Showing posts with label May 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label May 2022. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Emma Bradley - Author Interview (Q&A) - The Trouble With Fairies (The Arcanium Series) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #24

Thank you for joining us for the third scheduled Q&A. This week I am delighted to introduce author Emma Bradley; self-published author of The Arcanium series. In this interview, you can find out more about the books (fantasy adventures about the Faerie world) as well as the author. Hopefully, we will be able to tempt you into wanting to read a copy. If so, you can purchase both books, and perhaps even a signed copy Here. 
  •  You have just published book two in your The Arcanium Series; what is the story about? 

The Arcanium series follows 16-year-old Demi as she joins the ranks of the FDPs (Fairy Deity People) and trains to become one of them. 

In the first book, she stumbles on a plot to overthrow the Queen of Faerie by a traditionalist Fae group called The Forgotten, but in book 2 she goes on assignment in Gallows Oak, an elitist Fae country club that The Forgotten are rumoured to use as a base. Her aim: to expose their secret gatherings and find out information on what they're plotting next. Unfortunately, Arcanium is chaotic at the best of times so she's not been prepared for the strength of the enemy or the tricks and pitfalls that are lurking, but at least this time her best friend Taz is going with her! 

  • At what point did you realise you wanted to write a book? What particularly fascinates you about the Fae that you write about?  

I've been writing ever since I was about 9 years old, starting off with pony stories and eventually widening into the world of fantasy fiction in my teens. I love the idea that you can escape into a world where anything is possible and also create your own, which is how the Arcanium series came into being. I wanted to have a character who wasn't a natural champion, but Demi actually started off as a sidekick until she shouted so loud my writing friends insisted she take the lead instead! With the tricksy nature of Fae folk as well, you can create great depth in both the enemies and the main characters, so that nobody is totally good (or totally evil because ‘they just are') - it was really important for me to show characters who have been moulded by life and their experiences into doing both good and bad things, and the consequences that come with it. 

  • You mention that Arcanium is the most prestigious of fairy organisations, please tell us more about it e.g. does it have a hierarchy system, etc? 

Arcanium is an absolute mess a lot of the time, purposefully so! I wanted a setting where everything is often chaotic rather than regimented, because this feeds in quite nicely not only to how a lot of large organisations are in real life (so it can be relatable), but also it lends itself nicely to creating stakes and obstacles for the characters in terms of lack of information, miscommunication, things not working when they should and so on. Despite this, becoming an FDP at Arcanium is a high honour, because it means you're trusted to be the eyes and ears of Faerie, taking on assignments and running errands for your clients. 

The hierarchy system is fairly simple - the Director, Queenie, handles the day-to-day running, while the Head Mentor, Emil, runs the assignments that FDPs are sent out on. Each qualified FDP gets a mentor who advises them while they're on assignment, and all hopeful FDP and mentor initiates must undergo two years of training as mentees before they qualify. Of course, things never run that smoothly for Demi, and although she's still a mentee she keeps accidentally volunteering (or getting signed up) for things!

  • Do your dreams ever become stories?

I tend not to remember my dreams, but my daydreams definitely end up in my stories sometimes. I've always found it easy to let my mind wander (to the frustration of teachers, bosses, and general people around me), but it's a great way to find inspiration and also you tend to absorb small things about your surroundings when you daydream that then leak into the stories without you realising!

  • I have seen a disclaimer that states: All initiates join at their own risk. Loss of limbs is unlikely. No refunds. Tell us more about the risks and what readers can expect and why?

Assignments in the realms of Faerie can be very dangerous, especially with The Forgotten roaming and planning to take over Faerie itself. Also, with Arcanium being so chaotic a lot of the time and a place that only a select group have seen inside of, rumours are bound to spread. Nobody knows if there's really a quarantine floor for dangerous creatures from Faerie, for example, or if they really did find a whole realm full of tentacles. Only those few FDPs and mentors who are lucky enough to make it through their first two years of course know what really lurks inside. It also takes a lot of effort and money to keep Arcanium running, so the 'No Refunds' was Director Queenie's idea. Once you pay for Arcanium's services, it's very unlikely you're getting your money back, but FDPs have never been known to fail an assignment. Lose a limb or disappear possibly, but the job always gets done one way or another!

  • Have you self-published your book? If so, did you have to take on all the roles a traditional publisher would? 

The Arcanium books are wholly self-published, and apart from the cover designs and advice from my editor, I'm doing the process single-handed. It's a long road in terms of the different tasks that need doing, but also shorter in terms of time-frame. So to release one book I usually have to:

Sort ISBNs for the barcode

Arrange and approve the cover design

Ensure the book is the best it can be (with editorial advice)

Format the interior files to fit distribution portal requirements

Make sure the details are uploaded in various places so bookshops can find the metadata

Marketing/promotion/giveaways (this would be anything from social media promotion on Twitter or through TikTok videos, contacting bookshops in the hope they'll stock the book, designing and ordering merchandise like postcards, bookmarks etc. ordering stock and holding giveaways to increase the reach of the book) 

This isn't the full list and many of these take much longer than the above makes it sound! But I do love being able to see every step of the process, and as a naturally anxious person I can wake up in the middle of the night to check something and reassure myself rather than needing to wait for an answer, which often helps!

  • What advice would you give an author who is thinking of self-publishing?

Research everything thoroughly first. I thought I'd done this, but I still came up against unexpected hitches with both books 1 and 2! Research, planning and expectation are key before you decide to self-publish, so what distribution platforms are you going to use (Amazon KDP, Ingram, D2D, etc.), are you going with a cover designer, have you budgeted for everything like ISBNs if you're using them, how are you planning to promote so people can find your book, and so on. 

It sounds like a lot, and I suppose it is in bulk, but each bit can be broken down and explored until you begin to see how it all hangs together. 

Above all else, make sure your expectations are realistic. Self-publishing may get your book out there quicker than traditional routes, but you will be doing more of the work with less of the validation - there's no professional body like an agent or publisher to reassure you your work is good enough. You have to be all of that for yourself (although writing friends are worth their weight in books!)

  • I have read you are a serial spender, what is the craziest purchase you ever made and how did it change your life? 

Aside from the cost of my currently teetering TBR tower, I think the craziest (and best) thing I ever bought was my black Labrador, Buddy. You know full well 'we'll just go up and have a look' will turn into tears, a lot less money and a car full of toys that said dog is never going to look twice at (and of course the dog himself). We met him, walked him for 15 minutes, the whole time of which he pretty much ignored us and tried to pull us into every hedge going, then when we opened the car in the shelter car park he jumped inside and refused to get out, so that was that! 

Luckily, he's more than earned his keep - when I start writing or get engrossed in something I can often go for a whole day without moving or remembering to have a drink or anything, so he knows to disturb me when it's time to go outside or if I've forgotten to eat!

Monday, 23 May 2022

The Best Children's/Kids Book Picks May 2022 - US - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Katherine Arden - Dark Waters (Small Spaces Quartet) - Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-0593109175 - Paperback - Age: 10+

Filled with chills and spooks galore, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden’s latest installment in the creep-tastic Small Spaces Quartet is sure to haunt. Now in paperback.

Until next time. That was the chilling promise the smiling man-made to Ollie, Coco, and Brian after they last outsmarted him. And as the trio knows, the smiling man always keeps his promises. So when the lights flicker and a knock sounds at the door, there can only be one explanation: he’s back and a frightening new game is afoot.
But before the three friends can unravel the smiling man’s latest nightmarish scheme, they set sail on Lake Champlain, where it’s said Vermont’s very own Loch Ness monster lives. Brian is thrilled. He hasn’t sailed since visiting family in Jamaica, and even the looming threat of the smiling man can’t put a damper on what is guaranteed to finally be a day of fun—even if it is awkward being stuck on a boat with his former best friend, Phil, and his new best friends, Coco and Ollie. But when this crew find themselves shipwrecked on a deserted island and hunted by a monster on both land and sea, fun becomes the last thing on their minds. The sm
iling man has at long last set the stage for a perilous rematch. But this time, Brian is ready to play.

Lynette Noni - The Prisoner Healer - Published by Clarion Books (May 10, 2022) -  ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-0358669432 - Paperback - Age: 11+

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

Juliana Brandt - Monsters in the Mist - Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers (May 3, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1728245447 - Hardback - Age: 8+ 

When 13-year-old Glennon McCue, his mom, and his fragile sister are left with their uncle at his lighthouse on Isle Philippeaux, Glennon desperately wants leave the desolate isle and return home. But his father is away, so Glennon is forced to spend his break surrounded by fog, rats, and chilling myths. Nothing seems quite right... with the island or with his family.

A storm rocks the island and a ship crashes near the lighthouse, leaving behind a group of sailors. Something is off about the survivors, who seem more monster than human. Soon it becomes clear that there won't be boats to take anyone home, and Glennon and his family are trapped.

It will take all Glennon's courage to save his family from the curse of the isle and the real monster in his life.

Sylvia Douy√© (Author), Paola Antista (Illustrator) - Sorceline -  Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing (May 17, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1524871314 - Paperback - Age: 8+

Welcome to the Island of Vorn, where mythical creatures roam free and only the brightest students are invited to study them. In Book 1 of this riveting new middle-grade graphic novel series, a gifted young cryptozoologist-in-training must learn to tame powerful beasts—including her own inner demons.

For as long as she can remember, Sorceline has had a knack for the study of mythical creatures. Now a student at Professor Archibald Balzar’s prestigious school of cryptozoology, she’s eager to test her skills and earn a spot as one of Balzar’s apprentices.

But for all her knowledge of gorgons, vampires, and griffins, Sorceline is mystified by her fellow humans. While she excels in her studies, she quickly clashes with her classmates, revealing her fiery temper.

When one of her rivals suddenly disappears, Sorceline must set aside her anger and join the quest to find her. But the mystery only deepens, leading Sorceline on a journey far darker and more personal than she expected . . .

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Best Children's/Kids Book Picks May 2022 - UK - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Hannah Durkan - Zeina Starborn and the Sky Whale - Published by  Orion Children's Books (12 May 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1510109599 - Paperback - Age: 8+ 

    'A thrilling tale of intrigue and adventure in the clouds, full of wonderful creatures, mind-boggling gadgets, bravery, kindness and hope' Thomas Taylor, author of Malamander

    When Zeina Starborn's dream of exploring the skies becomes a reality, she finds herself in a daring adventure beyond her wildest imagination. Meet explorers, inventors, and mighty sky whales in this richly inventive fantasy, perfect for 9+ fans of BRIGHTSTORM and ORPHANS OF THE TIDE.

    Zeina Starborn spends her days dreaming of adventure in the sky and escaping the smog-filled city of Ravenport.

    So, when she wins the chance to visit the famous Willoughby Whale Hotel - a ginormous structure built on the back of a flying whale - Zeina grabs it. Even clashing with Jackson, spoiled heir to the Willoughby fortune, can't dampen her excitement.

    But a series of clues makes her question what she's been told about this dazzling world of inventors, explorers and mighty sky whales. Zeina and Jackson must put aside their differences to uncover the secret plot around them as they embark on the journey of a lifetime.

    Ross MacKenzie - The Colour of Hope - Published by Andersen Press (5 May 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1839132025 - Paperback - Age: 10+ 

    Years ago, the Emperor used dark magic to steal all the colour from the world. Now he keeps it for himself, enjoying its life-giving power while everyone else must exist in cold shades of grey. That is, until a miracle baby is born – everything she touches turns to colour. But the child’s life is in danger from her very first breath. Soon the Emperor’s murderous Ripper Dogs and Black Coats come hunting. Can the girl and her adopted father survive in the forest – and what will it take to return colour and hope to the world?

    Caryl Lewis (Author), George Ermos (Illustrator) - SEED - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (12 May 2022) -  ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1529077667 - Paperback - Age: 8+

    'Some books are about magic. Some books ARE magic. Seed will cast a spell on you' – Frank Cottrell-Boyce

    Seed is a funny, big-hearted story by award-winner Caryl Lewis about the power of hope and imagination when you believe in the impossible. Perfect for readers of 8-12. Illustrated in black and white throughout by George Ermos.

    The heart of Wonder meets the humour of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates.

    Marty doesn't have much. Unlike his mum, who has billions of things: newspapers, holey shoes, rusty lawnmowers, broken picture frames – she keeps EVERYTHING! It's hard to leave the house. Marty does his best to look after her and wonders if anything will ever change. 

    But on Marty's birthday, Grandad, with a glint in his eye, gifts Marty a very special seed. Grandad hasn't been this excited since he invented the bum scratcher 2000 or thought he'd brewed wonder fuel from rhubarb
    leaves! The seed grows bigger and bigger, and launches Grandad, Marty and his best friend Gracie on an impossible, wondrous plan fuelled by love, hopes and dreams.

    Peter Bunzl - Magicborn - Published by Usborne Publishing (26 May 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1474964395 - Paperback - Age: 7+

    The Curse is changed. You'll never know. The truth is lost. The lie will grow. 

    The year is 1726 and the Royal Sorcerer of England is on the hunt for those who are magicborn. When Tempest is captured after accidentally unleashing a power she didn't know she had, she is taken to Kensington Palace alongside a boy like her, Thomas.

    Trapped, Tempest and Thomas find their magic flickering to life - and with it, long-buried memories. For they are the lost prince and princess of Fairyland, bound by a deadly curse...and now the fairies are coming to get them. A battle is building - one only they can end. But who will survive?

    Jasmine Richards - The Unmorrow Curse - Published by UCLan Publishing (5 May 2022) -  ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1912979882 - Paperback - Age: 8+

    Two friends awaken a world of myth and magic in this epic middle-grade fantasy perfect for fans of Rick Riordan. It's not every day that you find a famous weather woman bound by magic to a tree deep in the woods. Or discover that the weatherwoman is in fact Sunna, the Norse Goddess of the Sun, and one of the seven day guardians who keep time in order. But that's just what happens to new friends Buzz and Mari--and it's only the start of their adventure. Now, as humanity are forced into a lockdown called the Unmorrow Curse and are forced to repeat the same Saturday over and over again, Buzz and Mari must journey to collect the Runes of Valhalla and awaken the other day guardians, before vengeful god Loki can get to them first.