Friday, September 5, 2014

"The Girl and the Clockwork Cat" by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat
by Nikki McCormack

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat has just been released and is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.
Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.
What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.

Featured Review
Maeko and her friend and mentor Chaff are street rats in Victorian London, trying to survive as best as they can. Maeko was abandoned by her mother, a Japanese prostitute, and she never knew her father; Maeko also wants to help her mum pay off debts that make her life difficult. One evening, while attempting to steal, Maeko and Chaff are almost caught by the authorities, and when hiding from them, Maeko finds a cat with a mechanical leg. The friends are discovered by a man named Garrett and his son Ash. Maeko is taken in, fed, and given a place to sleep, but she is awakened suddenly, a bag is thrown over her head, she is kidnapped, and the mechanical cat has vanished. Garrett apparently double-crossed them. She manages to escape and tries to find the owners of the mechanical cat, Macak, who had his owner’ name and address engraved inside his prosthesis. When Maeko reaches the flat, she finds 2 people dead, and comes face to face with Garrett and his son again. Finally Maeko and Chaff are reunited, but they someone has disappeared and they will have to make allies of some people who do not seem that trustworthy.
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat is a very entertaining and fun book about a plucky and clever teenage girl. I loved the fact that Maeko is half Japanese, and that issue is handled realistically. What impressed me most was the quality of Ms. McCormack’s writing: very elegant and truly Victorian; it feels like a Dickens novel! I loved that she was careful to use the words and vocabulary of the era. It might be a Steampunk novel; the language felt more genuine than most true historical novels. It’s a YA novel, full of adventures and will enchant everyone regardless of age, especially anyone who loves Steampunk and the English language: it is superbly written!

Guest Post by the Author
Walking in Maeko’s Shoes
They say to write about what you know. When I started writing The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, I knew very little about London, but I’ve always been a firm believer in writing about what you want to write about and getting to know it along the way. During the first draft of the book, that meant researching a lot. I did tons of research to learn about the city, the way it was laid out in Victorian days, and what was going on in terms of progress, society, and many other aspects of life. Then I figured out how to tweak history to create the alternate version of Victorian London I needed for this book.
After the book was written, I got the opportunity to go to London and see the world my character lived in first hand. You could say I did things backwards, but there was something magical about walking streets Maeko had walked in the book and seeing the world I’d created through a blend of research and imagination come to life around me. It also gave me a chance to adjust a few things in the book to try to make it feel more authentic.

About the Author
Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12, which she still has tucked in a briefcase in her home office, waiting for the right moment. Despite a successful short story publication with Cricket Magazine in 2007, she continued to treat her writing addiction as a hobby until a drop in the economy presented her with an abundance of free time that she used to focus on making it her career.
Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her husband and three cats suffering varying stages of neurosis. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She finds peace through practicing Iaido or shooting her longbow.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.