Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - October 2015 - US Post Two

Obert Skye - The Lord of the Hat (The Creature from My Closet) - Published by Henry Holt and Co. (October 6, 2015)
Rob Burnside thinks he's getting the hang of things. It almost seems as if he has learned all he needed to from his unusual closet. Beardy, the doorknob, has it locked up and there are no signs of the closet door opening again.
But something slips from the closet unnoticed and that something is part Gollum, part Cat in the Hat. He's an intense creature with mad rhyming skills. When Rob's family wins a trip to Colorado, something extra makes it into his luggage. Get ready for school fights, train rides, long mysterious hikes, and a creature unlike any of the others. What Rob will discover is epic.

Kenneth Oppel & Jon Klassen - The Nest - Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 6, 2015)

Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? This is a haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, from acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel (SilverwingThe Boundless) with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

Jennifer Jenkins - Nameless - Published by Month9Books, LLC (October 6, 2015)
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf, and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors. Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the Nameless. Hers is a suicide mission—Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe. What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground Nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty, and love are more complicated than she ever imagined.

Lindsay Smith - Dream Strider - Published by Roaring Brook Press (October 6, 2015)
A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

Monday, 28 September 2015

New Doctor Who Titles Publishing October 2015‏ (Time Lord Fairy Tales - Justin Richards)

Celebrate the start of the ninth series of Doctor Who with these fantastic books from Penguin Random House Children’s!

Doctor Who:
Time Lord Fairy Tales - Justin Richards
1st October 2015, £12.99, 7-11 years
Publishing in hardback
 A beautifully illustrated anthology of Doctor Who themed fairy tales
Be enchanted by fifteen captivating brand new stories based within the Doctor Who world, which draw on mysterious myths and legends about heroes and monsters of all kinds, from every corner of the universe. From Frozen Beauty to Snow White and the Seven Keys of Doomsday, these are tales that might have been told to young Time Lords at bedtime, and are filled with nightmarish terrors and heroic triumphs that will be sure to capture the imagination.
Featuring an original, specially commissioned illustrated cover and fifteen illustrations, one for each fairy tale, in a beautiful paper cut-out style, these twisted tales are an enchanting gift for Doctor Who fans of all ages.

Doctor Who:
The Dangerous Book of Monsters
1st October 2015, £9.99, 7-11 years
Publishing in hardback
 Do you know how to disarm a Dalek? Dispose of a Dream Crab? Foretell a visit from the Foretold? If the answer is ‘No’, then this is the guide for you.
This time-worn monster handbook is where the Doctor keeps his most valuable and dangerous information – his essential notes on every fearsome enemy, with original sketches of each creature and cunning foe.
The Doctor has written down all you need to know to defeat every monster in the cosmos. Or, in some cases, to make a very speedy escape instead...
Other Doctor Who titles publishing in 2015 include:
Doctor Who: Time Traveller’s Journal, 7th May, £8.99
Doctor Who: Heroes and Monsters Collection, 6th August, £6.99
Doctor Who: Time Lord Quiz Quest, 3rd September, £5.99
Doctor Who: Model-Building Book, 3rd September, £8.99
Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time and Space Collection, 3rd September, £32.99
Doctor Who Official Annual 2016, 1st October, £7.99
Doctor Who: The Colouring Book, 1st November, £9.99

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Curtis Jobling - A New Hero (World of Warriors book 1) - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)

Richard 'Trick' Hope is used to getting into trouble, but not like this. . .
On the run from bullies, Trick finds himself transported to the mystical Wildlands, a place where the greatest warriors throughout history have been summoned to fight in a battle for survival - from Romans and Vikings to Knights and Samurai!
A cryptic old man tells Trick that he's there for a reason - to deliver the Wildlands from the evil Boneshaker, who rules with an army of terrifying minions. Trick has been chosen to form a band of the seven greatest warriors to defeat this terrible enemy.
As Trick begins his epic quest the stakes couldn't be higher: defeat Boneshaker or never see home again.

World of Warriors started out as a mobile adventure and combat strategy game, with the possibility of looking towards a series to complement the brilliant story behind the addictive game. Curtis Jobling is an excellent choice, in my opinion, to bring the eclectic warriors to life; he has done a fantastic job-ling. 

The book is an epic tale of adventure, action and fantasy with some amazing inventiveness all swirled round. The wild imagination will get every young boy hooked from the age of nine. From the first page, this book is action packed and will hook you with many of the crazy characters. All of whom have been summoned from across time to a mysterious land called the Wildlands - a kingdom of chaos and fighting guilds who are all battling for control and power. 

Some of the greatest warriors do battle in an explosive epic plot. All plucked from history, time and different cultures they will leave your imagination on overdrive. The pages will fly by quicker than Mungo drinking a jar of beer. It's a great choice of book to pick for a reluctant reader as it is pure escapism in 3D. 

All the warriors have history, which is told in intermittent parts and really blends in to help cleverly build up the main story. The myths, legends and culture are all deeply rooted in our history as each character's story is based around these and facts.  

This story is a quest with a big heart. It is based on hope and the fighting of tyrannical bad guys known as the evil Skull Army. It's full of great battle scenes, big oversized monsters and a bloody fighting arena with more gore and guts than your average read.

It's an easy book to follow with a cracking story at heart. Every reader will be magically transported to the Wildlands and back.... It has a great end and is a fantastic start to a new series. 

I hope there are plenty more books to come. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - October 2015 - US Post One

Angie Sage - TodHunter Moon: SandRider (World of Septimus Heap) Published by Katherine Tegen Books (October 13, 2015)
Tod's story races on in this second book in the TodHunter Moon trilogy, a spinoff of the popular Septimus Heap series. Fans of Septimus as well as fantasy readers new to the world of Magyk will enjoy this next installment in the series ALA Booklist calls "warm and inventive." Full-page illustrations by renowned fantasy artist Mark Zug begin each section and add to the magic!
Great for readers of Harry Potter or Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series, TodHunter Moon offers something for every reader, regardless of gender or age. SandRider is also a dynamic pick for parents reading aloud to younger children before bedtime.
Taking place seven years after the events of the original Septimus Heap series, TodHunter Moon tells the story of Alice TodHunter Moon, a young PathFinder who comes to the Castle with a Magyk all her own. In this second book, Tod sets out for the Desert of the Singing Sands to retrieve the Egg of the Orm—a journey that will test not only her Magykal and PathFinding skills but her friendships, too.

Roland Smith - The Edge - Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (October 6, 2015)
The International Peace Ascent is the brainchild of billionaire Sebastian Plank: Recruit a global team of young climbers and film an inspiring, world-uniting documentary. The adventure begins when fifteen-year-old Peak Marcello and his mountaineer mother are helicoptered to a remote base camp in the Hindu Kush Mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. When the camp is attacked and his mother taken, Peak has no choice but to track down the perpetrators to try to save her. Fans of the bestselling 
Peak will be thrilled with this gripping, high-stakes sequel.

R. C. Lewis - Spinning Starlight - Published by Disney-Hyperion (October 6, 2015)
Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it's hard to escape it. So when a group of men shows up at her house uninvited, she assumes it's just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi's vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word, and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home-a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers' survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?
Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans fuses all the heart of the classic tale with a stunning, imaginative world in which a star-crossed family fights for its very survival.

S. A. Bodeen - The Detour - Published by Feiwel & Friends (October 6, 2015)
Livvy Flynn is a big deal - she's a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She's rich, she's famous, she's gorgeous, and she's full of herself. When she's invited to an A-list writer's conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She's on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference. And then she hits the detour.
Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she's hurt, and she's tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Press Release: The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2016 - We're Looking for a Judge! (14 - 18 years old)

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2016 seeks a young judge to help discover a new children’s bestseller
 Open to 14-18 year olds, closing date 30th October
 The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, the biggest children’s writing competition in the UK, is looking for a confident and passionate young judge with a demonstrable love of books to join the prestigious judging panel and help choose the winner. Entrants must submit a 1-3 minute video about the book they would most like to persuade others to read. Aspiring judges aged 14-18 have until 30th October to make their short video, upload it to YouTube, and email a link to
The winner will join the judging panel for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition which includes: the Times arts editor and children’s books reviewer Alex O’Connell; Waterstones’ children’s book buyer Melissa Cox; Justine Roberts, CEO and co-founder of Mumsnet; and Barry Cunningham, the founder of Chicken House and the publisher who discovered J.K. Rowling.
The winner of the young judge competition will have six weeks to read approximately five shortlisted titles before joining the other judges at an exclusive members club in London for a day of judging in spring 2016. The prize also includes: (i) travel and accommodation for the winner and their parent/guardian to the London judging day, (ii) four VIP passes to the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2016 and (iii) a library of fifty Chicken House books. Four runners-up will also receive a library of fifty Chicken House books each.
Barry Cunningham says: ‘We’re looking for original, engaging and exciting video entries; the more imaginative, the better. Demonstrate your love of children’s books, your passion for reading and your powers of persuasion and you could have a hand in finding a future bestseller!’
The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition has been running annually since 2008. The winner receives a £10,000 advance for their novel, agency representation and publication by Chicken House. Chicken House was founded and is run by Barry Cunningham, the publisher who signed J.K. Rowling. Among its bestselling authors, Chicken House publishes Cornelia Funke (the Inkheart series) and James Dashner (The Maze Runner series). Since the first competition, several runners up have also been published alongside the main winner. The 2015 winner was The Secret Cooking Club, by Laurel Remington, which will be published in 2016.
Full details of the young judge competition can be found at

Friday, 18 September 2015

Nicholas Gannon - The Doldrums - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Archer B. Helmsley longs for adventure. But how can he have an adventure when he can’t even leave his house?
Archer B. Helmsley has grown up in a house full of oddities and treasures collected by his grandparents, the famous explorers. Archer longs for grand adventures but ever since his grandparents went missing on an iceberg, his mother barely lets him leave the house. So, along with his best friends, Adélaïde L. Belmont and Oliver Grub, Archer forms a plan to get out of the house and set off on a grand adventure with crocodiles and parachutes and danger. It's a good plan. Well, it's not bad, anyway. But nothing goes quite as they expected…

I had a really good feeling about this book when it arrived. You only need to look at the physical appearance of it and you know that the publishing company have pulled out all the stops. It is really special to handle and lovely to look through. The cover is fantastic and inside the colour illustrations are exquisite; a delight to behold. The images are bold and use a good palette of autumnal colours with some delightful blues for added measure. The images are somewhat quirky and very engaging; I loved them all.

Interestingly, there are also some small black-and-white illustrations peppered through the chapters, which work really well. They give the reader a great sense of the amazing adventure that will soon unfold. What is particularly impressive, is that the author has produced these illustrations himself!

This book felt special right from the very first page.  It is a lovely poetic look at children being children, living in an adult world and yearning for adventure.  It leaves a warm feeling inside as the reader bonds with the plot and the unlikely trio of characters. Their friendships will make you smile from a tiger's head to a crocodile's toe. The characters will pirouette into your lives with such uniqueness and hold a special place in your own heart. 

The book is born out of wild imagination and leads the reader on a journey of fantasy escapism that everyone will love, from nine to hundred and nine. It's very witty and I love the subtleness of the

humour; slightly offbeat which works at all age levels, in my opinion. 

You'll find yourself being firmly whisked into a world that is rich in detail capturing the essence of New York City - magical and enchanting - where people's lives are played out in technicolour. Even though it might not be set there, it makes me want to go back. It's very cleverly written, especially from a debut author. It is well thought out and worded beautifully; thoroughly entertaining.

This book will become a timeless classic which is full of pure eventfulness just like Brian Selznick and Blue Baliett; wonderful books that will keep you reading all night long.  It's pure silliness and will soon have you talking to a range of stuffed animals. With a giddy sense of excitement and a touch of mystery, this is my favourite book of the year, so far. It's a visual feast for the eyes and the brain; an exciting new talent to watch. 

I would love to see it as a film one day soon, I hope! 

Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (UK) (8 Oct. 2015) and Greenwillow Books (USA) (September 29, 2015)

Authors web site:

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Mr Ripley's Children's New Book Picks - October 2015 - UK Post

Lara Williamson - The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 Oct. 2015)
Becket Rumsey is all at sea.
His dad has run away with him and his brother Billy in the middle of the night. And they've left everything behind, including their almost-mum Pearl. Becket has no idea what's going on - it's a mystery.

So with the help of Billy and a snail called Brian, Becket sets out on a journey of discovery. It's not plain sailing but then what journeys ever are?
An extraordinary story of courage, dreams and finding your way, from the bestselling author of A Boy Called Hope.

Chris D'Lacey - The Erth Dragons: Book 1 The Wearle - Published by Orchard Books (1 Oct. 2015) 
The Wearle came to Erth to find out what happened to their previous colony, who never returned. Gabrial, a young blue dragon, is desperate to prove his worth. But the dragons aren't alone in the mountains.
Out beyond the scorch line, Ren, a young hom boy, is fascinated by the 'skalers'. Little does he know that his fate and theirs are linked in ways he could never have imagined.

Alexander Yates - The Winter Place - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books (22 Oct. 2015)
When a mysterious stranger and his brown bear show up on the same day that Axel and Tess's father dies in an accident, Axel fears he might be going crazy, especially as only he can see them. However, the strange duo are quickly forgotten when Axel and Tess are shipped off to Finland to stay with grandparents that they've never met. But when they arrive in Finland, Axel is stunned when the stranger and his bear reappear. More incredibly, the stranger tells him that his parents are lost and need help. Desperate to see his father again, and actually meet his mother, Axel follows the man and his bear, disappearing deep into the frozen wilds of northern Finland. When Tess realises that her brother has vanished she's distraught. And so begins the frantic search across snow and ice into the dark forest. But as the hours creep by and with no sign of Axel, Tess begins to wonder if her brother has ventured onto a path that she cannot follow. Delving into the timeless, fantastical world of Nordic mysticism, set against the harsh beauty of a frozen landscape, The Winter Place is an imaginative, beautiful story of loss, love and hope, a story of family, and of a brother and sister who find each other again.

Che Golden - The Raven Queen: The Feral Child Trilogy - Published by  Quercus Books (6 Oct. 2015)
Maddy and her cousins are ready for battle. War in the faerie realm threatens to spill into the human world. The three cousins are determined to protect all they love from the Tuatha, the fearsome faerie leaders. As the Morrighan, the supreme monarch of the Tuatha, awakes, Maddy realises she's going to need more than just physical strength and luck to survive. The Tuath are notorious tricksters, and Maddy will have to outsmart them for good - or else plunge two whole worlds into the darkest chaos.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Margrét Helgadóttir - The Stars Seem so Far Away - Book Review (Fox Spirit Books)

The author kindly sent me this book to read from Denmark. After really enjoying this book, I felt the need to tell you my thoughts and opinions. It's a fantastic atmospheric read which transports the reader to a post apocalyptic future. I love this type of story, but only if it has been written in the right way, which this one has. 

The book started out its life as one small story entitled 'Nora", which was picked as one of the winners of Fox Spirit Books International Talk Like a Pirate story competition. Subsequently, a number of short stories merged seamlessly to make one epic adventure that will have your pulse racing and your imagination engaged. 

The plot is deeply rooted in Nordic history and Scandinavian culture, which gives the story a European feel. This is very different to the mainstream books written from a UK perspective. The author has done a superb job of getting the narrative over to the reader.

There is an eclectic cast full of characters dealing with fragmented lives. Five very different survivors find themselves clinging on to the harsh life of raging wars, famine, plagues and a very harsh Arctic Icelandic landscape. Where humans find themselves fleeing the deadly sun, as they migrate farther and farther north. 

The book delivers a theme of loneliness which is written in beautiful prose and delivers a simplistic quality. It's just like the book title suggests, looking at the stars and working out how the encounters will connect up. It's very creative and I love the idea that we may need to travel into space one day, in the future, to seek a better planet. One that we have not damaged.

The landscape will leave you breathing in the atmospheric conditions and lung fulls of freezing air, whilst the plot will have you gripped to the frozen core. This is a great curl-up-in-a-ball read that will transport you into your own imagination. It is a cracking read and, even though it is only slim, there is a big story at the heart. A sci-fi fantasy walk into the unknown and back. 

I recommend that you seek out a copy and read it.... 

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Fox Spirit Books (10 Feb. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909348767
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909348769

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Kieran Fanning - The Black Lotus - Blog Tour 2015 - (Exclusive Extract Chapter 2)

The Black Lotus by Kieran Fanning is the first book in the Samurai Wars series.  It is a fantastic combination of explosive ninja action and time travel with a big flavour of Japanese culture. It's very humorous and will rock the 9+ age group. 

If this story sounds up your street, then at the bottom of the post you can read an exclusive chapter. Hopefully, this should whet your appetite until you get to the bookshop to purchase a copy. It is out now in paperback for £6.99 by Chicken House.

Ghost, Cormac and Kate are not like other kids. Ghost can turn invisible, Cormac can run up walls and Kate can talk to animals - all abilities which make them perfect recruits for the Black Lotus, a training school for ninjas. But when the Moon Sword - a source of unimaginable power - is stolen by samurai, the three are forced to put their new skills to the test in sixteenth-century Japan.

The Black Lotus by Kieran Fanning published by Chicken House.
Follow Kieran on Twitter @kieranjfanning and find out more at and

Head over to the Chicken House website for the first chapter at:

Monday, 7 September 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Mr Ripley's Children's Book Picks - September 2015 - US Post

Mercedes Lackey - Hunter - Published by Disney-Hyperion (September 1, 2015)
They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares. 


Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it's taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities,behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky. 

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people. 

Joy soon realizes that the city's powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers,and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they're in-to them, Joy and her corp of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them.

Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller - Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic - Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 8, 2015)

Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic is the sequel to the hilariously scary New York Times bestselling novel Nightmares! by multitalented actor Jason Segel and bestselling author Kirsten Miller. You thought the nightmares were over? You better keep the lights on!

Charlie Laird has a dream life.

1) He has a weirdo stepmom who runs an herbarium. 
2) He lives in a purple mansion with a portal to the Netherworld.
3) Since they escaped from the Netherworld, he and his best friends have been sleeping like babies. 

But Charlie can’t shake the feeling that something strange is afoot. Charlotte’s herbarium used to be one of the busiest stores in Cypress Creek. Now her loyal following is heading to Orville Falls for their herbal potions.
Weirder, though, Orville Falls is suddenly filled with . . . zombies? At least, they sure look like the walking dead. Rumor has it that no one’s sleeping in Orville Falls. And Charlie knows what that means.

Things are getting freaky again.

Katherine Applegate - Crenshaw - Published by Feiwel & Friends (September 22, 2015)
In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.
Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?
Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

Carrie Ryan - John Parke Davis - The Map to Everywhere - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 8, 2015)

To Master Thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it's her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway that connects every world in creation. With the help of a bumbling wizard and his crew, they must scour the many worlds of the Pirate Stream to gather the pieces of the Map to Everywhere--but they aren't the only ones looking. A sinister figure is hot on their tail, and if they can't beat his ghostly ship to find the Map, it could mean the destruction of everything they hold dear!
In New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis's first installment of a fantastical new series, adventure, magic, and hilarity collide in the treacherous skies and dangerous waters of the Pirate Stream. Heart-pounding escapades and a colorful cast of characters will have readers setting sail through this wholly original and unforgettable tale. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Tom Becker - Interview/Q&A - Dark Room (Red Eye)

Book Synopsis: The camera never lies…Darla and her dad are looking for a fresh start. But when they wind up in affluent Saffron Hills, Darla stands no chance of fitting in with the beautiful, selfie-obsessed teens at her new school. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she starts having visions. The gruesome snapshots flashing into Darla’s mind seem to suggest she’s going crazy…until she realizes they’re actually a horrifying glimpse into the future. With a killer on the loose, can she make sense of what she’s seeing before it’s too late?

After reading Dark Room, I thought that it was one of the best YA horror thrillers that I've read this year. Here is my review, so that you can find out WHY. 

At the same time, I took the fantastic opportunity to ask Tom some personal questions about Dark Room and his writing career. Welcome Tom, to Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books, and thanks for taking the time out as I know that you are very busy at the moment. Below are the outcomes of the questions......

What was your inspiration for Dark Room?
Unlike my previous books, I didn't do any reading or research for Dark Room. I just started writing, beginning in Darla and Hopper's trailer, and a bang on the door in the middle of the night. My influences were on the screen rather than the page – US TV dramas such as True Detective and the work of the film director David Lynch, who explores small-town secrets in the most surreal and unsettling ways.
Why do you like writing in the horror genre?
It's all about atmosphere, trying to cast a shadow over the page. Fear is such a personal thing, what scares one person will leave the next utterly unmoved. It's a real challenge for a writer – it demands a delicate touch in some places and a firm (and often blood-drenched) hand in others.
How do you come up with the characters?
I don't have a hard and fast approach, it varies from book to book. Sometimes I'll spend a long time sketching out characters before I begin, but when I sat down and wrote the first chapter of Dark Room I felt Darla and Hopper come together quite naturally. And Sasha Haas elbowed her way straight on to the page with a dismissive snort, daring me to try and tell her what to do.
Is there a message in your book?
Primarily I'm interested in telling stories – if readers are engrossed and keep turning the pages until the end, then that's enough for me. But Dark Room does touch on issues of self-esteem and body image, especially for young women. It's dedicated to Plain Girls (and Boys) everywhere.
What do you think makes a good story?
A little bit of craft and a lot of heart. A writer who is willing to risk a failure in order to show the reader something they haven't seen before.
What helps you be more creative?
Other people being creative – whether it's great writers, filmmakers, artists or musicians. Increasingly I find inspiration in the pages of history books. One of my previous books The Traitors sprang from World War Two POW stories, and While The Others Sleep was informed by histories of the Raj in India.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

Usually an idea has to sit in my head for a long time before I get the chance to write it, and I like to plot it out pretty thoroughly before I start typing. That said Dark Room came much organically – I wrote the first chapter with Darla and Hopper in the trailer and let the story take me from there. It made for a fun change, although there were moments when I missed the safety net of a firmer plan.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in a shed)?
Funnily enough I was asked this same question the other day, and I'm starting to feel a bit self-conscious about my lack of quirky writing habits! I tend to save my strangeness for the page.
What else are you working on now?
I'm working on a manuscript for an epic historical fantasy that I am VERY excited about, and very much hope will make it to the bookshelves. There's also a hush-hush project that is rather cool but I can't talk about yet – hopefully further down the line. And if Dark Room proves popular, maybe I'll get the chance to write some more YA horror. I think I've got some more murders in me...