Blog Tour: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum ~ Interview

I am so excited to kick of The Wicker King blog tour. Do not forget to check out the exclusive Gif created by Fierce Reads and my interview with the Author! She will make you want to dive into The Wicker King even more.

The Wicker King

Hardcover320 pages
Expected publication: October 31st 2017 
by Imprint


The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

Seeing Double in Neverland Interview with K. Ancrum

  1. Did you have to do any research for The Wicker King?
I did! I did a lot of study into peduncular hallucinosis so I could make sure that Jack’s symptoms were accurately expressed. I did significant  research into the way children and teens cope with neglect, as well as codepenancy in children who create “found families”. I also did a lot of research into mental health facilities in the era and region the book was set. In addition to book research, I conducted a lot of interviews with people who had had similar experiences; particularly regarding my portrayal of the facility and the way August mentally deteriorates vs. Jack’s physical and visual deterioration.

  1. What is your favorite read so far in 2017?
I recently finished Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom. It’s such a fun and creative series!

  1. What was your favorite scene to write in The Wicker King and why?
I really enjoyed the frenetic rush of the scenes where Jack and August meet in the hospital. I took great pains to maintain Jack’s personality and lucidity throughout the book, while subtly dissolving August’s. However, when they meet in the hospital, it becomes abundantly clear that August has been more psychologically impacted than Jack. It was a fun scene to write because it’s designed to shift reader perspective regarding their actions and mental health “status” throughout the entire book. Jack may have been the character who was displaying unusual behavior, but his reaction to the things that are happening and what he’s seeing are quite neurotypical (which is in line with the disorder he has, not an artistic liberty.) Meanwhile, August’s emotional reactions, basic decision making and perspective as a whole is aggressively indicative of his bourgeoning mental illness. His behavior and desperation in the hospital in comparison to Jack’s coolness is such an “Oh!” moment regarding the concept that August was an unreliable narrator all along. Then, suddenly, innocuous things like his mom, and the specific ways he acts out are given new meaning and perspective. Writing whiplash scenes like that is always a fun challenge.  

  1. What is your next project going to be? (If you can not say too much what genre will it be)
Its another YA book set in the same town 25 years in the future. It follows a completely new cast of high school seniors. Additionally, as its set in the same town, some of the teenagers in the Wicker King appear as adults in the background of the new book. I enjoy multi-generational books and I really like the idea of an insignificant small town being the source of significant events.

  1. Who was your favorite character to write?
Rina. Rina is such an interesting character to write because she’s so observant and bold. Besides that, she’s a really good friend and had many important and vulnerable lines. It was also fun to write her subtly courting both Jack and August, while being tactful about August’s self discovery regarding his orientation. While Jack and August’s slow romance is the focus of the book, Rina purposefully creating circumstances that open them both to intimacy with her—that thrives best with her-- was deliciously difficult and very rewarding.

  1. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
The general moral of the story is a discussion about how the environment around August and Jack contributed to the difficulties they suffered. It was deliberately written to showcase multiple circumstances where they could have been helped in ways that would have averted the entire tragedy of their story. How the neglect of their parents drove them towards preferring to rely on each other, and repeated let-downs dismantled their ability to trust authority. How their school was aware of marked changes in their behavior, but chose to punish them on an individual basis rather than looking into their situation. How their success at domestic and academic trials and personal responsibility were perceived by adults around them as indicators that they were capable of handling any adult situation.  How the only people around them who noticed anything were their peers, and how even though they tried to help it wasn’t quite enough.  How the only figure of authority who wound up helping them grow and heal was someone who actually stopped and looked at them—really looked at them--and figured out their needs. Figured out how to build trust with them, and figured out who between them needed more help and why.  There is a discussion to be had about how some teenagers fall through the cracks, not because they are inherently difficult, but because they were let down over and over until they are in crisis.  

  1. Who's writing most inspires you?
Honestly? Fan fiction.  People are really out here writing for free, out of love and that’s amazing. Fan fiction is so aggressively creative and some of it is so high quality.

  1. What inspired you to write this book?
It started out as a NaNoWriMo novel, which is kind of cool. But, I decided to write this because I discovered the specific disorder Jack gets: Peduncular Hallucinosis. Its utterly fascinating.  It’s one of the only hallucinatory disorders that does not stem from any psychological disorders and is remarkably independent of seizures. The hallucinations are extraordinarily realistic and sufferers mostly see changes to animals, people or children, scary or deformed faces and heads, changes to the landscape, and people walking in a line. It’s also degenerative, increasing the visions (in opacity, not just frequency) over time. It’s a disorder that primarily impacts vision and eliminating it is super easy regardless of the method used or its originating factor. Jack isn’t “going crazy” he’s going blind due to the sheer density of his visions. It seemed so unique for a story about hallucinations. Everything about it is so cinematic that I’m honestly surprised no one else has written anything fictional about it before.

  1. What TV show is a must for you to watch? (for example I can not miss Once Upon a Time):
I’m really into Stranger Things right now. I really love groups of kids armed with nothing but gumption trying to defeat monsters that would give fully weaponized adults a hard time.

  1. What was the hardest character to write in The Wicker King?
Jack was the most difficult character to write. Largely because he was being seen through August’s unreliable-narrator-eyes-so what he’s like and how August sees him, is so different. I had to go back and forth to make sure he was saying and doing things in a way that would allow readers to go back and re-read the book from Jack’s perspective if they wanted to. He comes off as an aggressive character, but if you ignore August’s internal monologue, he’s actually very intuitive and performative. He asks August over and over, checking with him constantly to make sure that the way he’s behaving is something that August needs from him. Then, he performs that even when it makes him uncomfortable or frightens him (which is bad. I’m not condoning this at all.) He’s also incredibly tentative about his persistent crush on August--and while that whole situation flies right over August’s head-- I had to maintain Jack’s quiet longing and flippant bitterness about it. I think that people who read this and identify with Jack are probably more able to pick up on how tender and vulnerable Jack is in spite of August’s unreliable perspective.  

About the Author:

K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in Andersonville and writes books at work when no one is looking.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Seeing Double in NeverLand
Interview with author
Novel Novice
Styled by Books
A Backwards Story
Take Me Away to a Great Read
Mood Board
Love is Not a Triangle
Would You Rather Q's
Undeniably Book Nerdy
Guest Post: Creating August and Jack's Characters: Inspirations and Challenges
It Starts at Midnight
Guest Post: top ten favorite stories with alternate worlds and/or realities
Book Briefs
Guest Post: Top 10 Things we didn't know about Kayla!
Adventures of a Book Junkie
Across the Words
Character Cast


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