COVER REVEAL for Skyriders by Polly Holyoke

Kathie: Hi Polly! I’m so glad you asked MG Book Village to be part of your cover reveal for your first book in a new series called SKYRIDERS, out next March from Viking Children’s Books. Can you tell us more about your novel, please?

Polly: Skyriders is the story of brave young couriers on flying horses fighting terrifying three-headed monsters known as chimerae. My heroine Kiesandra Torsun and her loyal skysteed N’Rah love their work flying mail across the vast Empire of Prekalt, but then the dreaded chimerae return. Thanks to her eccentric Uncle Dugs, who has always believed the beasts would reappear one day to menace the Empire, Kie and N’Rah are the only ones who know how to fight these monsters effectively. But how can a shy frontier girl convince officers in the Skyforce, Imperial officials and the Emperor himself that they must listen to her, before it’s too late?

Kathie: How would you describe your main character, Kiesandra, and what quality does she possess that will help her most in this story?

Polly: Kie is brave and determined, and she has complete faith in her skysteed. Kie’s had to be determined because she has been running her family’s apple orchard since her father died. It also took tremendous determination for her to learn how to read despite being severely dyslexic because in her world, no one understands this relatively common learning challenge. 

Kathie: Kiesandra has a winged horse known as a skysteed with whom she can communicate through her mind. Where did the idea for N’Rah come from, and what is it about mythical creatures that draw kids in?

Polly: I’ve always been fascinated by flying horses and the Pegasus myth. I also had a wonderful picture book about Pegasus written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and illustrated by Herschel Levit that I spent hours reading when I was little. Because of their vivid imaginations, children love the idea of being friends with a mythical creature who can sweep them away to magical places. 

Kathie: The cover of this book is incredible! Can you tell us about the illustrator and if you had any input on the cover?

Polly: The amazingly talented Brandon Dorman (illustrator of the Fablehaven and Land of Stories series) created this cover, and I’m thrilled with it! I did mention to my editor that drawing horses is hard, and drawing flying horses even harder, and she reached out to the perfect artist to depict Kie and N’Rah and the terrifying chimerae they must battle.

Kathie: Let’s show everyone what it looks like!

Kathie: One of my favorite things about this cover is the balance between the light and dark; it’s definitely giving off good vs. evil vibes. Is there an element that stands out for you or that you particularly like?

Polly: I love how small and valiant Kie looks facing that monstrous chimera. I also appreciate the amazing palate of colors Brandon used, and how beautifully he has conveyed the sky and clouds.

Kathie: Is there anything you can share with us about the future of this series, or anything else you’d like readers to know about it?

Polly: Viking will be publishing at least one more book in my Skyriders series, but I have seven more novels all planned out, so here’s hoping the series takes off… so to speak! Also, Skyriders is already available for pre-order at: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/688093/skyriders-by-polly-holyoke.

Kathie: Where can our readers go to learn more about you and your writing?

Polly: I encourage teachers, librarians and young readers to visit my website: www.pollyholyoke.com. A former middle school teacher, I made sure to post plenty of useful information and activities based on my first children’s series, The Neptune Trilogy, which was published by Disney Hyperion. The Neptune Project, the story of young teens struggling to survive in the sea because climate change has ravaged their world, made several state lists and won the Sunshine State Young Readers Award. We are still in the process of creating teachers’ guides and a book trailer for Skyriders, but by the time the first novel is released March, 2023, I hope to have lots of good materials ready and waiting for educators.  

Kathie: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Polly, and I look forward to reading your book.

Polly: Thank you so much for letting me share the cover of Skyriders with the wonderful teachers and librarians who follow the MG Book Village!

Polly Holyoke is the author of adventurous fiction for kids. A former middle school teacher, Polly loves doing school visits and lives in a small mountain town in Colorado with her husband and two rescue dogs. SKYRIDERS, her new series about brave young couriers battling chimerae on flying horses, will be available from Viking Childrens’ Book in March, 2023.

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