When Bookclub & Author Meet: Welcome to Blackwood

Peta, Bookstagrammer otherwise known as @UnfoldedEges holds her copy of Welcome to Blackwood.
Peta @UnfoldedEdges with Khaiah Thomson’s Welcome to Blackwood.

Bookstagrammer Peta, otherwise known as @UnfoldedEdges, over the Christmas break read and loved Welcome to Blackwood by Khaiah Thomson. She’s not the only Australian bookstagrammer that rates Welcome to Blackwood. 5-star reviews also came from @BookBookOwl (66K followers), @ReadtheWriteAct (45K followers), and @Whatssarahreadingnow, amongst others. Goodreads is awash with buzz for the newly released novel. We sold 207 Welcome to Blackwoods in one day! It was a stellar start to 2021 for author, Khaiah Thomson.

Critical Reception: It’s a Winner!

Sarah from @Whatssarahreadingnow took the time to phone Khaiah’s publisher (us) and said, “I am so happy to find an author who has written a positive female role model as a lead character in a fantasy book; a book that is also a sensational read. Freya (the lead character in Welcome to Blackwood) is someone I want my kids to strive to be – she’s strong, has convictions, and knows how to stand up for herself. She might not get everything right, and she’s still learning, but she’s not submissive. She has none of the outdated stereotypes still typically given to female lead characters.’

Sarah likens Khaiah Thomson’s writing and characterisations to Alice Oseman’s work, and has joined the brigade of fans seeking greater exposure for Welcome to Blackwood, taking the book to her favourite bookstore – Riverbend Books at Bulimba Qld – and convincing them they need to stock it. Now that is the kind of loving our modest publishing company currently staffed by volunteers loves to hear! Thank you Sarah, and thank you Riverbend.

Peta from @UnfoldedEdges had this to say about Welcome to Blackwood: “A lot of people will say that if you like Twilight, then you will like this. But I personally think this is more of a supernatural world blended with the X-men. I’d also like to mention that I’d happily get caught up in those Golden Eyes too. 🤭”

“‘Blackwood’ is a unique and complex town that isn’t exactly ‘normal’. Everyone is well… a ‘unique’ being, whether this be a shifter, a dire wolf, or possess various other super powers like teleporting, super strength and more. But then there’s Freya, a ‘Syphon’, (or a ‘soul sucker’ as you might describe), whom inherited these abilities from her father before her.”

“Freya has the ability to draw energy and souls from any living organism, the only thing is, Freya has no idea how to harness her power. If lacking control, this power can be highly dangerous and Freya has no idea the strength of her ability.  But someone does…. Someone who knew Freya’s father and wants to use her power for selfish reasons. So Freya has been kept a secret her entire life, convincing people she’s a Mundane. Until she comes back to Blackwood following an incident that drew far too much attention.”

“I’ve never been so excited for part 2 in a series,” Peta, @UnfoldedEdges.

“I’ve never been so excited for part 2 in a series,” Peta said. “This book blew me away. The twist at the end was so well set up and unpredictable throughout the story.”

“The relationship Freya shares with the mysterious and lethal Golden Eyes (Beau, who is a very territorial 137yr old dire wolf) was written so passionately and wild. It is a magnetic and possessive relationship without all the cliche “I love you and I’ve never met anyone like you before”, but instead follows how these two take their time learning and building a foundation, despite breaking rules and codes of the pack and constitution in Blackwood. (These guys are a pack of wolves after all!).”

Peta finished her review with 5-stars and, “Thomson’s writing is so effortless and so engaging.  I was lost in the supernatural world of Blackwood and personally felt like I knew the town.”

Author Meet-n-Greet

After that review, and after hearing that Peta is involved in a newly formed bookclub, we (Hawkeye) offered Gold Coast BookClub an author meet-n-greet. Author, Khaiah Thomson, said she was “very inspired by the love they showered on Blackwood’s characters, particularly on Freya and Beau.” The meeting with fans saw Khaiah spending the next week making final tweaks to pivotal scenes in Book 2. I can assure, we’re just as excited to read it as you are Peta!

Following their meet-n-greet with Khaiah Thomson, Peta shared this feedback from the Gold Coast Bookclub: “Our first bookclub was an absolute hit! We had the most insightful discussion with @kthomson_author about her book ‘Welcome to Blackwood’. We were able to discuss how Khaiah created the world ‘Blackwood’ and her purpose and motivation behind the characters and their relationships. Khaiah had inspiration from her life experiences and her surroundings (in particular, The Margaret River). Freya particularly is a blend of multiple characters in many fantasy worlds that Khaiah adores.”

“Khaiah wanted to break away from the toxic relationship trend that can be commonly found in some YA fantasy novels.”

“One main topic that was addressed is how clever Khaiah is as a writer. Khaiah was able to display positive relationships and influences and how vital this is for young readers today. Khaiah wanted to break away from the toxic relationship trend that can be commonly found in some YA fantasy novels. Her focus was to ensure young adult readers can relate to her non-stereotyped protagonist, and to do this, Khaiah creates a more accurate representation of the realities that are commonly found in young adolescence life experiences.”

“Yes! We did try to suss out book 2, however, Khaiah didn’t give too much away, only a few sneaky hints, leaving us even more eager to read book 2.
We are super grateful and thank her for her time today!”

Khaiah gave us 5 of her favourite reads: 

  • ✅ “The Ruin of Kings” by @jennlyonsandtigers 
  • ✅ The “Hidden Legacy” series by @ilona_andrews 
  • ✅ “Serpent and Dove” by @shelbymahurin 
  • ✅ “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by @lainit 
  • ✅ “The Diabolic” by @sjkincaidbooks

Peta, in her words above, touched on one aspect that consistently arises in readers’ emails to us: the characters in Welcome to Blackwood are relatable. The readers feels like the character could be them – an unusual feat for a fantasy author to achieve in otherworldly realms.

Hawkeye congratulates Khaiah Thomson on the stellar reception to her debut novel, Welcome to Blackwood. We are proud to represent Khaiah, and delighted to have delivered a book that is being universally enjoyed by teenagers and adults, offering moments of connection for parents and their teenaged children.

Purchase Welcome to Blackwood

Debut Author Wins the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize

More on Khaiah Thomson

The Examiner Interviews Khaiah Thomson

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