In my books about the magic game ‘The Tenth Gateway’, the
game world was created hundreds of years ago. I therefore wanted the world to
reflect aspects of the medieval period.
So the fictional magical beings and
nasty creatures in the books draw on traditional fairy tales and folklore but
they live in a world that doesn’t have modern technology. There’s lots of magic
and anything can happen but there are no cars, planes, big cities or computers.
Hansel & Gretal
‘An Encyclopedia of Fairies’ by Katherine Briggs was really
helpful.I also trawled through
the internet and I remembered all the great fairy tales I have read.
these images that I found in a volume of a very old encyclopedia – J. A Richards Publishing Co., Inc 1947!
Some Writing Challenges
One of the most difficult things to do in writing my stories
was the come up with the various challenges and puzzles that the children have
to solve to move through the game. Childhood memories also played a major role
I remember getting stuck for a couple of months when writing
the first book because I couldn’t think how to move the children from one
particular world to another. Thank goodness for Eda’s‘good magic’ which helps them to play the game.
I needed to change the gateway worlds and challenges in Book
Two – ‘The Spy’s Door’. The growing power of the evil magician Malefic means
that he is increasingly able to modify the game to suit his purpose. He wants
to escape from the game which keeps him a prisoner. Eda is determined to stop
I had lots of fun thinking about how the game would change
as Malefic’s evil influence spread.
Alison Tait has a great book trailer for her children’s
books ‘The Map Maker Chronicles’. I can recommend looking at the trailer and
also reading the books – a great fantasy adventure story. It’s what motivated
me to have my first book trailer on ‘The Tenth Gateway’ developed by Austin
Macauley (publisher). I (with help of course) included the Youtube links in one
of my recent blogs.
I’m not sure how people stumble/find things (like book
trailers) on Youtube unless they know exactly what they’re looking for.
I know about Google. Type in key words and it’s amazing what
information you can find. However I’m not sure how people find things they
don’t know exist; for example: terrific books or the web sites of other great
I suppose utilising ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO) helps
a bit.Sounds like something
mysterious to include in a children’s fantasy story! What do you think?
As with a lot of people who
write I scribbled lots of poems and stories as a child. And of course I was a ‘book
worm’. I even wrote fantasy for young children in my twenties. The draft copy
still sits here in my study and I’m determined to try and polish it up in
the New Year.
My ‘real’ career beckoned.
Therefore it wasn’t until a
few years ago that I decided I would like to do something serious with my
writing. But I didn’t want to do any more formal study. So I
completed two online short courses with the Australian Writers Centre – they
were a great help. The first was in creative writing and the second in writing
children’s books. I realised that it was ‘fantasy’ that I really loved. It
enables my imagination to take flight.
During the two courses the
idea for ‘The Tenth Gateway’ popped into my head. Obviously I was influenced by
everything I have read over the years and I included all the sorts of magic,
characters and nasty creatures I loved (and still love) reading about.
However the inspiration for
creating the story of the magic game was the traditional game of ‘Snakes and
Ladders’. Players have to try and avoid landing on something nasty (snakes) and
being sent backwards. The aim of course is to land on a ladder and move
forwards to the final square. The first one who gets there wins.
It was lots of fun.
I don’t have any ladders in
my books so far – although there are some horrible serpents in the enchanted
world of the second gateway in my second book ‘The Spy’s Door’. But there is
the tension between good (Eda the good magician) and bad (Malefic the nasty
Anyway I had to have
different obstacles for the children in the stories to overcome –hence the
challenges and puzzles that need to be solved before they can move forward in
Blogging – good news
I’ve surprised myself. I’m
actually enjoying writing these blogs. Maybe it’s just like everyone says – you’ve
just got to sit down and write.
I still need help from my
Social Media Expert Friend (SMEF) on posting blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc but I
now feel a bit more confident that I’ll get there in the end.
Why is fantasy a ‘good
read’ for children?
Here is one of my favourite
quotes from Dr. Seuss:
Do you have any good quotes
about why stories drawing on the fantasy genre is important for children?