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July 11, 2019

Blog Tour – The Changeling of Fenlen Forest by Katherine Magyarody – Intervew and Giveaway

Hello Readers! Welcome to our Tour Stop for

The Changeling of Fenlen Forest
by Katherine Magyarody!

We have Katherine on the blog today for a quick Q&A.

Click on the banner above to follow the rest of the tour,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Elizabeth thinks she knows the gloomy Fenlen Forest. But when her treasured unicorn fawn, Sida, goes missing, Elizabeth tracks her into a strange land where the people think Elizabeth is a changeling, a malignant being who too closely resembles a missing girl.


If Elizabeth can find her fawn and uncover the fate of her lost double, can she stop the fear from turning into hate? To solve the deepening mystery, Elizabeth befriends a handsome, skeptical young shepherd whose stories hint at a dark secret lurking at the forest’s edge, and follows a herd of wild unicorns with the ability to unlock the past.

BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!

Hi MaryAnn and Gabby!

I am so excited to share my young adult unicorn fantasy novel, The Changeling of Fenlen Forest, with the readers of Chapter by Chapter!

Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)

Elizabeth survives by scavenging horns from a herd of unicorns. When she is mistaken for the ghost of a missing girl, will the unicorns help her solve the mystery?

What was your inspiration for writing this book?  Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?

The Changeling of Fenlen Forest started with a daydream – while I should have been writing an essay! My daydream was strange, in that I saw an image instead of a story. I had this idea of a young girl facing a unicorn at the edge of a dark forest. She was standing beside a pony-cart, but she didn’t have a pony and she was completely alone. What was she doing there? Why was the unicorn interested in her?

I decided to write a short story about it for a fantasy short story competition. But – BAM – suddenly the story was almost 30,000 words and I still didn’t feel like I’d fully explored the main character, Elizabeth, or her bond with the unicorn.

At the same time as I was following Elizabeth’s journey, I also wanted to think about language and communication across cultures (and species). A lot of fantasy presumes that either characters are speaking a “common” tongue or that the characters are already fluent in the languages of other cultures that they encounter. But learning languages is really hard. That’s why Elizabeth has to wrestle with another language…and the behaviour of a mysterious unicorn herd, too!

Tell us about the main character(s).

My main character, Elizabeth, possesses a fierce watchful intelligence. Elizabeth spends a lot of time observing how unicorns (and people) behave around each other. When language isn’t enough, she has an eye for silent paths of communication. What happens when their words can’t get through, or when the set of their spines or the flare of their nostrils suggest that what they say isn’t what they mean? Beyond language, Elizabeth also carefully observes the forest where she lives. To survive in Fenlen Forest, she needs to understand and respect her environment.

Elizabeth is also very lonely. Although she spends a lot of time learning how people and animals interact, she is constantly searching for a way to belong (to families, to friends, to places, to animals) without compromising who she is.

Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?

All the parts with unicorns! Elizabeth’s unicorn fawn, Sida, is pretty awesome. I do enjoy Elizabeth’s description of her first encounter with a unicorn:

People think that unicorns are the colour of bridal satin, of pearls, of fresh milk. A unicorn that colour wouldn’t have five minutes’ peace with all the poachers after them. My doe-unicorn was a dull, dappled silver that shimmered only dimly in the moonlight. I think I was able to see her only because I desperately needed to see something in the dark. That is the poachers’ mistake. They only want to see their unicorns and are happy enough to go home with a rabbit or a red deer slung behind them. There is no man-made trick of finding them, only a need, though I did not know it then.

My unicorn made a sound that would have been a nicker coming from a horse. She stepped forward. I felt her hot breath on my face as she passed her velvet lips along my hair and nudged me towards her chest with her chin. She smelled like the freshly churned mud from her cloven hooves, like newly unfurled leaves, like acacia honey. I put my hand gently on her muscular shoulder and felt the crisscrossing of scars.

I love Elizabeth because she learns to see unicorns not just through their species characteristics, but through their individuality:

Unicorns step carefully and are hard to track, but Sida was young and silly. She admired herself too much not to leave her cloven hoofprints in fresh mud and rub her horn bud against the new bark of trees. She was excited with the idea of freedom and had left the paths we used to follow. The snow was deeper here than at home. I was getting cold and my food was running out. But I was more worried for Sida and paid more attention to her trail than to where I was headed.

I also get a creepy kick out of an incident with a “wooden girl” that happens at a village wedding half way through the novel. Elizabeth has already been mistaken for a changeling (a creature that steals the shape of a person). Now she witnesses the way the village women make a changeling-like thing that they can put their fears onto…and then punish. It’s a hint that Elizabeth shouldn’t romanticize the people she meets.

Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing?  If so, why?

The more difficult question might be what was difficult to cut.

When revising my first draft, I started to read about the history of unicorns in art and legend. Then, I realized that I couldn’t let myself read too much unicorn fiction. I wanted my unicorns to grow out of my own observations about wild animals and humans’ attachment to them. I didn’t want that coloured by what other people had done. But now that The Changeling of Fenlen Forest is out, I am blogging about unicorns in art, culture, and literature on https://offbeatunicorn.com/.

I also researched weaving and sheep-herding and created a mythological story-system for Elizabeth to learn about. Most of that got left out of the final draft.

What sort of projects do you have going on right now.  Any new books coming out?

I’m starting work on a supernatural murder-mystery set during the fall of the Roman Empire.

It was great having you on the blog today!  We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!

Thank you so much for this opportunity to share my love of unicorns and to tell people about The Changeling of Fenlen Forest!

Katherine Magyarody grew up in Toronto, Ontario. During graduate school, she researched the history of adolescence, taught children’s literature, and wrote fiction on the sly. Her debut short story, “Goldhawk,” is anthologized in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2017. She currently lives in Connecticut, where she blogs about interesting and weird unicorns at https://offbeatunicorn.com/about-offbeat-unicorn/.

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