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THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST: Eight-year-old readers tell me what they think

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Never be too shy to write to an author you love - I promise you, it will make their day!

I just received the loveliest mail from a teacher in New Zealand who read my children's fantasy series THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST to her students - I will treasure their notes to me forever. 
Here they are:


Dear Kate 


I am the teacher of a year 3-4 class in a small rural school, just outside Hamilton, in New Zealand. 


I picked up a copy of Book 1, The Impossible Quest - Escape from Wolfhaven Castle at a literacy conference in 2013. I returned to school and immediately read it to my class. The children were totally engaged and enthralled with the story, so much so I actually stopped reading one day as they were so still and silent (this doesn’t often happen!) 



The following year I read books 1-3 to my class and they were hanging out to read book 4 & 5. This year I was lucky to have the same group of children (small school!) and so we have read book 4 & 5. 


I had purchased book 5 online and so displayed this on the screen for the children to read along with me. What an experience that was for both myself and the children. We were all hanging out to get to the end of book 5 and what an ending. It was very satisfying! 

Many of the children have independently read the book again. We had several hypothesis regarding the sleeping heroes, who Jack might be and of course the realisation that Quinn was in fact a queen. The whole way through the series we were kept guessing, just like the children in the novels. The children have written some comments about the novels that they wanted to share with you. They were also wondering if there was any chance that this might be made into a movie. These children are all 8 years old. 




What I liked most about your books are that they’re all rescue missions which I think is the awesome part. That’s what I think is extraordinary about your books – Prue 


Your books are awesome. It was great in the Battle of the Heroes, when the Mortlakes were captured in the cages - Chase 


I liked your books because they have really good words and the action is very exciting. Kloey 8 years 


I really like Quinn. I also liked the very last sentence in Book 5… They all laughed knowing that none of them believed anything was impossible any more. Lacy 



Your books are interesting. I like your titles of the books. Drayden 


I love your Impossible Quest series. They are so unique and extraordinary. I’ve read the whole series myself! I especially like Book 5. It’s got so much drama. I love all of the fantasy animals. When I grow up I want to be an awesome author like you. Ashlee 


What I liked about your story is how you made people fight and I also liked Fergus. Khaled 


I like most about the Impossible Quest is the adventures in the book. I liked Fergus. Brad 



I liked the characters and the weapons in your books. Luke 


I like your books because they are very good and they excited me when I when I read the first one. Phoenix 


I really liked how you wrote book 5 because it really excited me with all the scary parts. Phoebe. 



I really liked the adventures that the children had. Saige 


What I liked most about your Impossible Quest book 5 was that I thought it was very extraordinary. My favourite characters were Quinn, Wolfric and Beltain. Your books blow my mind. Jessica. 


I like the Impossible Quest books because there are adventures in each book. My favourite characters are Quinn and Quickthorn. The first book was absolutely astonishing. They had to escape Wolfhaven castle. Book 3 was epic because they found Beltain the dragon. Thank you for making the Impossible Quest series. Alexa 


I liked Impossible Quest 5 because of the heroes. The heroes are extraordinary and Quinn, Eleanor, Tom and Sebastian and the other characters are all awesome. Micaiah 


I liked the adventures the children had and their animals. My favourite one was the unicorn, Quickthorn, Wolfric and Fergus. Cassie 



Once again, thanks for writing such an appealing, engaging and enthralling series of books that are appropriate for our younger readers. 
Kindest Regards 


Leanne Adam Class 
Teacher Rukuhia School, Hamilton, New Zealand


Perth Writers Festival round-up - February 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I spent the last few days in Western Australia for the wonderful Perth Writers Festival. Big congratulations to Katherine Dorrington, the program director, for such a lively and inspirational program, and thanks to Maria Alessandrino and the whole team for taking such good care of all the writers. 

I began my events last Thursday with a wonderful event with Sean Williams. I've known him for years, and love his work, but did not know his favourite book is The Weirdstone of Brisignamen by Alan Garner, which is one of my favourites too! I plan on digging it out and reading ti again - its been years!

Sean has a brilliant new series out called TWINMAKER with Book 1 called Jump in Australia. It's an extremely clever Sci-Fi thriller that imagines a world in which technology has completely transformed the world. One of the most wonderful - and dangerous - inventions is a machine that transports you anywhere in the world in just a moment. Called a d-mat, you can catch it to an extraordinary old observatory in the mountain heights of Switzerland, then to the deserts of the Sahara, all in the time it takes to go down in a lift. Of course everyone wants one! I want one! But the whole book is about what this kind of technology could do to our bodies ... and our souls ...


I then talked about my new children's fantasy adventure series THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST to a tent full of excited kids. It was great fun (if rather hot!), and I impressed all the boys in the audience with my sword-fighting skills. 

 

Book 3: The Beast of Blackmoor Bog has just been released, and it was wonderful to see so many kids eager to get their hands on it. I also had a number of older kids bringing along piles of my other books for me to sign. 

Then, on Friday, Danielle Wood and I did a panel on Fairy Tales with Delys Bird as our very warm and embracing chair. I have written about Danielle's incredible, intense and surprising fairy tale retellings for The Sydney Morning Herald, saying she "writes with acute insight into the inner lives of women, and all in prose so precise and crystal-cut, the whole shines with an unsettling beauty." It was wonderful to hear Danielle speak of her interest with fairy tales and why she "repurposes" them into contemporary social realism. Our books are very different indeed, but we share the same fascinations with these old, beautiful and sometimes very strange stories.

I sold out of all copies of BITTER GREENS and THE WILD GIRL after our talk, which is always a good sign (though a shame as I had another two days at the festival in which to woo new readers).

On Saturday, I had the whole day off but instead of going shopping, going to the beach, or exploring Perth I went straight back to the festival - of course! And I'm so glad I did. 

I saw a wonderful panel with Liane Moriarty, Liz Byrski and Hanni Rayson - I loved so much my cheeks ached. They were all so warm and clever and funny - the audience was in heaven! I have read Liane Moriarty's brilliantly funny & brilliantly sad The Husband's Secret (you can read my interview with her here), but the other two authors were new to me. Can't wait to discover their books!


Then I listened to Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth is Missing, and John Darnielle, author of Wolf in White Van, talk about their books, about writing from the point of view of a damaged psyche, their lives and much more. It was fascinating. John made my favourite quote of the day when he said "writing a book is like having a vampire living in your home, festering in their coffin, demanding to be fed blood every day."

Another highlight was listening to Georgina Penney talk in 'Romance is Not a Dirty Word', a panel in which Anna Cowan, the author of Untamed, was meant to be sharing but unfortunately could not make it because she is just about ready to pop out a baby. Georgina did a fabulous job despite her absence, being as warm and funny and passionate as she seems to be in her books. Favourite quote from her website is that she likes to spend her days imagining: "buff medieval Scotsmen in kilts (who have access to shower facilities and deodorant) living behind every bramble hedge."

Then I went to see Erik Jensen, Miranda Richmond Mouillot, and Tom Rob Smith talk about their books, all inspired by real lives and real stories. They were discussing the ideas of truth versus good storytelling, who owns their stories, and what right we have to draw upon them, and many other fascinating philosophical  questions that I have grappled with in my own writing. Once again, I feel I have to read all their books! That is the magic of festivals. 

On Sunday, I was on a panel called 'Drawing From History' with Joe Abercrombie, Juliet Marillier and Robyn Cadwaller, with the elegant Natasha Lester as our chair. Everyone knows Juliet Marillier is one of my favourite novelists (you can check out the dozens of blogs in which I rave about her here), but both Joe and Robyn were new to me. I managed to read Joe's new book Half a King (brilliant! I will rave upon it anon) but Robyn's book The Anchoress is still on my tottering to-be-read pile (sorry, Robyn, I'll get to it soon, I promise). 

I enjoyed this panel hugely. It was so much fun, and I wish we could have talked on for another hour.  

I also went to see Andrea de Robilant speak about his new book, Chasing the Rose, which I ended up buying and devouring on the plane home. It was a wonderful story, and I think I want his life (descendant of Venetian nobleman, lives in Venice and travels the world, rose named after his family ... you get the picture).  

I had an utterly brilliant time, and to top it all off, I sold out of all of THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST as well!

My display box before my event: 

My display box after my event: 

THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST: Book 1 launched!

Monday, September 01, 2014

I am very excited to announce that Book 1 of THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST is being launched today



Four unlikely heroes 
Four mysterious gifts 
Four impossible tasks 
Five thrilling books

‘Tell your lord to beware,’ the wild man said, gripping Tom’s arm with a dirty hand. ‘The wolves smell danger in the wind.’

The Impossible Quest is set in the faraway land of Wolfhaven. It tells the story of four friends who are forced into undertaking an impossible quest to try and awaken the legendary sleeping warriors of the past.

Tom is the son of the castle cook, trained to scrub pots, not fight. Lady Elanor is the daughter of the Lord of Wolfhaven. She has been protected all her life and is not equipped for a dangerous journey through the wilderness. Sebastian is a squire who dreams of being a knight, but has a tendency to fall over his own feet. Quinn, an orphan, is apprenticed to the Grand Teller, and likes to think she knows everything.

Wolfhaven Castle has been attacked by deadly enemies, and the lord and his people have been forced into slavery. An ancient prophecy says that four sleeping warriors are hidden deep beneath the castle and that, with the help of a spell, they can be awoken to fight for Wolfhaven. The only problem is, the spell calls for seemingly impossible ingredients:

When the wolf lies down with the wolfhound 
And the stones of the castle sing, 
The sleeping heroes shall wake for the crown 
And the bells of victory ring. 
Griffin feather and unicorn’s horn, 
Sea-serpent scale and dragon’s tooth. 
Bring them together at first light of dawn, 
And you shall see this spell’s truth.

Hunted by sinister bog-men, led by a knight with a helmet of boar tusks, Tom, Elanor, Sebastian and Quinn have only the last gifts of the Grand Teller to help them – an old flute that makes no sound, a wooden pendant of a dragon curled around amber, a moonstone ring, and a wooden talisman of an old man’s face with a beard of oak leaves.




Together they must learn about courage, compassion, and trust, if they are to survive and succeed in their impossible quest.

Watch the cool THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST trailer or go THE IMPOSSIBLE QUEST website to read a sample chapter! 


PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT - I LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!


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