The Story behind the Story: Our author Kell Andrews and the inspiration behind Deadwood

Deadwood by Kell Andrews

Deadwood by Kell Andrews

The Story I Found in the Woods: The Inspiration Behind Deadwood

When I’m brainstorming stories, my favorite thing to do is go for a walk in the woods. That’s how I came across the inspiration for Deadwood. I was looking for ideas, and I found a tree.

treecarvings

 

I had just read Well Witched by Frances Hardinge and Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones, and I wanted to write a book like that – about ordinary kids who stumble upon magic and danger in the real world and have to figure out how to set things right.

All I needed was a unique kind of magic that I hadn’t seen before.

On other days, I had already noticed that just about every beech tree I ever saw was carved with messages, and I always wondered about the people who put them there. Were they still alive? Did the messages of love stay true? Did KT still love JB? At the same time, carving a tree is harming a living thing. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the trees.

But on that particular idea-hunting expedition, when I saw one of my favorite carved trees, I was already thinking about magic. What if the carvings on the tree were a kind of spell or curse? And if the tree could talk, what would it say?

I looked for a scientific underpinning that would make sense in a contemporary novel with kids that seemed like real people.

My reference manual was the 1973 alternative science bestseller, The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, which explores the idea of plant sentience. This was the book popularized the 1970s idea that you should talk to your plants to keep them healthy. Most of the serious-sounding evidence in the book is not real science, but the David Attenborough 1995 BBC/Turner Broadcasting mini The Private Life of Plants is more scientifically rigorous and covers related territory about plant survival mechanisms.

I love stories with magic in them, and when I’m writing, I like to find an explanation that’s somewhat plausible – I want readers to feel like the events in the story could really happen. People all over the world have believed that plants have spirits, but if a real kid came face to face with a talking tree, they wouldn’t just accept it and talk back right away. It wouldn’t make sense. I wanted it to make sense in the book that became Deadwood. The story and characters emerged as I wove together logic, wonder, skepticism, faith, and yes, a little bit of magic.

For more pictures and information about tree carvings (and a bunch of pictures of trees that I think look like people!) visit my tree blog,. Treeandtwig.tumblr.com. For more about Deadwood and me, visit kellandrews.com.

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Happy Book Birthday, Hapenny Magick!

Happy Book Birthday!

Happy Book Birthday!

Happy Book birthday to Hapenny Magick! You can find this wonderful adventure available on book store shelves today!

Hapenny Magick

ISBN: 978-1937053918

Jennifer Carson

Available April 15, 2014

paperback, ebook, audio

As the tiniest Hapenny, a race of little people, Maewyn Bridgepost spends her days from breakfast to midnight nibble scrubbing the hearth, slopping the pigs and cooking for her guardian, Gelbane. As if life as a servant isn’t bad enough, Maewyn learns that Gelbane is a troll– and Hapennies are a troll delicacy!

Years ago, a spell trapped Gelbane in Mae’s village. Ever since, Gelbane has been chiseling away the magic protections, and now Mae’s home is destined to become a smorgasbord for half-starved trolls.

It will take all of Mae’s courage to protect her village. When pitchforks, sewing needles, pots, brooms, and a little magick are the only weapons at hand, Mae finds out that great victories can be accomplished no matter what size you are, but only if you stick together.

 

“Carson has created a delightful story of joy and wonder and courage. I’m looking forward to sharing this one with my children.” Jim Hines, author of the  Goblin Hero  series.

“Jennifer Carson’s book is full of whimsy and a gentle humor, but it also includes peril and a satisfying adventure.” Kate Coombs, author of Runaway Dragon

Get to know the author by visiting her author page.

Order the book at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM

Cover Reveal! Niles Wormwort, Accidental Villian

niles_final_tNiles Wormwort, Accidental Villian, coming in November 2014. Click here for an advanced reader copy!

In the science fair world of ketchup-spewing volcanoes and potato clocks, one boy, Niles Wormwart, plans to alter the history of science fairs with his time travel wristwatch based on Nicola Tesla’s work. Unfortunately, history has different plans for Niles.

After Niles blows up his school’s science wing with his project, his father, deciding his son needs to man up, make some friends, and take a break from his constant experiments, sends unsuspecting Niles off to the mysterious Camp Mayhem.

The only problem is that Niles’ father thinks it’s a role-playing camp. Well, it’s not.

Headed up by the ominous Red Czechmark, Camp Mayhem is ground zero for training the future villains of today. A place for real kids to realize the real villain inside them. Niles sharpens his focus on escaping the camp while everyone inside wants him to sharpen his focus on discovering his own dark powers. There’s a sinister plot brewing, and Niles is dead in the middle of it.
Thrust into a world he only thought existed in comic books. Niles discovers his true potential inside the walls of Camp Mayhem-the potential to become the darkest of evils or stay true to his good-hearted roots.

Find out more about the author by visiting his author page.

Pre-order the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or BAM!