Book Spotlight- Broken Shell Island by Dalya Moon
Opal gets a dirty old suitcase for her birthday. She’s not impressed. Her grandfather tells her she’ll need it, because she’s going to live with her great aunt on Broken Shell Island. Opal wonders if her grandfather hasn’t gone senile, because Broken Shell Island is a made-up magical place that their family friend Flora Fritz writes picture books about.
Oh, but the island is real. And magic.
Opal encounters magical plants, animals, and danger, too. The evening she arrives, a body is discovered in the woods, not far from where she passed through. Worse, a terrifying creature has emerged from the ground, and it hungers for the innocent, whether the people of the island believe in it or not.
While young Opal is eager to fit into her new life, perhaps becoming a witch herself, she’s mainly concerned about surviving her first week. Riding a unicorn is not quite the experience she expected, nor is her first encounter with hair-styling pixies.
Life is beautiful, magical, and perilous, on Broken Shell Island.
Get Broken Shell Island at Amazon- Broken Shell Island #1 The Witches of West Shore
I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect a lot when I started reading Broken Shell Island. I’d heard great things which is why I picked it up, but the beginning didn’t grab me. I’m not a fan of beginnings where a character is thrown into the deep end (in this case, literally!) of a world they don’t understand, and all the other characters who could have spent 30 seconds explaining to help them out, don’t. I shake my angry fist at those characters! But I kept reading and I’m so glad I did. The rest of the book was fantastic. I fell in love with Broken Shell Island and it’s whimsical and sometimes scary world. Dalya Moon manages to create a beautiful balance of the fanciful, bizarre and creepy to build the world that Opal finds herself in. The goats! The fairy hair-dressers! Opal is a fun character to share the exploration of the island with, often sceptical and with a good sense of humour. And most importantly, there is a fantastic story, starting with the unexplained death on the day Opal arrives, and playing through to an intense and exciting ending! Broken Shell Island is a very family friendly book, probably suited for younger teens, but one that anyone who loves magic would enjoy.
I was so hooked, I continued straight on reading into the next book, which is being released in “episodes”. Now I’m dying for the next episode to find out what happens!
An Interview with Dalya
Broken Shell Island is fantastically whimsical and quite unique. What were your inspirations for this fantasy place, or did you make it all up?
I’m proud to say the series is tinged with every bit of fantasy I’ve ever encountered, from The Wizard of Oz to Xanth and everything in between, including a dash of Anne of Green Gables. I’ve tried to create my own unique fantasy world, but I’m comfortable embracing some tropes while subverting others.
There are the beginnings of a love triangle happening between Opal and the two boys she becomes friends with on the island. Do you already know who (if either of them!) she ends up with, or are you just seeing what happens as it does?
Opal is only fifteen now, and one of the reasons I chose a younger protagonist was so the romance didn’t overshadow the adventure, at least not for a few books. There is still much to be enjoyed at this stage, getting to know these two young men. I adore both boys, for different reasons, and I’m glad they’re different ages, as it makes the dynamic more interesting.
Will we learn more about Opal’s magical suitcase and the time her grandfather and friends spent on the island?
The story’s moving forward now, and we will learn more about history on the island, but there won’t be a parallel storyline set in the past. Not as of today, at least.
You’re releasing the second Broken Shell Island book as a serial, broken into episodes. Are you enjoying releasing it in this way? How does it differ to releasing a normal novel?
Serial release is like doing the crossword puzzle in pen, not pencil. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with self-publishing, it’s a great way to bring back the terror.
What do you love about being an indie author?
They’ll just let anyone publish books! I think of all the writers throughout history who never had this chance, all the stories that might have been. Even in the midst of grumbling about some perceived hardship, I’ll hit that upload button and realize how lucky I am.
What is the oddest thing you’ve found yourself researching for your books (e.g. I once ended up watching videos of people re-setting dislocated shoulders)?
My husband and I were eating in a cafe, and I told the waiter I was writing a book set in a restaurant, then asked him what percentage of people order their eggs which way. Well! The guy got all excited and gave me a five-minute talk with an incredible amount of detail. It was interesting to hear, and he seemed happy to be asked. I do a lot of research by google and youtube, but I try to talk to real people, because it’s fun and they love to be a part of a book. They don’t even care that you self-publish. (Most folks don’t even know what that is.)
Which would you pick- fame, money, happiness, or easy inspiration?
Happiness. (The toughest/easiest one of all.)
Plotter or Pantser?
Loose plotter with lots of breathing space for pantsing, and anyone who doesn’t write books exactly the same way I do is wrong! (JOKE!)
Word count of your last book?
How many drafts from first to final?
Fewer and fewer as I go.
Do you fit any author stereotypes (Cat owner? Coffee/tea Addict? Messy handwriting? Recluse? Late night writer? Spelling/grammar nazi?)?
Am I a cliche? Let’s just say that when I got a new ergonomic keyboard (Logitech Comfort Wave), it was pretty big news, as far as I was concerned.
You can find Dalya online at-
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