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I Hope To Empower Young People

Author Interview
Carolyn Roth-White Author Interview

Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali follows a little girl who moves to Africa and faces danger as she fights injustice and tries to find out who she really is. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for this story: Firstly, for my birthday years ago, my husband and I traveled to Africa, trekked into the Virunga Volcanoes Park of Rwanda, and visited a large family of Mountain Gorillas. Seeing these majestic animals in their natural environment impacted me. My hope is that through Krystal’s eyes, I can shed light on how important it is that we protect them and their habitat. The research that Dian Fossey did there so many years ago is invaluable. Today, with the help of researchers, animal activists, conservationists, tourism, and the people of Rwanda, the future of the wild Mountain Gorillas is bright. Second, my hope is that Krystal can inspire young people to feel confident about who they really are because it’s empowering.

Krystal Winkle is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

I hope to empower young people to embrace who they are, tap into their inner core of what makes them tick, be independent adults and achieve what motivates them. William Shakespeare said it best: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

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

Strong friendships, loyalty to yourself and others, self-reliance, never give up, determination, seek happiness.

Do you have more books planned that feature Krystal Winkle?

Yes! Krystal Winkle and Galloping Giuseppe comes out at 2022/2023. This story features a Lipizzaner, a rare horse that nearly went extinct at the end of WWII because they made such a great war horse. General George Patton is one of a few credited for saving this amazing species. Today, Lipizzaner’s are on the domesticated endangered list. My goal is to create an entire series by taking my readers around the world. Through fantasy adventure, I hope to expose my reader to a place they’ve never been while bringing awareness to a special animal that Krystal befriends.

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Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali

From the moment Krystal Winkle was born, she has been destined for greatness and tasked with what seems to be an impossible mission. She was born the most powerful of all the Cristallies. When she was a newborn infant, she was given instructions to keep her incredible powers a secret for the safety of herself and everyone around her. At the same time her proud grandmother whispered this word of warning to her on the day of her birth, a search was beginning for Krystal–a search that would begin and end with one goal in mind: to find young Krystal before she realizes exactly how powerful she truly is.

Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali, by Carolyn Roth-White, is the first in a series of books for middle-school readers featuring Krystal Winkle as the protagonist with a life’s mission to save Kunga the gorilla who is known as the Peacemaker of Kigali. This amazingly well-developed tale is led by an intriguing cast of characters. It is a non-stop thrill ride with seamless transitions between beautifully described settings and a much-appreciated switch between points of view throughout the book’s storyline.

I have to say that, of all the techniques employed by Roth-White, the use of varying points of view is the most impactful to the story’s success. When readers are treated to the view of events from Krystal’s perspective, the story instantly becomes more meaningful and more captivating. I found myself instantly drawn into Krystal’s dilemma, and the entire plot took on new meaning for me. I could feel the intensity with which Krystal was fighting and the incredible desperation she felt to fulfill her mission.

Roth-White includes many unique features with regard to both characters and plot. It isn’t often I find that one of my favorite aspects of a story is unrelated to the main character. In the case of this, the first book in the author’s series about Krystal, I was immediately drawn to the idea of Stilts. I won’t spoil the storyline for readers, but I will say that Stilts is an excellent addition to Krystal’s story and serves as both an interesting and quick way to further the plot. I thoroughly enjoyed Stilts’s contribution to events.

I am giving Krystal Winkle and the Peacemaker of Kigali, by Carolyn Roth-White, a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This young adult novel has all the makings of a masterpiece and a new favorite among young readers seeking alternatives to Harry Potter. With the promise of more installments to come, I highly recommend that middle-school readers add Roth-White’s fantasy tale to their must-read list.

Pages: 308 | ISBN-13: 978-0578591391

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