winged reviews
Bookish Firsts, Young Adult / March 11, 2016

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Really happy to be hosting Esther Dalseno on the blog today to celebrate the release of her book Gabriel and the Swallows from OfTomes Publishing!

Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno


Bookish Firsts

With authors Esther Dalseno

What is the first book you ever read/remember reading?
esther-charlieCharlie and the Chocolate Factory. I remember getting a complete obsession for all Roald Dahl’s books thereafter, and got grounded for continuing to insult my brothers by quoting, “My dear old fish, go boil your head.”

What is the first book you wrote (can be published or unpublished)?
My first novel is called Drown and it’s a dark retelling of The Little Mermaid fairy tale. It came out last year. It’s not however, the first book I ever wrote – I wrote a complete rip-off of Star Wars in the sixth grade starring a bunch of 9th grade male characters, whom I must have considered the epitome of manliness at the time.

esther-drownWho is the first author you ever met?
I do “know” a few authors, but few of them I’ve actually met face-to-face in this amazing world of Twitter and Instant Messaging. However, a very long time ago (maybe ten or twelve years back!) I was browsing in an unfamiliar bookstore in Sydney. Staff were setting up, and a solitary man dressed head-to-toe in black was sitting there, thumbing through books, obviously waiting on fans to show up. But there was no one in the room – except for me, standing there quite awkwardly, the staff, and this man, who from time to time would look up at me expectantly. I suddenly felt put off buying books and hastily left the store, noting the signs outside for a signing for something called The Sandman, which I’d never heard of. Needless to say, that was Neil Gaiman, and I had him all to myself, and I blew it. I adore him now and collect all of his books like it’s a religious thing. And I could kick myself.

About Gabriel and the Swallows

A lonely farm boy.
A girl with swallow’s wings.
An ancient city buried in a volcano.
A mystery old as blood and bone.

There is more to Gabriel than the life he’s ashamed of – the son of peasant winemakers, bullied relentlessly on account of his disabled mother. For Gabriel has a secret: the elaborate dream world he descends into at night – a grandiose, vivid existence – is becoming more real than his waking life.

Everything changes for Gabriel when he rescues a wounded creature – a miraculous girl with swallow’s wings – from the voracious pursuit of Alfio Gallo, a dangerous old enemy. Aided by the beautiful and mysterious Orlando Khan, Gabriel is conflicted by unanswered questions: who is the Dark One that dwells in the medieval tunnels beneath their city? Is he just a figment of Gabriel’s powerful imagination? And is the foundling really who she says she is?

Wrestling with manhood whilst beckoned by ancient rites and foreign lands, Gabriel is about to make a deadly decision that changes the course of life as he knows it…as long as he can decide which reality he’s in.

About Esther Dalseno

Esther Dalseno was born to a Malaysian mother and an Italian father in Australia. After living in both Portland, Oregon and Sydney, New South Wales, she headed off to see the world.

Writing and teaching, she has lived in Laos, Vietnam and South Korea and has traveled the world extensively, from Johannesburg to Bangkok to Barcelona.

She now lives in Berlin with her husband, daughter, and Pekingese dog, all acquired in different countries. She has no plans yet to return to Australia.

Esther loves museums, festivals, live music and can often be seen ambling about the graffiti-strewn streets of Berlin’s inner city.

She began her publishing career with the short Totoro’s Garden in the acclaimed short story collection, We All Need a Witness, published by Macmillan.

Her debut novel Drown was published in 2015. Her second novel, Gabriel and the Swallows will be released in March 2016.

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