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The Maven & Reeve Mysteries: out now in the US!

The Maven & Reeve Mysteries: out now in the US!

Here’s some news I’ve been sitting on for what feels like forever!

The Maven & Reeve Mysteries are out now in the USA through Kane Miller Books.

In equally exciting news, both books have Kirkus reviews!

The Fire Star (book #1) is described as:

“Smart, lively fun…

“Tait lets an appealing chemistry develop between her dual narrators (who change person and even tense in the alternating chapters) as she pitches them into an investigation that is positively hung about with side challenges…” Full review.

While The Wolf’s Howl (book #2) contains:

“More feudal finagling, with feminist strains running through a round of clever clue gathering…” Full review.

Find more details and buy the books here!

 

A L Tait The Fire Star USAAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries, an ‘almost history’ detective series (for more information and buy links for Australian readers click here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

 

 

Inspiration is in the wind: 3 ideas behind The Wolf’s Howl

Inspiration is in the wind: 3 ideas behind The Wolf’s Howl

I’ve done a lot of talking about inspiration since The Wolf’s Howl (Maven & Reeve #2) launched in August.

“Where did the inspiration from?” is one of the most common questions asked in any interview, radio, podcast or print (tip for aspiring and new authors: have an answer ready… more tips here).

But I also talk a lot about inspiration and where ideas come from every single time I do an author talk or school workshop. Endlessly discussing the fact that ideas for stories are everywhere (they are) and that writers are people who’ve trained themselves to see them (they are).

They are in the things we see, the things we feel, the things we hear, the things we say, the things we read… and so on.

Everywhere.

Today I realised that, despite all that talking, I haven’t written about the various things that specifically inspired The Wolf’s Howl here on my blog.

So here they are.

 

Three things that inspired The Wolf’s Howl

The ‘August Winds’

I wrote this novel, about Maven & Reeve’s visit to the bleak, isolated, windswept fief of Glawn in August last year. Where I live, on the south coast of NSW, August is a windy month. Really windy. It blows up in the west, whips through town and makes everyone really, really irritated.

Every time you step outside, you have to confront it.

I started to wonder what it would be like to live in a place where the wind howled like that all the time. What would it do to the people who lived there? How would it affect their manner, their fashion, their hairstyles?

And so Glawn was born.

 

Lockdown 2020

It didn’t really occur to me until I began talking about The Wolf’s Howl in interviews just how much the 2020 lockdowns had imposed themselves upon the book. Not in any obvious ‘plague-story’ way, but in the sense of isolation that permeates Glawn Castle.

The subconscious is a powerful kingdom.

 

A visit to the Netherlands in 2019

Glawn is a sodden, soggy place, dotted with windmills. In 2019, I was lucky enough to visit Kinderdijk in the Netherlands, a small village near Rotterdam featuring a series of 19 historic mills, all of which remain operational and three of which are set up as working ‘museum mills’.

The experience of being inside one of those mills, with the sails thundering around outside, informed several scenes in The Wolf’s Howl.

 

Learning to spot ideas

Of course, there are a whole lot of other things that come into play when you’re creating a world and building a story. Sometimes you can only ‘see’ the inspiration behind a novel once that novel is complete.

But writers are naturally observant people. They take notice – and they take note.

I keep a file on my computer where I dump links to articles and blog posts that interest me. It’s also where I keep snippets about the things I see, hear, think, and feel.

Once an idea crystallises into a character or a setting, I open a new document and write down everything I know about that character or setting. I give it a label. And file it in my Works In Process folder.

There are bits and pieces of stories in that folder that date back years.

If an irritating wind can be useful, then you simply never know what will be useful.

 

Allison Tait podcastAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

News, reviews and interviews: The Wolf’s Howl

News, reviews and interviews: The Wolf’s Howl

THE WOLF’S HOWL (Maven & Reeve #2) has been out for a month and, despite the fact I’ve been unable to leave home, I’m only just catching my breath. The pandemic may have changed the way a book launch has to operate, but it seems it’s no less busy.

So I felt it was time for a little update.

 

Book Week news

I managed to visit four schools and a book club during Book Week 2021. Zoom visits are more intimate than face-to-face author talks in some ways – you certainly get a close-up view of what everyone’s up to in the crowd! I talked about some of my experiences on episode 18 of the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast if you’d like the insider view.

A highlight of Book Week is always the costume parade and given that I was unable to attend any in-person this year, Megan, Allison and I decided to bring the Book Week Parade to us in the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook group. It was an amazing virtual event with 220+ entries, and allowed us all to put books front and centre – which is what it’s all about. Join us for the next event (not that I even know what that might be yet!)

My favourite costume of the week? How could I go past Megan from Children’s Books Daily all dressed up as Maven?

REVIEWS

“A powerful tale of danger, mystery, loyalty and betrayal… THE WOLF’S HOWL is recommended.”⁠

“I would unquestionably rate this novel 5/5 stars.”

“It’s such an exciting series, and one to follow for sure as each book is released.”⁠

“A series not to be missed by those younger readers who enjoy books involving more substance and thought.”⁠

I’ve been thrilled by the reviews of THE WOLF’S HOWL, and have finally updated that page on my website to showcase some of them. Check it out for the full reviews. 

INTERVIEWS

Huge thanks to Dr Helen Edwards for this interview on her blog. Read it for insights into the inspiration behind The Wolf’s Howl and other fun facts like why I want my boys to learn to make their beds every morning…

For a slightly different take, Val interviewed me for So You Want To Be A Writer podcast, asking me for the secrets of a successful writing career. You can hear my thoughts here.

I’ve got more to share, but I’ll save it for another next exciting instalment!

 

Allison Tait podcastAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

 

THE WOLF’S HOWL (Maven & Reeve #2) out today!

THE WOLF’S HOWL (Maven & Reeve #2) out today!

I’m so thrilled to announce that THE WOLF’S HOWL (A Maven & Reeve Mystery #2) hits bookshops around Australia today.

So thrilled in fact, that I made a little video to celebrate the #dreamvsreality of book release day:

It’s worth a look if you love a feather boa (and my insights into the reality of author life). Follow me on Instagram for more.

 

Live Zoom book launch event for kids

 

To celebrate the launch of the new book, I’m holding a one-hour author talk and book launch for kids on Zoom on 10 August, 2021, at 6pm (AEST). 

I’ll be talking about THE WOLF’S HOWL, but also sharing the secrets of creating brilliant stories, including:

  • where I get my ideas
  • how I breathe life into my characters
  • the most important question I ask myself as I write
  • how I create page-turning plots
  • and much more.

Plus, I’ll be answering lots of questions to help kids to do it, too. There’ll even be prizes!

Tickets are just $25 and include

  • 1 copy of THE WOLF’S HOWL signed by me (including P&H to any Australian address)
  • 1 special signed postcard
  • Zoom link to attend the event (parents and siblings welcome!)

I’d love to see you and your kids there!

You can find all the details and tickets here.

 

Allison Tait podcastAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries.

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

[News] Festivals, podcasts, and a longlist

[News] Festivals, podcasts, and a longlist

It’s always easy to tell when I’m super-busy – I stop blogging. So I’m thrilled to be back in a small window of peace for a quick news update.

 

Festivals: dates for your diary

•All going well, I’m heading to Queensland next week for the Capricorn Coast Writers’ Festival (11-13 June) and I can’t wait to hit Yeppoon in June.

I’ve got a very busy program, including a two-hour workshop called ‘So You Want To Be A Children’s Author?‘ (see what I did there?), a panel discussing Crafting Stories for Children with Dr Anita Heiss and Kat Apel, moderated by Nicky Way (good luck with the wrangling, Nicky!), and a one-hour workshop for kids called ‘Unlocking the Story Code: The 10 keys to writing a great story‘.

 

Writers Unleashed (21 August) has announced it’s program for 2021, and I’m excited to be part of a great line-up. I’ll be sharing the secrets of Getting The Words Written – a one-hour presentation on how to make time to write.

Stand by for more dates soon!

 

Podcasts

•The Your Kid’s Next Read podcast is proving to be a hit! Megan and I were chuffed to see it in Apple’s Top Books podcasts several times in its first few weeks, and there’s a new episode out right now!

Your Kids Next Read podcast episode 6

You’ll find the podcast on Apple, Spotify, or on our website here.

 

•There are now 400+ episodes of So You Want To Be A Writer podcast and Valerie and I love the fact that we continue to get five star reviews even after all this time! Particularly when they’re as creative as this one on Apple podcass:

So You Want To Be A Writer review

Reviews and ratings really help with a podcast’s visibility, so if you’re enjoying either of mine, please consider leaving one!

 

Sisters In Crime Davitt Awards Longlist

It was a real thrill this week to see THE FIRE STAR (A Maven & Reeve Mystery) on the longlist for the Children’s Crime Novel section of the 2021 Sisters In Crime Davitt Awards, in a very strong field.

You’ll find the full longlist here.

 

Signed books

One of the reasons I’ve been quiet lately is that I’ve been decluttering my house. Even those words are exhausting, aren’t they? In my case, that means culling bookshelves, and I’ve discovered a couple of boxes of the US editions of THE MAPMAKER CHRONICLES and THE ATEBAN CIPHER novels.

If you live in Australia and would like to purchase a signed copy of The Mapmaker Chronicles #1, #2 and/or #3, or The Book of Secrets and/or The Book Of Answers, for $10 each (plus postage), drop me an email via the form on this website and we can work out the details.

Note, the covers of The Ateban Cipher novels are different to the Australian editions – you can see them here.

Offer available until they’re gone.

 

A L Tait The Fire StarAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

 

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