Today’s author interview guest is Alane Adams, returning to the show to talk about her two new books, The Blue Witch and The Circus Thief. We talk about writing children’s fiction, the importance of connecting with readers, writing middle grade and picture books, how she reaches out to young readers with personal appearances, and much more.
Before Sam Baron broke Odin’s curse on the witches to become the first son born to a witch and the hero of the Legends of Orkney series, his mother was a young witchling growing up in the Tarkana Witch Academy. In this first book of the prequel series, the Witches of Orkney, nine-year-old Abigail Tarkana is determined to grow up to be the greatest witch of all, even greater than her evil ancestor Catriona. Unfortunately, she is about to fail Spectacular Spells class because her witch magic hasn’t come in yet. Even worse, her nemesis, Endera, is making life miserable by trying to get her kicked out.
When her new friend Hugo’s life is put in danger by a stampeding sneevil, a desperate Abigail manages to call up her magic―only to find out it’s unlike any other witchling’s at the Tarkana Witch Academy! As mysteries deepen around her magic and just who her true parents are, Abigail becomes trapped in a race against time to undo one of her spells before she is kicked out of the coven forever!
The circus is in town, and Georgie has his heart set on going. When Papa agrees to take him and his friend Harley, the boys marvel at the amazing elephants and clowns. But the best act of all is the amazing Roxie, a trained horse who can do all sorts of tricks. When Georgie is invited to ride on her back, he discovers it’s her last show—Roxie is going to be sent to the work farm! When Roxie bolts with Georgie on her back, Papa must come to his rescue.
The Circus Thief is a heartwarming tale of boyhood set in 1920s Pennsylvania for children ages 4–8.
I grew up in an old Quaker town called Whittier in Southern California. For college, I attended the University of Southern California where I wanted to be an English major, but my family convinced me to become an accountant so I could help run a family business. I spent the next few decades trying to get back to writing instead of balancing budgets. After leaving the family business in 2008, I started a foundation focusing on global poverty issues, particularly their effect on children. I pursued a Masters Degree in Diplomacy and took several field visits with UNICEF, visiting schools around the world. After seeing the importance of education and literacy in the battle to end extreme poverty, I began to shift the focus of my foundation to improving and supporting literacy efforts. In 2009 I was invited to teach a course on social entrepreneurship at Chapman University and joined the full-time faculty for the next five years. Along the way, my passion for literacy and children came together when my 12-year-old son Alex challenged me to write a book he could read. I began writing the Legends of Orkney book series and haven’t stopped writing since that day. My picture book The Coal Thief is based on stories from my father’s life growing up in Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. I have a new picture book titled The Circus Thief that will be available this November, and the first book in a spinoff of the Legends of Orkney series, The Blue Witch, will be available this October.
Having been an avid reader my entire life, books based on mythology have always fascinated me the most. I think it’s the idea of magic and the unlimited potential behind the surreal. Building an entirely new world like the fantastical realm of Orkney in my series has been a wonderful challenge. When I think of stories that don’t involve some element of magic it feels dry and boring. I love characters that are deeply flawed and full of emotions like anger and frustration and a burning desire to understand why it is they are so flawed. There are so many wonderful writers out there that entertain children and adults alike, but my all-time favorite book is River God by Wilbur Smith because it tells such a powerful story of life in ancient Egypt and you can’t help but be swept back to that time and place.
When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m out hiking somewhere in the world or hanging out with my three boys who are my greatest joy. Thank you for visiting my page. I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoyed writing them for you.
To learn more about my foundation visit: www.riseupfoundation.org.
– Alane Adams
Alane is proud to be a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the International Reading Association, The Literacy Research Association, and the California Reading Association.
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