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Address The Big Questions

J. E. Lynch
J.E. Lynch Author Interview

Animals follows a family who’s lives are altered after Ellie goes missing and is raised by animals and trained for a dangerous purpose. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I started with the idea of telling a story that would allow readers and myself to spend time thinking about how we, as humans, should live in and share the world with its other inhabitants. I was thinking about the ways we attempt to distance ourselves from the rest of nature and the consequences of that. I was concerned with the stories we tell ourselves about our place in the world. I had some fairly fixed ideas about those things. As always happens when you start writing the characters had ideas of their own and the story took me in directions I had not planned and I think the book is all the more engaging and interesting for that. Along with all that I wanted to make the book exciting, a page-turner, something that would find a home in readers mental stores of favourite stories.

Ellie is an interesting character that is well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted the book to in some sense address the big questions of ‘who are we?’ and ‘how should we live?’. It seemed to me that this could be examined well by writing about a young person growing up and developing their answers to those questions as we read. Obviously, Ellie does all that in very unusual circumstances. I will admit that many of the qualities emphasised by her animal mentors (such as resilience, mental and physical capability etc) are ones I personally value but Ellie questions everything she learns eventually and I don’t believe the book offers simple answers.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Humans as a story-telling animal and how those stories influence the view we have of ourselves and the world. Cruelty, its origins and how it can be combated. The nature of family and loyalty. Also, as readers will discover, Ellie spends a great deal of time with a group of refugees on her journey across Europe. The plight of displaced people and issues connected with migration was very much on my mind as I wrote the book.

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

The sequel to Animals is already available. It’s called ‘The Pack’ and continues the story of Ellie, all her allies and her enemies. There will be a third book in the series ‘A cave in a forest’. I am working on it now.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

What could be better? The Burnham family are on a year-long holiday, travelling the world. Five-year-old Ellie is playing on a beach one day in Thailand when she wanders off alone into some trees and finds a strange and fascinating plant. As she stoops to take a closer look something very unusual indeed happens. In a puff of smoke Ellie is rendered unconscious and disappears.

In that instant her life and the lives of her parents and brother are altered forever…

“Animals” is an exciting adventure story; full of danger, mystery and action, peopled with characters you will care about.

It is also an examination of the elements that make us human and how we deal with the fact that we are also animals.

Animals

Animals by [J. E. Lynch]

All was rosy for the Burnhams till they went on a year-long holiday. Three family members returned with a nightmare that would plague them for the rest of their lives, while little Eleanor never made it back at all. She simply vanished on a nice sunny day on the beach, only to appear in a cave far away from her family. That marked the start of a life-changing experience that saw her raised by unusual animals. Her training in the wild molded her into a ruthless young predator, not unlike her tutors. She soon found out that she was now an assassin created to carry out the will of her vengeful animal captors. Ellie embraced her new life, but her mind kept pulling up images of her old life that featured a happy family. Would she chase the freedom she once had, or would she stay a killing machine?

J.E Lynch’s Animals brings a startling folktale to life. The book’s intriguing plot piques curiosity early on and sustains it all through the story. It features animals running a covert recruitment program and feels like a metaphor reflecting our nature and actions as humans, like George Orwell’s allegorical novella Animal Farm. Even though Lynch tries to present truths in an unusual way, he doesn’t leave you scratching your head. His themes are clear, thought-provoking, and fascinating.

Lynch is great at stimulating the senses with very descriptive sentences, relying more on simple words than flowery language. I love how the author approaches the main character’s evolution. He leaves just enough clues to show there was a chance she could change course without making you feel it was inevitable. The animals also had distinctive personalities that resonated with me. I found myself rooting for some and scoffing at others, a sign that I was heavily invested in the characters.

I breezed through all 300 pages of this book. I’m not sure I’ve finished a book of that size in such a short time. I definitely have the story’s pace and intrigue to thank for that. And to top it off, the story ends with a smashing cliff-hanger. Good thing the sequel is out already. So, I don’t have to wait to get my paws on it.

Animals is a thought-provoking young adult novel that is daring, creative, and immensely entertaining.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B07NQK2HXN

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