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Shadows, Shells, and Spain

Shadows, Shells, and Spain

Would you walk a mile for someone you love? What about 300 miles? In John Meyer’s Shadows, Shells and Spain this adult fictionalized travel memoir tells the story of Jamie Draper’s journey on the Camino de Santiago trail.

Jamie Draper was a happily married man who loved his wife Pamela very much. But when she surprised him with a divorce, it had caught him off guard. Ever since he received a postcard addressed to him from Spain, it had sent him on a journey. He quit his job as a history teacher in Canada and moved to Palma, Spain, hoping to reconnect with his wife and discover why she so abruptly left him. He then starts a journey to follow the Camino trail to find his wife by following the subtle hidden clues in her letters to him. Along the way he makes interesting friends and explores the trail with some intriguing strangers. He meets a British woman named Brie Bletcher, who’s estranged from her husband Martin. When Jamie tells her his story, she joins him on the trip. Gaining clues and traveling along a striking trail they  hit some snags from missing letters to some stained by the weather. When Jamie discovers that his wife is very sick in a new batch of letters, it gives his mission a new urgency.

This story takes place in present day Spain and some parts of Canada. These are beautiful landscapes on their own and John Meyer is able to bring them to life with vivid details. This being a fictional travel memoir I expected some heavy scene descriptions, but these were broken up by the curious characters that pop up along the trail as well as Jamie’s intereactions with Brie. The story was well written and grows more profound the longer he travels the trail. It had a bit of literary fiction, romance, mystery and drama all wrapped into one story. The theme, I felt, is about life, loss and love, and how to move on from grief. This would be ideal for people who love travelogues and who love tear-jerking novels.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, there’s a lot of factual and historical tidbits that slow the pace of the story. I wish this was streamlined so that I could get back to my favorite part, the characters. Although travel readers will enjoy the architectural highlights of each town and accompanying history. If you can’t make it to Spain, this is your next best option.

Pages: 287 | ASIN: B0756JF632

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The Impact and Significance of Family

Allie Frost Author Interview

Allie Frost Author Interview

I’m With You is a gripping novel that follows young Remiel as she tries to evade assassins sent by her father to avenge the death of his wife. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

Remiel is the backbone of the story – I had the idea for her character first, and the plot evolved from there. I’m With You is a very character-driven story in general, so once I established the basic plot, my ideas shifted around to fit the characters. I shaped their personalities and relationships, then molded the remainder of the plot to connect them and aid their development.

The book starts in the industrial city of Kelvar. I found this backdrop to be detailed and interesting. What did you use as a starting point to create such a vivid backdrop to the story?

I did a summer semester abroad in England during my college years and spent a lot of time in London, but I also traveled to several other cities and towns, and I drew a lot of inspiration from the places I visited. During my time there, I got to study history, architecture, writing, and various other subjects, which influenced the initial framework for Kelvar and the nation of Empirya. I also aimed for a less “modern” time period and took additional inspiration from 1930’s/40’s America. For Kelvar specifically, I drew from particular parts of both London and New York City.

The relationship between Remiel and her brother Ciarán is intriguing. What themes did you want to capture when creating these characters and their relationship?

One of the main messages I hoped to convey through the story is the impact and significance of family, which is partly expressed through the sibling bond between Ciarán and Remiel. Even when their lives are flipped completely upside down, they can always rely on one another. I also utilized their relationship to illustrate the theme of acceptance, as Ciarán accepts Remiel for who she is despite her “gift,” and that encourages him to accept others as well. In a way, I view their bond as the heart of the narrative, which serves to fortify their connections to the other characters.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on a YA fantasy novel that will (hopefully) become a series, and I hope to put it out soon! I also have ideas for a potential companion novel to I’m With You – like a collection of short stories or something similar – but nothing set in stone.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

I'm With YouWhen fifteen-year-old Ciarán Morrigan eavesdrops on a conversation between his father and two mysterious strangers, his life–and the life of his little sister, Remiel–is changed forever. After their father makes a startling decision, the Morrigan siblings are forced to flee the only life they’ve ever known and embark on a dangerous adventure across the nation of Empirya. With the help of a disinherited vagabond, a cynical violinist, a fire-juggler with a fierce temper, an aspiring mechanic, and a cheerful librarian, Ciarán and Remiel must fight to escape those who have been hired to hunt them. But will Remiel’s dark secret prevent the Morrigan children from finding a place they can truly call home?

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