Apr. 7, 2021
Caroline & Mordecai the Gand
Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Literary
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
"Readers of all ages who look for ethereal, haunting stories of recovery and courage will find Caroline & Mordecai the Gand may hold the trappings of a fantasy adventure; but inside there is so much more. Make the right decision, to read this!" - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"Caroline’s story is profoundly sad, and yet hopeful, magical, and yet rooted in reality. There is magic, mystery, and daring adventure." - BooksCoffee
This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.
Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.
Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.
Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.
As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.
Pre-Order the Book on Amazon, release date on Mar 31!
Now available in audiobook! Audible
Meet the Author:
Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade fantasy series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.
Jeff wrote Caroline & Mordecai the Gand after receiving a devastating diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. The novella was meant as a private story for his five children on how to face grief by holding onto joy and love. He leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of Old Fox Books in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.
My Book Review:
"Caroline and Mordecai the Gand" is a beautiful, heartbreaking story about family, love, and loss. How to see the meaning in things and how to love yourself while loving others.
It's a call to raise awareness to mental health and how it can impact young people throughout their lives. Especially with all the misinformation and the improper teaching in schools about mental health, it's about time that these kinds of books rise up to the skylight.
I'm not generally a big fan of this genre, but this one broke me. I cried crocodile tears, everything about Caroline was, sadly, similar to me. Similar to me and many others on this planet.
Even if we're not going through something currently, we're still living. And that's something to be fucking proud of.
If you haven't read this book yet, read it. You will 100% not regret the journey you'll take. 5/5.
What advice would you give budding writers?
I have three pieces of advice I give to new writers. The first is to purchase Stephen King's book On Writing. It's a great look at writing life but also very pragmatic in its advice. Second, allow yourself to be terrible. First draft work is the fertilizer draft -- the piece of crap out of which good things will come. Get the first draft done because you can't edit a blank page. The third piece of advice is that writers write. Nothing happens when you think about writing, you need to put your behind in the chair and get to work. Start small, even 15 minutes a day, but be consistent. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish over a long period of time.
How long have you been writing?
I was one of those kids in grade school where the teacher would assign a 2 page creative writing assignment and I would turn in 20 pages. I've always enjoyed it and always thought I would become an author. I took a dramatic detour into the business world and got a little busy having five kids, but I always found time to write. Is really just been since 2012 when I first released the Jack Templar series that I've put my work out into the world. It's been hell of a ride.
What is the last great book you’ve read?
I just read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. It was wonderful. I had read Fahrenheit 451, but that was years ago. I had forgotten how lyrical Bradbury's prose was. Sometimes he tended to overwrite, but there are more times when the language hits perfectly. I like to read with a pen in hand and I found myself marking up page after page with turns of phrase and imagery that I loved.
Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?
Yes! There has never really been a snack I didn't love. I enjoy dry breakfast cereal in a bowl, popcorn with M&Ms, and anything my daughter bakes throughout the day.
Where do you write?
I have a desk in our sunroom. It has great light and floor to ceiling windows. We live on the edge of a forest and so my view field and trees. Deer, fox, turkey and Gunhus children make appearances throughout the day.
Do you write every day?
I typically write six out of seven days, but often I will hit all seven. I treat the writing as part of my morning ritual, no different than pouring a cup of coffee and feeding the dogs. Some mornings are harder than others, but if I don't get at least some writing in it throws me off my day.
Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?
I listen to movie soundtracks while I write, no words allowed. I read the last paragraph or two from the day before, take a long drink of coffee, say the words “writer’s write” and then get to work.