Elizabeth Pulford is one of our great Kiwi authors. She has written books for all ages, from picture books to novels for children, young adults and adults. Elizabeth has two new books that have just been released, a picture book called Finding Monkey Moon and the first book in her fantastic new Bloodtree Chronicles series, Sanspell. You can read my review of Bloodtree Chronicles: Sanspell here on the blog.
I had a few questions about the Bloodtree Chronicles and Elizabeth has very kindly answered them for me. Read on to find out more about Elizabeth’s new series and her favourite story worlds.
- What inspired you to write the Bloodtree Chronicles?
It was more a case of resistance in the beginning. I was having time away from writing in the garden when into my head slipped the first line of Sanspell. I told it to go away and that I wasn’t interested. Then an hour or so later the same line, word for word, arrived. I ignored it. Later than evening it made another appearance so I wrote it down, not really interested. Two days later I found the piece of paper and typed it into the computer. As soon as I did that my curiosity was stirred and I started to ask questions, eg ‘whose mother’s dress was it?’ It went on from there until the idea caught me completely and wouldn’t let me go.
- In Sanspell, Abigail gets transported into the Silvering Kingdom, a magical place made of stories. If you could be transported into a story, which one would you choose?
Definitely the Robin Hood stories. I would love to be in his gang and living in Sherwood Forest.
- What sort of character would you be in the Silvering Kingdom?
Zezmena. I always think villains are so interesting. What makes them behave the way they do? What makes them tick? Trying to find the one redeeming quality that they keep hidden beneath all their evil deeds.
- What is your favourite fantasy world?
The Magic Faraway Tree world created by Enid Blyton. Growing up there was an old apple tree in our garden. I kept wishing for this to be the same as the Faraway Tree and that Moonface would appear. Sadly it never happened!
- In the next two books in the Bloodtree Chronicles you take us to Bragonsthyme and Thatchthorpe. Can you give us a taste of what Abigail might find in these stories?
The Bragonsthyme’s story is frozen. To be a proper fairy story it needs to have a happy ending, otherwise it cannot help the Bloodtree to heal. It is up to Abigail / Spindale (with help from Flint and Bramble) to find its ending.
In Thatchthorpe the King of Silvering Kingdom dies. Rackenard sees his chance to rule, thereby putting the Bloodtree at a greater risk than it has ever been. The only way to stop this happening is finding the two parts of the magical code, which will reveal to the people of the kingdom who is the true king.
Whistling in the Dark by Shirley Hughes
Liverpool, 1940: thirteen-year-old Joan’s home is under threat from the Nazi’s terrifying nightly air-raids. It is not an easy time to be a teenager, especially with the sweet rationing, strict curfews and blackouts. Joan and best friend Doreen love going to the cinema until the bombings intensify and then even that becomes too dangerous, especially when an army deserter is found lurking near their home. Who is he and why does he think Joan can help him? As the Blitz worsens, Joan and her friends make a discovery that will tear the whole community apart…
The Fortelling of Georgie Spider (Book 3 of The Tribe) by Ambelin Kwaymullina
The third and final book in the thrilling eco-dystopian series The Tribe.
A storm was stretching out across futures to swallow everything in nothing, and it was growing larger, which meant it was getting nearer… Georgie Spider has foretold the end of the world, and the only one who can stop it is Ashala Wolf. But Georgie has also foreseen Ashala’s death. As the world shifts around the Tribe, Ashala fights to protect those she loves from old enemies and new threats.
And Georgie fights to save Ashala. Georgie Spider can see the future. But can she change it?
Remix by Non Pratt
From the author of Trouble comes a novel about boys, bands and best mates. Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the
love of her life… Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.
Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.
Imagine that your mother suddenly starts packing a suitcase for you and tells you that the time has come and you must hurry. She is sending you somewhere, but she doesn’t tell you where. She tells you that this place is unlike anywhere you have ever been and when you get there you must call yourself a different name. She gives you a locket that you should never remove from around your neck. The next thing you know, you are standing in the snow in a strange land – a land that only you can save.
When the Bloodtree loses its last leaf, there will be no more stories in the Silvering Kingdom …The Silvering Kingdom is the home of fairy tales but the kingdom and all those within are in danger of vanishing because the Bloodtree – the source of all stories – has been poisoned. ‘Sanspell’ is a story that has been cursed. It is up to Abigail (Spindale) to enter the fairy tale world and save the story-tree. Together with Flint, whose mother Trinket is being held captive by the evil Rackenard, they set off on a journey: three drops of Trinket’s blood is what is required to save the tree. The race is on …but can they survive the wicked Zezmena’s spells?
Elizabeth Pulford emerses readers in her fantastic story of the Silvering Kingdom in Sanspell, the first book in her new series, Bloodtree Chronicles. This is the sort of book that you just want to curl up with on a Winter’s day, wrapped in a blanket with a hot drink. Elizabeth really makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the snowy Silvering Kingdom with Abigail.
Abigail loves stories and uses books as an escape from her life. She doesn’t have many friends and is bullied at school, so she feels far from special. However, when she is transported to the Silvering Kingdom and the Sanspell story she discovers that she is incredibly important and it is up to her to save the Bloodtree and the characters that inhabit the story.
Like Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart series this is a story about the magic of stories. I love the way that Elizabeth Pulford has created the story within the story. The story of the Silvering Kingdom is written by Abigail’s aunties and there is a visual record of the story on the walls of their house. As the story changes, the illustrations change. The aunties are so used to creating the story that when Abigail takes the story in her own direction they are not sure what to do.
Special mention needs to be made of Donovan Bixley’s stunning cover and design. His cover is one that will catch the eyes of young readers and make them want to read this wonderful book. The silver foil catches the light and highlights different parts depending on how you look at it.
Sanspell has me hooked on the Bloodtree Chronicles! I can’t wait for Elizabeth Pulford to take me to Bragonsthyme and Thatchthorpe in the next two books in the series.
The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey
They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys . . . and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. The gang are going to break 200 dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad
Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr Snake please spit out Mr Piranha?
Dragon Knight: Witch by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley (Book 3)
A witch’s curse and brussel sprouts are bad enough. But will Percy’s revenge be the end for Merek? From the creators of Dinosaur Rescue comes an outrageous and revoltingly funny medieval adventure series that’ll set you on fire!
Stan the Van Man by Emma Vere-Jones and illustrated by Philip Webb
Sometimes, being helpful is not enough . . .
When the mail van driver walks out, Miss Mickle from the Post Office store is left in a right pickle. Enter Stan, a helpful chap who offers to drive the delivery van. Unfortunately Miss Mickle doesn’t give him the chance to explain that he actually can’t read … and parcel pandemonium ensues! When the angry recipients storm the Post Office and find out the reason for the misdeliveries, they decide to band together to help Stan learn to read.
I absolutely love Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series! It’s one of the few series that I’ve read every single book of and dropped everything to read the new book when it was released. Derek Landy has been in the world of Skulduggery Pleasant for so long that it will be really interesting to read a completely different story from him with new characters. Demon Road is this new story. I can’t wait to delve into this new world and see where Derek takes us next!
Check out the blurb and the cover for Demon Road below.
Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in … Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves. Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be …
Demon Road is released in New Zealand by HarperCollins NZ on 1 September. Keep an eye out on the blog for an awesome competition coming soon for your chance to win an advance copy of Demon Road.
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Back in grade five, Bridge, Tabitha and Emily made a pact. Never to fight, ever. Now, two years later, they’re still best friends, but other things are changing. Bridge meets Sherm, and is soon excited and confused by her new, strange feelings. And when Emily starts texting pictures of herself to Patrick, Bridge and Tab find themselves complicit in a naïve plan that quickly spirals out of control.
And while the three friends navigate the challenges of their changing friendship, another story—of betrayal and remorse—keeps you guessing until the very end.
Adrift by Paul Griffin
Five of us went out on the water that night.
None of us came back whole, and not all of us came back.
Best friends Matt and John are spending the summer working: Matt to save money for college, John to kill time before trade school. On the beach, the beautiful Driana stops Matt in his tracks. Dri, Stef and JoJo invite the boys to a party at Dri’s Hamptons mansion, and Matt drags John along.
When Stef decides it’s a beautiful night to go windsurfing, the others race out on the water to make sure she’s safe. But with no land in sight and a broken boat engine, it’s not just Stef they have to worry about. And as the hours turn into days, the prospect of rescue seems further and further away…
Together with Booksellers NZ, the NZ Book Council and some other wonderful NZ bloggers we have just finished a fabulous four-week tour around our author’s inspirations, aims and achievements with their Children’s Choice finalist books. To read the Booksellers NZ wrap-up of the tour, complete with links to all the interviews and reviews check out their blog post here – The Blog to end our 20-day blog tour!
Now it is time for you to help your kids to vote their favourite book and author to win: they will be in to win a selection of finalists for themselves and their school if they do! Kids can select a winner in each category; the winning book of each category will win $2000 at the Book Awards ceremony on Thursday 13 August.
So if you haven’t yet, please help your children to vote at www.booksellers.co.nz/vote-childrens-choice.
Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine
Iris’s father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn’t even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames.Now her mother has declared war and means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection. But Ernest has other ideas. There are things he wants Iris to know after he’s gone. And the truth has more than one way of coming to light.
Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oaks
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.
And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it’s clear Minnow knows something. But she’s not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of; if she is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
I’m a huge Patrick Ness fan so The Rest of Us Just Live Here is one of my most anticipated books this year. I cant’ wait to read it!
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is released in NZ on August 27 by Walker Books Australia
Polar Bear is sad. He’s lost his underwear and doesn’t know what pair he was wearing today. Luckily Mouse comes along to help him find them. They set off to find Polar Bear’s underwear and see all sorts of underwear along the way. They see underwear with stripes on them and underwear with treats all over them, itty-bitty underwear and frilly underwear. None of these pairs are Polar Bear’s but they do belong to other animals. Will Polar Bear find his underwear?
Polar Bear’s Underwear is a giggle-inducing picture book full of surprises. The team behind this book, Tatsuya Kameyama and Atsuko Nakagawa, tell a simple story with sparse, clever illustrations and their combination works really well. The delight of this book is in the design, with the cut-out pages helping to provide some suspense. The illustrations give little clues about who the underwear might belong to. Who might a pair of underwear with carrots all over it belong to?
Children will love turning the pages to see what type of underwear is next and whose it might be. The children I have shared the book with have laughed every time the underwear and its owner have been revealed. If you haven’t laughed by the time you get to the last few pages you certainly will when you find out where Polar Bear’s underwear actually are.
Grab a copy of Polar Bear’s Underwear and share it with the children in your life.