Tag Archives: Simon & Schuster

Tales Q&A With Sarah Carroll


A few months ago I received an email from the lovely Hannah at Simon & Schuster about a really intriguing debut YA, The Girl In Between by Sarah Carroll.

The Girl In Between is due to be released on the 4th May 2017 and is a story about a little girl who is homeless in Dublin and sheltering in an abandoned mill with her mother – and it has an unexpected twist at the end.

Naturally I needed to know more so I put some questions to the lovely author, Sarah Carroll…..


I know the mill has a story cos there’s something strange going on. I heard something. I’ve decided that I’m going to find out what it is later today when Ma leaves. Cos even if it is scary, we live here and we’re never leaving. So if there’s something going on, I need to know.

In an old, abandoned mill, a girl and her ma take shelter from their memories of life on the streets. To the girl it’s home, her safe place, the Castle. But as her ma spins out of control and the Authorities move ever closer, the girl finds herself trapped – stuck in the crumbling mill with only the ghosts of the past for company.

Can she move on before it’s too late?


Hi Sarah!  Thanks so much for appearing on Tales Of Yesterday today – I’m so over the moon to have you here!

Can you tell us a little about your debut The Girl In Between?

The Girl In Between is told by a young homeless girl who lives with her Ma in an abandoned mill in the heart of a city’s business district (it’s Dublin, though never explicitly stated). The girl calls it her Castle, a refuge from their life on the streets. She never wants to leave. But the mill is earmarked for development and the girl has noticed that there is something strange going on inside. With her safe place threatened and her own past haunting her, the girl must find a way to move on from the mill before it’s too late.

What inspired you to write this story?

The mill is based on Boland’s Mill, a stained granite building in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, which is currently being developed into business and living units. The old mill provided shelter to a homeless man who set up camp in it is shadow for a brief period. But both the mill and the man were largely invisible to those that passed by on their way to work everyday.

To me, the mill represented a crumbling past being replaced by an uncaring digital future. It was an embodiment of the unseen past. This inspired the themes of homelessness, grief, and moving on.

Can you tell us a little about the main character?

The main character is a young girl who has known, and lost, the security of a home. She survives the brutality of living on the streets by retreating inside her imagination, and when she finally finds in the mill a places that she can call home, it is this imagination that allows her to find beauty in the banal. But she recognises in her Ma the signs of descent into addiction. She loves her Ma fiercely and fears returning to the streets. She does everything she can to stop this from happening. She is naïve and optimistic, but ultimately brave and forgiving.

Can you tell us a little about your writing process for The Girl In Between?  Was there much research involved?

Not a lot of research, no. I spent a day or two looking up how old flour mills work, but after that, I relied on memory of my interactions with various homeless people (Caretaker is an amalgamation of three homeless men I have come across) and the girl’s imagination (to build on exaggerated almost magical world).

The story came to me fully formed. I knew the first and last lines of the book from the first day. That day, I wrote the first chapter and then set it aside as I was actually working on another novel at the time.) For three months, The Girl In Between stewed away in my subconscious and then two days after finishing the other novel, I returned to The Girl In Between. From that point, it took five weeks to complete the first draft of the novel. I would wake and take exercise, during which time I would write the day’s chapter in my head. After breakfast I would get it down on paper and, later that day, edit the previous days’ chapter. Usually, I wouldn’t break for six hours or so. That was pretty much my routine for five weeks. After that, I edited it for a few weeks. I had literally finished the first full edit two days before being contacted by my (now) agent, Claire Wilson, for the first time. That was the beginning of six months of professional edits with my publishers (the back and forth takes weeks, if not months!)

How important was it to get the themes of family and homelessness right?

Crucial. I wanted to study the meaning of home when you don’t have one, of family when it’s just two of you.

Setting out, I wondered what it would be like to be a young girl growing up without a physical place to provide the safety, comfort and belonging we all need. And when she found something that she could call home, as the girl does with the Castle, I wondered what lengths she would go to to stop it from being torn away.

I also knew from the get-go that the opening line would be I’m invisible because the most vulnerable so often are. I wanted to step over the stereotypes and see what was going on behind the begging cup, and tell I story that we as a society, and I myself, tend to ignore.

In five words – what should people expect if they picked up The Girl In Between?

Homelessness, love, grief, optimism, imagination.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we might not know about yourself?

I love skiing and white water kayaking.

I only began writing novels aged twenty nine.

I speak Swahili.

English was my worst subject in school.

I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Can you tell us a little more about your volunteering works?

In 2006 I naively went on one of those pay-to-volunteer holidays and soon realised that they are, for the most part, little more than money making schemes that exploit the idea of the poor as incapable and childlike, and, in turn, encourage the formation of projects in the host town that exploit the volunteer.

I initially set up a volunteer hostel in Tanzania so that others could avoid paying exorbitant volunteering charges and donate that money directly to a project. Over time, I began to work with local projects to assist with their long term development and to help them to find volunteers with the appropriate skill set to be of benefit to the day to day running the project (eg placing an accountant with a women’s group in need of advice on financial management, or teachers in teaching positions.)

If The Girl In Between had a sound track what would it be?

It would be a mixture of traditional and modern Irish music, with lyrics in both Irish and English, written and preformed by Enda Reilly.

What would you like people to take away from reading The Girl In Between?

That letting go and moving on can be the ultimate freedom.

And finally what are you working on next?  Any new exciting projects you can tell us about?

Some that I can, some that I can’t!

Last Friday, I finished the first draft of the book that will be released this time next year. It is also based in Dublin and deals with bullying and the power of words. So I’ll be editing that just as soon as my editors get back with their massive dossier on suggested changes.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Sarah!  The Girl In Between sounds wonderful!

You can buy a copy of The Girl In Between here or from your local bookshop!


About Sarah Carroll

Sarah currently splits her time between a houseboat in Dublin and travel abroad. She recently returned from five years in Tanzania where she founded and ran a hostel while working to support local community projects. She continues to promote ethical overseas volunteering through her blogs and films on www.theethicalvolunteer.com, while planning her next book.


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster I have one copy of this fab book to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter via twitter by Following and RT – here

UK Only

Ends 9th May 2017

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Sarah for answering all of my questions!  And to Hannah at Simon and Schuster for organising and asking me to host this Q&A and giveaway!

Have you read The Girl In Between?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Three Things That Inspired Chloe Snow’s Diary by Emma Chastain


Today I have a brilliant guest post from the wonderful Emma Chastain author of Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster!

Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster was released on the 20th April published by the lovely people at Simon & Schuster and is set to be a super fun YA high school contemporary!

I can’t wait to read it!

Today Emma talks about three things that inspired Chloe Snow’s Diary: Confessions of a High School Disaster …….



Basically all I did in junior high was text, straighten my hair, add to my Benedict Cumberbatch shrine, and worry about how to be more popular. Thinking about it makes me cringe.
I want to be different in high school. Like a new person.
And I want to make out with someone. It’s so humiliating that I’m a kissing virgin at this advanced age. The longer I go un-smooched, the more freakish I feel. If I graduate high school without being kissed, I’ll be too embarrassed to kiss anyone during college, and then I’ll most likely die without ever even getting to second base. Something has to change fast. This I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Eve. (Or maybe it’ll happen ON New Year’s Eve?) OK, this I vow: I will kiss a guy before New Year’s Day. Vow TAKEN.

Fourteen-year-old Chloe Snow is about to start ninth grade when her brilliant, beautiful, artistic mum announces she can’t create great art in suburban Massachusetts, and goes to Mexico to work on her novel. Bewildered at being left behind with only her (socially awkward) dad as company, Chloe throws herself into a series of new pursuits, including auditioning for the school a cappella group, making new friends, and landing the lead in the school musical. In the course of these adventures, she attracts the attention of Mac Brody, the cuter half of THE Senior Couple, and Bernadette Sanz, the school’s Meanest Senior Girl. And then things begin to go pretty seriously wrong.

Can Chloe recover from a gigantic mess of her own creation? And will her mum’s Eat, Pray, Love-fest EVER end?

Told in 365 diary entries, one for each day of the most seminal year of Chloe’s life so far, this laugh-out-loud novel is peppered with texts, lists, emails and tweets, making it a modern take on the classic teen coming-of-age story.


Three Things That Inspired Chloe Snow’s Diary

Meet Chloe Snow! She’s the protagonist of my debut novel, Confessions of a High School Disaster, and she’s shockingly honest, deeply flawed, and often funny (if I do say so myself).  Confessions is told in diary format, with one entry for each day of a year in Chloe’s life. During that year, Chloe must cope with best friend feuds, boy problems, musical theatre meltdowns, and the absence of her mother, who has up and moved to Mexico to “work on her novel.”

When I sat down the write this book, three things inspired me:

1. My own diaries. 

I kept a diary from the time I was old enough to form words. It’s kind of agonizing to look back at these journals—I can hardly bear to see the evidence of my own narcissism and delusion—but instructive, too. Rereading them reminds me that in your own diary, you can safely vent your fury, scheme to bring about your enemies’ downfall, whine about your supposed problems, and rhapsodize about your crush. In short, you can be honest in a way you never could be on social media.

2. Bridget Jones, Georgia Nicolson, and Cassandra Mortmain 

….to name just a few. I like to think of Chloe as a fictional soul sister to the passionate, frank, and hilarious first-person female narrators who have entertained me and comforted me over the years.

3. The Sound of Music. 

And Oklahoma!, and Fiddler on the Roof, and I could go on and on. Chloe falls in love with musical theatre, as I did when I was around her age. It’s the perfect form for teenagers: it deals in oversized emotions, it’s an outlet for melodramatic impulses, and it forces you off your phone and into a room where you’re allowed to sing with other people, which is one of the purest human pleasures there is.

If you ever were, or currently, are a diary-keeper, a musical theatre geek, or a teenager, I think you’ll enjoy Confessions. I hope so!

You can buy a copy of Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster!  here or from your local bookshop!


About Emma Chastain

Emma Chastain is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, and the Creative Writing Program at Boston University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

You can follow Emma on twitter – @emmachastain


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Emma for a fab insight into her inspiration and to Jade at Simon & Schuster for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Chloe Snow’s Diary:  Confessions of a High School Disaster!?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Have you ever kept a diary? I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Guest Post – The Adventures Behind The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone


In celebration of The Night Spinner, the last in the brilliant The Dreamsnatcher series, being release on the 23rd February 2017 I am so over the moon to be hosting another brilliant post from one of my favourite authors, Abi Elphinstone.

This trilogy has been phenomenal and has captured my heart and although I am sad to see it end I am also excited to see what Abi has in store for us next!

As well as all of this Abi Elphinstone is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 author of the month for February 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Abi and her books and find out why people are loving them – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win a signed set of the trilogy in all it’s glory!

Abi is known for her many adventures, so what adventures are behind The Night Spinner?  Find out in today’s fab guest post!


About The Night Spinner

Moll Pecksniff and her friends are back for a new adventure as the thrilling trilogy that began with The Dreamsnatcher concludes.

In a ruined monastery in the northern wilderness, a Shadowmask called Wormhook sits in front of a spinning wheel. He is spinning a quilt of darkness known as the Veil. A masked figure then carries the Veil across the lands, slipping it through the windows of children’s bedrooms to poison their minds…

Meanwhile deep within Tanglefern Forest, Moll and her wildcat, Gryff, are waiting for a sign from the Old Magic before they continue their quest to find the last Amulet of Truth and free their world from the Shadowmasks’ terrible magic.
 
Still missing fellow Tribe member, Alfie, and armed only with a mysterious set of clues, Moll sets out on an adventure across the northern wilderness with Gryff and her friend Siddy at her side. They must brave the Lost Isles, scale the Barbed Peaks and face witches, goblins and giants who lurk at every turn . . . while the Shadowmasks draw ever closer.

Can Moll, Siddy and Gryff find the friend they think they have lost? And do the Tribe have what it takes to defeat the Dark magic once and for all?

Perfect for fans of J.K Rowling, Piers Torday and Eva Ibbotson.


The Adventures Behind The Night Spinner

I was lucky enough to grow up in the wilds of Scotland – a country of icy lochs, snow-capped mountains, rugged islands and sprawling moors – and when I sat down to write my third book, The Night Spinner, I thought back to the adventures I’d had as a twelve-year-old girl there: building dens in the woods; listening to stags roaring in the glens; watching golden eagles soar. And I knew that I wanted to take my characters to a land like this. The world in The Night Spinner is called the northern wilderness and adventures enjoyed up in Scotland, both as a child and more recently, coupled with a few other explorations slightly further afield, built the plot.

Re-discovering the world beyond The Blue Door

Out of all the wild places I explored as a child in Scotland, there is one that sticks out: a walk just north of a village called Edzell, a few miles from our house. After you leave the village, you cross an old stone bridge and then, on your left, there is a little blue door. You could miss it if you didn’t know it was there but my parents knew about it and they pushed it open. And what lay beyond could well have been Narnia. On the left, thundering through a steep gorge, the North Esk River browned by peat from the moors and on the right, above the gorge, a little path that wove alongside rhododendron bushes, silver birches, beech trees and a long-forgotten folly. The gorge opens up eventually, then the lochs, moors and mountains take over. When writing The Night Spinner, I walked through the Blue Door many times – to watch salmon leap from the river and to take notes inside the folly – and before long the North Esk river became The Clattering Gorge and my characters had found something extraordinary inside the folly there…

Quad-biking across the moors

To build The Rambling Moors in my book, I spent weeks walking through the Scottish glens. I heard stags bellowing, I watched coveys of grouse pour over the hills and I saw golden eagles circling the crags. I rented a quad bike one day so that I could cover more ground and as I tore across the heather, I imagined my characters fleeing the Shadowmasks across this same landscape and before long, my moors were teeming with mystical creatures: peatboggers, skeleton-stags and a goblin called Kittlerumpit (whose name I pinched from a Scottish retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale called Whuppity Stoorie).

Climbing Lochnagar in the Cairngorms

On Easter morning last year, I set out to climb Lochnagar with my husband – partly because I thought the name was fabulous and partly because I’d heard the view from Perseverance Wall up at the top was spectacular. During the first half of the climb the landscape was purpled by heather and green with juniper bushes. Further up though, the mountain was still locked in the icy grip of winter and it reminded me of how wild and inhospitable the Scottish mountains can be. I wanted a range of almost inaccessible mountains in The Night Spinner and so, after that climb I invented The Barbed Peaks and as I sketched them onto a fictional map for my book I drew a circle of deadly summits in their midst and called that The Stone Necklace.

Exploring Eilean Donan Castle

I’ve always loved the idea of writing about an enchanted castle. Perhaps that stemmed from living near Dunnottar Castle, a dramatic ruined fortress on the cliff top near Stonehaven, and my always believing that such a place was magical. Or maybe it was reading fairytales about maidens locked in towers and dragons lurking around castle walls. Whatever the reason, I booked a tour of the magnificently situated Eilean Donan Castle to spark ideas for my fictional castle. I pinched the location of this castle, perched on an outcrop of land in Loch Duich on the west coast of Scotland, for my book, and the items inside it – spinning wheels, cannon balls and beakers carved from the ivy that once clung to the castle ruins – set my mind reeling for magical motifs withing my story.

Swimming across Loch Duich

When I donned my wetsuit for this swim the sun was shining and I was anticipating a refreshing dip. But the clouds rolled over as soon as I reached for my first stroke and, despite it being July, it felt like I was swimming through a block of melted ice. Someone once told me that lochs are as deep as the mountains are high and as I saw across Loch Duich I remembered that – and gulped. I had no idea how deep Loch Duich was but I’d heard talk that Loch Morar, in Lochaber, was 310 metres deep. And glancing down, it felt easy to imagine monsters like Loch Ness lurking in the depths… Shortly after this swim, I wrote about a very, very deep loch at the foot of the Barbed Peaks, and I made it home to a mysterious monster.

Hiking through the Dolomites in Italy

I went to the Dolomites last Autumn because of tales from friends of staggering waterfalls, jagged peaks and World War One tunnels stretching the length of giant mountains. But once out there, I realised that I could borrow aspects of this incredible – and haunting – place for The Night Spinner. I saw mountain peaks bursting through the clouds and look-out posts on the precipices of cliffs, where Italian soldiers had watched Austrian troops advancing. And so, when writing about The Rookery, a forgotten monastery carved into the cliffs with turrets masked by the clouds, I drew on my hikes through the Dolomites.

Escaping The Labyrinth in Berlin

A few years ago, I went to Berlin to visit a friend for the weekend. She asked what I wanted to do and I said: ‘Something off the beaten track. Something weird that I can write about one day.’ And so she took me to The Labyrinth, an old warehouse in Friedrichshain converted into a maze of passageways made entirely of recycled materials. Outside the warehouse, I was given a coin by an organizer then I was blind-folded and led away from my friend. A few seconds later, I heard a door click shut and I realised I was alone, with no instructions as to what to do next. I took off my blindfold to find I was in phone box but everything was dark outside it. There was a small TV screen in front of me depicting a man placing a coin into a slot. I stared at him, bemused, then remembered the coin in my own palm and noticed there was a slot in front of me. I pressed it in. A moment later, the front of the phone box fell down and I was inside the labyrinth – a dark maze with stairs leading up to giant mirrors and passageways lined with skulls and sculptures of crooked hands. I ran through the corridors, trying to find a way out, but ended up stumbling through a trap door and landing on a mattress inside what appeared to be a giant egg with seven passageways leading off from it. I choose one and realised, half way down it, that it was shrinking in size and before long I wouldn’t be able to keep going. I backed away and tried another passageway then another, occasionally stumbling across other people desperately trying to find their way out (to this day, I have no idea whether those people were actors or punters in a similar position to me…). I blundered on until eventually I burst out of a door into the sunlight. My friend followed an hour later. ‘Did you see the white room with bizarre instruments?’ she said. ‘And the pitch-black tower ringing with echoes? I spent ages sitting in there; it was amazing.’ ‘No,’ I replied. ‘I didn’t see any of that. I was trying my best to escape.’ And as we chatted to the organisers we realised that the labrynith was, in fact, a psychological experiment – it tested whether, in the face of strange and unsettling experiences, you fled or slowed down to enjoy them. I fled, as if the Shadowmasks themselves were on my heels… But I’ve always remembered that labyrinth and in The Night Spinner, I created my own one beneath Whuppity Cairns, a collection of stones on top of Rambling Moors.

You can buy a copy of The Night Spinner here or from your local bookshop!


About Abi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER.  This year marks the release of the final book in the trilogy THE NIGHT SPINNER!

When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

www.abielphinstone.com


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win a signed set of the trilogy in all it’s glory!


A huge thank you to Abi Elphinstone and Hannah at Simon & Schuster for such a fab post and for organising, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17, providing a copies of The Dreamsnatcher Trilogy to giveaway!

You can catch previous blog posts by Abi on Tales by clicking on the below links.

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Abi Elphinstone

The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher

Top 10 Shadowkeeper Songs

Review – The Dreamsnatcher

Corey’s Corner Review – The Dreamsnatcher

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Have you read The Night Spinner?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Abi Elphinstone


I am so excited to have announced yesterday that the brilliant Abi Elphinstone is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for February 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Abi and her books full of fun filled adventure.  With a trilogy not to be missed that all started with The Dreamsnatcher and a brilliant short story collection Abi is a brilliant UK Middle Grade talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a super guest post from Abi this February also with a fab giveaway!


About Abi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER.  This year marks the release of the final book in the trilogy THE NIGHT SPINNER!

When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

www.abielphinstone.com


The Books and Why We Love Abi Elphinstone

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.

You can find my review of The Dreamsnatcher here

Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late?

In a ruined monastery in the northern wilderness, a Shadowmask called Wormhook sits in front of a spinning wheel. He is spinning a quilt of darkness known as the Veil. A masked figure then carries the Veil across the lands, slipping it through the windows of children’s bedrooms to poison their minds…

Meanwhile deep within Tanglefern Forest, Moll and her wildcat, Gryff, are waiting for a sign from the Old Magic before they continue their quest to find the last Amulet of Truth and free their world from the Shadowmasks’ terrible magic.
 
Still missing fellow Tribe member, Alfie, and armed only with a mysterious set of clues, Moll sets out on an adventure across the northern wilderness with Gryff and her friend Siddy at her side. They must brave the Lost Isles, scale the Barbed Peaks and face witches, goblins and giants who lurk at every turn . . . while the Shadowmasks draw ever closer.
 
Can Moll, Siddy and Gryff find the friend they think they have lost? And do the Tribe have what it takes to defeat the Dark magic once and for all?

A beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical short stories from acclaimed children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Berlie Doherty, Lauren St John and Katherine Woodfine, and edited by author Abi Elphinstone.

Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers . . . from classic children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward, Michelle Harrison and Emma Carroll.

An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.

You can buy any of Abi Elphinston’s books here or from your local book shop!


A huge thank you to the lovely Abi Elphinstone fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend all of these books from our February Author Of The Month!

Look out for a super guest post from Abi this February also with a fab giveaway!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Are you an Abi Elphinstone Fan?  Do you have a favourite book?  Are you new to Abi Elphinstone?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford by Perdita & Honor Cargill


I am so beyond honoured to be celebrating the release of Waiting For Callback:  Take Two by the super lovely, hilarious and best mother/daughter writers around, Perdita & Honor Cargill.

Waiting For Callback:  Take Two is the hilarious follow up to last years debut Waiting For Callback which was one of my favourite reads of 2016

Take Two is released today, 26th January 2017 published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and I simply cannot wait to find out what Elektra gets up to next!

I know one thing for sure…..I will be smiling and laughing lots!

I’m over the moon to have been asked to be part of the fab blog tour and today Perdita and Honour chat about direction in this fab and super funny guest post….


Elektra has finally landed a part in a film. It’s the dream. Well … until she works out that Straker is a movie so dystopian that within weeks most of the cast and all of the crew wish that the world had actually ended (preferably in scene one). And while it’s obviously great news that she’s moved from the friend-zone with Archie to become his almost-girlfriend, it would be better if he hadn’t immediately relocated to Transylvania to play a vampire hunter surrounded by ‘maidens of peerless beauty’… Full of humour and warmth, this new series is perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The It Girl.


DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford

Day Four of our Take Two blog tour and today we’re chatting about Direction (although we should have called it Co-Directing). Just to set the scene this time I (P) am talking and typing this while Hon is talking very fast and eating (classic multi-tasking).

H: Have I said enough in the last year to explode the No. 1 Misconception that because we’re family we work side-by -side sitting at the kitchen table, steaming mugs of tea and freshly baked cake in front of our matching notepads, birdsong in the background?

P: I don’t think that anyone who knows us will still be under any illusions. And we’re getting further and further apart. This time last year we were working in different rooms then you (Hon) discovered the joy of working in cafes and I stayed in the attic.  Then you went to Uni and now in term time at least you’re in Oxford and I’m in London. God, I hope it’s not some dark metaphor…

H: Not that ‘dark’… Oh God, except for That Train Journey – the one where we sat side by side working on edits all the way from London to Newcastle and had nearly dissolved the partnership by York. That was dark.

P: *shudders* But we do loads of the actual writing during your holidays.

H: I work very hard in London cafes! But (at arm’s length) we’re surprisingly harmonious collaborators. Ok, there’s some pretty brutal editing along the way but I can’t think of any bits that in the end we disagreed on.

P: No, it works well. Although there were a couple of…misunderstandings that underlined that I must never be allowed to write contemporary teen on my own.

H: Ha! Like your tendency to put add full stops to the end of texts and the great bucket hat fiasco?  We probably plotted better together because we were on a tighter schedule for Take Two so we had to be more focused.

P: I’m quite proud that we got Take Two done to deadline. It was hard work. You did so much of the writing this time that I wanted to change the name order on the cover because I felt guilty! (We couldn’t).

H: I still didn’t do any of the copy editing stuff. I’d be useless at that. And I think Take Two was easier to write than Waiting for Callback because we know all the characters so well. I am genuinely fond of them – even Flissy.

P: Have you got a new fave character or does your heart still belong to Archie?

H: My heart will always belong to Archie… whether he’s in character as a vampire-slaying-hero or not …

(Random cute baby vampire bat)

But I’d quite like to go clubbing with Hot Carlo…

P: I’m quite glad that we’re talking about fictional characters.  I’ve got a soft spot for Amber. She is truly dreadful (“very shiny, possibly made in a lab in Beverley Hills. Scary handbag dog named after a vegetable.” Ch. 7) and yet mastering yogic breathing is definitely one of my 2017 resolutions.

H: Good luck with that.

Thank you Chelley for hosting us! Come and join us tomorrow on Vivienne’s blog, Serendipity Reviews where we will be chatting about Special Effects (our glossy cover and lovely inside Extras!)

You can buy a copy of Waiting For Callback: Take Two here or from you local bookshop


About Perdita & Honor Cargill

Perdita Cargill

I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series with Honor Cargill. She’s my daughter and it’s something of a miracle that no only do we write together but we have a lot of fun doing it. She’s in her first year at Oxford University reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (niche…). I used to be the least numerate tax barrister ever to practise in the English courts. It was a relief to everyone when I hung up my wig and gown and took to writing funny teen novels…

Honor Cargill

I’m 18 and I’m in my first year at Oxford Uni reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (bit rogue) and I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series of funny teen novels with Perdita Cargill (who is, conveniently, my mum…). I’ve done some acting and although I’m nothing like Elektra (our main character) I feel her pain because her most humiliating moments are strangely similar to mine…

You can find out more by visiting the website – www.waitingforcallback.com

Or why not follow Perdita on Twitter – @perditact

Or Honor on Instagram – honorcargill


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of the awesome blog tour at the following stops.


A huge thank you to Perdita and Honor for a fab guest post and making me laugh always.  Also a huge thank you to Jade for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for organising.

Have you read Waiting For Callback:  Take Two?  Are you intrigued? Did you read the first book in the series too?  What parts made you laugh out loud?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Tales Q&A with Georgia Clark


The Regulars

I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for a booked pitched as Dorian Gray for the Girls generation, The Regulars by Georgia Clark.

The Regulars was released on the 11th August 2016 published in paperback by Simon & Schuster UK and is a fab contemporary.

A huge thank you to Alix and Alice at FMCM for having me on this wonderful tour.

For my stop on the blog tour I have had the chance to put some questions to the lovely Georgia Clark!

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The Regulars

Best friends Evie, Krista and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls with typical quarter life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well …gorgeous. Like, supermodelgorgeous. With a single drop, each young woman gets the gift of jaw-dropping beauty for one week, presenting them with unimaginable opportunities to make their biggest fantasies come true.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left: What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?


Hi Georgia!  Thank you so much for joining me today!  I am so excited for The Regulars!

Can you tell us a little about The Regulars?

It’s a sexy, sassy feminist fairytale about three young women living in Brooklyn (where I live), who get their hands on Pretty, a magical elixir. One drop turns you super, jaw-droppingly hot for one week at a time. But there’s a dark side to being Pretty too…

Is there anything in particular that inspired you to write The Regulars?

I was inspired to create this story to join the exciting and important conversation that’s happening around beauty and beauty standards. From the anti-Photoshopping movement to icons like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer celebrating and embodying a more realistic approach to bodies and being a woman, there’s a real groundswell right now that’s questioning what we want our beauty standards to look like. Ultimately my aim in joining this conversation was to put something out into the world that helped women and girls feel better about themselves and happy in the bodies and faces we live in.

 What would you do if you discovered Pretty?

Probably something close to what Evie’s agenda is: using it to become more powerful. There I am, on the Victoria’s Secret runway, high-fiving Taylor Swift before grabbing the mic and espousing an impassioned Equal Pay for Equal Work manifesto. Telling my 5 million Snapchat followers about fighting campus rape. Maybe I’d go real renegade, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Jessica Jones-style (after all, I’d look great in Nylon) and save the city from rogue mansplainers.

Awesome!

Can you tell us a little fact about each of the main characters Evie, Krista and Willow?

Clever, cautious, idealistic Evie is an only child who secretly loves Buffy fan fiction.

Aspiring actor/hot mess Krista lost her virginity in the back of a blue Ford.

And shy, sensitive, self-destructive Willow is obsessed with the filmmaker Harmony Korine.

What was your favourite scene to write?

So many! I loved writing the first transformation scene as it has comedy, drama, tension, and some nice surprises. I really liked writing Willow’s scenes, even though her voice was the hardest for me to nail: she’s a very poetic, mysterious girl and her scenes were the most experimental.

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in The Regulars or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

Certainly: I’m most like Evie, with splashes of Willow and Krista. I used the universal experience of not feeling pretty enough to give the novel depth, truth and authenticity. Many of the girls’ different insecurities I’ve felt myself.

If you could cast your characters from The Regulars in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

I think Jess Biel would be a great Velma Woolf.

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Mia Wasikowska could be an interesting Willow. Tilda Swinton could play Evie’s boss at the magazine.

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And of course, Ellen Page would be Quinn.

Ellen Page

What would you like your reader to take from The Regulars?

In an ideal world, I’d like readers to feel equal parts entertained, inspired and supported. It’s not easy being a woman in this world, and personally, I feel drawn to telling stories about the female experience that can be helpful, in some small way.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Georgia Clark?

  1. I was in the Cattle Club at high school and used to show cows at agriculture shows.
  2. I had braces for 2.5 years and hated every. Single. Moment.
  3. I had never been to a gym until 2015 when I started dating my (very healthy) girlfriend.
  4. I once got my aura cleansed for a magazine story and it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.
  5. I travelled solo through Vietnam and once spent a week singing pop songs to “teach” (re: entertain) a room full of Khmer (Cambodian) school kids.

Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with?

Probably Krista. She’s the most fun, for sure. She’d get us into the best kind of trouble.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper.

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I was totally and completely obsessed with this Young Adult series as a kid. Hungrily consumed when my imagination was a ripe and fertile thing, I really felt like I was there, alongside the Drew family, searching for the legendary Holy Grail in the mysterious windswept hills of Cornwall. I have vivid memories of the Greenwitch, Will Stanton, the Things of Power; the mix of myth, magic and memory that all good fantasy-adventure stories possess. Being an Aussie, I was raised with equal parts American and British culture, and thus feel quite fond of UK classis such as The Five Children and It, the Narnia chronicles and the Famous Five. But The Dark is Rising was always my favourite, kicking off a lifetime love of action and adventure.

Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

I adored The Girls, by Emma Cline.

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A new favourite. The buzz book of the summer merits all the praise. Her prose is consistently elegant and surprising. Such a wise storyteller makes everyone else seem like cliché-ridden buffoons. I had the odd experience of having my life reflected back to me by a person I didn’t know.

I wish I’d written Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. I was given this novel by my best friend with the wild-eyed you-have-to-read this endorsement known to all book lovers. It’s my kind of story: snappily written, cleverly crafted, opinionated in ways I relate to, deliciously brutal, and just a cracker of a crime story.

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What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m halfway through Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair (and other things I still have to explain). It’s so smart and funny; a must-read for Fall.

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Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

I love collabs! Everyone I’ve mentioned, plus David Mitchell, Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, Maggie Stiefvater, Karen Russell, and ALL funny ladies: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Carrie Brownstein, Judith Lucy, Mindy Kaling. Bring it!

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

I start with one of the most fun parts: brainstorming. This involves some forms of research, depending on how much I actually need to learn, and extensive note taking. It’s basically months of daydreaming, where the sky’s the limit. Only in the outline phase do I start culling ideas and getting things at order; at the very beginning, it’s pure play. 

Do you have any strange writing habits?

If I’m alone, I’ll read it out loud and do the voices. I need total silence: I get furious with snifflers/loud typers/coughers.

If The Regulars had a theme tune what would it be?

Anything by Beyoncé.

Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2016?   

My year is packed! I’m in Canada (Nova Scotia) right now for a friend’s wedding. Heading to LA at the end of the month for a book launch and to hang out for a bit, then I’ll be in Australia for three weeks for more press and to see my family. I’ll be in NY for Fall, maybe a weekend upstate for apple-picking. I’m doing a writers’ residency outside Chicago in early winter to start a new idea!

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Georgia!

The Regulars

You can buy a copy of The Regulars here or from your local bookshop

Georgia Clark is the author of The Regulars. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter.


About Georgia Clark

georgia clarke

Georgia Clark is an author, screenwriter and journalist who is widely published in women’s and lifestyle magazines, and writes for TV. She is enthusiastically vegetarian, proudly queer, definitely a city-dweller, a long-time lover and supporter of the arts and an advocate for the empowerment of young women.

– Follow me on Twitter/Instagram @georgialouclark
– Sign up to my mailing list from my website georgiaclark.com
– Like my author page on Facebook


Blog Tour

Follow or catch up of the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

georgia-blog-tour


A huge huge thank you to Georgia for answering all my questions and to FMCM for organising!

Have you read any of the The Regulars?  What did you think?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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Guest Post – My Funny Holiday Memory by David Solomons


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I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this brilliant MG anthology of eight sunny funny stories by eight brilliant authors, in Holiday Ha Ha.

Holiday Ha Ha was released on the 30th June 2016 published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK.

From amazing aliens and strange superheroes to fantastic forests and crazy creatures; from ghoulish ghost tours and tiresome traffic jams to super spies and terrible talent shows – you’ll be laughing all summer with these eight summer sillies!

A huge thank you to Hannah from Simon & Schuster for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me a copy of the book.

For my stop on the blog tour I have an hilarious guest post from one of the fab authors in this anthology and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner, the super funny David Solomons!

David’s holiday memory made me laugh and also eeekkkk all at the same time!

So sit back, grab an ice cream, relax in that deck chair and be prepared to laugh…..a lot!


Holiday Ha Ha Ha! cover.inddGet ready to laugh your summer socks off with this collection of hilarious short stories – from disastrous car journeys to super-powered grannies to gruesomely funny ghost hunters there’s something for everyone in this side-splitting anthology! Featuring a stellar line-up of much-loved authors including Steve Cole, David Solomons, Joanna Nadin, Jeremy Strong, William Sutcliffe, Steven Butler, Candy Harper and Jonathan Meres.


My Funny Holiday Memory

Anyone born after the invention of the powered electric window cannot ever truly understand the true horror of the holiday car journey. This is a story of in-car entertainment, in the same way that Watership Down is a story about fluffy bunnies.

I was seven years old, probably wearing a colourful tank top. It was Scotland in the 1970s. My family, consisting of Mum, Dad and my little sister, Jacqui, were driving northwards from our Glasgow home. Destination: Crieff Hydro in Perthshire for a week of our precious summer holiday. These days, a luxury destination, but back then there remained a whiff of its invigorating Victorian origins. Cold water treatments, bracing walks, no Wi-Fi for, ooh, another 30 years. But all those delights were in front of us!

For the present we were speeding along the A9. I say speeding, but in truth we were whining – that would be both the car and its occupants – confined in the reverberating tin drum known as a Fiat 128. My dad has always fancied himself as a boy racer. He puts the Fiat down to an aberration. When quizzed he says it was Italian, y’know, like a Ferrari. But then his voice sort of tails off to an embarrassed mumble. First off, it was in a colour strangely omitted from every car paint chart produced since 1975. In brochure speak it was the classic mostarda. To you and me, mustard. Truly hideous. But it was about to get a makeover, courtesy of a local resident of the Perthshire countryside. Now if after that teaser you’re jumping ahead and imagining a gory and inappropriate twist to this amusing anecdote, I’d just like to say, you’re right. No people were harmed in the making of this story. Beyond that, I’m not making any promises, so if that worries you, then stop reading now.

OK.

Still with me?

Imagine a typical family of four stuck in a hot car for hours with only a weedy radio blasting out Scottish dance tunes (probably) in mono. Smartphone? Seatback-mounted iPad? Hah! The only screen we could look at was the windscreen. So let’s talk about air conditioning. Get this. You wound the windows up and down with a handle. A handle! (I’m told that some super-duper-expensive cars these days still have a window-handle in order to make them lighter so they can go faster. Trust me; the Fiat’s was not a weight-saving measure).

So there we are, fourteen arguments and three “I won’t tell the pair of you again!” later.

Boy Racer Dad has got the mustard machine up to sixty. We’re flying.

We’re not the only one.

Not that we know it, but at that exact moment fluttering towards us is a grouse. A bird that inhabits pine forests, moorland and mountainsides. It has feathered nostrils and toes. We’re talking one hairy bird. Anyway, this one’s doing its best impression of Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Fast, low, weapons hot.

Meanwhile, the unfeasibly high speed we’ve topped out at has made the interior of the Fiat even hotter than usual. But as anyone knows, you can’t open a window at speed without causing terrible turbulence. Nevertheless, at that moment, yours truly decides he needs some fresh air. I’ll just open it a–

CRACK!

Have you ever tried to get grouse guts out of velour seats? I haven’t. I was too busy trying to get them out of MY HAIR! MY EYES! MY MOUTH!

The bird had flown smack bang into the tiny crack I’d opened in the window. Never mind Top Gun, that was Luke Skywalker hitting the thermal exhaust port of the Death Star. Sort of.

I will never erase the sight and smell from my memory.

My other vivid recollection is of another car slowing down, pulling off the road and stopping, its driver leaping out, scooping up the carcass and driving off with it. Proving that one boy’s summer holiday horror story is another man’s dinner.

Holiday Ha Ha Ha! cover.inddYou can buy a copy of this book here or from your local book shop


About David Solomons

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David Solomons has been writing screenplays for many years. His first feature film was an adaptation of ‘Five Children and It’ (starring Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Izzard, with gala screenings at the Toronto and Tribeca Film Festivals). My Brother is a Superhero was his first novel for children, and it won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2016. He was born in Glasgow and now lives in Dorset with his wife, the novelist Natasha Solomons, and their son, Luke.

You can follow David on twitter using @DavidSolomons2

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Blog Tour

You can catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

Holiday Ha Ha Ha blog tour banner


A huge huge thank you to David for sharing a holiday memory that he has never forgotten and to Hannah for organising!

Have you read Holiday Ha Ha?  What did you think?  Do you have any funny holiday memories?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Summertime!

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Guest Post – Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs By Abi Elphinstone


51WQvFqEfFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Today I am completely over the moon to be hosting a fab guest post and super giveaway from lovely author and brilliant friend Abi Elphinstone!

Abi’s second book, The Shadow Keeper, was released on the 25th February 2016 and throws us into Moll and Gryff’s magical world for a second time!

Myself and my son adored the first book in the series, The Dreamsnatcher last year and we have been craving The Shadow Keeper ever since!

You can find my review of The Dreamsnatcher here or Corey’s review of The Dreamsnatcher here

So today Abi tells us about the Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs and there may be a few special surprises along the way!

Also don’t forget to check out the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post where you could win a set of both books!


51WQvFqEfFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late? Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Michelle Paver and Eva Ibbotson


Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs

When I’m concentrating really hard I don’t write to music. It’s just me and my writing shed. But most of my thinking time takes place on the move with a lot of background noise: kids yelling about One Direction on train journeys to literary festivals, people taking business calls on buses to school events and, if I’m very, very, very lucky, killer whales leaping out of the water on ‘book research boat trips’ (!) in the Arctic. So, I’ve picked out a bunch of songs that got me fired up while thinking about smugglers, secret caves and cliff jumps. Here’s The Shadow Keeper playlist:

The Phantom Of The Opera theme song by Andrew Lloyd Webber

My favourite musical – and the song I listened to while inventing extremely awful things for the Shadowmasks to do…

Sail Away by Enya

I grew up listening to Enya (she’s my Dad’s favourite artist) and I remember hearing this song just before I wrote about the Tribe’s kayak journey to find the last Amulet of Truth.

Hurt by Johnny Cash

Anything by Johnny Cash is incredible and I loved this song so much I borrowed a variation on a lyric for Moll to use right at the end of the book: ‘I want to start again, a million miles from here.’

No One Is Alone from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim

The ending of The Shadow Keeper came to me before the start. I knew exactly what was going to happen, even though every time I thought about it I got a lump in my throat, and I listened to this song on repeat before I wrote the final scene.

The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe theme, original BBC version by Geoffrey Burgon

I watched this series with my family one Christmas (up in Scotland with snow lying thick on the ground outside) and it is one of my happiest memories. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been more magical to me than listening to this song as Lucy Pevensie opens the wardrobe door. And any time I want to write magic into a scene, I listen to this song before hauling out my laptop.

Concrete Schoolyard by Jurassic Five

When the edits are getting crazy, when there is paper strewn about the house and I feel like I am going to mad, I listen to this song and it chills me out :-).

Hold Back The River by James Bay

In The Shadow Keeper you find out who Alfie really is but when I sat down to write the book I had no idea. I just knew that his past was shady. And then, when I was walking down the street to teach a writing workshop, it came to me. I didn’t have a piece of paper on me so I wrote his story on an oak leaf – then I listened to this song.

Grey or Blue by Jaymay

The lovely Louise Corcoran (bookseller extraordinaire at Foyles) sent me a playlist last year and I fell in love with this song. I listened to it when thinking about Moll’s friendship with Alfie (though in the song there’s a lot more kissing and hopping into bed with boys than books for 8-12-year-olds might allow!).

Septimus from the Stardust movie by Ilan Eshkeri

I plan EVERY chase scene (and I plan a lot of chase scenes) to this song. I feel like I, and my characters, can fly while doing multiple leg-kicks and somersaults when this is playing.

The Gael from Last of the Mohicans by Dougie Maclean

When I imagine Moll, Siddy and Alfie with their bows and arrows (and catapults) I see them tearing across the coast with this song blaring around them.

And presenting ……Abi Elphinstone

And not forgetting the author herself in a starring role….. with some of her favourite Disney songs….. move over Taylor Swift!

 

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You can buy The Shadow Keeper here or why not visit your local independent bookshop.


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For The Dreamsnatcher playlist, click here.

Check out my review of The Dreamsnatcher here

Or Corey’s review of The Dreamsnatcher here

You can also check out The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher here


About Abi Elphinstone

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Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER this year. When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

www.abielphinstone.com

Abi in Waterstones with Gryff


Giveaway

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Would you like to win 1 of 5 signed sets of Abi’s books The Dreamsnatcher and The Shadow Keeper?

The lovely Jo at Angel Publicity has kindly given me 5 sets of these fab books to giveaway…and they are signed too!

Enter below to be in with a chance of winning!

Do check out the terms and conditions…..

UK & IRE Only

5 sets = 5 separate winners winning 1 copy of The Dreamsnatcher and 1 copy of The Shadow Keeper as a set.

Books will be sent straight from Angel Publicity / the publishers so the winners will need to provide there name and address details to myself to pass on.

Giveaway ends 3rd March 2016

Winners will be announced on here and on twitter.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A huge huge thank you to the lovely Abi for asking me to be part of this wonderful blog tour!

And a huge thank you to Jo at Angel Publicity for the awesome giveaway!

You can catch up or follow the rest of the blog tour at the following stops!

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Are you excited for The Shadow Keeper?  Have you read The Dreamsnatcher?  Do you love Moll and Gryff?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

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Guest Post – The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


Dreamsnatcher Final High Res Cover

Today I am honoured to have the lovely Abi Elphinstone, author of the fantastic The Dreamsnatcher which is out on the 26th February with a fantastic guest post!  Today Abi talks about the research behind The Dreamsnatcher.

This book is simply a must read for fans of middle grade fantasy adventure!  Published by Simon & Schuster it is a fantastic debut novel that both me and my son adored when we were lucky enough to read it recently (find our reviews here and here).

Without further ado I will hand you over to the wonderful Abi Elphinstone!


Dreamsnatcher Final High Res Cover

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.

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Here is a pie chart of how I spend my authory time:

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 As you can see, I spend aaaaaaaages on the book research – and that’s partly because I love adventures and partly because I’m dyslexic so I have to have my characters, settings and plot pretty much ‘sorted’ before I jump into the writing…

2

 Abi doing book research for the sequel in a cave up in Scotland

 I knew that the New Forest had been home to some of the most well-known Romany gypsies over time so when my book was still just an idea I headed down there to explore. Although my book is set in an invented world, it is grounded in reality so that each place feels believable. And once in the New Forest I…

  • walked for miles through ancient woodland (I worked out locations where Oak’s camp and Skull’s gang could have settled)
  • climbed the highest trees I could find (I found a yew like the one Moll and Siddy would have built their tree fort inside)
  • paddled in a stream (which became the river boundary Oak sets up to keep Moll safe from the Dreamsnatcher)
  • walked over the heath amid the wild ponies (I modeled the gypsy cobs on these)

 Suddenly Moll’s world came completely to life.

3 Wildcat in January

 The New Forest also helped me to build my characters. It was a freezing day in January when I went to watch the wildcats in the wildlife park there but I sat in the snow before the huge cages, watching them sleep, eat, stretch and slink around their territory.

  • I listened to their greeting call (‘Broooooooo’) and their warning growls (‘Urrrrrr’) which sent shivers down my spine
  • I watched them leap, like ripples of silk, from the tallest part of their enclosure to the ground
  • I watched them rip apart meat with razor-sharp claws (and that made me understand that Gryff, although a friend to Moll, had to be ultimately wild at heart)

 And after seeing all this, Gryff went from being a page on Wikipedia to a fully-drawn character.

4 Pete Ingram’s Romany hearth

 To shape my other characters, the gypsies, I had to get as close as I could to their culture and to do this I met up with one of the last ‘true Romanies’ – Pete Ingram. Having moved out of his bowtop wagon that he bought for £8 when he was 15-years-old, Pete now lives in a yard on the outskirts of a village in Hampshire, where he restores and repaints old gypsy wagons (he repainted Roald Dahl’s wagon for the Danny The Champion of the World film premiere!). In his shed he has over a hundred wooden carvings lining the windowsills and corners of the room, sheepskins thrown over wicker chairs, piles and piles of old leather-bound books, dagger sheaths he’d made from a lady’s handbag, lassos wound round the backs of chairs; and the heart of the room – a well-used woodstove.

 Peter taught me how to make chrysanthemums from elder wood that gypsy women like Mooshie would have hawked, he showed me how to ‘play the bones’ (animal bones clinking together in time to folk music – watch him here) and he danced wooden puppets he’d carved and painted himself. And no amount of Google research could have given me that sort of experience…

5 Pete Ingram playing with wooden puppets he carved

 So I guess half of my research is ‘targeted’. If I want to know what wading through a river in the New Forest at midnight would feel like, I’ll do it. But the other side to my research is almost subconscious. My brain is a bit like a net; a lot of information drifts out through the holes (Pythagorus Theorum, the periodic table, how to do a tax return), but some sights, smells and sounds just stick – and though I don’t realise it at the time, that kind of ‘stuff’ makes up some of my best research. Years ago I was travelling Africa and I wound up in the cobbled streets of Zanzibar. I found myself in a tiny shop packed full of tribal masks and then years later, when I came to write about Skull, I realised I could use the idea of a mask to make him even more frightening.

6 African masks

 But it can be even more simple than that. A few months ago I was ordering a cocktail in a bar in East London. I scanned the cocktail list and noticed one called Smog Sprockett. The name stuck and now it’s the name of the street urchin in the sequel! So whether it’s abseiling 80 metres down into a cave in the Brazilian jungle, hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro (get ready for the sequel!) or glancing at a funny-looking street sign in Devon, I reckon research is the backbone of my stories.

Abi-1

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. THE DREAMSNATCHER is her debut novel and when she’s not writing about Moll and Gryff, she volunteers for Kidsco, does star jumps on the top of very high mountains and runs her children’s books blog www.moontrug.com

Author website: www.abielphinstone.com

Twitter: @moontrug

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abi.elphinstone

Instagram: @moontrugger


I would like to thank Abi for her wonderful guest post and appearing on Tales Of Yesterday.  I have found reading this post really interesting and inspiring and I hope you all enjoyed it to.  The Dreamsnatcher is so magical and is a must read for 2015!

Why not add The Dreamsnatcher to your want to read on Goodreads here ?

Or preorder / buy a copy here – you won’t regret it!

You can also catch some fab Q&A videos with Abi by clicking on the links below!

What inspired you to write The Dreamsnatcher?

Tell us about The Dreamsnatcher

Which character do you most relate to an why?

What research did you do for The Dreamsnatcher?

What tips would you give an aspiring writer?

Can you tell us about your next book?

What do you do when your not writing?

Tell us about your average working day.

What are your top 5 desert island reads?

The Dreamsnatcher Playlist

Check out this fab guest post by Abi with top 10 Shadow Keeper (which is the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher) Songs here

Happy adventures!

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Corey’s Corner – Review – The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


 untitledTwelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure

Check out the magical book trailer!


Publisher – Simon & Schuster Ltd

Date Published – 26th February 2015

Pages – 288 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – Children’s

Source –

My Mom was sent a limited edition book proof of this book by the wonderful Lovereading4kids, the publisher Simon & Schuster Ltd and the author Abi Elphinstone in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way.  Thank you all for sending us this book to read and review.


**Please note this review is as spoiler free as possible**


Hi I’m Corey.  I am 9 years old…my Mom who runs Tales Of Yesterday has let me have my own little corner so I can write reviews on books.  I really enjoy reading and hope to share my thoughts with you!

First, I’ll speak about the main characters. There is: Moll, Oak, Alfie (later in the book), Siddy and Gryff – The cat.  Gryff was my favourite character because he reminded me of my cat Louie.  Louie always protects me and sleeps at the bottom of my bed.  He has brown stripy fur and licks me a lot!

Secondly, my favourite bit. I loved the part where it goes on about all the strange and gruesome things in the tree house.  I wish I had a tree house to keep disgusting things in to scare my Mom!

Thirdly, what impression did it leave on me? I was pretty relieved because I thought Gryff was going to die!

Fourthly, would I change anything?  No I would not change anything. It is perfectly fine as it is.  I really enjoyed it!

If I would recommend this book to another person –  yes. My younger step-brother although im concerned he might not be able to read all the long words…but he would have fun reading the adventure like I did.

I think the sort of person that would like this book will have had a taste of adventure and like magic and fun!

Now, in conclusion, I am going to rate this book out of 5!  Before I do this I have got to say this book was exquisite and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.  Also well done to the author of the book which is Abi Elphinstone.  So the rating out of 5 from me is……

5 OUT OF 5 COREY CORNER BOOKS!

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About Abi Elphinstone

Abi-1

I grew up in Scotland where weekends were spent building dens in the woods, jumping into icy rivers, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. School came as a bit of a surprise (lots of ‘being inside’ and ‘listening’) but English lessons were great. I loved stories – reading them, writing them, listening to them – and it was back then that I discovered worlds  behind wardrobes, teachers called Trunchbull and shape-shifting daemons…

 I got through school, despite being branded as ‘unteachable’ and ‘prone to spasmodic outbursts of silliness’ by my headmistress, and after an English degree at Bristol University and several years as an English teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London, I am now back to hiding in tree houses and building dens – sometimes in real life, mostly in my books.  

The Dreamsnatcher is my debut novel for 9-12 year olds and a sequel will be published in 2016. When I’m not writing about Moll and Gryff’s adventures, I blog about children’s books over at www.moontrug.com, work as a volunteer for a charity called Beanstalk, do star jumps on the top of mountains and remember the good old days when I used to dress up as a unicorn.

You can find out more about Abi on her website here

Or follow her on twitter using @moontrug


 Happy Reading

Corey!

 You can see my Mom’s review here

Or find out the research behind The Dreamsnatcher here

Check out this fab guest post by Abi with top 10 Shadow Keeper (which is the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher) Songs here

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