Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

Mums Share the Magic

Delighted thatLegend of the Lost has been recently reviewed by two busy and inspirational mothers.

One is a rebel scribe and home schooling champion from Wales, Kelly Allen. The other, a very widely read Mumsnet influencer, Jenny from the highly acclaimed The Brick Castle.

Both Kelly and Jenny give considered accounts of the first book in the changeling trilogy.CheshamLOL

Jenny published a detailed and well thought through analysis of the book’s appeal to children aged around 9+ :

Throughout the book you know that something big is going to happen, but can’t quite put your finger on what it’s going to be. The description of mystical folk and their abilities is underplayed and that gives it more of a realism somehow. You just accept who can fly, or transform, and learn more alongside some of the characters as they are pushed to their limits and discover what they are really capable of.

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Coincidentally, Jenny hails from Derbyshire where some of the inspiration for the story and its characters originated.

Given she is also a home tutor, we were especially delighted by the way Kelly summarises the book’s appeal:

I really love how this book is written. I’ts full of so many beautiful descriptions and we immediately fell in love with the little family. The writing is spot on for the age range it’s aimed at (7-11), even though I think it’s a perfect read no matter what your age!

There’s so much action and adventure throughout that it’s hard to put it down, but this is a good thing! I’d say it’s a pretty perfect read for any family with a sense of adventure and heart…

Please do pop over to both of their sites to read the reviews in full and to catch up with all the very interesting publications, competitions and other activities they champion on behalf of children in the 7-11 and young adult age ranges.

Guests, Reviews, Social media and publicity

Different genres. Similar magic.

We’re very pleased to feature a guest post, especially as it has been written by fellow author Keith Anthony, whose debut novel, Times and Places was published last year.

It is a warm and deeply touching read with many serendipitous echoes of the key themes in Legend of the Lost.  Here, Keith explores those similarities…

In February 2018, my novel Times and Places  was published, in which Fergus (a late middle aged man) seeks to come to terms with the loss, a decade earlier, of his only child, twenty-four year old Justine. 

The chapters alternate between an exotic present-day cruise, taken by Fergus, and other key “times and places” in his and Justine’s lives over the years. 

Since losing his daughter, Fergus has become increasingly anxious, and he hopes this idyllic holiday will help him conquer his nerves.  In fact, a series of bizarre events and close confinement with his fellow passengers – particularly an overbearing, somehow spiderish woman he nicknames the “Arachnid Lady” – bring him to a transformational crisis, a point of change.

I explore what it might be like to lose a loved one long before their time, and examine the questions of faith such a trauma would pose. 

I wanted to do so within an accessible book which, as well as deploying pathos, was rich in observational humour, romance, spiced with gothic horror and which followed a number of different strands to weave around each other, converging neatly at the end. 

The choice of an alternating chapter format allowed my story to visit diverse locations, enabling me to capture and compare the rich beauty of our world.

Times and Places is published by the Book Guild and each month I look for their latest standout publications. 

There is a certain kinship between authors sharing a small publisher, and the variety is astonishing.  In this way, I came across Legend of t Lost and fellow author Ian P Buckingham. 

I was first drawn to its cover and enigmatic title, but disappointed to discover it was aimed at older children and younger adults… alas, not me!  Yet I still felt an appeal. 

I started to follow and exchange messages with Ian on Twitter.  We connected over a mutual enthusiasm for UK wildlife and before long, as Ian reflected on similarities between our work, I decided – whatever my age – to give Legend of the Lost a try and I’m very pleased I did.

I don’t know why some adults are reticent to admit to reading fantasy or children’s books. The Harry Potter phenomenon should have put paid to that. Nevertheless, you might expect a young person’s fantasy novel to be very different fromy adult fiction, my genre. Yet it soon became apparent our books have a spirit and several themes in common. 

They both have a journey and discovery motif, they both have loss and discovery at their core and in addition, both are part set in West Cornwall with their hearts in the Chiltern countryside. What’s more, in the respective books, nature is magical, but vulnerable. 

Of course, in  Legend of the Lost, as well as people and animals, our world is shared simultaneously by faerie-folk, nymphs, mermaids, witches and werebeasts of every description – there is a super-natural element, but it remains paralell to the natural just as the pastoral and the civil run side by side in mine.

Foxes make brief but charismatic appearances in both books, as my cover implies, and Ian’s caricature of Vulpe the vixen is spot on:

“Foxes are neither dogs nor cats, neither weak nor strong, neither fast nor slow.  They are, in many ways, the best of all those animals and tread a fine line between most things, including the so-called forces for good and ill”.

An underlying theme in Legend of the Lost is how, too often, human industries poison and pollute the natural world, literally turning nature bad in a variety of ways both literal and metaphoric.  I too tried to capture man’s environmental impact by taking my idealised vision of Slovenia (a country I love) and comparing it with crowded southern England. 

On a visit there, Justine’s boyfriend marvels at the unspoiled Slovenian countryside which:

“…left him jealous that his own country’s rural culture was rather less valued, ever increasingly squeezed by expanding cities, and scarred by the transport links between them.”

As its title suggests, a feeling of time and place is distilled into my novel.  I was struck that the same could be sensed in Ian’s.  For example, on the ship, Fergus dances with his wife and reflects back on the parties of his youth:

“…there how you danced mattered, here it didn’t.  He pictured his struggling youthful self without envy, he was happy to be when and where he was, in this time and place…”

While, in Legend of the Lost, reflecting on impactful moments in her young life, Holly muses how:

“She loved a mystery and what a delight that this one was right here and now in her favourite time and place.”

I hope also that both books, within their wild imaginings, project important nuggets of truth. 

I was struck by Ian’s conclusion, echoing his earlier description of the complexity of the character of the duplicitous fox:

“One of the gravest mistakes people make in life is to assume that people are all good or all bad.  The truth is that sometimes bad things happen to people we thought of as good and great things can happen to those we formerly considered evil.”  

On the face of it, there is not a fantastic creature, not a faerie, nymph or mermaid to be found in Times and Places. Yes the books are different and target distinct ages, yet I do think they are visited by that same spirit, that of our natural – even super-natural – world.  Its siren voice calls out, reminding us of what is important and that, like the fox or Werewytch in  Legend of the Lost and the Arachnid Lady in Times and Places, nothing and nobody is entirely good or bad. 

Ian’s whimsical and fantastical settings were enchanting. Legend of the Lost is beautifully written, with grown-up lessons for children and for adults who have retained their sense of wonder.  It reminded me how we learn so many of our values from the great books we read as children, whether with adults or independently.

While our two books have their own, individual messages as well, I’m pleased they have such cross-over, that they share a magic I so wanted Times and Places to project! 

Genre labels and categories can be miseading at times. Hopefully, to readers of any age, both books offer reflections on the pressures facing the world we humans dominate, but which we share with our animal neighbours… and, who knows, maybe the faerie folk who tend them too?

About the author, Ian P Buckingham, Legend of the Lost book 1, Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

Read All About It!

Interviews and articles are an integral part of the process of introducing a new book to the world. It’s a great opportunity to meet some varied and interesting people.

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With that in mind, it has been a real pleasure to chat with journalists and representatives from the communities featured in the first in the changeling series, Legend of the Lost.

Much of the action takes place during a journey between the Cornish coast and the Chiltern Hills with many scenes in Ashridge Forest.

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So we’re pleased to see articles appearing in Tring Buzz “Author Channels Magic of the Chilterns” ,Hertfordshire Life and Berkhamsted Living:

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The first book was written, produced and distributed in and from the UK by East Midlands publishing house Book Guild, so Ian was very happy to meet with the Barrow Voice editorial team to detail the inspiration and creative process behind the series. Here’s an excerpt from the interview which you can read in full on their website:

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Long car journeys with children are often experiences that parents would rather forget. But for Ian Buckingham, trips to the family home in Cornwall ignited a spark that led him to switch from writing books on brand management to a trilogy of children’s books – which he completed in Barrow.

Last year, Ian, a management consultant based in the East Midlands, was looking to take a retreat where he could write with minimal interruptions and commitments (every writer’s dream). He found an annex to let, off Cotes Road, on the banks of the River Soar. It proved to be the perfect spot to unleash creativity.

“I didn’t know Barrow, but I was working on a consultancy project nearby, ironically in the mining industry, so it worked well for me,” he says. “It was last winter and, as people will recall, we had a proper winter so I felt as though I was in the middle of nowhere, while surrounded by nature, perhaps a little too surrounded at times, given the Arctic conditions and floods.”

So, how did those conversations with little ones in the back seat of the car translate into a trilogy of novels? To keep his young daughters entertained, he would create scenes – “There’s a wolf in the forest, what happens next?” – and the family would dip into their imaginations to create exciting scenarios and characters in a type of storytelling relay.

One day, Ian and his elder daughter discussed capturing the stories they had created together. They worked through the scraps of notes they had made and sketched out the story on an A3 sheet of paper.

Years later, he took it out of a drawer and it formed the basis for his trilogy, Legend of the Lost.

Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

The Buzz about the Chilterns

Those of you who have read Legend of the Lost will know that the action is split between Cornwall and the Chilterns area.

Both are beautiful, inspirational spots.

In this interview with Tring Buzz, a publication dedicated to the Chilterns, including Tring, Berkhamsted and Ashridge, the home of the wood nymphs, of course, we explore why the locations were selected and what they mean to us.

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Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

Launch day book signing

Thank you to the lovely team headed by Becky and Emma at Waterstones Chesham for hosting the first book signing on launch day.signing

Met lots of budding young writers and some lovely people local to an area in which much of the action takes place in the first book, Legend of the Lost.

Great to hear people’s stories and their writing aspirations and thank you for the queries and questions, although sadly I had to confess that I don’t know David Walliams and wasn’t quite sure of the whereabouts of the werewytch….she’s quite elusive and the forest is vast.

Was thrilled to come back to some of the first reviews, after the weekend, including this one on Amazon, which made everyone’s faces light up:

“What a fabulous book! One of the best I have read for a very long time. This should be in every school library. The last time I had this feeling about a book it was after reading the first Harry Potter. Truly a magical masterpiece and you will not be able to put it down. Highly recommend to all. Utterly brilliant. Can’t wait for the next in the trilogy.”

Much appreciate the kind words which count for a great deal as the sequel takes flight.

Look forward to meeting more of you in the future.

 

Ian

Legend of the Lost book 1, Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

Announcing a New Arrival!

Legend of the Lost, the first in the changeling trilogy, had its official birthday today as it becomes available on all platforms globally.

Aimed at the 7-11 age range it joins a rich and magical pantheon of fiction for children.

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It arrives at a time when childhood is coming under increasing pressure from online social media and the examination regimes our schools face that can sometimes distract from the need for children to read for pleasure as well as education.

But the power of stories and mythology is under-rated and young imaginations are ripe and hungry for inspiration.

Time invested reading is never lost time and we hope that this trilogy can help nurture  and sustain that magic in some small way.

owl face

Whether you hope to get hold of yours via book fairy, owl post or snail mail, will be going old school and visiting a library or an enchanted book shop, or, indeed prefer soft copies, our distribution partners* hopefully have all angles covered.

So please do join the Savage changeling family on their magical journey of discovery as they reunite, gain strength from each other and struggle to save amazing parts of our little blue planet and the creatures that call them home, along the way.

We very much look forward to hearing from you as your stories form part of ours.

My thanks to everyone involved and to you for buying a copy.

Very best wishes from us all and happy reading.

Ian

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*Just a few of the available outlets:

Amazon

Book Guild

Blackwells

Book Depository

Audible

AbeBooks

Kobo

Alibris

Foyles

iBooks

Indigo.ca

Waterstones

WorldCat

 

Legend of the Lost book 1, Reviews, Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

A book as an emotional bridge?

It was not always intended that the changeling trilogy, which came to be known as Legend of the Lost, the title of the first book, had an over-arching message. But like many creative projects, it took on a life and direction of its own.

The concept of the family separated by malevolent, dark magic forces was always at the core.

But it’s interesting and humbling that this has taken on different levels of meaning for people.

Reunification and enduring love have become increasingly important themes judging by the dedications requested and touching messages we’ve received to date.

Here’s a sample of some of the feedback that we’ve been very interested and grateful to receive so far:

“Our grandchildren live thousands of miles away now. We miss them very much and have sent them a copy of this lovely book as one of the ways to remind them how much we love them.”

“I have not been as present in the lives of my young niece and nephew and I intend to read this with them over the holidays.”

“I have been prevented from speaking with my step son for years and I’ve sent him a copy of this and hope it’s another reminder of how much we think about and love him here.”

“Slipped a signed copy into our son’s University suitcase. Felt a bit soppy/ But he was really touched.”

“Our daughter has been at the center of an acrimonious split and as she’s not with me all the time now. Having read this, I know she will think about her whole family while exploring it herself.”

“It’s really important to stimulate imagination in children before school sets their minds in stone and this is full of important messages about learning from adventure, making mistakes but growing. None of us are perfect, especially not the grown ups.”

As Legend of the Lost launches worldwide at the end of the month, please do keep the feedback coming in.

If you would like to receive a signed and dedicated copy, then please do contact us: and we’ll be happy to sort that out for you or loved ones, while stocks last.