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.

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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.

About the author, Ian P Buckingham, Legend of the Lost book 1, Reviews, Uncategorized

Our love of games comes from our love of stories

Ian was pleased to offer our friends at Games You Loved an exclusive preview of Legend of the Lost as well as a Q&A style interview about the changeling trilogy, making the link between great storytelling and gaming.

Here’s how the interview went:

How Our Love of Gaming Comes from Our Love of Stories

Buckingham Book LOL

We are really pleased to be the first online channel to feature an exclusive interview with Ian P Buckingham, about the Launch of his new children’s changeling fantasy series, Legend of the Lost.

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Q: You’re a former Omnicom director, famous in management consultancy circles for influencing major brand transformations and books on management and brand, including Brand Champions, real grown up stuff. So why the move into children’s literature?

Having spent so long dealing with issues and challenges in board rooms, watching intelligent adults struggle to make sense of their world a fair way downstream from childhood dreams, I have been increasingly trying to re-connect managers and business owners with customers, employees, even shareholders. I’ve been using storytelling as a way of engaging, becoming better communicators and better leaders as a result.

I’ve run countless workshops on creating compelling stories and narratives and change journeys. These have usually referenced the classic hero’s journey structure of mythologist Joseph Campbell and his ilk to show how timeless and instinctive storytelling should be. But I have always harboured a desire to work with people upstream, to write for a younger or more open-minded audience before, I guess, the cynicism and the bad habits set in.

Q: The first book in your trilogy is a classic-style children’s fiction thriller. It has a real sense of the legendary sword and sorcery about it with a modern twist. People are going to recognise iconic villains like the werebeasts, faerie folk and dark sorcerers. They will also identify with the journey of discovery the children go on to combat evil, uncovering special powers and magical items on the way. For me it felt it had a strong gaming feel to it at times.

Well, I’m glad you noticed. In terms of the story, I grew up reading classics like the Grimm brothers, Blyton’s Enchanted Wood and Flying Chair series and the Hardy Boys books. I then moved onto Lewis and Tolkien then the Star Wars books when older. After that I voraciously devoured superhero comics, then pulp fiction detective classics then horror writers like Stephen King. Then Ian Livingstone’s fighting fantasy work came along with other output from the Games Workshop and the work of Gary Gygax and co which all became major influences as I started AD&D role-playing. Fantasy writers like Moorcock, Howard and Iain Banks played their part too.

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I personally started gaming on an Atari with all its unique charms. But I can still remember the thrill of the first narrative games like The Hobbit on my ZX Spectrum. I have been bitten by the first-person gaming bug ever since. Most recently addictions have included Shadow of Mordor, Battlegrounds, Medal of Honour and the Assassin’s Creed series. They all have strong stories at their core.

There is clearly a basic instinct in gamers to honour the demands of storytelling narrative and the rules and rituals we learn when our parents read us our first and most basic tales. The oral tradition of passing on stories, myths and legends is as old as time. It’s a powerful instinct and I believe online and vintage gaming is now a key part of the same tradition.

Squaring the circle, I can see gaming and gamification playing an increasingly important role in formal executive education and school too.

Q: So why write for young children, why not older gamers?

I guess I wanted to be part of the process that influences people earlier. I studied children’s literature and what a lot of people don’t realise is that much literature for kids is actually morally instructive. It teaches kids how to make sense of challenges, avoid danger and the informal rules and rituals of their culture. Sure there’s some of the usual good vs evil stuff in my books. But in an age of sensationalism and extremism I’m also pointing out that not everything is black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. Characters have layers of complexity and vulnerability, strengths and weaknesses, important lessons we sometimes forget.

The books were also hugely influenced by our own kids. We have always shared stories together and have made up stories together, like on long car or plane journeys. I’ve always encouraged them to mix up their experiences and their entertainment and play. I’m, especially conscious that we live in the electronic age and how it can dominate so we’ve never simply handed over i-phones or tablets as surrogate babysitters. Too much of that goes on. We have deliberately read together, then gamed together using Leapfrog and other teaching systems, instructional PC games like Age of Empires, then watched the classic film stories together and talked about the then, read comics together. It’s been a privilege to gradually introduce them to the stories, legends, characters and then the games I loved.

We’ve handed down classic systems like our Game Boys, Game Gear etc before buying the newer systems and that’s been a real joy. The process of going from watching Batman the series to the films to playing the Lego games then X Box and Playstation games, for example, has been great fun for all of us.

Introducing them to characters like Zelda, Rayman, Mortal Kombat and the Sonic family on the Wii where the whole family could bring their favourite characters to life has been a real rite of passage for us all.

It has been great fun to then transfer all that classic and contemporary storytelling and characterisation into a series of books, written together, to create a series that is recognisable but very different.

Q: So would you still call these kid’s books?

CS Lewis, author of the Narnia books famously said:

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Remember what I said about having to re-teach leaders and managers about storytelling to engage key audiences? Well, another one of my favourite quotes is by JM Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan:

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

Who makes the rules that we have to “adult” at some stage and have to stop playing?

And why do so many adults turn off their imaginations as they get older and lose the basic rules of making up stories?

A business or brand vision should be inspiring, not corporatey shouldn’t it?

Same applies to the best books and the best games.

Q: Tell us more about this link between the books and gaming.

Well, I understand the joy of retro gaming because I am a retro gamer. I know what a great story is because I grew up with them myself. I still seek them out.

I have deliberately written these books for adults to enjoy reading to and with their kids, for kids to read independently or even adults to read alone. And in an age with so many distractions, the stories have to be compelling to compete or complement other forms of entertainment available.

Remember when the Harry Potter books first came out and the publisher printed versions with adult covers so they wouldn’t be ashamed to be seen reading them? Well, this trilogy is in that Potter tradition. But I think we’ve now grown past having to hide our indulgences. We should embrace and encourage the inner child and never let that light go out. We should and can be “out” about simple pleasures and be as proud to read classic stories as we are to play classic games, without feeling it is a guilty pleasure or something to hide.

Q: Turning this around, do you think you could see this book or the series becoming a film or…a game even?

I would certainly love to see the series become a game or even a film of some sort, possibly an animation. That would certainly have a nice synergy about it. There’s a very strong journey theme with the characters discovering special powers and magical items that help them overcome interesting threats, challenges and enemies. It would lend itself to our sort of first-person battle game to play as an individual or team, Lord of the Rings style and would appeal to all genders. Be a great project to work on, that’s for sure. And I have a couple of junior executive producers in mind who could certainly consult on the project…

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We encourage our followers, especially those with kids between 7-11, young adults or who just fancy a classic to add to their book collection, to pick up a copy of Legend of the Lost, the first of Ian’s changeling trilogy.

The first edition print run is out for orders now via all the key online outlets and will be arriving in Waterstones and major bookshops this Summer.

We have a strong hunch that these fresh books by a quality writer are going to become collectable classics.

Remember, you heard it here first folks!

If you want to find out more or the notion of a collaborative gaming venture based on this trilogy appeals, then get in contact by dropping us a line here or contact Ian direct via the website linked to the books or connect with him on twitter, Linkedin or other social media.