Recently, author Shannon Messenger, who writes the wonderful Keeper of the Lost Cities series began her book launch tour for her book Flashback. I was excited to meet up with a friend in our MG Lunch Bunch readers group and enjoy Messenger’s talk sponsored by Kepler’s Literary Foundation. I had met and interviewed her a couple of years ago (you can see the interview HERE) and was so very delighted to watch the mounting excitement as kids and parents entered the room.
I sat next to a group of middle-school aged girls who were carrying sparkly backpacks and had home-made capes affixed with pretty pins reminiscent of the school Messenger has created in her novels. The happy energy of the room was infectious and it felt a bit like a soda that’s been shaken and might bubble over, in a good way.
Beatrice, Madeline, and Addison here were for “Team Foster-Keefe forever!” Each of them had home-made capes, and the sheer, shimmering one is reminiscent of the flying horse-like creature called an alicorn in the book, named Silveny.
Middle Grade Lunch Bunch friend author LA Biscay.
As I walked around the large room, and people had arrived early to get a good seat, some moms set up hair-braiding stations and were weaving silvery glittered strands into their daughter’s hair. Again, it reminded me of Silveny, who seemed to be one of the favorite characters. Who wouldn’t want to ride on a horse with wings?
More than 700 parents and kids attended. It was fun seeing groups of boys there as well as girls, and lots of debating over favorite characters and books before the show began.
Since I write middle grade fantasy, there were several tidbits for authors that I found very helpful to remember, such as the wisdom in leaving yourself “breadcrumbs” so you can add to later books and make one big decision then follow it rather than getting stuck with writing everything perfectly the first time. She also reminded writers, which there were many student writers in the audience, to not be afraid of multiple drafts—she had 20 of them for the first book! And to never save anything for a sequel in case you don’t get to write it—put all your best into every book each time you begin. She shared many fun stories of her cats, especially Marty McFly who knows how to push the off button on her computer when he wants attention.
I’m so excited to read Flashback, and she generously signed every purchased book and one additional one for her avid fans. Look HERE (come back soon for this link!) for a little snippet of her talk (all about Silveny and why she speaks with so many exclamation points!) and go purchase the book and enjoy! She will be writing at least two more in the series, which is a delight.
Here’s the book blurb:
In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.
Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.
But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.
Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.
Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery. A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands the both power of loss and the power of hope. And she’s always on the hunt for a great story. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, enjoying her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.