I am so very excited to be a part of this SALT & STORM Blog Tour for Rockstar Book Tours. Last year I had Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulpar as my WoW and since them I had been pining away for it. Then I read this atmospherically mysterious and magical read and was instantly hooked. So, you can imagine my excitement at interviewing Kendall and having her on my blog today. Please stay and get to know an exciting new author a little better as she talks about her debut novel Salt & Storm and a little more. Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post. GOOD LUCK!!

Title: SALT & STORM 
Author: Kendall Kulper 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
Pub. Date: September 23, 2014 
Find it: Goodreads|Amazon|Barnes& Noble

A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.

Kendall Kulper writes historical fiction with a fantasy twist for teen readers and knows more about nineteenth century whaling than she ever imagined. Her debut YA novel, SALT & STORM will be published by Little, Brown September 23, 2014. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in history and literature in 2008 and spent several years as a journalist before deciding to write full-time. She grew up in the wilds of New Jersey and now lives in Boston with her husband and chronically-anxious Australian Shepherd mix, Abby.

Ravenous Reader Q&A with Kendall Kulper

1.  Can you share a little of SALT and STORM with us?

Sure! Here’s one of my favorite passages about the complicated and often tumultuous relationship Avery has with her mother:

This was my mother’s fault, all of it. She kept me here in this town, she prevented my escape, she hurt my friend and nearly killed him—killed him!—and I had to make her pay.

Sometimes, when I am very angry at my mother, I like to imagine her big and bloodless and all alone at the bottom of the ocean, like a giant squid. I imagine her in the darkness, in the cold, all her sticky tentacles wrapped tightly around her. The squid live far down in the ocean, farther down than any man could ever dive. Only whales can go from the surface to the depths, where they chomp-chomp on squid and come up for air with skin slashed by sharp beaks and puckered with sucker marks. Once, a whale ship caught one of these squids—kraken, they called it—and hauled it to the docks and hung it up. Its skin was translucent and pale and fragile, the color of something that hates light, and its body looked saggy and swollen, full of all kinds of decaying gas.

That is how I imagine my mother, a monster deep in the ocean, reaching out with her tentacles to catch stray fish and stray sailors and pull them apart like a bloated, underwater spider.

And that day, as my feet drummed across the cobblestones back to my mother’s house, I imagined my body cutting through the air like a whale’s slick skin through water. I imagined each step through town was another foot deeper into cold ocean, deeper into my mother’s territory. But I was a whale, strong and muscular, long-jawed and sharp-toothed, and I was going to find my terrible squid of a mother and chomp-chomp her so she’d learn to keep her blasted tentacles to herself.

2.  How did you come up with the title?

I am awful at titles (the working title was THE ROE WITCH, which, no…), so all credit has to go to the fine folks at Little, Brown for coming up with something so beautiful. We brainstormed a lot of “oceany” words and debated whether to use one alone or two together. As soon as I saw SALT & STORM on the list of possibilities, it really jumped out at me—it felt so powerful and evocative—and I’m so glad that’s what we went with!

3.  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I didn’t set out writing SALT & STORM with a message in mind, but I do think Avery comes to learn a lot of things throughout her journey that I hope readers can take away. The biggest for me is the idea that a person can control their fate and identity. Even if you’ve been told your whole life who you are and what you will be, ultimately the choice is yours.

4.  SALT and STORM is highly atmospheric, filled with much history, superstition and lore. What research went into writing it?

I did a lot of research leading up to writing SALT & STORM, from camping out in the library to climbing aboard a working tall ship to see how they sailed and navigated. Research is one of my favorite parts of writing because I love discovering interesting facts I never would have come up with on my own. The whaling black lists—newspaper listings where disgruntled crew members would warn other whale men against working with incompetent officers—were real things (and so catty—they’re amazing). And a lot of the magic was also based on real accounts—people really would buy knots of rope that could supposedly control the winds, and to this day, sailors believe certain tattoos have protective qualities.

5.  What are your current project(s)?

Right now I’m working on a companion novel to SALT & STORM, a sort of prequel set about eighteen years earlier. SALT & STORM pretty much exclusively focuses on the Roes and Prince Island, while this prequel travels around and talks about other magical people. After staying in one place with the first book, it’s been a lot of fun to open up the world.

6.  What are your 5 favorite books —and why?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – One of my absolute favorites since I first read it at twelve years old. So beautiful, so realistic, heartbreaking and hopeful.
East of Eden
– I fell in love with the movie first (also excellent and one of my favorites), and although the book is pretty different, I love how brilliantly it captures the changing relationships in a single family and how parents and children relate to and change one another.

The Harry Potter series – I’m counting all these as one, and, let’s face it, I don’t think there will be another Harry Potter in the children’s book world for a long, long time. As far as books that can instantly transport me to another world, Harry Potter can’t be beat.

The Art of Looking Sideways – This is a book about art and design that my brother gave to me when I was a teenager. It’s a must-read for creative types, and whenever I’m feeling tapped out of inspiration, flipping through the pages helps me to refocus and rest my brain.

Graceling Series – These books by Kristin Cashore were some of the first YA I read after I decided to try to write full-time, and I was instantly blown away by the in-depth and thoughtful world she created. These are some of my favorite books to pick up whenever I want a good story.

7.  What book are you reading now?

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I loved her first two books, and this one is already proving to be a fabulous end to the series!

8.  Which part of researching SALT AND STORM was the most personally interesting to you? Were there any facts, characters, or themes that you would have liked to include, but they just didn't make into the story?

Personally, I really enjoyed being able to infuse the book with my own memories and feelings. Prince Island isn’t a real place, but it’s based on Martha’s Vineyard, where I’ve visited since I was a child. I usually go to Martha’s Vineyard off-season, when it’s quieter and mostly just locals, and it’s given me an appreciation for wide, empty beaches and open country.

A lot of that description made it into the book, but some of it had to be cut. There was a scene that took place at a marshy pond called the Great Gray Slough, and that whole area is based on ponds I used to swim in on Martha’s Vineyard, especially one that was always freezing, always full of bugs and little crabs, and always left your feet covered in black, sludgy mud.

I really love it when people say that Prince Island feels like a real place, because to me, it really is—I have such a clear picture of it in my head, and describing it was one of my favorite parts of writing the book.

9.  What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts?

I like giving people poetry—poetry always feels like the perfect gift, because books of poems usually aren’t too big and I feel like for whatever reason, people don’t seem to buy a lot of poetry for themselves. Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein is a favorite, and anything by Pablo Neruda.

As for books I’ve been given, lately I’ve been working on building my daughter’s collection of books thanks to gifts from friends and family. It’s been so sweet to see what people pick out for her, and a lot of people leave her little notes inside the book. Right now she’s more interested in sleeping than books, but I can’t wait until I can start reading to her!

10. Would you like to have the ability to read dream and if not what ability would you with to possess?

I think probably not. Being able to see the future in sort of mysterious fragments sounds like it would be more trouble than it’s worth (as Avery learns…). If I could choose one magical ability, I would like to instantly teleport anywhere in the world, so I could travel around and visit all my far-flung friends and family any time I wanted.

11.  I have seen the different covers for SALT and STORM, do you have a particular favorite version?

I’m definitely partial to the US version—that’s the first cover I ever saw and it has a very special place in my heart. But I absolutely love the foreign versions, too! It’s been so great being able to see all the different interpretations of the book. They’re all so different, but they all feel exactly right.

12.  What genre do you consider your book?

I call it historical fantasy, since it’s a blend of historical fiction and fantasy.

13.  I adored the tattoo scene between Tane and Avery, how did that come about and did you have to edit it often?

I think the tattoo scene was pretty much unchanged from the beginning. It was a scene I always knew was coming, and I knew it would lead to a turning point in Tane and Avery’s relationship just based on how intense a moment it was for both of them—Tane sharing something incredibly private and Avery allowing herself to be in such a vulnerable position with him. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book, and I love that it’s striking a chord with readers!

Giveaway Details:
2 Hardcovers of SALT & STORM US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Makes sure to stop by all the blogs on this tour to get a little more information on SALT & STORM and to get to know Kendall a little better.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

9/15/2014- Novel NoviceInterview

9/15/2014- The Infinite To-Read ShelfReview

9/16/2014- All Things Urban FantasyGuest Post

9/16/2014- No BS Book ReviewsReview

9/17/2014- Such a Novel IdeaInterview

9/17/2014- Katie's Book BlogReview

9/18/2014- IceyBooksInterview

9/18/2014- That Artsy Reader GirlReview

9/19/2014- Wishful EndingsGuest Post

9/19/2014- Casual ReadersReview

Week Two:

9/22/2014- Supernatural Snark- Interview

9/22/2014- About to ReadReview

9/23/2014- The Cover ContessaGuest Post

9/23/2014- Imaginary Reads- Review

9/24/2014- Fire and IceGuest Post

9/24/2014- Once Upon a TwilightReview

9/25/2014- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview

9/25/2014- The Best Books EverReview

9/26/2014- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

9/26/2014- Tynga's ReviewsReview


  1. This sounds really good and I can't wait to read it. Congratulations Kendall on your new book and thank you for this giveaway!

  2. I like the cover of Salt and Storm...Beautiful typography and graphics are underappreciated on book covers.


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