September 19, 2017

Children of Refuge Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to Day #7 of the Children of Refuge Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Children of Refuge (Children of Exile #2) (9/12/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Margaret Peterson Haddix and 10 chances to win a both books so far in the series!


After Edwy is smuggled off to Refuge City to stay with his brother and sister, Rosi, Bobo, and Cana are stuck alone—and in danger—in Cursed Town in the thrilling follow-up to Children of Exile from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

It’s been barely a day since Edwy left Fredtown to be with his parents and, already, he is being sent away. He’s smuggled off to boarding school in Refuge City, where he will be with his brother and sister, who don’t even like him very much. The boarding school is nothing like the school that he knew, there’s no one around looking up to him now, and he’s still not allowed to ask questions!

Alone and confused, Edwy seeks out other children brought back from Fredtown and soon discovers that Rosi and the others—still stuck in the Cursed Town—might be in danger. Can Edwy find his way back to his friends before it’s too late?


I’m a terrible liar.

That’s perhaps an odd confession for someone who writes fiction, a job many regard as basically getting paid to lie. But it’s true: Put me in a situation where all I have to do is tell a little white lie, just to spare someone’s feelings, and I usually flub up even that.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of trying to lie, and getting caught. There was the chocolate ice cream episode when I was four or five: I begged my mother for an ice cream cone; she gave it to me; I carried it outside, took one bite, and made the startling discovery that I hated chocolate ice cream. My parents were big on the virtues of not wasting food, so I thought I’d avoid a lecture by dumping the ice cream on the ground and calling over my dog, Lassie, to eat it. And that was when I made a second unfortunate discovery: Alas, my dog hated chocolate ice cream as much as I did. She also refused to eat it.

So when my mother stepped outside and saw the ice cream melting on our gravel driveway, I tried to cover with a story about how I’d dropped the cone accidentally. It took me years to figure out how my mother knew so instantly that I was lying—why hadn’t I added some convincing tears? Why hadn’t I at least pretended to want another cone?

To this day, I don’t like chocolate ice cream, even though I love pretty much everything else in the chocolate family, and virtually any other flavor of ice cream. To me, chocolate ice cream always tastes of guilt and shame and betrayal. (Though I did quickly forgive Lassie. She was a good dog, even if she wasn’t a very helpful accomplice.)

Lying also still makes me feel terrible.

So it’s perhaps truly odd that I wrote an entire book—CHILDREN OF REFUGE—about a boy who prides himself on his ability to lie. Edwy Watanaboneset, the hero/quasi-anti-hero of this second book in the Children of Exile series, savors his reputation as “the bad kid.”

To put myself in Edwy’s place, I had to think a lot about why kids lie, and about how those reasons applied to Edwy.

I think most if not all kids experiment at some point with the kind of lie I tried to tell about the chocolate ice cream—a lie to avoid getting in trouble. Getting caught usually makes kids eventually come to the conclusion, “Oh, wait. Now I’m not just getting in trouble for my original crime—I’m also getting in trouble for lying. Maybe lying isn’t such a great idea.”

That’s the simple, moralistic view of lying. I’d guess that for most kids there’s also an element of trying to control reality, of magical thinking: if they disobey their parents, that’s bad, but if they say it didn’t happen—or happened in a totally innocent way—then maybe they can erase their crime. Maybe what they say is actually true. Can they make the world work that way? Do they have that much power, just with words?

You have to become a good liar to believe that for very long, or to have that thinking rewarded. Maybe you also have to feel either very safe in your lies or very endangered in your real life.

And Edwy has both situations. In his first home, where he’s surrounded by unconditional love and nurturing adults, his lies are mostly innocent mischief and childish tricks. But he’s smart enough to see that the adults are also all keeping major secrets from him and the other kids, and so his lies and pranks and sneakiness are also attempts at finding out the truth.

By the start of CHILDREN OF REFUGE, Edwy is no longer in a safe place, and no matter how much he wants to stay a carefree, innocent kid, he can’t ignore the dangers and deceptions around him—even as teens and adults around him try to pretend everything’s fine.

Eventually, Edwy comes to see his skill at lying as the only way to protect the people he cares about most.

I think I’m lucky that I never had to learn to lie like that.

But like Edwy—like kids everywhere trying to figure out the relationship between reality and their own words—I see power in lots of stories that aren’t technically true. I joke sometimes that being a writer means that I didn’t have to stop playing make-believe when I grew up.

But the activity many adults dismiss as “playing make-believe” can also serve as a way to see truth more clearly. Or a way to imagine and work toward a better world.

That’s the power in the best of Edwy’s lies, the ones that are told to help, not to hurt.
And while fiction isn’t lying, it can have that same kind of power, too.

CHILDREN OF REFUGE is the second book in the Children of Exile series. The first book, (also called CHILDREN OF EXILE) is newly out in paperback this month. CHILDREN OF JUBILEE, which will be the third and final book in the series, comes out in September 2018.   

Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in Danville, Illinois.

She has since written more than 40 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time; Double Identity; Uprising; The Always War; the Shadow Children series; the Missing series; the Children of Exile series; the Under Their Skin duology; and The Palace Chronicles. She also wrote Into the Gauntlet, the tenth book in the 39 Clues series. Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and numerous state reader’s choice awards. They have also been translated into more than twenty different languages.

Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio. They are the parents of two grown kids.

Follow Margaret: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
(1) set of both Children of Exile books so far (Children of Exile and Children of Refuge) - US Only!


Blog Tour Schedule:

September 11th — Living Simply
September 12th — Crossroad Reviews
September 13thWord Spelunking
September 14th — YA Books Central
September 15th — Book Briefs

September 18thPositively Book Crazy
September 19th — A Dream Within A Dream
September 20th — BookhoundsYA
September 21st — Parajunkee
September 22nd — The Book Cellar