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The Legend Awakes
About Book One

Claire Belle sees like a hawk and hears like an owl but still needs the help of her best friend and worst enemy to stop a murderous scoundrel.

Download the first chapter of Book One pdf (500KB) and read below a brief interview with the author: Inside the Story


Inside the Story

In October of 2008, Georgia Anne Butler sat down with her close friend Linda Moist (a huge fan of young adult literature and one-time school librarian) to discuss some of the themes in The Legend Awakes.  

Linda (Question):  The Legend Awakes is the first book in the trilogy Of the Wing. Tell us something about the book.

Georgia (Answer): The book is about Claire (an 11-year-old girl) whose life is entwined with that of a Red-tailed Hawk. You see, the hawk helped to save Claire when she was only three; now she’s 11 and must help to save the hawk from a trophy hunter.

Question:  The back cover says that Claire looks to “a best friend and worst enemy” for help.  Getting a “worst enemy” to help you do anything sounds pretty problematic.

Answer:  You’re right: worst enemies aren’t usually cooperative. And neither is Billy.  In fact, he’s the school bully and regularly taunts Claire because of her odd appearance.  Even so he’s terribly jealous of Claire and she’s jealous of him because of Victor.  He is Claire’s only friend but also Billy’s.  So all three are locked in a complicated triangle of emotions. And I don’t want to spoil the story, so I can’t tell you the role of a belligerent Billy in the hawk’s fate.

Question:  I’m glad you mentioned Claire’s appearance.  That’s a major theme as well.

Answer: Yes.  In a coming-of-age story, appearance is always critical. Girls and boys are changing both physically and emotionally, making them more vulnerable to what others think. So I needed to heighten Claire’s sense of exposure to make her interactions with others more emotionally charged. I gave her a kind of pigment disorder (not one that actually exists—at least I don’t think so).  In essence I describe her an albino, except instead of having pink eyes, hers are golden-yellow.

Question: Albinos have pale skin and white hair  (as does Claire) and as you say pink eyes. So why did you give Claire yellow-gold eyes?

Answer: A couple reasons.  Most importantly I wanted her to share characteristics of many birds and animals—thus I gave her the eye color of a Great Horned Owl.  Of course, she shares this eye color with animals but no people, which works to isolate her from people. Too, I couldn’t classify her as an albino since people with this disorder have low tolerance for direct sunlight and Claire is an outdoor adventurer who’s in the sun all the time. So I had to create a special disorder, though I give it no name.

Question: For me the most intriguing theme is Claire’s ability to attract birds—not just any bird but whatever one she wears printed on her shirt. Tell us more about that.

Answer: Claire’s power to draw birds to herself is the mystery element in the story. Not till near the book’s end is she provided an explanation for the phenomena. But even that is just a theory, so the principle at work remains—even into the second book—an unknown.

Question: Can you give us a hint?

Answer: Okay.  I’ll give you a hint. On any typical day, how many birds do you see?  For instance, on the way to or from work, you might be aware of birds flying across the road, but how many do you actually see and recognize? Now think of someone who goes out everyday looking for birds.  How many would she see and recognize? You’ll find my hint hidden in these questions and answers.

Linda: Almost seems like a riddle, and riddles are fun to solve, so thanks for that Georgia.  Let’s stop here and next time pick up the discussion with the other characters—Victor and Billy, of course, but also the Chicken Man!

Georgia: I’m looking forward to it!