Spring 2022 Titles: Author Q&A with Kirsten Marion
Our spring 2022 titles have hit the shelves! To celebrate, we thought we'd give you a glimpse behind the scenes by talking to the folks who made these titles happen. Read on to find out what author Kirsten Marion has to say about Lucy & Dee: The Silk Road, the first in her middle-grade fantasy series.
What inspired you to write Lucy & Dee The Silk Road?
Of all the wonderful books I read as a child, my favourites were the classic fantasy adventure stories by authors like C.S Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Mary Norton, P.L. Travers and E.Nesbitt. From the age of eight I was making my own little books—literally folding pieces of paper into a book-like shape. From there I wrote facsimiles of Borrower’s stories and other fantasy adventures. Fast forward a couple of decades and I had children of my own. I told them my stories and my son always begged me to write them down. Fast forward a few more decades and I finally got around to it.
This is the first book in the series. What is your approach to writing a middle grade series?
Each book must lead logically into the next and events in one book will shape the ongoing storyline and character development. Right now, I’m working on the second book in the series. But at the same time, I know events in this book will drive the plot and character development in book 3. So, I’m making notes for the next one at the same time as I’m writing this one.
What, in your opinion, is the strength of this book?
The characters. The main characters are very fallible and certainly not Chosen Ones or Saviours in the fantasy world they find themselves trapped in. Their character weaknesses get them into trouble and their strengths help them to endure and overcome. I think this helps to make them highly relatable for the reader.
What categories of interest do you think this book fits into for readers?
This book will appeal to readers who like action and adventure, fantasy and magic, quests, exploration, science, and friendship and family.
Did you have any particular challenges in writing this book?
I did! Mostly around research as my access to libraries, public and reference, was severely curtailed by Covid.
A fantasy writer is, by definition, a very curious person! Writing fantasy requires a fair bit of research around world-building. The challenge is to create a fantasy world that makes sense from both a physical and a social perspective. When I picture the type of society I want, I research similar real-world historical societies and take elements from several cultures and geographic regions. When the notion of the Silk Road occurred to me, my settings and the culture were much easier to research—I dug deep into the food, customs, architecture, geography, and the flora and fauna of the ancient cultures that the real-world Silk Road traversed. Sericea is an amalgam of them. I got to the point where I could picture the characters moving through the country.
I also research elements that drive character. For example, my character Dee’s scientific hero-of-the-month is Sir Isaac Newton. So, I had to learn more about him and his influence on modern science. Plus, I had to learn fun facts about alchemy, camels, and the early treatments of wounds and infections!
Our spring titles, Lucy & Dee: The Silk Road and The Math Kids: The Triangle Secrets, hit shelves on April 1st. Order your copies today!
Lucy & Dee: The Silk Road
by Kirsten Marion
“Unexpectedly trapped in a fantasy kingdom, best friends Lucy and Dee embark on a quest. An enthralling, fast-paced adventure, hinting of more to come.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Lucy and Dee is an appealing fantasy novel in which two friends go on a wondrous adventure in a magical land.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews 5/5
“A fun and engrossing read, perfect for middle-grade readers who love a new adventure.” – The Children's Book Review
The Math Kids: The Triangle Secret
by David Cole, illustrated by Shannon O'Toole
"Sure to excite and engage our young math enthusiasts" – Story Monsters Ink