This week at the Owl's Skull, we are hosting a blog-tour stop about the book The Shadow of Atlantis by Wendy Leighton-Porter. My daughter, Maggie, and I recently read the book together, an experience I enjoyed immensely. Seeing her grow and mature as a young reader and critic, being able to talk with her about books in a meaningful way, gives me an enormous amount of pleasure. And so, I thought it would be fun, since we read the book in tandem, to provide our reviews in tandem, hers first, mine second. Following our reviews, we have a short Q&A with the author, who describes her early and current influences, favorite books, and, most fun of all, whom she would most want to invite to a dinner party, if she could invite anyone at all. And last, but most definitely not least, there is information about the book series (where to purchase it, etc.) and a Rafflecopter giveaway - be sure to scroll all the way down:)!! Enjoy!
Maggie (Age 9): "The Shadow of Atlantis is pretty interesting. I like when Jemima and Joe's parents mysteriously disappear. Nothing is the same. One day, they decide they will look at this book that was their mom and dad's. The book seems to be glued together. Jemima has a jewelry piece that was her mother's. It has a golden chain with a mysterious key on it. They search the cover, and finally find a keyhole. The key around Jemima's neck fits just right. Then, the book starts to rumble and shake. It opens slowly. I like the mysterious book. It makes you want to keep reading because you don't know what's going to happen next. The book just makes me say ... 'Oh what's going to happen? Oh don't do that!' You should read it."
Jess/Alice (Age 36): "This book begins with a 'weird event': a terrified cat, Max, sees the shimmering mirage of an ancient city appear out of thin air and a groping hand reach out of the mist, searching for a missing key. We subsequently find out that the parents of ten-year-old twins Jemima and Joe, two of the main characters in the book, have seemingly disappeared into the mirage's ether, leaving their children to fend for themselves and solve the mystery of their disappearance. This is a fun middle-grade reader for children ages 7-10. Centering on the mysteries contained in an old book, The Shadows of the Past, that combines the interactive magic of the iPad with the old-world magic of the traditional supernatural, The Shadow of Atlantis requires both the characters and the children reading the book to engage with texts in order to figure out their methods and reveal their secrets (I could see the book transformed into an iPad version with lots of bells and whistles that would enhance the child's reading experience). Overall, young readers will be enticed into Leighton-Porter's book just as Jemima and Joe are lured into the world of the book they discover."
Q&A with Wendy Leighton-Porter
- What are some of your favourite books from when you were a child and did any of these inspire you when writing your books? When I was very small I was addicted to Enid Blyton’s “Five Find-outers” mystery series; I think they got me hooked on mystery stories and detective novels from a young age. I also enjoyed “The Bobbsey Twins” adventures. Then I progressed on to some of the classics, such as Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. At the age of about 10 or 11 I started reading Gerald Durrell’s books, starting with My Family and Other Animals. That’s a very funny book and I’ve always loved anything which makes me laugh. I suppose that the Enid Blyton mystery stories may have influenced me, in that my books have a slightly old-fashioned air of innocence about them, coupled with mystery and adventure. I also hope that I manage to inject a note of humour into my stories via the character of Max.
- What books are you reading right now? Philippa Gregory’s historical series, The Cousins’ War. I’ve just finished The White Queen and am currently in the middle of The Kingmaker’s Daughter. It’s partly background reading, as I’m writing a book set during that period (War of the Roses - 15th century), and partly for pleasure as I love anything to do with history and that particular topic has always been one of my favourites.
- Which authors have influenced you the most and how? My favourite authors all share one important attribute – the ability to make good writing look effortless. For me, and it’s an opinion shared by one of the finest novelists of the 20th century, Evelyn Waugh, the ‘Master’ of this art was P.G. Wodehouse. His lightness of touch and the ability to conjure a beautifully drawn scene with only a handful of words remain unsurpassed. A children’s author with that skill was Arthur Ransome, and to this day I remain spellbound by the magical world of Swallows and Amazons, the first book of his I read.
- If you could invite any 5 authors to dinner who would you choose? Homer (the ancient Greek storyteller, not Homer Simpson!), the Latin poet Catullus, P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie and Lindsey Davis.
- What is your favorite book of all-time (adult)? I think this is the point where I’m supposed to choose something heavyweight and meaningful but, if I’m honest, I really don’t have just one favourite book. However, for a combination of intelligent writing, clever plotting and atmosphere, you’d have to go some to beat The Ghost by Robert Harris, one of the best novels I’ve read in recent years.
About the Book
Title: The Shadow of Atlantis (Shadows From the Past, Book 1)
Author: Wendy Leighton-Porter
Year Published: 2012
Publisher: Mauve Square Publishing
Recommended Age: 8+
Ten-year-old twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot have no idea why their parents have disappeared, but a mysterious old book which had belonged to their father holds the answer… and so begins an unusual quest to discover the truth. Together with Max, their remarkable Tonkinese cat, and Charlie from next door, the children embark on an epic adventure, travelling back in time to the lost city of Atlantis. Once there, however, they soon run into problems. Can they save the people of Atlantis from the disaster which is about to destroy their land forever? And will they find their way back to the safety of their own time before it’s too late?
"Shadows of Atlantis is a well-written story with a collection of likable main characters, a solid plot line, snippets of educational facts about a historically important location and event, and, is filled with mystery, magic, and suspense. This book grabbed me at the prologue and had me hooked until the end." ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews, 5 Stars
"... Shadow of Atlantis is an imaginative tale that will draw children in right from the get go. The characters are deftly and warmly established, and Wendy shows a sure touch in enabling these characters to interact in a fun but believable fashion, each playing their own part in the plot's development...." ~ 5-Star review from John C., Amazon US
"The author makes the legend of Atlantis (and also the story of the Minotaur in the second book) so accessible to kids and in such an imaginative way. My daughter loved the children's characters and also the comical, lovable cat Max and his ability to help the characters out during times of strife! We will be looking out for future books from this author for sure. A really enjoyable adventure for kids and highly recommended..." ~ 5-Star review from A. Bradshaw, Amazon US
"This story will draw any young reader in will keep them entertained and engaged. It is sometimes hard to find books that will keep children interested, often their subject matter is trivial and insubstantial, this is not true of The Shadow of Atlantis. My daughter can't wait for the next adventure..." ~ 5-Star review from Annaliese M., Goodreads
Great Deal!!*** You can buy the all 6 books (electronic copies) in the series (The Shadow of Atlantis, The Shadow of the Minotaur, The Shadow of the Trojan Horse, The Shadow of the Pyramid, The Shadow of the Volcano, and The Shadow of Camelot) for only 99 cents each from Amazon between October 14 and 28, 2013. Get hooked on this great series NOW by clicking on the Amazon button below. ***
About The Author, Wendy Leighton-Porter
Dividing my time between homes in England and South-West France, I live with my husband Simon and our two beautiful Tonkinese cats. I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, but now write books for children instead of teaching them. The Shadow of Atlantis is the first book in a series of 15 planned time-travel stories, featuring 3 children and, unsurprisingly, a rather special Tonkinese cat. Having recently completed number #7, The Shadow of the Norman Arrow (coming soon!), I’m currently working on the eighth book in the series.
As I take my young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past, I’m also hoping that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them too. Personally, I’m enjoying the journey so much, I don’t ever want it to end! Why not come along with me for the ride?