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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Blog tour - Q and A with Rachel Delahaye

 Blog tour - Q and A with Rachel Delahaye

Good morning! I've got something exciting to share with you today. To celebrate the release of the third Mort the Meek book, Mort the Meek and the Perilous Prophecy, I have the utterly fantastic author, Rachel Delahaye, stopping off for some questions and answers as part of her blog tour. I've been a huge fan of Rachel and her writing for years, so this is an absolute pleasure.

You can find my review of Morth the Meek and the Perilous Prophecy here and please check out the rest of the blog tour!

Now on to the interrogation!

Brutalia is a really, really, really horrible place. Why would you choose to set your books there?

When I’m starting out, I always play with opposites – it’s what most writers do: it’s how plots twist, characters evolve and stories get their arc. When I was thinking of Mort – a gentle boy and a pacifist to his core – the most extreme opposite I could think of was a blood-lusting, brutal environment. It would challenge his principles, challenge his very survival. Oh, and it would also be extremely fun to write! Who doesn’t like writing about revolting stuff!


Bonrock seems like a really lovely place. Why would you choose to set your book there?

For the first two books, Mort spent most of his time on Brutalia (with a small sojourn on the paradise plains of Dead Man’s Island to test his loyalty). For this third one I wanted him to experience life in a place that was more in tune with him – an environment where he would feel at home. Or should fee at home... This was an opportunity to illustrate how propaganda works, and how suggestions and suspicions can warp reality. So although Mort is introduced to a land of beauty and peace, can he trust what he sees? 


There's a lot of wordplay in Mort the Meek and the Perilous Prophecy, with the characters explaining linguistic concepts to each other. Are you trying to sneak educational content in there deliberately? Or is there another purpose?


I was initially just having a lot of fun with wordplay - enjoying what was falling onto the page; I’m a compulsive punner. But yes, I did grab the chance to make it educational. Or at least show how grammar can be fun. I once wrote a joke book with Gareth P Jones called The Daily Joker, and as we were writing it, I realised just how much our jokes rely on homophones, synonyms and similes, and I then devised a grammar workshop for schools based on joke creation. The smattering of homophone play in Mort is just a taste of those workshops, but in explaining the puns, it also allowed me to USE the puns (which might otherwise have been too tricky to include), so it’s win-win. 

What's it like going between writing books with emotions and serious messages (like Day of the Whale) and books that are silly and funny and horrid like Mort the Meek?

I’m a fairly moody person, and while the messages in both Mort and Day of the Whale are serious, it’s how I choose to approach them as I start writing that ends up defining the genre. With Mort, it had to be funny. The world I chose for him was so dark, that to make it overly emotional and tense might well have pushed it out of the age bracket I was aiming for, and I sincerely wanted it to be for the younger reader (you’re never too young to begin to understand that violence isn’t an answer). But there are times when light-heartedness isn’t right for an adventure. Day of the Whale had some quite complex themes; it required a bigger story with a more illustrative style. Going between light humour and deep dives into humanity is actually a wonderful way of working – it gives me variety and a chance to stretch my creative muscle. I don’t think I could ever write in just one way.


Hang on. Are you trying to sneak any fairly serious messages into Mort the Meek?


Well, what do you think? Peace, kindness and education for all… not to be laughed at!


I loved the meta humour in Mort the Meek and the Perilous Prophecy, with characters having read the earlier books. Is this something we might see more of?


Possibly. You’ll have to wait and see. Yes and no. (Will somebody get this author to give a straight answer!)

I'd like to thank Rachel for taking part in this questions and answers post, and Little Tiger for arranging it. Please do check out the rest of the blog tour, and definitely go and read Mort's latest adventures.


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