Monday, August 22, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Interview with Hazelwind from THE GUARDIAN HERD #4: WINDBORN.

Omigosh, people! I am so excited today. In February of this year, I met Jennifer Lynn Alvarez at Green Bean Books in Portland. (She was doing a reading with the equally excellent Anne Nesbet and Kristen Kittscher.) Jennifer's the author of the amazing The Guardian Herd series, and she agreed to share with the Middle Grade Mafioso some fantastic goodies from the series. First, an interview with the popular buckskin stallion Hazelwind of Sun Herd, taking a break from the intense action in Anok to answer a few questions for us. Hazelwind's also brought a never-before-seen sketch of himself that appears in The Guardian Herd #4 WINDBORN. (This book releases online and in bookstores on 09/20/2016.) Then, there's a video. Finally, there are PRIZES!!!! Jennifer will send one lucky commenter a Guardian Herd Windborn notebook, as well as a signed book plate and some character trading cards. Isn't that amazing?!

But first, I'd like to welcome Hazelwind, and thank him for joining us today at Middle Grade Mafioso.

Hazelwind: Glad to be here actually. Thanks for having me.

Middle Grade Mafioso: So book #3 LANDFALL ended in a huge cliffhanger. As a character in this series, what was that like for you?

Hazelwind: That’s a good question. The truth is that it’s as tough for the characters as it is for the readers. The author doesn’t allow us to read ahead, so none of us had a clue who would live, who would die, or what would happen next. Actually, I think it’s worse for us than it is for the readers. They’re safe in their Landwalker homes or schools, but we’re in Anok, in a forest called the Trap. It’s anything but safe.

MGM: Since you mention it, what are conditions like in the Trap?

Hazelwind: It was springtime when I was there, but still cold and foggy. Day after day went by without any of us seeing the sun. The Trap is located in Northern Anok, on the tundra. The predators are huge and the food is scarce. I much preferred the chapters that took place in Sun Herd’s lands. The weather there is almost always pleasant.

MGM: So if you’re no longer in the Trap, where are you?

Hazelwind: Well, that’s tricky. If I tell you, then I’ll give away some stuff that happens in book four, WINDBORN, and that’ s top secret.

MGM: But by now, you’ve finished the final chapters of WINDBORN, so you know how it ends, right?

Hazelwind: That’s right.

MGM: Can you tell readers anything that might ease their minds? Is Morningleaf alive? Does Star defeat Nightwing? Is Thundersky freed from the Beyond?

Hazelwind: (nickers) It wouldn’t be top secret if I told you now, would it? But honestly, a book is a journey that must be experienced. It wouldn’t be fair to readers for me to reveal anything.

MGM: All right, I tried. Now, let’s move on. Your character Hazelwind is often compared to his powerful sire, Thundersky. Can we assume from this that Hazelwind will one day become a great leader?

Hazelwind (snorts): I don’t know about that, but my character certainly has the potential. He’s honorable and tough, like his sire was, but I think Hazelwind is more thoughtful. You can’t be around Star for long without second-guessing everything you thought you knew to be true. And I think Hazelwind is a stallion that pegasi would follow, but he wouldn’t be a leader like Thundersky was. He’d probably employ a council of advisors, more like Star.

MGM: Yes, that makes sense and there are so many pegasi to choose from. Can you tell your fans what it’s like working with such a large cast of pegasi characters? Do you all get along? Any practical jokers in the book?

Hazelwind: [nickering] That would be Bumblewind—he’s a joker. There’s a scene in LANDFALL where Dewberry has to fling rocks at a pinecone, kind of like target practice. Each time she threw a rock, Bumblewind shook the tree. She got so mad!

MGM: [laughs] I wouldn’t mess with Dewberry. 

Hazelwind: That’s smart, she’s a tough mare, but to answer your question, we all get along really well. We’ve adventured through three books together and now a fourth. We’ve been through it all, you know, sadness and loss and triumphs too. It’s bonded us as a herd, which is exactly what the book series is about—uniting to solve problems instead of fighting to force solutions. I think we exemplify Star’s ideal guardian herd—most days.

MGM: I know you can’t reveal this, but readers want to know if Star and Morningleaf end up together. Can you comment on their relationship?

Hazelwind: She’s my sister, so no. I won’t comment other than to say, she’s very, very young. And so is Star.

MGM: Hmm, okay. Another thing readers want to know is what was it like training with the United Army and then battling against the Ice Warriors and Frostfire’s Black Army in book #3? Were those chapters tough on the characters? 

Hazelwind: Warrior training was awesome! I learned so much from the steeds in the other herds. Bringing all of our talents together made each of us stronger. I got in great shape too. But the battle scenes, those are never easy. They’re grueling and frightening, to be honest, but worth it because we were battling to preserve freedom for all pegasi. It was an honor to serve in those scenes.

MGM: But at the end of LANDFALL, Nightwing appears to prevail. How did that feel? 

Hazelwind: (pauses) I’m still sick about it.

MGM: I can see how much the series means to you, Hazelwind.

Hazelwind: Yeah, it’s not just a book series, you know. Not to me.

MGM: Perhaps now would be a good time for your announcement?

Hazelwind: Sure! I’m happy to say that the pegasi’s adventures will continue with a new trilogy called THE GUARDIAN HERD: DARK WATER TRIALS, beginning Fall of 2017. These three books will follow some existing characters across the sea to a foreign land. There they will encounter new creatures, new dangers, and new friends too.

MGM: Can you tell us who the existing characters are?

Hazelwind: Not yet, but a few of them will be very familiar to readers.

MGM: And what sort of new creatures will the pegasi encounter in this foreign land?

Hazelwind: Drooling dragons, fighting scarabs, hordes of giants, and Landwalkers, to name a few.

MGM: You mean humans?

Hazelwind: Yeah, if that’s what you want to call them. Some pegasi mysteries will also be revealed. We’re all super excited about the new trilogy. The first book is titled PROMISE KEEPER.

MGM: Sounds exciting! Well, thank you for joining us today at Middle Grade Mafioso, Hazelwind. We appreciate you taking some time out of the series to answer our questions.

Hazelwind: Anytime!

MGM: And here's the sketch!!! (By the marvelous illustrator, David McClellan.)

Here's the video... (N.b. Some sky-diving involved...)

About the Author:
Jennifer Lynn Alvarez draws on her lifelong love of horses  when writing her books. She lives in Northern California with her husband, children, and more than her fair share of pets. She's pictured here with her beloved mare, Maddie.

Visit the official website to play games, take quizzes, meet the pegasi, chat on the fan forum, enter to win prizes, subscribe to the newsletter!

AND... Don't forget to comment for a chance to win those fabulous prizes. Thank you Hazlewind (and Jennifer!) for visiting us today. Ciao!


  1. Fun interview. Sounds like a really good series with great world building. Awesome that the series will continue with an offshoot series. I'll let someone else win the giveaway.

  2. This was a really good interview! Can't wait to read the next book!! Love this series! 😍

  3. The waiting is killing me!!! I can't wait to read Windborn! Awesome interview Hazelwind and Jennifer good for you for skydiving. Bet you felt like Star the first time he flew! ��❤️

    1. I felt like Star when he ran off the cliff!! But yes, it was an amazing experience. It was so awesome that I forgot to feel afraid.

  4. It's always fun getting to know The Guardian Herd characters. This series is awesome! I can't stop reading!

  5. I love getting to know TGH characters through interviews like this, especially characters like Hazelwind who are not the main focus of the books. I can't wait until Windborn comes out to hear how the story will end, I'm counting down the days. I'm so glad to hear that Jen is writing another series, I can't wait. I love this series so much, I'm glad that it will be continued. Keep on reading!

  6. Thanks for posting about the series. I love the idea and, of course, the winged horse theme!

  7. Oh my gosh, this was truly an awesome review. And the trailer I must say, was fantastic or should I say? Flightastic! Glad Jennifer went for a glide, it must of felt scary at first but very exciting to feel like you were flying and part of a pegasi society world. =) Anyways I am so eager to read number book 4! And as Jennifer keeps making these awesome series, the world just keeps getting more interesting and better by the second! Keep it up you guys!

  8. I love interviews with characters and this one is clever and funny as well. (I also love the name Green Bean Books, where you met the author!)

  9. Hi & I am writing on behalf of my 8-year old. :)
    She loved reading the fun interview with Hazelwind!!!! This is her favorite book series of all time and she is counting the days (literally) until her Windborn book arrives in the mail. She ordered it with a birthday gift card in June. Also, she is so glad to know there is a new Trilogy coming so she can keep reading about all the Pegasi. Thank you for reading our/her comment and thank you to Jennifer for writing such great books!!!

    (I haven't blogged in a while, so if you need to email me directly I am: thania.villatoro@gmailcom. Thx a million and what a fun book review blog to discover!)

  10. I loved this interview! It was funny and made me laugh. =) I also love this series! The books are awesome! I can't wait until Windborn is out! Thanks Jennifer and Hazelwind for this interview! I so glad I got to known a little more! Please do more interviews with Guardian Herd characters! I'm looking forward to reading the new Trilogy!

  11. this was an amazing interview!! and omigosh i can't wait for Windborn to come out!! XDDD

  12. I've only just started reading the Guardian Herd, but I am really enjoying the series!!!!! I'm a budding author and I've gotten a lot of inspiration for my own books!!! Your an amazing writer Jennifer! Thank you for sharing your stories!!!

  13. I love the Windborn preview video! I can't wait for it and Dark Water Trials to come out!

  14. Name:Marin E-mail

    Name:Marin E-mail:
    I loved the interview, I thought it was pretty cool how MGM tried asking Hazelwind about the new book and trilogy
    but he wouldn't answere.

  15. This is so cool! (p.s. I would like to enter the giveaway contest)

  16. I love this (It actually sounds like Hazelwind actually talking!) I'd love to enter

  17. This sounds so exciting! I hope I win the giveaway. :3

  18. wow!!!! I really enjoyed reading this interview! it gave me a new take on hazelwind. =)

  19. I LOVE these books!!!!!! I would like to enter in the giveaway

  20. I LOVE these books!!!!!! I would like to enter in the giveaway

  21. I love this series and can't wait for Windborn's release next week. Great interview with Hazelwind. Gave me some things to think about. Glad to know that another trilogy will emerge next fall with some of the same characters. I didn't want it to end.

  22. Hey! Havent read the book yet! I ordered it, and its coming any day now! I am just wondering, on the second or third book, is there still gonna be short stories? If so can it be about Morningleaf choosing a stallion since years past. I always hoped that one day morningleaf and star will have a foal, and the next next series they would have a foal, and the foal of petalcloud and morningleaf each were BORN with the starfire. and their will be a battle against them. Love your books! :D

  23. Hey! Havent read the book yet! I ordered it, and its coming any day now! I am just wondering, on the second or third book, is there still gonna be short stories? If so can it be about Morningleaf choosing a stallion since years past. I always hoped that one day morningleaf and star will have a foal, and the next next series they would have a foal, and the foal of petalcloud and morningleaf each were BORN with the starfire. and their will be a battle against them. Love your books! :D

    1. Dear Sohpia,

      There are short stories in all the Guardian Herd paperbacks! In Starfire, the story is about Grasswing and his colt Graythorn. In Stormbound, the story is about Nightwing. The story in Landfall is about what happens to Shadepebble after she's kidnapped by Snow Herd stallions. And the short story in Windborn (releasing 07/25/17), is about the ancient Lake Herd pegasi and what happened to them.I'm sorry to say that none of them are about Morningleaf having a foal :( But if you keep reading the series, there are foals born in WINDBORN. So stay tuned!! Thank you for reading. Best, Jennifer

  24. cant wait to see what happens next in the series

  25. hi,I'm a big fan of the guardian herd series and I'm just wondering if there are any more book in the series after windborn because its just nagging at me to read another one of your books. also I have written a story based on yours here's the link hope you like it and sorry the link is a bit long,
    Yours serenely,
    ( - (copy and paste this link)


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