Book Tour

The Castaways

Author: Jessika Fleck

Release Date: April 3, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Synopsis: The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous. Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing. Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home. But victory may require more betrayal, sacrifice, and heartbreak than she’s ready for.


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About the Author

Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her work verges on fantastical and dark with a touch of realism. She is a regular contributor to the fantastic kidlit blog, Kidliterati, and is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Author Website:

Author Twitter: @jessikafleck

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Where did you come up with the idea for The Castaways?
First off, I’m thrilled to be here at Here’s to Happy Endings! Thanks for having me and for hopping along The Castaways blog tour! As for how I came up with the story… The idea for The Castaways came to me in two parts. First off, a friend of mine was going through a really rough time with her daughter being bullied at school. It was heartbreaking and horrifying and left me at a loss that such things happened so regularly and in plain sight of teachers and administrators and other students. It just isn’t right. As all of that was sort of percolating in my mind, Halloween came along and my husband and I took our daughters on the obligatory pumpkin patch excursion. Of course, we visited the corn maze. And, of course, it was as creepy and beautiful and mysterious as it always is. At one point we decided to split up — one adult with one kid — and race to the finish. Well, I had our youngest daughter who wasn’t at all interested in getting out of there and so we just ambled through the crooks and bends and dead-ends. And that’s when it hit me: what a perfect place to run away when you’re trying to hide. And that was pretty much the beginning of The Castaways. The rest, honestly, spiraled into place.

Is the carnival in the book based on a place you’ve been?
I wish! A very cool and authentic pirate themed carnival would be amazing — surely there’s one out there! The fact it’s set in Texas isn’t at random though. I grew up in Texas. We have a love-hate relationship. 😉

Do you find corn mazes fun or creepy?
Oh gosh. Is it cheating to say both? I’ve been pushed to childlike giggles running through corn mazes trying to be the first to get out. Mostly though, if it’s that time of day where the sun is setting and there’s a perfect crispness in the air and the wind is blowing so it makes the dried stalks jingle… It’s something truly mystifying and just on the verge of creepy, indeed.

Which character in the book is your favorite?
Definitely Olive. She was simply lovely to write. And, like most good characters, she surprised me a bit. I originally wrote her more timid throughout, but in the end, she definitely proved she could do more and was, in her own right, a badass, which I love. (Bonus: my favorite secondary character is, hands down, Bug!)

How do you avoid distractions while writing?
I am THE WORST. Like, truly, don’t take tips from me. I’ve learned when I’m on a deadline or down to time crunch (::sides-eyes pile of interviews and guest posts to write::), I’m able to get things done and don’t have to go out of my way to keep myself focused. Buuuut… When I don’t have anything pressing? I’m a total trainwreck and will bounce around from Pinterest to Twitter to Instagram to the coffee shop counter to Facebook back to Twitter then to Amazon, etc… Sometimes I’ll put my laptop in airplane mode and listen to music on my phone. I also found this cool app called Cold Turkey that is like a drill sergeant for keeping you off of the internet. It’s very effective if you’re like me and you need someone virtually yelling in your ear to ‘get to work!’.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

An ARC of Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. And Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. All so very different and all so very amazing.

It’s been a pleasure, thanks so much for having me!

Thank you so much for stopping by and answering some questions!  It was a pleasure to be a part of the tour for your amazing sounding book!

Giveaway Info:

Prize Pack with The Castaways + swag. An Amazon gift card in the case of an international winner.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Excerpt


But everything’s clear. I do know where to go. “I’m going to find that boulder—” I suck in shallow breath. “The…hhh…maze.”

“It’s no use. We’ve tried everything. It doesn’t work! Wait!”

But I’m not listening because it has to work. It’s the only way. If it got me in, it’ll get me back out.

I run until my body, my mind, and, mostly, my lungs give up. Because, problem is, Will’s right. I don’t know how to find it.

I stop.

Will stops.

Bent at the waist, hands on my knees, I cough and spew, trying to catch my breath. The hyperventilation has passed, but my insistence on sprinting like I’m a track star when my

lungs and legs have no business running, has taken its toll.

I look up.

Will isn’t fazed. At some point he took off his shirt and now stands with his hands on his hips, chest rising and falling, barely winded. His abs flex with each effortless breath. “Get

it out of your system?”

It’s when my stomach springs that I realize I’m staring at his body. I quickly glance away and completely ignore his question. “Take me there.”

“I told you. It’s no use.”

“Please,” I whimper. Tears race down my face.

Tucking his T-shirt into the back of his pants, Will walks in another direction.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m taking you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

With Will now leading the way, I watch his suntanned back, the sweat beading at his shoulders and slowly, one by one, how the beads roll down the center crease. I’m in a daze

or a haze or a trance because all I see is his back, his muscles contracting and tightening with each step, and, like magic, we’re there.

The mossy boulder stands before us and, I swear, it mocks me in all its ordinary, commonplace glory.


Follow the rest of the tour here:

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9 Responses to Blog Tour: The Castaways by Jessika Fleck – Author Q&A

  1. danielle hammelef says:

    If I was on this island, I would have wished for accurate and high-resolution GPS.

  2. Raven says:

    I’m looking forward to read this book. My favorite YA fantasy standalone is Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂
    Raven recently posted…Letters to the Lost By Brigid Kemmerer [Review]My Profile

    • Kelly says:

      I haven’t read that one yet, but I do have a copy and it sounds like such a great read (not to mention that cover is simply gorgeous!)

  3. I loved the revelation the author had – “what a perfect place to run away when you’re trying to hide”
    I’ve never been in a corn maze myself. I’m pretty sure it’s because I live in Florida. I love the cover and the author seems like she knows what she’s talking about with the books she is currently reading (:
    Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind recently posted…Switching Gears by Chantele SedgwickMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      I live in Pennsylvania (in an area which is like 75% farms), and I haven’t been in a corn maze either…I think it’s because I’ve watched too many horror movies as a kid!

  4. This book sounds so cool! I haven’t seen it before and I am really loving the whole carnival theme right now. Definitely one that I need to check out. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂
    Olivia @ The Candid Cover recently posted…ARC Review: This is Really Happening by Erin ChackMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      I hope you enjoy it when you read it – it’s really high up on my TBR list, too. I hear you – there are so many amazing books with circus and carnival themes out right now, and they’re all so good!

  5. Pingback: Blog Tour Sign Ups: The Castaways by Jessika Fleck - YA Reads Blog Tours

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