Hi guys, I’m delighted today to be part of the blog tour for The Winnowing by Vikki VanSickle! If you are a Stranger Things or X-Files fan, this book is TOTALLY your jam. 90s conspiracy theories + teens? YES.
If you’re following me on Instagram (if not, why not do so now?! ), you’ll know that I attended Vikki’s launch last week. Vikki is one of the coolest people I’ve met through blogging. She’s a Toronto author of children’s and middle grade books, a publicist for Penguin Random House Canada, a former bookseller, a true champion of YA and children’s lit, and a total trivia fanatic. Needless to say, she’s totally fun.
I wanted to share the fun, so today, Vikki is joining me to chat about her love of X-Files, and how that informed THE WINNOWING. AND there’s a giveaway, because I totally think this is one you guys are going to love. Check it out!
In a world where the familiar has sinister undertones, two friends are torn apart just when they need one another most. Can they both survive?
Marivic Stone lives in a small world, and that's fine with her. Home is with her beloved grandfather in a small town that just happens to be famous for a medical discovery that saved humankind - though not without significant repercussions. Marivic loves her best friend, Saren, and the two of them promise to stick together, through thick and thin, and especially through the uncertain winnowing procedure, a now inevitable - but dangerous - part of adolescence.
But when tragedy separates the two friends, Marivic is thrust into a world of conspiracy, rebellion and revolution. For the first time in her life, Marivic is forced to think and act big. If she is going to avenge Saren and right a decade of wrongs, she will need to trust her own frightening new abilities, even when it means turning her back on everything, and everyone, she's known and loved. A gripping exploration of growing up, love and loss, The Winnowing is a page-turning adventure that will have readers rooting for their new hero, Marivic Stone, as they unravel the horror and intrigue of a world at once familiar but with a chilling strangeness lurking beneath the everyday.
Please welcome Vikki VanSickle to Mostly YA Lit!
How big of an X-Phile was I? Let me count the ways. I taped every episode and kept the VHS tapes in bright green cases labeled by season and decorated with pictures of Mulder & Scully I had cut from magazines.
I had letters spelling the name SCULLY strung on a cheap piece of leather that I wore as a necklace, my friend and fellow X-Phile wore one that said MULDER. I hunted entertainment magazines for any mention of the show. I knew creator Chris Carter was a surfer from California, Gillian Anderson had a brief punk phase, and that the show was shot in Vancouver (bestill my Canadian heart!)
The X-Files was my first introduction to government-based conspiracy theories and I couldn’t get enough of them. A good student, I had always accepted what I was taught and trusted authority. Suddenly I wasn’t satisfied with that. I wanted to know all angles, every possible outcome, and be satisfied that I had truly considered everything. I still feel this way today. It makes me maddeningly indecisive at times—especially in my own writing—but it means I feel good about a decision once I make one.
Perhaps most significantly, I idolized Agent Dana Scully. She was smart and demanded—and received—respect from everyone around her. I loved her statement necklace—a small cross that symbolized her faith—and even though I was not religious, I liked the idea of it (I currently wear a chain with my initial). The first ‘curse word’ I ever used was damn, because Scully used it, and therefore it must be okay! She was practical, logical, smartly-dressed (Hey! It was the 90s!) and didn’t suffer fools gladly. Quite simply, I wanted to be her when I grew up.
When I started writing The Winnowing in my head I was writing an episode of The X-Files, but for tweens. Many of the things I loved about The X-Files are here: conspiracies, government cover-ups, unexplained phenomenon, and covert resistance operations.
What’s different? In The X-Files, Scully was the exception; the only woman in a man’s world. The Winnowing is full of women: unsung heroes, villains, reluctant resistance workers, scrappy double agents, dedicated teachers, mothers who risk it all for their kids, brilliant scientists, devoted friends. It wasn’t an active decision to “add more women,” this is just the way I write. I live in a world full of women and so I write about worlds full of women. I don’t want it to be notable when women pop up in great numbers in books for kids and teens, I want it to be so common it doesn’t warrant mentioning. If readers love Marivic or Saren or Roya even a tenth of the way I loved Scully, my work here is done.
Thanks, Vikki, for stopping by and for that introduction to The Winnowing! It’s the perfect time for that kind of creepy, question everything thriller, don’t you think?
I got an extra copy of THE WINNOWING at Vikki’s book launch just so I could get her to sign it for one of you lucky readers! So for US/Canada readers, sign up below to win (I’m sorry, international, more giveaways for you soon)!