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, Uncategorized

All They Really Want for Christmas is Time

Being connected to social media is like being plugged into the thoughts and  feelings of millions of people simultaneously.

That should be and often is a very good thing, but d it can be overwhelming at times.

Unfortunately, Christmas has become a time of great pressure, both financially and emotionally with people feeling they have to go to greater and greater lengths to buy THE must have gadget or replace all the soft furnishings before the relatives arrive.

In the few short months since the first book in the Legend of the Lost trilogy has been published, listening to the feedback of readers from around the world, what has really struck me is the fact that the right books hold a special place in people’s hearts. This has nothing to do with the cost or the conspicuousness of the purchase to keep up with the peer group. It is mostly to do with the reading experience.And I am so pleased to hear tales of people reading this book together.

They are investing that most important resource that all children especially  respond to, time; time invested; time out.

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Nothing gives me greater delight than busy Dads telling me that they downloaded it on their device and are now reading it at bed time; grandparents who have sent copies to their beloved grandchildren far away with messages of love or Moms first taking time out to read it for themselves then repeating the process with their children having created dedicated reading time, reading purely for pleasure, together.

In a recent interview with the publishers Book Guild, I outlined that igniting imaginations was one of my aims and it delights me that this is happening.

So as you succumb to the inevitable stresses and strains of the festive period, consider this quaint tradition from Iceland and, if you’re feeling bewildered or overwhelmed, take to bed with a good book.

Iceland

Merry Christmas  from the entire changeling family…….

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.

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

Global Canine Capers

We all have our favourite dogs in fiction.

Whether it’s Lassie, Nanna, Lady. White Fang, Jock or Tramp, Scooby or Timmy of Enid Blyton fame, there’s something about man’s best friend in our books that helps to make them special.

Well, JJ of the Legend of the Lost trilogy is no exception.

ravenring1Whether it’s the influence of the Ravenring, JJ’s charisma, he also appears to be attracting his own fan club as we’ve had photographs sent in from canine pals in England, Wales, Ireland, Spain, the USA and now Australia.

One of our more dedicated readers and friend, Julie Levine even takes her copy of Legend of the Lost to the various dog re-homing centres she helps out at and supports in New Jersey, USA

Please do check her out on Instagram @juliesboomies as it’s very much a cause the changeling family would approve of wholeheartedly.

Here’s a few more photos for you to enjoy and yes, please do contact us and send in yours too if you’re so inspired.

The ancient Savage family members need all the help they can get to keep the evil bubbling up from the Firehills at bay, wherever it erupts on the planet next…….and hey, with help like this from Jonny in Australia (he’s the upside down one with his Kindle), the Earth is in safe hands….or paws….right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

What type of reader are you?

Me?book magic

I love to get my hands on a book, the actual, physical copy.

I crave the whole experience of the look and the feel of the cover art and even the smell of the freshly printed pages.

I like to interact with the book. I’m afraid to say I make notes and mark pages, highlight passages that really speak to me. For me, my copy becomes something new and different as a result of my reading experience.

But then I have friends who are horrified by this. They treat their books like treasures or relics and virtually don white gloves to read them.

Some have been known to buy hard and soft copies, one for their collection and the other for the reading part.

Latterly, many people buy and store their books on their devices, especially if they do a lot of reading on the go.

Well, whatever your preferences, Legend of the Lost is available in a range of formats, from the traditional physical book with that sensual purple cover that has been such a big hit, through to the Kindle edition, available to read instantly from the Amazon store.

Personally, I admire the approach taken by this reader:

“We had to have the hard copy and wanted Ian to sign it. That now takes pride of place and we’ve bought Kindle versions for our friends so we can share the experience.”

But how you mix up your options to suit your lifestyle and preferences is entirely down to you.

To celebrate the launch of the Kindle version, however, here’s another brief extract from Legend of the Lost.

It’s a key moment for Holly and Savannah which changes everything for them both, forever.

We’ve chosen carefully to avoid spoilers, which those of you who have read the book will know, isn’t easy:

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“Just for fun, she had brought the scarlet robe with her, hidden in a carrier bag. She pulled it about her as she sat down on the flattest rock to wait, being sure to tuck the bag away in her pocket.

She wasn’t there for long before the figure of her friend appeared from the seaward side of the beach, looking radiant in a long ocean blue dress and golden hair band. She smiled as she saw Holly, who stood up to greet her.

“Don’t you find that this is always a little bit of a blowy spot?” Holly said, forgetting for a moment that Savannah had no spoken words.

Savannah smiled, looked deep into Holly’s eyes and then took her hand and led her towards the cliff-face. It looked as though they were headed for a dead end, but it must have been an optical illusion caused by the way the boulders were lying.

Soon, much to Holly’s surprise, they were at a part of the beach that she hadn’t noticed was accessible before. Here, their footprints seemed to be the very first, not just for this tide but ever.

After a short walk, they approached what looked like a solid rock wall, covered in ivy and seagrass. Savannah reached forward and drew the grassy and leafy covering aside like living curtains. She then gestured for Holly to follow her inside.

What greeted them as they stepped, blinking, into a cool, cavernous, salty-smelling space simply took Holly’s breath away.”

Social media and publicity, Uncategorized

The Book Guild Lineup

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Legend of the Lost is leading the new children’s books line at Book Guild, the independent, UK based publisher that we’re proud to partner with.

It’s important that the book was conceived, published, printed and distributed in the East Midlands, UK.

Take a look at their latest lineup of titles and snuggle up with a good book as a fantastic Summer hands over to a cosy Autumn of long walks and comforting reads: