THE MIND'S EYE by K.C. Finn
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal, Historical, Adventure and Romance)
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
A girl with a telepathic gift finds a boy clinging to his last hope during the war-torn climate of Europe, 1940.
At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.
As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time.
There are secrets to be uncovered, both at home and abroad, and it’s up to Kit and Henri to come together and fight their own battles in the depths of the world’s greatest war.
"Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye..."
"I think I can do it."
The characters jump off the pages and pull you into the story. I really enjoyed each of them, and K.C. Finn did an incredible job at writing realistic characters. The sweet romance that blooms between Kit and Henri is such a cute part of the story. I loved their growth during this story.
I'm so glad I was able to put aside my aversion to wartime based fiction and enjoy this book. I've read other books by K.C. Finn, and she is such an incredible writer. She can spin a story effortlessly that pulls you into the story. I would recommend The Mind's Eye to YA fans of all ages who enjoy a sweet romance.
**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Clean Teen Publishing and K.C. Finn.
Interview with K.C. Finn
1. Which book do you think everyone should read at least once in their lifetime?
I think that everyone who appreciates the power of language ought to read a book written by Vladimir Nabokov during their lifetime. My personal favourite is Lolita, but that isn’t a story that everyone can understand and sympathise with! The reason I choose Nabokov is because I feel he is a writer who respected language immensely, every word is chosen with care and attention and that’s what great writing should be about.
1. Do you have a writing ritual? What does it entail?
I can write pretty much anywhere so long as I am left alone to do it! I don’t tend to eat or drink at all when I’m writing as I find that very distracting. For The Mind’s Eye I was on a really strict deadline to finish the book before NaNoWriMo 2013, so I actually took myself away to my auntie’s house in Chester for the final week of writing to make sure it got done. I wrote about 20,000 words whilst I was there and it really helped to be away from the internet and other life stresses!
1. If you could choose any TV show to promote your book on, which would you choose?
With me being across the pond that makes for a difficult choice! There’s a Welsh national channel here in the UK called S4C, I think it would be fun to introduce the book there as it’s so deeply rooted in the North Wales valleys and really embodies the sense of warmth, love and support that I associate with Welsh family life!
1. Why did you choose the genre you write in?
That’s tricky because The Mind’s Eye has several genres smushed into it! First and foremost I chose to write a paranormal story because I adore anything speculative. All my books to date are sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal tales so that’s my wheelhouse where I’m most comfortable creating the plot. Then the story just had to be set during the Second World War because it’s a historical area that fascinates me, especially the tales of evacuation and occupation that happened in Europe. I’m Welsh so setting the tale in North Wales was also a cultural bonus and highly enjoyable, so that’s where the historical genre element came in. The inevitable conclusion to having those two things was to throw in adventure and romance as the sub-genres. I always knew Kit and Henri were forming a romantic connection so I wanted that to be a tender part of the tale amid the action-packed scenes of war that she witnesses.
1. Which was your favorite chapter to write?
I don’t want to give too much away here, but there’s quite a violent scene in the last quarter of the book where something unpleasant happens to Bickerstaff. I’m going to sound like a total sadist I know, but I was so looking forward to writing that chapter and I felt a huge sense of relief when that moment had been depicted. The sense of shock and detachment you get from that moment is something I’m very proud of. It went onto the page exactly how I wanted it to, which doesn’t always happen in the world of writing!
1. Chocolate or vanilla?
I prefer chocolate but I don’t really like either! Can I say banana flavoured things instead?
Catherine ‘Kit’ Cavendish, age 15
Kit is the central character of The Mind’s Eye, a girl with secret psychic abilities who can step into other people’s heads, look through their eyes and feel their emotions. She suffers from what was known in 1939 as Still’s Disease, which is actually a form of juvenile arthritis. This means that she has suffered a period of physical deterioration, so when we see her at the start of the book she is bound to a wheelchair and wishing that her life could be very different to the situation she’s trapped in. The Mind’s Eye is just as much about Kit’s war with her body as it is about the actual war surrounding the story. My dream cast pick for Kit is Georgie Henley, famous for playing Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia movies.
Henri Haugen, age 17
When Kit first connects her mind to Henri’s she finds him in Oslo, Norway on the day that the Nazis first arrive to take control of the city. Henri is a kind and brave soul but he can be impetuous and make snap decisions without thinking; not a clever move to make when you’re surrounded by the occupying forces. Kit takes it upon herself to counsel Henri through his troubles and eventually help him to escape the terror in Oslo so that he can do his part for the war effort. During this time the two youngsters develop a strong bond of friendship and romance. My choice for Henri is a bit of an obscure one since he’s not actually an actor, but here I present Aljaz Skorjanec, star of ballroom dancing show Strictly Come Dancing!
Blodwyn Price, age 20, and Steven Bickerstaff, age 29
Blod is not a character I expect you to like the first time you meet her, but I hope that as you read on in The Mind’s Eye you will come to understand her attitude and the life events that have shaped her into the moody, guarded young beauty that she is. Doctor Bickerstaff forms a kind of enemy for Kit at the start of the tale, his harsh words and unsmiling attitude aren’t what she needs when she’s struggling enough already… or are they? Blod and Bickerstaff are my secondary main characters and I genuinely love the way their story unfolds as Kit learns to understand why they behave the way they do and discovers secrets about them she never thought possible. My dream cast picks for them are Dominique Swain for Blod (star of the Jermey Irons version of Lolita) and Dan Stevens for Bickerstaff (whom you will all recognise as Matthew in Downton Abbey).
Table for Two
Guest Post by K.C. Finn
If I could invite one character from The Mind’s Eye to leap out of the pages and come to dinner with me, it would have to be my diabolical doctor Steven Bickerstaff.
Bickerstaff initially presents himself as a hard-faced physician, the man who is determined to cause Kit as much agony as possible as he forces her to wear huge wooden splints on her ailing limbs in an effort to prevent joint contraction and eventually allow her to use her legs again. To Kit this seems like an unbearable hell with no real sign that it’s going to work and she hates him bitterly for not leaving her in peace to get on with her life in her wheelchair.
To me, however, Steven is a man of vision, a little ahead of his time in terms of what can be done to help people with disabilities. He may not be a compassionate man, but he is highly intelligent and genuinely committed to trying new and unusual methods in order to help the people under his care. He enjoys a challenge and is dedicated to his work, so in a lot of ways I see myself in his creation (especially in his spiteful moods!).
During the events of The Mind’s Eye Kit grows curious about her wicked young doctor, discovering more about his life and the reasons behind his temperament. Since I already know what those reasons are, I think I’d get on with him a little better over dinner than Kit would! I enjoy characters who have some depth and pain to them and Bickerstaff has that in spades. Even though I created him I am still genuinely fascinated by his guarded exterior and the wealth of despair and regret within him. He’s the kind of compelling figure that I am always drawn to finding out more about and I hope that he’ll come across that way to readers too!
And hey, if he looks like Dan Stevens, that just sweetens the deal, doesn’t it? ;)
EXCERPT FROM THE MIND'S EYE:
We spent Henri’s birthday under a tree drinking orange pop and trying to talk about subjects that didn’t lead back to the war. The news of Clive and Ieuan had shaken Leigh out of his selfish reverie, so if one good thing had come from the darkness it was the fact that my brother had finally actually gotten to know Henri. He even sang Happy Birthday in what he called ‘The Proper English Way’, laughing so hard he could barely get the words out for lack of breath:
“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you; you look like a monkey and you smell like one too!”
Henri laughed for the first time in what seemed like forever and a warmth settled in my chest, like things were finally going to get back to normal. When Leighton went to get more pop, Henri came to the tree and sat down beside me, putting a long arm around my shoulders and pulling me in. He kissed the side of my head gently, his warm breath sinking into my hair. He hadn’t tried to kiss me properly again even when there had been opportunity for it, and I was sort of grateful for that. As much as I wanted to feel that tingling, only-us-in-the-world sensation again, right now the atmosphere just wasn’t right. But we were always close to one another when we had the chance, I had gotten so used to his arms around me that it felt like some part of me was missing when he wasn’t there.
“I’ll have to go into the village tomorrow,” he whispered, “to pass my enlistment papers to the right people.”
An invisible blade sank slowly into my fragile heart, but I had always known this day was coming.
“It’ll take them a while to process it,” I said hopefully, “I bet they’ve already got loads of boys waiting to go to basic training.”
“Perhaps,” he said softly, his lips still resting against my head.
I turned sharply to face him, searching his deep brown eyes. “I don’t want you to go,” I said, racing to find his hand to hold it tightly.
“I won’t really be gone,” he replied, “You’ll always be able to find me.”
“That’s not the point,” I said, my curls shaking as I trembled, “This is dangerous Henri, this is war.”
“You forget where I’ve been already,” he said, turning his face away to focus hard on the distance. He kept a firm hold of my hand and gave it a good squeeze. “You came to my head in the quiet times, the safe times. But I’ve already seen the destruction, the danger and the death, Kit. I think there are two types of people during war: those who see the horror happening and run away, never looking back, and those who want to do something about it.” I felt his other arm pull me in closer against his strong body. “You know which type I am, so you know I have to go.”
I couldn’t say anything, because it was all true.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it'd be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first three novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga, the time travel adventure The Secret Star and her new urban fantasy epic The Book Of Shade.
As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.
K.C. Finn signed with Clean Teen Publishing in late 2013. Her first book published with Clean Teen Publishing: The Mind's Eye, is scheduled to release on April 1, 2014. This will be shortly followed by the sequel, Leighton's Summer.
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