Monday, August 20, 2012


Welcome to the 1st stop in Claire Legrand's blog tour for The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. I'm excited to not only have Claire on the blog today, but I've got an excerpt from her book, and a GIVEAWAY! After you're read through my interview with Claire, please be sure to click on the blog tour link high lighted above to follow the entire tour. First, here's a little bit about the book.

Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids
To Be Released on: 8/28/12
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | iTunes | The Book Depository

At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t’ come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy -quoted from Goodreads

Hi Claire! Thank you for being on Mundie Kids today. Congratulations on the release of your book! I can only imagine how surreal this all feels right now. Are you able to describe what it feels like to have something you've spent years working on to be out in book stores? 

 You know, I’m not sure it’s possible to convey this feeling in words. Instead, how about I use GIFs? (I will admit to having an unhealthy obsession with GIFs. I have a massive folder full of them on my computer. And when I say massive, think that moment in Jurassic Park when they see the Brachiosaurus for the first time and are all like, “GUYS GUYS THIS IS A MAGIC MOMENT.”)

  PhotobucketPhotobucket Photobucket
(In the above gif, I am the Tramp, and CAVENDISH is that eeeetle weeeetle fluffy puppy *dissolves into baby talk*)
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  

How did your story come about? What inspired it? Was it a certain scene in your book, a character, or a part of the setting? 

CAVENDISH was inspired by real-life locations! When I was in college, I lived down the street from a questionable orphanage. In actuality it probably wasn’t that questionable at all. But my overactive imagination and a few strange occurrences had me convinced something was up at this place. Police tape on the front door. A disturbing lack of activity on the grounds, despite signs advertising field days and open houses. An unmarked van pulling out of the driveway and following me and my friend around town. I get delicious chills just thinking about it! I knew that I had to write a “creepy orphanage story”, and for the longest time, that’s what I called CAVENDISH when talking with friends and family: “My creepy orphanage story.” CAVENDISH was also inspired by the town my dad lives in. It’s a great place to live—clean, beautiful, safe. But there’s lots of money in that town, and with that money can sometimes come a rather Stepford-esque quality. So I took this creepy orphanage and this shiny Stepford-esque town and thought, “How far would a town obsessed with perfection and appearances go to achieve that perfection?” And CAVENDISH was born. 

Do you have a favorite scene or chapter in your book you can share with us? 

Yes! One of my favorite scenes happens fairly early on in the book—and don’t worry, this will be spoiler-free! This scene happens after the main character, Victoria, has realized her best friend, Lawrence, has gone missing. She goes door-to-door down her street, looking for answers:
“I’m going to find out exactly what is going on here,” Victoria said … “I’ll knock on every single door if I have to.” She turned the corner and pressed the buzzer on Two Silldie Place’s gate.
Mr. Everett answered. He and Mrs. Everett were very old and collected porcelain figurines of African animals.
“Yes” said Mr. Everett, through the intercom.
“Mr. Everett, it’s Victoria. May I come in, please?”
“No. Victoria.”
“What now?” said Mr. Everett.
Victoria heard Mrs. Everett sigh and say, “It’s Victoria, darling,” and the gate clicked and started opening. “Victoria Wright.”
Mr. and Mrs. Everett let Victoria in and gave her tea, which Victoria only pretended to sip at.
“Have you seen my latest giraffe?” said Mrs. Everett, and she held out a giraffe with a neck twice as long as its stub of a body, painted in pinks and blues. “It cost one thousand dollars. It’s an antique, you know.”
All the Everetts’ figures were antiques. Victoria couldn’t believe something so ugly was so expensive. She also couldn’t believe that a pink and blue giraffe was an antique.
“Yes, it’s nice,” said Victoria. “Now I have a question.”
“Why, ask away!” said Mr. Everett, looking over their shelves for another figurine to show off. His hand was reaching for a smiling crocodile when Victoria said, “It’s about the Prewitts.”
The Everetts paused. They looked at each other and then at Victoria. They didn’t say a word. Mrs. Everett poured Victoria more tea and dumped four spoonfuls of sugar into it.
“The Prewitts,” Victoria said. “You know.”
“Yes, of course,” said Mrs. Everett.
“Are they sick or something? Do you know? And Lawrence—”
“He’s out of town,” said Mr. Everett. “Visiting his grandmother. That’s what we heard.”
“That’s right,” said Mrs. Everett. “We did hear that, didn’t we? Just the other day.”
Victoria said, “Yes, yes. But—” She paused. “Did you hear when he’ll be back?”
The Everetts looked at each other again. Mrs. Everett held out her giraffe and smiled. “But don’t you want to see the rest of our collection?”
“Look at this croc,” said Mr. Everett, his pointy white teeth matching the crocodile’s grin. “Priceless, you know. We have only the best in our collection.”
Oh, they knew something, all right. … They were only pretending they didn’t know what she was talking about. They weren’t going to help her. This realization enraged her. She forced herself to smile the sweetest smile she had ever worn.
“I’m so sorry, but I have to go,” she said at last, stopping just short of slamming down her teacup.” Thank you ever so much for your time.”

This scene goes on to highlight a few other neighbors on Victoria’s street, which was so much fun to write. Then, the scene ends like this:

Victoria stood alone on the porch, the wind whipping her hair around. Her curls were falling out, which added insult to injury.
“Fine,” she said. Clearly, everyone around here knew more about what was going on than they were telling her, and nothing about any of it made any sense. And things were supposed to make sense in Belleville. The entire situation was unacceptable.
“So rude,” Victoria said, straightening her coat with a snap. “Maybe Mrs. Cavendish will be more polite.”
She walked to the end of the street, stopping right at the Home’s gate. The gray brick wall disappeared into the woods on either side. There wasn’t a buzzer or anything.
“How do I get in?” Victoria muttered.
The gate clicked open.

Which of your characters did you feel like you connected with the most and why? 

 Oh, definitely with Victoria! She’s like an exaggerated version of me when I was twelve years old: Bossy. A perfectionist. Obsessed with grades. Mega goody-goody. A lot of people think Victoria’s a bit of a snot, and she is, but I empathize with her need to be the best at everything. It’s less about competing against other people and more about competing with herself, and I completely understand that drive. We’re the same in that way. At that age, I didn’t care if other people were better than me because I wanted to be better than them; it wasn’t about taking joy in seeing them fail. I just wanted to be better because I had set extremely high standards for myself. So, I get Victoria. She was very easy to write, and she came to me fully-formed. She was clear in my head from Day One. Oh, and instead of trying to make my hair curl perfectly like Victoria does, my twelve-year-old self was dead set on getting mine to lie flat! It never worked, though. Ah, the hours wasted in front of the mirror with a hair dryer!

What children's authors were influential on you growing up? 

 So many! Roald Dahl, Madeleine L’Engle, Bruce Coville, R. L. Stine, Michael Bedard, C. S. Lewis, Louis May Alcott, and Marguerite Henry, to name a few. I was obsessed (and still am) with horses and unicorns, scary stuff, weird stuff, and magic. I remember bursting into tears when I first read the end of A WRINKLE IN TIME. It was so chilling, so powerful. Come to think of it, Victoria's town of Belleville kind of reminds me of Camazotz, the planet controlled by IT in A WRINKLE IN TIME, where everyone looks the same and does the same things at the same time. Absolutely shivery. 

If you could share one piece of writing advice with young authors, what would it be? 

Read—a lot! That has been the most important learning tool for me as a writer, to read as much as I can and dissect each book to find what I like and what I don’t like. That helps me figure out what I want to achieve as a writer, what I don’t want to achieve, and what I can do better.


Author Bio
Claire Legrand is a Texan living in New York City. She used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now a full-time writer, Claire can often be found typing with purpose on her keyboard or spontaneously embarking upon adventures to lands unknown. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is her first novel, due out August 28 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Her second novel, The Year of Shadows, a ghost story for middle grade readers, comes out August 2013. Her third novel, Winterspell, a young adult re-telling of The Nutcracker, comes out Fall 2014. 

You can follow Claire on: blog | twitter | facebook | tumblr | goodreads

The Giveaway:

To win a hardcover copy of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, simply comment on the post below! Contest is U.S./Canada only. Ends September 12th.


  1. The more snipts of this book I read, the more I want to read. I've already pre-ordered a copy from Amazon, but would love one to give to my niece.
    Way to go happy for you.

  2. I'm so excited to read this book, I have already have pre-ordered the book digitally and at barnes and noble! Couldn't be happier for the author, the fabulously creative Claire!

  3. I'm so bloody excited for this book tour!! I've been eager to get my hands on this for months. Claire is such a sweetie :D

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  4. I love the cover and the description of this book! It sounds amazing. The excerpt has me totally hooked. I would love to win this book. The author interview was great. Like the author, I loved A Wrinkle in Time. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway.
    ~Jess (old follower)
    haightjess at gmail dot com

  5. This book looks great! It will be my first Middle Grade read in a long time, but when I heard about it, I knew I couldn't not read it.

  6. This book looks amazing! I've been as excited as the dancing baby in the car seat GIF posted above. :)

    Thank you for the awesome interview and I love the selected scene you shared! I appreciate the lack of spoilers.

    Victoria is my type of gal and I can't wait to meet her! :)

    jolene dot haley at gmail dot com

  7. PS Good luck everyone on the contest!

  8. Can't wait for it to come out! Sounds really good and looks awesome, love the cover, can't wait to see inside too now ;)

  9. Victoria sounds like an interesting character, and every time i read something from this book i get excited. :D

    lmarste AT yahoo DOT com

  10. This book sounds so awesome!! Victoria sounds like a character I would really like too!! Fantastic interview!!

  11. Oh be still my heart! CAVENDISH is really here, isn't it? Have the past six months of waiting been a dream?

    Mundie Kids, I adored the interview. What great questions and, as usual, Claire, thank you for your entertaining answers. The "FROLIC HARD" GIF is SO me waiting to collect ALL OF THE THINGS by Ms. Claire Legrand. Thanks Simon & Schuster for the opportunity, and Mundie Kids for hosting such a fun first stop.

    Wishing you all well,

  12. CAVENDISH sounds like a really interesting, funny, and spooky book. Victoria seems like an excellent girl and I can't wait to read about her. The GIFs are hilarious and the snippets intriguing. Thank you for the opportunity to win CAVENDISH!

  13. This book sounds so good & I adore the cover. Thanks for the chance to win!

    You can contact me on twitter @Dani_Nguyen.

  14. I've heard such good things about this book through a review I recently read. Quite an interesting cover and synopsis as well! I'm so looking forward to reading it!

  15. I want to read this books so bad! GAH! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

    katvela12345 AT

  16. omg I'm so excited to read this book, and that little scene has me even MORE excited. Also: Lady and the Tramp GIF AWWWWWW. SO CUTE.

  17. I love the excerpt! I can't wait to read it.

  18. I feel like I've been waiting forever for this book to come out! Can't wait until I can finally read it! Thanks for the awesome interview and of course the giveaway too : )

    ame1184 at gmail dot com

  19. Awesome interview. I loved learning how Claire came up for writing this. I definitely want to read this after reading the snippet from the book.

  20. Awesome interview. The more snippets I see of this book the more I want to read it. I love Victoria already!

  21. I feel like many of those gifs are applicable to very excited readers-to-be.

  22. This is so exciting, this book sounds so awesome. I can't wait for the release date. Thank you for giving us an excerpt.

  23. Very nice interview and your book sounds like it has some creepiness to it. I'm always intrigued by where the idea for the story came from and thanks for posting the giveaway.

  24. email is brtjaden (AT) hotmail (DOT) com

  25. So excited for this one and love the GIFs. BUNNY!!!!

    cynicalsapphire at gmail dot com

  26. Would love to read this book. Also, love your GIFs.

    bookaholicholly @ gmail .com

  27. I absolutely love this post! A great start to a blog tour for a fantastic book! Already read Cavendish as an ARC, but would LOVE pretty, shiny finished copy. <333

    cannefrye @ gmail . com

  28. I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds good.


  29. I'm reading an ARC right now and the bugs are kind creepy. >.>
    So much fun!


  30. I love that Cavendish was inspired by a real orphanage and a real town! I have to say that I definitely agree with Claire that the happenings of that real-life orphanage do seem pretty suspect...

  31. Extremely eager to read this book now!


  32. LOL Those gifs are hilarious XD



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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~