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Blog Tour: Antigua de Fortune


Today is my stop on the blog tour for Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas, and I'm posing a Q&A with authors Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt alongside my review. This exciting pirate adventure story is filled with high stakes, magic and underwater marvels.


Tiggy dreams of a life on the ocean waves, but the people of Haven have been taught to fear the sea ever since the rule of the formidable Pirate King, who stole their boys and transformed them into sea golems. With the Blood Moon Festival approaching, Pirates, magic and golems are once again on everyone's mind, but no one expects a giant kraken to emerge from the waves, bearing a formidable for to Haven's shores...


Antigua de Fortuna of the High Seas is fast paced and filled with action. Once danger sets in, the pace doesn't let up. It has a lovely cast of magical characters, from mermaids to selkies, and there's also a brilliant pirate crew who were lots of fun to read.


It's a story with friendship, forgiveness and family at its heart. Young readers will immediately warm to Tiggy and her friends and be desperate for them to succeed.


Thank you Anna and Oli for taking the time to answer some questions on Tiggy and her crew for my tour stop.


Congratulations on your first book together! How did you become a writing duo?

Anna: Thank you! Barry rang me up and told me about Oli and his great book idea and asked if I was interested in joining forces and writing with Oli. We met in London, along with Barry and Kesia Lupo, our lovely editor, and seemed to gel really well, so it all went from there really!


Oli: I spent 20 years trying to bring Tiggy’s world to life on my own, I had all but given up when Barry saw the heart in what I was trying to do and he teamed me up with Anna, our skills were completely complimentary, and I knew Anna could help me. Anna's ideas became as important as mine, and together we shaped our story together.

How did you write the book together?


Anna: Lots of phone calls and emails. I did the writing, and would send chunks through to Oli, then we would chat it through and throw ideas around. There were a lot of ideas -- how the book ended up not weighing more than war and peace is still a mystery, hehe.


Oli: Embarrassingly I had to send Anna the work I had done to date, which was a mess of bad spelling and visual rambling, but most of all we talked and bounced ideas too and fro. I edited out Anna's dad jokes and puns, and she edited out my non-middle grade darker side, I edited the dialogue when Anna resorted to her northern drawl, she edited out my 100000 ideas that had absolutely nothing to do with the plot.


What inspired you to write ANTIGUA DE FORTUNE OF THE HIGH SEAS?


Anna: I was inspired by Oli's ideas, his enthusiasm, and the vision he had for Tiggy. Then my own love of mythology and all thinks oceanic and magical came in. The beach is my favourite place (I'm lucky enough to live near to some of the loveliest beaches -- though I imagine Northumberland beaches are just a little cooler than those of the Fortune Isles.)


Oli: 20 years ago Tiggy started life as my sister, a girl who didn't quite know where she fitted in the world, and it grew and expanded over the years into a large fantasy world that this first book only just touches the side of. I think Tiggy has a real sense of authenticity as a character because of these roots and because Anna was able to write from a female perspective.


What are your favourite characters in the book?


Anna: I love the crew of the Resolute, particularly poor Cannon, who always seems to miss the fight, much to her disappointment. I also love Brute, who's only a minor character really, but he just makes me laugh. I love the way he's so strong and big he doesn't even notice when people hit him. I think the comedy characters are my favourite.


Oli: Tiggy, it has to be as it's my sister. I think she inhabits a space between where most authors go with female leads, and some of the best reviews I've seen so far are from young girls, saying they understand exactly how Tiggy feels, and how they relate to her.

The sea life in the book is inspired by both the real and mythical. How did you research and decide which creatures would make it into the story?


Anna: I think we always opted for the most colourful and dramatic, the ones which we could visualise well. Oli is really good at finding drawings and photos to help inspire us. I think his animation flare and background really helped here.


Oli: I've visualised the whole thing for so long I could tell you what every shot in a film of this book looks like, and we definitely tried not to go down the completely typical, we used parts of real myths when it proved useful for comprehension and have started to define our own to layer over the top. We did have to look up a few boating terms, and I took a RYA level 2 sailing course!!!

Oli, you work in animation and Anna, you work as a psychologist. Do you think your day jobs contribute to how you write in any way?


Anna: I don't think it contributes directly, but I love both jobs for similar reasons. I like making sense of the world with words, and I'm always interested in people's narratives and stories.


Oli: I write visually and early incarnations of the book were really, now I look back, just a list of how Tiggy’s world looked, like art direction notes for a film rather than narrative in a book.


Finally, any tips on how someone can get start writing your own story?


Anna: Just do it! Everyone's first draft is messy, the biggest hurdle is just getting the words down on the page. You can polish them and change them later. It's easier to work with something than nothing.

Oli: I’m dyslexic so writing for me comes in two parts, writing stories for myself, a cathartic exercise that doesn’t matter how badly structured it is or spelt as only I see it, and writing for an audience, which I find incredibly hard … but like most things in life, it’s the quality of the ideas that count. I was just incredibly fortunate to meet Anna who could help me set those ideas down.

ANTIGUA DE FORTUNE OF THE HIGH SEAS by Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)


Find out more at chickenhousebooks.com and follow the authors on twitter @annadayauthor and @HyattOli


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