I’ve come to the end of my blog tour for The Gardener’s Daughter, and thought I’d share the highlights for those of you who might have missed it. I can’t thank the wonderful book bloggers who took part enough for helping my launch go off with a bang. Writing is only one side of the coin; an author needs readers and reviewers otherwise the whole process is just speaking into the silence.
“I dedicated the book to my late father, Alec Hitchins, who was a professional artist and keen gardener. Since losing him, I’ve realised what a wise, loving and stable influence he was on my life. Knowing where you come from plays an enormous part in the formation of your identity and I wanted to write a book about the search for a father and the search for one’s self. When my heroine, Ava, accidentally discovers she’s adopted, she sets off on a dangerous journey, looking for the truth and finding instead a can of worms. She comes to realise what she lost when she left home. I drew on my own sense of grief for my father when writing those passages, so it’s only fitting the book should be dedicated to him.”
“When people ask what I do and I tell them I’m a writer, I can tell from their expressions and comments that they imagine me sitting peacefully in a book lined study, tapping away at my keyboard, adding daily to the pile of crisp white paper on the desk which grows methodically from chapter 1 until I type ‘The End’.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. In the first place, I very rarely sit in my study to write. I’m either at the kitchen table, with half an ear on the wash cycle and the other making sure the saucepans don’t boil over; sitting in the car and jotting in a small notebook while I wait for the kids to come out of school; or snatching a quick cup of tea in a supermarket café, far away from the pile of ironing and the bathroom floor that needs washing.
“Instead, writing a novel is more a question of harvesting snippets and catching thoughts before they fly away and are lost for ever. It’s jotting down conversations between characters you’ve yet to create, capturing their voices before they fade to silence. It’s about lists of possibilities, little diagrams, sketching floor plans and googling baby sites in search of the perfect name for your hero or heroine.”
“This is a thriller, with a strong storyline, lurching from incident to incident. At first, it’s about Ava trying to find out what she needs to know for herself, but, as the story progresses, it becomes about Ava and Zavier trying to work things through together.
“Instant Apostle is, of course, a Christian publishing company, but nowhere is God mentioned. (This is not uncommon in Instant Apostle books. The religious hand is normally very light.) The Gardener’s Daughter is a clever reworking of the parable of The Prodigal Son and the conclusions drawn at the end, by Ava, reflect Christian teaching on love and redemption, but applied to the storyline, not as a sermon.”
“I decided I wanted to write about identity and how this is affected by the fathers we have – good fathers, bad fathers and absent fathers. My motherless nineteen-year-old heroine, Ava Gage, accidentally discovers she’s adopted when trying to do a good turn. In a fit of anger, she impetuously runs away in search of her biological identity. Penniless and cut-off from everything she’s ever known, and trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a ruthless criminal gang, she unearths the shocking truth behind her mother’s death and discovers who her real father is – with a sprinkling of romance and humour along the way!
“I have to admit, that writing YA was more difficult than I envisaged. Having two novels under my belt I thought it would be a breeze to write something for a younger audience but in fact the opposite is true. It isn’t a question of simplifying the writing. Teenagers don’t like to be talked down to, and they won’t waste their time reading something unless they’re gripped from the word go and the storyline relates to the issues in their life. After all, YA authors aren’t just competing with each other for teenagers’ attention, they’re competing with computer games, YouTube, and social media.”
“When I began The Gardener’s Daughter I had no idea what to expect – but oh wow, oh wow, oh wow what an incredible read. It exceeded all my expectations. Totally engrossing, full of suspense, minute attention to detail. An all round fabulous read you do not want to miss.”
“When I lost my Dad to cancer and began speaking to friends about what he had meant to me, I realised just how many people don’t have a good relationship with their fathers, or even have any real contact with them. Most of the positive things in my life are a direct result of the happy and secure upbringing my parents gave me, rather than the result of anything especially good or talented about me. What would happen, I wondered, if I woke up one day and realised that everything in my childhood had been a lie, and that my real father had abandoned me before I was born? That was the premise for the book. Ava’s identity is intrinsically linked to knowing where she’s come from and finding a place she can call home.”
“I really enjoyed the ending of this novel, and if there will be a continuation, I will be definitely waiting for it. 🙂 So, to conclude, this is a very amusing book, filled with very well developed and engrossing characters and intriguing plot, and I truly believe that Hitchins is incredibly good at what she does. So please give this book a try and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂”
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it a gripping read as the story is full of action with lots of twists to the plot. I was drawn in to Ava’s search for the truth and there was the constant temptation to read just a few more pages to find out what would happen next.”
“I’d dreamed of being a writer throughout my childhood and teens. As soon as I realised stories were created by people and weren’t magically ‘just there’ to be plucked from the library shelves, I knew I wanted to create these worlds for myself and for other people.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is intriguing and kept me guessing right to the very end with its twists and turns. The characters surrounding Ava are not necessarily who they seem to be, whether from her past or in her present. The Gardener’s Daughter is cleverly written and is a satisfying read. I had been looking forward to this next book by K A Hitchins and I wasn’t disappointed. She is right up there as one of my favourite authors. I’m giving this book 5* on Amazon and can highly recommend it.”
“This book is targeted at young adults with the aim of conveying Christian truth through fiction in a subtle and non-preachy way. However, it can also be read by adults, and I hope it will help people have a better understanding of the Christian gospel and want to encounter Jesus for themselves.”
“An enjoyable story with some interesting characters, an insight into the world of botany and holiday parks and an overall message of love, family and belonging.”