September 12, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway by author of SILENT ECHO, Elisa Freilich!

Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice ... and it is divine.

Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.

But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.

Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren's Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.

SILENT ECHO [] comes out September 10th from Diversion Books and it's not your typical fantasy: Sirens, Music, and Prophecies! Oh, and romance!

So Elisa has come onto the blog today to tell us what FIVE moments shaped and inspired SILENT ECHO. There is also a prize giveaway below for a chance to win a pack of awesome things including a book purse inspired by the book, an iphone case and other trinkets featuring the beautiful illustrations of the upcoming trailer and a YA book of your choice. Have you seen the sneak peek? []

 Five Distinct Moments that inspired Silent Echo:

Reading The Odyssey in ninth grade. Wow – monumental! I still remember being fascinated by every single one of the creatures. By Odysseus’s bravery and Penelope’s cunning. I think I always knew that that story would re-emerge for me in another way. When I re-read it again just before writing Silent Echo, I fell in love all over again, but with more fervor…and a plan.

Seeing Gregory Maguire’s Wicked after having read many of his books. I had already been enchanted by the story of Wicked but then when I saw it – actually saw the way Maguire created a whole new world around another fictitious world – well, I became hell bent on doing something similar with the world of mythology.

The first season of Glee. OK, I know that’s not technically a moment – more of a series of moments and I will admit that the show lost me after season one. But the music. The way the kids related to the music. This concept became one more ingredient in the recipe that was forming in my head. As I watched Lea Michelle perform “Rain on my Parade” in the finale, I think that’s when I knew I was going to write about a Siren. That scene had cast such a spell over me and my poor family whom I made watch it about a million times! She was positively “Sirenic” in that moment!

One day I said to my husband, “I’m gonna write me a YA novel.” This was about two years ago and though he is always encouraging of my creative pursuits, he often teases me about some of them: ie: “Why don’t you just make the kids’ clothing out of all that duct tape you bought?” or “I’m surprised you don’t start decoupaging our bedroom walls!”. But this was different. He said to me with his honest green eyes that haven’t dared to change by as much as a single fleck since I met him 22 years ago, “I really think you should.” I broke out my daughter’s copy of The Odyssey that night and haven’t stopped since.

One of my favorite characters in Silent Echo is Felix Fein, who is deaf. He was inspired by a very distinct moment when I was once riding a bus in Manhattan and a deaf couple was having a passionate fight in sign language. It was so visceral, their hands signing at such a fevered pace, until finally the woman just looked away. She turned around and no matter how much her boyfriend/husband would try to get his hands up in her face so that he could have the last word, she just kept pivoting her eyes away from him. It was brilliant. And so entirely human. It was such an honest, relatable moment that I was determined to have a deaf character in my book so that readers might learn to overlook the “handicapped” label.

And so a story has been born. Now I’m working on the next installment and I gotta say, my husband’s eyes are still the same. He and my family are proud and supportive and that helps a whole helluva lot.

What things inspire you? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Elisa Freilich has enjoyed a love affair with language from her earliest days. Raised in rural Monsey, New York, Elisa spent her days reading whatever crossed her path and developed a keen appreciation for the ever-present music in her home – from classical to rock. French lessons and creative writing workshops complemented her adolescence, which was also greatly enhanced by a summer spent abroad at Cambridge University. From the time she could read and write, Elisa could often be found composing poems, song lyrics and satirical newspapers.

After her college years at Boston University, Elisa continued her creative pursuits, working as a junior VP of Marketing at a corporate graphic design agency and, later, as an interior decorator. Eventually, Elisa left the workforce to raise her family, in her now hometown of Englewood, NJ.

Throughout the years, Elisa has retained her devotion to all genres of books and music and was determined to synthesize her passions into one refreshing and original platform. The result is her debut novel, SILENT ECHO: A Siren’s Tale, which will be published by Diversion Books in September 2013. With her own lyrical style, Elisa has created a world that young adults around the globe will find intensely gripping and refreshingly original.

When Elisa is not writing, her creative outlets still abound. She is fierce with a set of knitting needles, a hot glue gun and any ingredients that can somehow be fashioned into a sinful and highly caloric babka.

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