have something unique to read about.

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

  13. This sounds like a great story. I recently won it and can't wait to read it.

  14. I LOVE hearing that Wendy is so into her characters names! That means such a great deal to me.


  15. Wow, Stork has a really unique inspiration with Unsolved Mysteries + a stork, befitting such a unique concept. It sounds amazing!

    whatinabox at gmail com

  16. I think Stork is very different to most YA books. I really like that the author thinks about the names and their meanings.

  17. The girl on the cover is gorgeous!

    STORK looks exciting and mysterious.

    Yikes -- I've named my MC Kat. Am wondering: Is the MC of STORK mostly Kat or Katla?

  18. Interesting that Unsolved Mystries was the inspiration. Very unique.
    bkhabel at gmail dot com

  19. Great interview! I love that she put so much meaning behind the names since I'm kind of a fanatic about that myself :) This looks like a book I'll be reading even if I don't win it here.