The West Woods
by Suzy Vadori
Release Date: September 22nd 2017
Evil Alter Ego Press
Magic, sacrifice and the quest for freedom.
Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school’s fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.
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The West Woods is a prequel to The Fountain (click on images for Goodreads link):
Guest post – Talk about The West Woods
The West Woods
As a kid, I always loved the woods. Woods with mossy carpeted floors were always places where fairies could hide. Wintery woods with barren trees were places where I could hide. Finding a place in the woods to hide has always had appeal for me.
When I took up running in my 20’s (I still run, but I’ve never enjoyed it), I was known to try to read a book while running on a path through the woods in a ravine near where I lived in Toronto. Note: do not try this, it doesn’t work.
As The Fountain Series developed and I looked for a mysterious setting to visit the magical stone fountain, it was only natural to me that it would be in the woods. The shadows and light between the trees is both foreboding and inspiring. I particularly like woodsy areas in the fall, when a slick carpet of leaves crunches underfoot.
I lived in Boston when I was growing up, and the trees in that area kept coming back to me as I imagined the school and the adjoining woods. So, it seemed inevitable that St. Augustus would be in a New England town not far from Boston, despite the fact that I now live in Calgary, Canada.
In the series, Ava has a grandmother who lives near the school, on the other side of the woods. It’s a shortcut for Ava to get there by cutting through, though the woods are off limits to students of St. Augustus, the punishments severe for venturing in. I’ve had many readers point out the connection in this setting to the song….
“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…”
I didn’t have the song in mind when developing the series, but is definitely fun. Even more readers have asked if I intended to parallel Little Red Riding Hood, where Red ventures into the woods to see her Grandmother (also unintentional on my part).
I love that readers are finding ways to relate the setting, it shows that the woods really resonate with them. Recreating fairy tales is very popular right now in young adult fiction, with series like The Land of Stories, The Yellow Hoods and A Court of Wings and Ruin. I love that readers are looking for these themes.