Monday, March 31, 2014

Character Interview and Review: The Mind's Eye (KC Finn)

I'm so excited to welcome KC Finn back to the blog! Her new YA historical novel, "The Mind's Eye" is already out on B&N, and will be releasing on Kindle/Amazon tomorrow!

What is "The Mind's Eye" all about? 

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.

Interview with Kit Cavendish


1. Your gift isn't something you typically tell people about. Can you explain how it works to my readers?

I suppose it’s something like a psychic takeover, although I don’t have any powers to control the minds of the people I can travel to. I just close my eyes, concentrate on my target and then (hopefully) take up residence inside their mind, where I can see and sense through their eyes and ears and also feel the surges of emotional energy that their body’s going through. Sometimes I can also speak into their minds, but that terrifies a lot of people so I don’t tend to do it too often!

2. When did you first discover your gift?

I think I was somewhere around nine years old when the power first manifested, but at the time I was visiting other people’s minds subconsciously whilst I was asleep, so I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just thought I was having strange dreams! I must have been around twelve when I came to conclusion that I could use this gift in my waking hours and start to hone it to do my bidding.

3. Can you tell us about how you and Henri became friends?

I’m not that good at targeting the right mind when I make a psychic journey, so Henri and I actually met by accident when I was trying to gain some information on the Nazi progress during the war. The Nazi soldier I had tried to find was situated in Oslo, which is Henri’s hometown, so when I was looking for a mind to settle in, I found his. He was remarkably unfazed by my presence in his mind, so I decided I would visit him more than once, the rest is history!

4. How did developing your gift compare to the exercises you are asked to do to strengthen your body and combat your physical ailments?

I suppose the mental training and the physical training were both as hard as each other, but I found the physical stuff more demanding because I didn’t really want to do it. I had the belief that I was weak and that physical strength was something too impossible to achieve, but my mental prowess showed instant results with a little work, so I was more inclined to spend time working on that than on my bodily health. Having a doctor with the sense of humour of a hot poker doesn’t help in these situations either.

5. Because of your physical difficulties, you were restricted to remaining indoors for a long time. Your gift gave you some freedom, but what really pushed you to suffer through regaining the ability to walk?

Growing up indoors and ‘cared for’ all the time, I didn’t see the need to be independent because my mother had built a very comfortable life around me. The war changed all of that totally, it threw me out of my comfort zone and forced me into a new world where people suddenly had all these expectations of me. I think it was a combination of loving encouragement from people like Mam and Henri as well as the tough love that Blod and Doctor Bickerstaff laid on that pushed me to want to succeed at being mobile again.

6. Can you describe how meeting Henri changed the way you used your gift?

Prior to the war I was a very purposeless young girl. I didn’t see that I could be any use to anyone in a career and I didn’t feel that any man would ever want to marry me because of my disability, so I didn’t really know where my future was going. Meeting Henri showed me the dangers of war and the dependency that people in wartime have on intelligence and surveillance. My gift really lent itself to those two things, so with Henri’s help and knowledge I was able to find purpose again and make a genuine contribution to the war effort.

7. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

That it doesn’t matter who you or where you come from, because anyone can find their hidden strengths and play their part to help the world be a better place. We all deserve love and a family despite our mistakes and the things that make us a little abnormal too.

8. What is in store for you and Henri next?

I’ll be following in my parents’ footsteps and it looks as though Henri will be doing the same until the war is over. To tell you the truth, it’s my little brother Leighton I’m worried about. He’s so young that we can’t really involve him in much of our new life together; I worry that he’s going to be a troubled teenager himself one day…

My Review

When Kit and her brother are sent out of London during the war to stay with a foster family, she has no idea how much it will change her life. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, she is pushed to her limits in the Welsh countryside. Her psychic gift, which she has kept carefully hidden all her life suddenly becomes her only source of freedom, and the only chance she has to help one of the people she loves most. 

I am certainly no expert on history, but it was obvious that Finn put a great deal of time into the research behind this book. Everything from rationing, cloth shortages, and the types of medical treatment available during that time was very well done. Finn did a great job of setting the scene and making sure readers felt like they were a part of war time Europe. The treatments Kit had to endure were so interesting to read about. At times it broke my heart to watch her suffer through her illness, but at the same time I felt so happy for Kit every time she met a milestone and persevered through a difficult situation. She was a great example of strength, and I hope readers learn from her. 

Kit's psychic abilities play a huge role in the overall story. One thing that really bugs me when books incorporate abilities like this is when there's no consistency or it doesn't make sense. That wasn't a problem here. Kit has limitations, and those frequently affect what she can do in the story. The rules and structure of the psychic ability were well crafted and added so much to the story. I hate to give spoilers, but at one point these limitations were almost unbearable. I was so frustrated with what was happening right along with Kit!

The characters almost always make or break a book for me. Having read some of Finn's work previously, I didn't expect that to be a problem, and I was right. I connected with Kit right off the bat. She was so realistic and had a great deal of depth to her character. At times it was difficult to watch her struggle, but that made her triumphs all the sweeter. Henri, well, I just plain adored him. His character was absolutely delightful and I was pulling for him all the way through. It wasn't just the main characters that will catch readers attention. Ever single side character was layered and complex and I got pulled into their stories easily. This is a beautifully rich cast of characters. 

The overall story was beautiful. Everyone is put into such a difficult situation. They have plenty of reasons to just give up, but they don't. They suffer through everything they are faced with, no matter how hard. The inspire each other and bear the weight of the other's burdens. This is one of those books that you will walk away from and keep thinking about it for days. 

Get your copy of "The Mind's Eye"

Available soon on your favorite ebook store

Meet 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.

K.C. Finn has also recently been welcomed into the fold at Clean Teen Publishing as a debut Young Adult author for 2014 - look out for her epic Paranormal/Historical Adventure The Mind's Eye, coming early 2014!

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.

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