Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Fergus by Tori Grant Welhouse - Book Tour + Giveaway


The Fergus
by Tori Grant Welhouse
Genre: YA Fantasy 

In the mystical Highlands of Scotland, Rork, missing his beloved gran, wakes up with the ability to hear voices. And not just any voices. Fantastically Rork can hear voices of the dead, which lead him to a charismatic banshee and a colorful near-death survivor. The three are bound together in a time-tested banshee tradition with perhaps a side-goal or two. In the course of their adventures, they are pitched into an otherworld of before-death, after-death and in-between-death.The Fergus will appeal to fans of ghost stories, parallel universes and life-not-being-how-it-always-seems as in the worlds created by Laini Taylor, Stephenie Meyer or Helene Wecker.



Can you, for those who do not know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I started writing poems in high school. I rode an orange Schwinn to school, which most kids recognized because I parked it by the flagpole. A boy I liked started leaving me poems on my bike’s book rack, and I wrote him poems back. That is how I started with poetry. I explored fiction in my MFA program, writing a collection of short stories as my final thesis. A novel was always an aspiration, and I started and stopped many over the years. I loved the world I created with The Fergus, and it kept me engaged despite the time it took to complete.

 

What is something unique/quirky about you?

My kids tell me I have a very distinctive laugh (which they used to be very embarrassed by).

 

Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!

My life has had a few twists and turns. When I was in college, I got a job for the summer at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. At the time, the park liked to hire young adults who represented every state in the union, so I was there on behalf of Wisconsin. It was a summer of discovery for me. I met kids from across the United States. I interacted with tourists from around the world. I immersed myself in outdoor adventure and was the fittest of my life. I climbed mountains, I canoed rivers, I biked lonely highways for miles, and I hiked. I count that summer as one of my life’s idylls.

 

What are some of your pet peeves?

My biggest pet peeve is when people say they are going to do something, and then do not. Why say it, then?

 

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in southern Wisconsin and moved to Green Bay when I was 5. My parents built a house in a new neighborhood within blocks of Lambeau Field. They were season ticketholders. Football is like a religion here, and the arts have struggled, although that is slowly evolving. My parents instilled in me and my sibling very Midwestern “work-hard-play-hard” values.

 

If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

If I were capable, I would get up early and write a draft of a “last day” poem. Something to leave behind. Perhaps engrave on the memorial bench I have told my kids I would like them to find me somewhere overlooking a pretty or meaningful view. Then a strolling walk with my husband. Or perhaps a meandering trek through the woods on a 4-wheeler or snowmobile. (He likes his toys.) And lastly, a lingering dinner with my kids, my brother, my sister, father, and their families. Either out at a favorite restaurant or a potluck at home. I would feel some anticipation because I would be joining my other sister and my mother, who have already left us, which I would think about while drifting off to sleep, spooning with my husband.

 

Who is your hero and why?

Georgia O’Keefe’s work and life inspire me — her singularity of purpose, her attachment to the land, her very individual approach to painting. A few years ago, I did a writing retreat in Santa Fe and rented a car to Ghost Ranch. It is well named. Breath-takingly beautiful but also haunting, as if spirits truly lived there.

 

What kind of world ruler would you be?

Having been a manager for a good chunk of my career, I can say that I am a very hand’s on leader. I like to know how things work, how one person’s work affects another’s. I also endeavored to make sure everyone understood the vision and was supported in doing their absolute best work, incentivizing where appropriate to ensure we were all on the same bus, going in the right direction.

 

What are you passionate about these days?

I have been working at home since March, so between that and writing I spend an inordinate amount of time in my own head. I am obsessed with golf and power walks and trees. I have also been immersing myself in goddess myths and teaching myself meditation and gardening. I am kind of all over the place.

 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I still live on the outskirts of Green Bay but in a more rural neighborhood on the Suamico River, near the county zoo. From my office I can look out onto our pond, where duck, geese, and heron visit. We are on the Wisconsin Rustic Road system, so I enjoy walking and biking

 

How to find time to write as a parent?

When my kids were small, I used to get up early and write before they woke. There was something about writing when the whole house was asleep that was intimate and inspiring. Now I am an empty-nester, and I still prefer to write in the early morning, although perhaps not *quite* so early.

 

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

I have taken many (many!) personality tests over the course of my career. I find the Clifton Strengthsfinder most relevant and akin to how I regard myself. My top five strengths are:

 

Intellection (or introspective)

Connectedness (or conscious; I believe all life is connected)

Input (I accumulate ideas and artifacts)

Learner

Responsibility (I take psychological ownership of what I say and do)

 

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote a bio with “writer” in it after I published my first poetry chapbook. There is something about the physical fact of a book in your hands that is emboldening, that feeds your confidence.

 

Do you have a favorite movie?

I do not know if I could pick just one, and I have noticed my top pick movies change over time. Right now:

 

The Replacements (I mentioned I grew up in a football town, right? I cannot help a football fascination, so football, underdogs, Keanu — need I say more?)

 

Hidalgo (Omar, Viggo, native memory, and a woman challenging her culture’s expectations)

 

The Hundred-Foot Journey (the comparable Helen Mirren and sumptuous food)

 

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

So far, I have only written the one but feel it could make a new kind of ghost movie.

 

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I have visited the Brontë moors, Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury, and Bath, that recurring destination in Regency Romances (Georgette Heyer is a not-so-secret indulgence, all in England. I have also traveled to Abbotsford in the Scottish borders, home of Sir Walter Scott. Edna Ferber grew up in Appleton, which is only thirty minutes away from Green Bay. She is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of So Big, which was my mother’s favorite book.

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Can I choose a spirit plant? Tomatoes are meaningful to me because of my childhood and this quote by Erica Jong: “If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato.” I commissioned a designer to create one for me for blog site I had for a long time, now defunct.

 

Can you, for those who do not know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I started writing poems in high school. I rode an orange Schwinn to school, which most kids recognized because I parked it by the flagpole. A boy I liked started leaving me poems on my bike’s book rack, and I wrote him poems back. That is how I started with poetry. I explored fiction in my MFA program, writing a collection of short stories as my final thesis. A novel was always an aspiration, and I started and stopped many over the years. I loved the world I created with The Fergus, and it kept me engaged despite the time it took to complete.

 

What is something unique/quirky about you?

My kids tell me I have a very distinctive laugh (which they used to be very embarrassed by).

 

Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!

My life has had a few twists and turns. When I was in college, I got a job for the summer at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. At the time, the park liked to hire young adults who represented every state in the union, so I was there on behalf of Wisconsin. It was a summer of discovery for me. I met kids from across the United States. I interacted with tourists from around the world. I immersed myself in outdoor adventure and was the fittest of my life. I climbed mountains, I canoed rivers, I biked lonely highways for miles, and I hiked. I count that summer as one of my life’s idylls.

 

What are some of your pet peeves?

My biggest pet peeve is when people say they are going to do something, and then do not. Why say it, then?

 

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in southern Wisconsin and moved to Green Bay when I was 5. My parents built a house in a new neighborhood within blocks of Lambeau Field. They were season ticketholders. Football is like a religion here, and the arts have struggled, although that is slowly evolving. My parents instilled in me and my sibling very Midwestern “work-hard-play-hard” values.

 

If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

If I were capable, I would get up early and write a draft of a “last day” poem. Something to leave behind. Perhaps engrave on the memorial bench I have told my kids I would like them to find me somewhere overlooking a pretty or meaningful view. Then a strolling walk with my husband. Or perhaps a meandering trek through the woods on a 4-wheeler or snowmobile. (He likes his toys.) And lastly, a lingering dinner with my kids, my brother, my sister, father, and their families. Either out at a favorite restaurant or a potluck at home. I would feel some anticipation because I would be joining my other sister and my mother, who have already left us, which I would think about while drifting off to sleep, spooning with my husband.

 

Who is your hero and why?

Georgia O’Keefe’s work and life inspire me — her singularity of purpose, her attachment to the land, her very individual approach to painting. A few years ago, I did a writing retreat in Santa Fe and rented a car to Ghost Ranch. It is well named. Breath-takingly beautiful but also haunting, as if spirits truly lived there.

 

What kind of world ruler would you be?

Having been a manager for a good chunk of my career, I can say that I am a very hand’s on leader. I like to know how things work, how one person’s work affects another’s. I also endeavored to make sure everyone understood the vision and was supported in doing their absolute best work, incentivizing where appropriate to ensure we were all on the same bus, going in the right direction.

 

What are you passionate about these days?

I have been working at home since March, so between that and writing I spend an inordinate amount of time in my own head. I am obsessed with golf and power walks and trees. I have also been immersing myself in goddess myths and teaching myself meditation and gardening. I am kind of all over the place.

 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I still live on the outskirts of Green Bay but in a more rural neighborhood on the Suamico River, near the county zoo. From my office I can look out onto our pond, where duck, geese, and heron visit. We are on the Wisconsin Rustic Road system, so I enjoy walking and biking

 

How to find time to write as a parent?

When my kids were small, I used to get up early and write before they woke. There was something about writing when the whole house was asleep that was intimate and inspiring. Now I am an empty-nester, and I still prefer to write in the early morning, although perhaps not *quite* so early.

 

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

I have taken many (many!) personality tests over the course of my career. I find the Clifton Strengthsfinder most relevant and akin to how I regard myself. My top five strengths are:

 

Intellection (or introspective)

Connectedness (or conscious; I believe all life is connected)

Input (I accumulate ideas and artifacts)

Learner

Responsibility (I take psychological ownership of what I say and do)

 

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote a bio with “writer” in it after I published my first poetry chapbook. There is something about the physical fact of a book in your hands that is emboldening, that feeds your confidence.

 

Do you have a favorite movie?

I do not know if I could pick just one, and I have noticed my top pick movies change over time. Right now:

 

The Replacements (I mentioned I grew up in a football town, right? I cannot help a football fascination, so football, underdogs, Keanu — need I say more?)

 

Hidalgo (Omar, Viggo, native memory, and a woman challenging her culture’s expectations)

 

The Hundred-Foot Journey (the comparable Helen Mirren and sumptuous food)

 

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

So far, I have only written the one but feel it could make a new kind of ghost movie.

 

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

I have visited the Brontë moors, Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury, and Bath, that recurring destination in Regency Romances (Georgette Heyer is a not-so-secret indulgence, all in England. I have also traveled to Abbotsford in the Scottish borders, home of Sir Walter Scott. Edna Ferber grew up in Appleton, which is only thirty minutes away from Green Bay. She is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of So Big, which was my mother’s favorite book.

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Can I choose a spirit plant? Tomatoes are meaningful to me because of my childhood and this quote by Erica Jong: “If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato.” I commissioned a designer to create one for me for blog site I had for a long time, now defunct.




Tori Grant Welhouse is a poet and writer from Green Bay. Her most recent poetry chapbook Vaginas Need Air won Etching Press’s 2020 chapbook contest. Her YA paranormal fantasy The Fergus won Skyrocket Press's 2019 novel-writing contest and will be released Summer 2020. She is an active volunteer with Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.





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1 comment:

  1. Here's a mood-making trailer created by my talented illustrator brother. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gphd399fQpo Enjoy! EXTRAS on the website, too. www.torigrantwelhouse.com/the-fergus

    ReplyDelete