12 Curly Questions with author Nat Amoore

1. What’s your hidden talent?  
Well I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but I have A LOT! I play the saxophone (so whilst I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, I’m more than happy to blow my own saxophone). I can juggle. I can open a champagne bottle and pour a glass, using only my feet – yep foil, wire, cork and all. I can do the Moonwalk. I am an exceptionally good tree-climber. My spaghetti bolognaise is to die for. Look, the list really goes on but I don’t want to sound too braggy. I’m also really good at sounding braggy!

2. Who is your favourite literary villain and why?  

Oooooohhhh, if we are sticking to kid’s books then it probably has to be Count Olaf from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events because I like a villain who is truly and wholeheartedly committed to their evil doings. If we are talking grown-up books then Annie Wilkes from Misery by Stephen King… for much the same reasons.

3. You’re hosting a literary dinner party, which five authors would you invite? (alive or dead)  

Oscar Wilde, Paul Jennings, RA Spratt, Raymond Carver and Katherine Rundell. There would be so much clever and funny in the room that I wouldn’t even dare to participate in the conversation but I would be happy to sit back and just bathe in the genius surrounding me.

4. Which literary invention do you wish was real?  

Daemons from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I want one so bad and I want it to be a Tarsier.

5. What are five words that describe your writing process?  

Unplanned, optimistic, fluid, instinctual and rambunctious.

6. Which are the five words you would like to be remembered by as a writer?  

You mean like something that could be carved on my headstone? Always found a fart funny.

7. Picture your favourite writing space. What are five objects you would find there?  

A standing desk, coffee, a view, silence, Uber Eats.

8. Grab the nearest book, open it to page 22 and look for the second word in the first sentence. Now, write a line that starts with that word. (Please include the name of the book!)  

Well I’m sitting at my desk and the closest book is the uncorrected proof of my new book The Power Of Positive Pranking. The second word on page 22 is ‘refocus’. Refocus on the task at hand Nat – that means stop picking your nose, playing with that Rubik’s Cube and imagining a hippopotamus made of chocolate.

9. If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who would you ask? 

I would ask Paul Jennings out for ice cream. I bet he enjoys a good ice cream. And I can’t imagine anything better in this world than eating ice cream with Paul Jennings.

10. Which would you rather do: ‘Never write another story or never read another book’?

What?!?! Why would you ask that question? Do you hate me? Did I do something to you? Why do you want to punish me? What a horrible question! Uuuuuuummmm, er, ah, I guess… never write another story? You know what… NO! I quit. I’m not playing this game anymore. 
9780143796381 - 12 Curly Questions with author Nat Amoore
Nat Amoore is a writer who is passionate about encouraging kids to read, write and explore their imagination without boundaries. With a background in writing for screen, she wrote and directed international award-winning short film Elemenopee and has a feature film screenplay and a kids’ TV series in development. Nat was a recipient of the CBCA Maurice Saxby Creative Development Program for 2018. In February 2018, Nat (along with fellow hosts Kate and Liz) launched kidlit podcast One More Page (onemorepagepodcast.com), which was a finalist in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category for the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards. The podcast has featured in publications such as Books+Publishing, Buzz Words and the SCBWI AUS&NZ newsletters. For more information, see www.natamoore.com.<!–[if gte mso 10]>


find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.