Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with Tammy Lowe

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Please give a very warm welcome to Tammy Lowe, author of The Acadian Secret, a tween paranormal action adventure novel!

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What is your book about?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Kim. I am really excited to be here.

The Acadian Secret is about a time travelling young girl who finds adventure in the 17th century Scottish Highlands.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

As a kid, I loved to read books (and watch shows) like Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. Those types of novels inspired me in every way possible.

I loved anything set in the “olden days”. When I was about ten years old, I began to wonder about time travel. My biggest wish was that I’d end up back in the pioneer era. I wanted to go and hang out with spoiled Nellie Olsen. I don’t remember why I wished for Nellie over Laura Ingalls, but I think it had something to do with the fact that her parents owned the candy shop.

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I had it all figured out. I didn’t want to live in the 18th or 19th century; I’d miss my family too much. And I can’t live without modern comforts. I wanted the freedom to travel back and forth through time.

My wish to time travel was so strong; I even dressed the part, as much as I could, without raising anyone’s suspicions. I wore dresses to school every day, when all my friends wore jeans and t-shirts. I had to be prepared just in case it worked and I was whisked through time. That summer, I even begged my mom to buy me a bonnet. She did. I wore that white bonnet everywhere. If I ended up in Walnut Grove or Avonlea, I was prepared.

By the sixth grade I was old enough to realize that time travel probably wasn’t going to be a reality for me, so I decided when I grew up, I’d write a story about a girl who could travel back and forth through time.

Describe your writing in three words.

-Sparse

-Witty. I mean…I hope!

-Suitable for all ages.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I am very detailed with my drafts and spend quite a while plotting the timelines. I keep notebooks and spreadsheets and have post it notes scattered everywhere.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

My characters are not based on anyone I know personally, but many of the characters are based on real people in history. The Oak Island Money Pit is a huge part of my novel and I wanted it to be as historically accurate as possible. I am fascinated with the way James Cameron did Titanic. Jack and Rose were fictional characters bouncing off of real-life people and events. That was in the back of my mind as I wrote The Acadian Secret.

I laughed when my son told me I should come up with a more exciting name for John Smith. John and his friends were real people. They discovered the pit and sparked one of the greatest treasure hunts in history.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

Did you ever watch Ugly Betty?

Ashley Jensen played Christine, Betty’s Scottish co-worker and friend.

She would make the perfect Bessie Ferguson.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Oh gosh, I don’t even know where to begin.

I’m heard there are medic alert bracelets that say, “If I die, delete my browsing history”.

I need one.

What projects are you working on now?

I am writing Elisabeth London’s next adventure.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

You can find me at www.tammylowe.com.

Buy Links

Amazon

MuseItUp Publishing

Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents. Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland. They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.

Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think. The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.

However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft. At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.

As the afternoon sun began to travel behind the mountains, it cast an emerald glow across the glen. The valley was littered with boulders, while a small river twisted its way toward a distant forest.

Malcolm Craig was stalking his prey. He was a tall, strong man with piercing blue-green eyes, a short beard, and wild black hair that gave him a crazed look. He smelled the boar before he saw it. Talbot, his hunting dog, lunged into the brambles after the wild pig which began to grunt in anger. That was when something to the right caught his eye. A young girl lay motionless in the heather.

“What the devil?” Malcolm said as he jumped down from his horse. While still keeping his hearing attuned to Talbot and the boar, he walked over and bent to peer at her. He breathed a sigh of relief to find she was fast asleep. Malcolm scooped the sleeping girl into his arms. “You’re lucky I found you, lassie, before that beast did.”

With a sigh, she rested her head against his chest and put her arms around his neck. “Daddy…” she said in her sleep.

Malcolm laughed. “Daddy? I’m nae your daddy. No daughter of mine would be dressed like this, wandering around barefoot in the middle of…”

Elisabeth’s eyes popped open and she let out an ear-piercing scream. She bit Malcolm’s shoulder and he dropped her.

“Och, child! You bit me!”

The silence in the valley broke as Talbot howled, the boar squealed and Elisabeth jumped to her feet and wailed in horror.

“Dinnae move, lass!” Malcolm yelled to be heard over the pandemonium. He reached for his dagger. It was almost time for the kill.

The enraged boar deserted his hiding spot in the brambles and charged toward the dog, its lethal tusks ready to kill. Talbot was well-trained so, instead of turning tail and running, he danced backward, facing the pig, luring it away from his master. With the boar now in pursuit of the dog, Malcolm did what was natural to any man born and bred in the Highlands: he ran at the beast as if he were a wild animal himself. Jumping on the boar from behind, he grabbed its ear, yanked its head up and slashed its throat.

Elisabeth continued to scream. Malcolm jumped off the boar as it fell limp at his feet and cleaned the blade on the carcass before putting it away. He walked toward Elisabeth, his bloody hands held in front of him.

“Enough, lass. It’s all right now.”

Her wide eyes fixed on the enormous man dressed in a skirt. “You’ve got a knife!”

“Aye. And a sword.” He smirked as he pointed to it.

“You’re armed!”

“I’m nae going to harm you, though. I was hunting.”

“Hunting what? Little girls? Where am I?”

Not waiting for an answer, she ran from Malcolm and toward the forest, her bare feet slowing her great escape.

“That lass is completely mad,” Malcolm grumbled while rubbing the shoulder she had bitten.

Malcolm mounted his horse; he couldn’t leave the terrified girl alone out here. It wasn’t safe and would soon be dark. She would be easy enough for a blind man to find again because she hadn’t stopped screaming. For some reason, he hadn’t stopped smiling.

His black warhorse was as large and intimidating as Malcolm was, and the animal’s powerful legs kicked up tall grass and thistles as it barreled along. The sound of its hooves seemed amplified as it raced toward Elisabeth. Malcolm caught up to her. Without needing to slow his horse, he reached down, scooped her up into his arms, and placed her in the saddle in front of him.

“There. Now be a good lass. I promise, I’m nae going to hurt you.”

And with that, Elisabeth fainted.

“Well now, that certainly makes things easier,” Malcolm muttered under his breath as he wrapped her in his plaid and nudged his horse on.

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When she isn’t writing, you will either find Tammy Lowe surrounded by little children and covered in glitter and glue, or on some grand adventure: inside an Egyptian pyramid, twirling on an Alp or climbing the Great Wall of China. She’s part Mary Poppins, part Indiana Jones.

Tammy lives in Cambridge, Ontario with her husband and their teenage son.

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Thanks for stopping by, Tammy. I wish you great success with the release of The Arcadian Secret!

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with Kristy Brown

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Please welcome Kristy Brown, tween fantasy author of Sacrifices, book two of the Kiera’s Quest series!

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What is your book about?

It’s based on a young teen Kiera, who gets thrown into another reality, to save a prince.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was sat staring at my niece’s dolls house. Suddenly, I had the inspiration for Zakk’s character.

Describe your writing in three words.

Fantasy, magic, fun!

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I like to map what I want to happen to each character at the end, so then I have to get them there!

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

I think there are small parts of lots of my friends and family in all the characters, maybe not the Witch Queen though!

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

I think you get very attached to all the characters you create. As “Kiera’s Quest” is aimed at the teen MG/teen market, I try not to be to mean. There are a few deaths through the four books, but I think they are there for necessary reasons.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

I always find this a difficult question, as in my mind they are all pretty unique. I like to let the reader decide how they see a character. But, if a movie deal ever came up, I would love to help cast it!

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

My lovely husband reads it first and then my parents. These people always tell me the truth. Then of course, my editors.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Just googling my book and seeing all the reviews was a tad freaky.

What projects are you working on now?

Well I’m awaiting edits for book three, which comes out this May. Now I’m writing book four, probably the last book in the series

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

Thank you so much for your support and going on Kiera’s journey with me. If you liked it, please tell your friends!

Where can readers find you and your books online?

At my publisher’s MuseItUp. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, itunes, Goodreads….

Meet Kiera, a pretty, intelligent, and talented girl, brought up by her uncle, and abandoned by her parents. Life is as normal as she believes it to be, apart from the deep ache inside her, telling her she’s different. For years, Kiera has had dreams where she ventures into a different reality. She’s not alone; a presence is always there, keeping her safe, yet she feels vulnerable, and hunted.

Zakk, Prince of Zantar, is under the Witch Queen’s spell as she tries to take over his world. He crosses

paths with Kiera, and their fates are entwined.

As their journey unravels, she learns that she is not the only one affected by this prince. Who is on her side? Will she find out why she has been chosen? How can someone so young, defeat such evil? Will she find the strength to save the ones closest to her? Will this be Kiera’s only quest?

Chapter One

Zakk felt his throat grow tighter, barely able to breathe. Sweat dripped from his brow.

“What ― what did I do wrong?” Zakk gasped helplessly. He could see nothing, but felt the invisible hands clamped around his neck. “Please stop, please.” Zakk was on the verge of falling down a bottomless black hole. He felt heavy like lead, dragging him deeper and further down.  Knowing this to be his ending he managed to push out with a thin, shallow breath, “I’m sorry.”

Suddenly, the vice gripping his throat loosened and discarded him to the ground like a crumpled tissue. Maybe an apology was all that ‘it’ needed. Minutes passed, feeling like an eternity. All seemed quiet in the icy air. He dared not move. Zakk tried to collect his thoughts and regulate his breathing. In and out… in and out slowly, he told himself. He tried to catch a glimpse of his jailer, but couldn’t see past his own shadow. There was a definite presence watching him, enjoying the show. A wave of emotions passed through him; pain, loneliness, emptiness, dread, but most of all fear. They seeped into him, like black ink coursing through his veins, devouring his consciousness. For the first time in his life, he felt totally alone. He knew if he could scream, no one would come. If he tried to run, his legs would not aid him.

“Who are you?” Zakk whimpered.

“Who am I― who am I?”

This voice somehow seemed strangely, and uncomfortably, familiar to him. The voice broke into a spine-chilling laugh.

“Don’t you know?” it mocked. “Look hard, deep into yourself. You know who I am. I am your darkest fear when you close your eyes. I lie in wait at your very core. Who am I?” The voice seemed outraged not to seem significant in Zakk’s life.

Zakk nervously fiddled with the dull glass ring on his middle finger. It had belonged to his mother, and just touching it reminded him of her warm smile, her golden silky hair and the lullaby she sang to him to tuck him up each night.

“You’re the Witch Queen!” He realised instantly, like a storm cloud had passed letting the sun reign through. He’d waited so long for answers, but still was not face-to-face
with this cold blooded murderer. “You killed my mother.”

“Clever, clever Zakky. Clever child,” she hissed. “Your mother would be so proud of you.”

Silence fell upon him again. He felt deeply saddened, but immensely angry. If he was going to die here in this cave, he needed to know. Zakk spoke calmly and evenly, trying not to annoy his captor.

“Why did you take her from us?”

“I should have ruled this world. I should have been Queen. She was useless. I will do better. I should have been at your father’s side. She never loved him.” She spat out her words as if they were poison.

“But you did?” Zakk asked, even more confused. “You loved my father?” Surely she was not capable of such an act.

“Silly boy, silly little Zakky. I do not love. It is a weakness. It eats you alive, swallows you whole then moves on to dessert.” She spoke as if she’d tasted this bitter pain, but no one this void of life could have. “I got my sweet revenge on Helen when I threw her body into a D’rog pit. They tore into her like she was a yummy treat.”

Tears pushed under his eyelids. He couldn’t swallow, for the boulder-like lump blocked his windpipe.

“She was tossed from one to the other, like a little raggedy doll,” she sang, with great malice and delight.

Zakk, now broken, wept. He could no longer hold the tears at bay and gave in to his despair. He pictured his mother’s gruesome death, and melted into a pool of sorrow.

The Witch Queen poked her spindly leather finger into Zakk’s cheek, but she was still covered by the veil of darkness. Watching his tears run down her long, ugly finger, he noticed a very familiar glass ring at the end of it. Shaking his head in disbelief, Zakk looked again recognising his father’s ring. Time slowed down in his mind.

Sweat gushed down him like rain.

“Father!” he cried. “Father?” Zakk knew his only response would be that of his own echoes chasing each other round the stone cave walls.

“He’s gone,” she said, stepping a little closer so he could just make out her eyes. He searched them wildly for a hint of compassion, but there was none to be found. Like hard coal they were dead inside.

“No, no,” pleaded Zakk, kneeling on the floor with his arms clasping his chest. He held on to all he had left. Himself.

“I will rule Zantar, it is meant to be. All will live in despair and fear of my gaze upon them. I thought you might have been my biggest barrier. But as I look upon you, crying like an infant, I find you weak, boy. It will be easy to send you to join your parents. It’s only fair after all.”

Immediately, as if from nowhere, flames bolted toward him. Bright reds and dancing oranges licked at his heels, engulfing him. Zakk raised his hand to shield his eyes. This is it. I am finished. I couldn’t save my family, or my people. I am nothing, he thought.

At that moment, something happened. The air directly around him cooled. He opened an eye, feeling safe from the heat. Zakk looked up. A force of light surrounded him, bringing the fire to a halt. Bizarrely, the force poured from his mother’s ring, which now shone all the colours of the rainbow. In her own way, she still watched over him, and protected him. He felt the wrath of the Witch Queen lift from him. Love glided back through his veins once more. Zakk slowly rose to his feet, feeling strangely confident. His new resolve seemed to anger the Witch Queen further. She tried once again to execute her enemy, throwing arrow upon arrow of flesh stripping fire, but to no avail. Her efforts bounced off him, like raindrops on a pond.

“Damn your wretched mother, and your proud father. If I cannot kill you, I’ll make you wish that I had.”

A high-pitched squeal and a flash of white light and Zakk began to fall. He couldn’t feel his body or open his eyes. There were no sounds. The heartbeat pounding in his chest moments ago, fell deathly silent, and all went black.

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I live in the North-East of England, UK. From an early age I had a love of writing, mostly poetry and short stories. I trained and graduated in Performing Arts. After time went by, I wanted to re-visit my real passion. So after my first son was born, I began writing Kiera’s Quest.

I live happily with my very supportive husband and my two beautiful boys. I have many ideas for stories! I just wish there were more hours in the day.