Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Meet MG author Wendy Leighton-Porter

Carpinello's Writing Pages is excited to welcome back fellow Quest author Wendy Leighton-Porter. Although we have not met in person, Wendy and I have been friends for many years. We were drawn to each other because we both write adventures set in the ancient worlds. Today our friendship continues as do our writing interests. While I remain in the ancient worlds, Wendy has traveled through time with her Shadows from the Past series and is now writing her way through English history. I invite you to read on and learn more about Wendy and her writings.

Here's a bit about Wendy:

I spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies until a change of career led me to writing books for children. My aim is to take young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past and I hope that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them along the way. I’m a cat-lover, especially the Tonkinese breed, so it’s no surprise that my favourite character in my books is Max the talking Tonkinese cat. Originally from the UK, I have a home in France, but have been living in Abu Dhabi for the past 6 years.

Why did you choose to write books for MG?

As a former teacher, I knew that the 8-12 age group would be the perfect audience – they have vivid imaginations and a curiosity to learn new things. This series of adventures is fun to read, taking readers on a journey through the pages of history alongside my young time-travellers, but the stories are also educational, giving children the opportunity to learn without even realising it.

What types of books do you like to read, and what do you do when you're not writing?

I read most things, apart from Science Fiction which I must confess has never really appealed to me. I’m happy to lose myself in fiction of most other types, including thrillers, detective stories, romance and historical. I also enjoy non-fiction, especially anything history based.

Tell us about Max's Royal Adventure and how the story came to be.

Max’s Royal Adventure is the 16th book in my series. This novella is based on a famous episode in English history and, once I hit upon the idea of using it for one of Max’s solo adventures, I felt so inspired to write it that the story flowed out of me really fast. I made sure that the historical details in my version of events are as accurate as possible but, as usual, there is a huge fictional element. Max, of course, is crucial to the success of the operation and, yet again, his endearing qualities shine through. With each passing story, the character of the bumbling cat is building. To misquote Shakespeare, "Some cats are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." – I think the last one definitely describes Max best!

Here's a peek at Max's Royal Adventure:

Book 16 in the Shadows from the Past series is a solo adventure for my feline hero, Max the talking Tonkinese cat. The story is set in 1651, during the English Civil War:

The rightful King of England is on the run. With a price on his head and in fear for his life, Charles Stuart is desperate to escape his pursuers, the Parliamentarians who executed his father. A rich reward has been offered for his capture and everyone is on the lookout for the young man. Nowhere is safe. How will he ever manage to flee the country without help?

Never fear – the Guardians of Time have a Special Agent lined up for the job … but he just so happens to be a cat!

How do you go about researching for your stories?

I read around the subject as much as I can. I also find the internet to be very useful. My motto is: When in doubt, Google it!

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

SHADOWS FROM THE PAST is a series of time-travel adventure stories, featuring ten-year-old twins Jemima and Joe Lancelot, their friend Charlie Green, and Max, a rather special Tonkinese cat. As yet incomplete, there will be 25 titles in total when the series reaches its final conclusion. The books are based on history, myth and legend, but with a bit of an added twist.

At the start of the first adventure, The Shadow of Atlantis, ten-year-old twins Jemima and Joe Lancelot have no idea why their parents have disappeared, but a mysterious old book belonging to their father holds the answer … and so begins a quest to uncover the truth. As the mystery unfolds, my young heroes embark on a magical journey into the past and a quest to unlock the secrets of an old book that is a gateway into the pages of history.

Along the way, the time-travelling youngsters learn much about human nature – both good and bad – and the importance of always striving to do your best. More importantly, they learn a great deal about themselves, including lessons in friendship and loyalty. It’s a steep learning curve at times, but children are resilient and resourceful. Having grown in confidence as a result of their experiences, they will be able to face the future, armed with the knowledge that they can achieve their dreams and ambitions if they believe in themselves. Nothing is impossible!

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’m currently working on book number 17 in the series, The Shadow of the Great Fire, set during the Great Fire of London in 1666. It’s packed with historical detail, but my young time-travellers and Max the Tonkinese cat are in for a hair-raising adventure, filled with plenty of mystery and intrigue. They will also meet some famous people from that period, including Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Christopher Wren and King Charles II.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Be prepared to do lots of marketing for your books! I was really bad at this and am still learning. I was not a regular on social media, but I’ve made some good author friends along the way who give me lots of advice and point me in the right direction. There are some great groups you can join on Facebook and other social media sites – I’ve found fellow writers to be a very supportive community.

Anything else you want readers to know?

My passion for history also fuels one of my other hobbies, genealogy, and I’ve been researching my family tree for many years. In fact, it was my father who started me off along this path when I was young – it was an interest we both shared. I’m now carrying on his work and continue to uncover new things all the time. With so much information now available via the internet, it makes the search a lot easier and I’ve been lucky to trace some branches of my family as far back as the 1500s. I find the research so absorbing that I feel like a detective solving a great mystery when I follow clues and discover something new about the lives of my ancestors. I also have no problem when I need to find names for the characters in my books – I simply go to my family tree! For example, Jemima Lancelot, my young heroine, was named after my 5-x great-grandmother.

Where can readers find you and your books?

I have a website:

And, I’m part of the Quest Book group of authors:

You can also find me on




My books are available from Amazon, in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Meet Author Kai Strand on Tour

I’m pleased to be participating in author Kai Strand’s Blog Tour today for her latest release, DAY OF RECKONING, the beginning of her Concord Chronicles series.

I've known Kai for many years, and I'm glad to have her back on my blog. It's also exciting to help other authors debut their new books.

First, here's a bit about Kai:

I love that I make things up for a living. From my bestselling, young adult Super Villain Academy series to my award-winning, middle grade Weaver Tales series, I create worlds where readers can escape their reality one adventure at a time. I write fiction for kids and teens under the name Kai Strand and I write fiction for the adults among us under the name LA Dragoni. 

Why do you write books for multiple ages?

Mostly, it’s because my mind doesn’t focus its ideas to one readership. Who am I argue with it? I love writing for adults because there are literally no rules. I love writing for young adults because there is so much to discover in the areas of love and decision making and independence. And I love writing for a middle grade audience because, in my opinion, those are the most formative years of our lives. We are expected to be independent without being given our independence. We are expected to make good choices without previously being taught how to make decisions. But kids this age who read are among the most prepared to live life successfully because they have already experienced so much without having to suffer the consequences.

What types of books do you like to read, and what do you do when you're not writing?

My reasons for reading books across the ages are the same as why I write for them. However, I do read mostly young adult. I love the fast pace, the economy of words, the adventure, the passion, the discovery. It gets my heart beating fast and makes me stay up too late reading. But a good middle grade adventure always draws me in.

Living in Central Oregon, I chase my own adventure while hiking, canoeing, and camping with my husband and our two dogs

Tell us about Day of Reckoning and how the story came to be:

I was inspired to write Day of Reckoning after having read the first four Harry Potter books and was waiting for the fifth to be released. I missed the magical world so much and thought, “I can create my own!” I’d always enjoyed writing but had never considered becoming a writer until I decided to sit down and write an entire middle grade novel. The book poured out of me in only two short months. Like most first books, it was poorly written, and it took me years and years to get it into publishable condition. So, though it was the first book I wrote it was far from the first book I had published. I had the most fun making up the fantastical underworld creatures and developing the Nature’s Spirits’ talents. 

Here's a peek at Day of Reckoning:

Not only does twelve-year-old, Terra, learn she’s a Nature’s Spirit destined to serve the peaceful underground city of Concord, but she also finds she is named in a prophecy as the only one who can thwart the leader of the death tribe.

The Trepidus are the death janitors of the Underworld. They’re responsible for the termination and cleanup of Concord’s beings. When their leader, Blanco, learns Terra is the one who can derail his day of reckoning, he does everything he can to get rid of her. Including, dispatch a “Bringer” to complete the ultimate of death janitor duties.

Not only does Terra want to stay alive, but she hopes to complete her training and discover her Spirit talents too. So, Frank, a Spirit of Security, is assigned to protect her. Together, they undertake a secret investigation of how to defeat Blanco. But with the future of Concord and Terra’s very own life at stake, will they find the answer in time?

Straight from the story: Though her heart did its best imitation of a hummingbird and her legs twitched with the desperate need to kick into flight mode, she somehow sensed it wasn’t unexpected for her to wake at two in the morning to find an elf-like creature standing politely in her bedroom. Maybe it was his serene expression or the way he folded his hands together as he waited for her reaction.

Nonetheless, she clutched the comforter under her chin, ready to throw herself under her covers if he bared spiked teeth and razor-sharp claws.

“What are you?” Terra’s voice, barely a whisper, shook with fear.

The creature stepped into a beam of moonlight streaming through the window. Terra blinked, screwing up her expression with the effort to see in the dark. Hair tickled her chin as a cool night breeze stole into the room.

“Where’s my window?” She choked over the words, scooting as far into the corner of her bed as she could press herself, dragging her comforter with her. Though the creature was no more than two feet tall, he’d managed to make her window disappear, so it seemed likely he could grab her by the ankle and drag her from the house.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing the prequel to Day of Reckoning, The Making of a Master, now and, once again, I really enjoy figuring out the different Spirit talents and how they are applied to protecting the peace of the underground city of Concord.
Where can readers find you and your books?

You can learn more about me at

DAY OF RECKONING can be purchased at the following sites:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo


Author Kai Strand is giving away four $5 Amazon Gift Cards and one lucky winner will receive a digital copy of DAY OF RECKONING along with a $15 Amazon Gift Card

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. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Kai on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. What do you think about a 12-year-old protagonist? Do you see how she could grow and develop over a series?

a Rafflecopter giveaway