I’m delighted to welcome author M. Tara Crowl, whose second middle-grade book, EDEN’S ESCAPE (from Disney-Hyperion) was just released to Thoughts in Progress today.
Tara has graciously answered some questions for me concerning her writing. In addition, you could win a signed copy of EDEN’S ESCAPE, the second installment in her Eden of the Lamp series. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.
Here is a bit of background on both of Tara’s books.
◊Eden of the Lamp, Book #1
◊By M. Tara Crowl
◊Release Date: September 1, 2015
All twelve years of Eden's life have been spent in an antique oil lamp. She lives like a princess inside her tiny, luxurious home; but to Eden, the lamp is nothing but a prison. She hates being a genie. All she wants, more than anything, is freedom.
When Eden finds a gateway to Earth within the lamp, she takes her chance and enters the world she loves. And this time, she won't be sent back after three wishes.
Posing as the new kid at a California middle school, Eden revels in all of Earth's pleasures--but quickly learns that this world isn't as perfect as she always thought it was. Eden soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between powerful immortals. A ruthless organization run by a former genie will stop at nothing to acquire the lamp and its power--even hurt Tyler and Sasha, the new mortal friends who have given Eden a home. To save her friends and protect the lamp's magic, Eden must decide once and for all where she belongs.
EDEN’S WISH is available at:
◊Eden of the Lamp, Book #2
◊By M. Tara Crowl
◊Release Date: September 6, 2016
Eden's new life on earth begins in New York City under the guidance of her new guardian: Pepper, a petite, bubbly genie alum who's also a Broadway actress. Before she has a chance to settle in, though, Eden is whisked away for a granting--only to find herself trapped in a laboratory.
David Brightly, owner of the world's leading tech company, cares more about tapping into the lamp's power than making a wish and starts performing tests on Eden. With Brightly's plasma shield around the lamp, Eden has no way home. Left without a choice, she escapes the lab and goes on the run. After her daring exit, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris--home to Electra's headquarters. Left in a strange city with a price on her head (courtesy of scheming Brightly), Eden has to keep her wits about her.
She dons a chic disguise and flits around Paris incognito, investigating Brightly Tech. Assisted by Pepper and her old adversary Bola, as well as some new friends, Eden embarks on a quest to retrieve the lamp and protect the secrets of the genie legacy.
EDEN’S ESCAPE is available at:
Here are some comments from others on Tara’s work:
"Crowl's imaginative storyline rings with both perception and humor." ― Kirkus Reviews
"Middle grade readers will enjoy the children's autonomy and Eden's humorous difficulties in grasping how school works...Hand this to readers who like their magical fantasy combined with middle school drama." ― School Library Journal
"An imaginative romp with a smart, snarky protagonist and a humorous interpretation of the world as we know it...[Eden] is also just plain entertaining, with a sassy attitude and a clever wit that saves her on more than one occasion." ― BCCB
Now the author joins us to answer questions.
What drew you to write stories for ages 9 to 12?
When I was that age, I read constantly. Reading played a huge role in shaping who I was and the way I saw the world. I think that has a lot to do why writing for this age range feels natural to me. But I don't know if I'll always write middle-grade. For the Eden of the Lamp books, it was just the best fit for the character and the story.
When writing, do you have any rituals that you follow like a certain place to write, a certain time, certain drink on hand, etc.?
I like to work through broad ideas and character development when I'm walking around, taking things in. New York is great for that. But when I get down to the business of actually writing, I do best when I'm at home, by myself, in silence. When I'm in that stage of it, I treat it like a 9 to 5—I don’t tend to be productive at night. And coffee is essential—I usually have an Americano with a little almond milk.
If you could write a book with any author (living or dead) who would it be and what type of book would you like to write?
That would be so intimidating! But that said, I'd have to go with Roald Dahl. He's my favorite author, and I'd love to sit and talk to him and try to understand how his incredible mind functioned.
What do you hope readers will find reading your book?
I hope they’ll find a new appreciation for the beautiful world we live in. Eden has lived inside a lamp for her whole life, so she sees the world with wonder. She’s in love with the sun, the ocean, all kinds of animals, and everything green and growing. As I wrote about Earth from her perspective, I found myself enchanted by things I’d started to take for granted. I hope that comes across to readers.
Do you have any projects in the works currently?
Yes, I’m working on something new and completely different. I’m really excited about it!
Tara, thanks for joining us today and answering these questions about writing. As a reader, it’s always interesting to learn more about a writer’s process.
M. Tara Crowl grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, then received an MA in Creative Writing at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
She lives in New York City.
You can connect with the author at the following sites:
This giveaway is for one (1) signed copy of EDEN’S ESCAPE. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Friday, Nov. 11.
To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you give books as gifts to youngsters? Did you enjoy getting books as gifts when you were younger? Don’t these book covers stir your imagination?