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
Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made me you decide to go that route?
I actually started out with an agent and a publisher, but I decided they weren’t working in my best interests. Let down by endless excuses and empty promises, I wasted two years waiting in vain for them to send back a second proof of my manuscript. Eventually I got myself released from my contract and, through a friend, joined Mauve Square Publishing, an independent publishing group which has about 10 authors in its stable. As writers, we all have ultimate control over our work and are not constricted by tight schedules, whilst benefiting from the security of belonging to a small publishing company.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I could do it! I’d always wanted to write a book, but starting out is a bit daunting. Fingers poised over the keyboard, facing a blank screen, there’s a moment of self-doubt when you wonder whether you’ll actually manage to write anything at all. Once I got going, however, I was surprised at how easily it flowed. I was also quite unprepared for the immense feeling of pride when I’d finished my first book and actually held a copy in my hands.
Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?
I’d say I’m most like Jemima – for a start, I’m devoted to my cat, or rather cats (I have two). I tend to be rather sensitive and not too keen on doing scary things. Also, I do have a bit of a stubborn streak, particularly when I don’t want to do something. My husband says he can always tell when I “put my ears back” (like a cross cat)! It’s a sure sign that I’ll be digging my heels in over something.
I must be least like Joe, Jemima’s twin brother, who is very impetuous and always ready to jump in feet first, without considering the consequences – that is so not like me.
Do you have a particular writing habit?
I’m not sure if you mean “habit” as in routine or as in a “bad habit”. If it’s the latter, then I know my husband would tell you that it’s my overuse of adjectives and adverbs. He’s also a writer and proof-reads my work. He’s always trying to chop the offending items from my manuscripts, but I manage to slip most of them back in afterwards – I like description!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d choose J.K.Rowling. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and, if even only a little of her magic stardust rubbed off on me, I’d be one very happy writer!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently read a children’s book which I thought was utterly wonderful. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram is my idea of a perfect adventure story for youngsters; full of mystery, intrigue and excitement … I wish I’d written it!
What is the hardest part of your writing?
That’s a tough question, because I love absolutely everything about writing, from the excitement of embarking upon a new story to the thrill of satisfaction you get when you complete the final sentence. The only thing I find difficult is writing sad bits, such as when Max has to part from Mia, the love of his life, knowing he probably won’t ever see her again – I find myself getting really upset which is a bit daft, but I guess it’s because I get totally involved in what I’m writing.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Believe in yourself and enjoy what you write, because if you don’t love it how can you expect anyone else to?
Describe yourself in three words.
Thoughtful; loyal; cat-lover
I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books? Of all time?
My favorite character from my own books is Max, the larger-than-life Tonkinese cat. He’s very special as he has the ability to speak, thanks to a magic owl charm he wears on his collar, and he’s always there to help the children out when they get into difficult situations. Max is also quite funny and brings a real element of humor into the stories.
My favorite character of all time is Mr. Toad, from The Wind in the Willows. He was a loveable rogue and I felt sorry for him when things went wrong. I also liked his family motto: Semper Bufo – Always a toad. (I’ve always had a bit of a thing about frogs and toads – I think they’re cute.)
Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?
I really had to scratch my head over this one … I eventually came up with Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles, as I hope that’s where my stories will take my young readers, and also Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys, because that’s what I’m having while I’m writing my books.
Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?
I tend to start out with a general plan; prologue, the beginning of the story, important events I want to include and the ending. Once the book is underway, however, I usually find that ideas occur to me as I’m writing and sometimes things take off in a completely unexpected direction. So the story does have a tendency to evolve as I go along. This seems to work well for me as I don’t like to start out with a structure that’s too rigid.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?
I’d like my books to be fun and innocent adventures of the old-fashioned kind, in the same vein as Enid Blyton’s adventure stories.
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m in the middle of writing a series of sixteen books, Shadows from the Past, of which The Shadow of Atlantis is the first adventure. I’m currently working on number 8, The Shadow of the Two Princes, set in the year 1483. It tells the story of the wicked King Richard III who stole the throne from his nephew, 12 year old Edward V. It has never been proved, but it is widely believed that Richard disposed of his two nephews who were imprisoned in the Tower of London. You may think that’s a bit of a gruesome story for children, but I’ll be making sure that my version has an alternative and much more acceptable ending.
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. ***
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?
The Shadow of Atlantis Blog Tour Schedule (2013)October 14
*** The Shadow of Atlantis Blog Tour Giveaway *** Prize:
One winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash
October 14 to November 5, 11:59 pm, 2013
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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by author Paul Hewlett and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.