Monday, 18 March 2013

Featured Author: Maggie Lyons

A warm welcome to children's author Maggie Lyons today, with her two fun books for around the eight to twelve age range, Dewi and the Seeds of Doom, and Vin and the Dorky Duet.

Dewi and the Seeds of Doom

When Dewi is clobbered by a falling rat, the nosy Welsh dragon snoops his way into a challenging predicament. Helped by a toad with a passion for chemical wart cures, Dewi discovers that a megalomaniac baron is secretly breeding mutant corn at an unfriendly castle. To thwart the genetically modified-corn baron’s sickening plan, he must use moxie and firepower in a series of catastrophe-skirting capers.

Inspiration behind the Story
For several years, now, I have been acutely interested in how what you eat affects your health. I became aware of the fact that genetically modified organisms (GMOS) are dangerous to health, yet they pervade 80 percent of the food found in any American supermarket (and, I believe, in UK groceries too). I wanted to get the message out about GMOs in the least complicated way: a child’s adventure story. And, being Welsh by birth, I have wanted, for some time, to contribute my two cents’ worth to putting Wales on the cultural map, so to speak. So, a story about a nosy Welsh dragon who discovers a plot involving GMOs popped into my head.
Dewi and the Seeds of Doom is available from MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon UK and Amazon US

Vin and the Dorky Duet

The moment he walks through the door and sees the sharky grin on his older sister’s face, Vin suspects Meg is hatching a plot. He’s right. Worse still, he’s central to the outcome. Meg tells him that their music teachers, parents—everyone—expect him to play her duet for trumpet and piano at the upcoming student concert. Vin is horrified.

Meg insists that his only escape route is to persuade another trumpet player to take his place. She has the hunky Brad Stewart in mind, and she challenges Vin to introduce her to him. Vin doesn’t know Brad any better than Meg does, but Meg points out that Vin is in two classes at school with Brad’s nerdy brother. Eyeballs Stewart is the last person Vin wants to befriend until Meg’s promise of a David Beckham autographed soccer jersey changes the seventh-grader’s mind. He has five days to accomplish his mission—Operation BS—before the concert practice schedule kicks in.

His game plan, thwarted by exploding fish tanks, magnetic compost heaps, man-eating bubble baths, and other disasters ultimately succeeds, but not exactly as Vin expects.

Inspiration behind the Story

Inspiration wafted in from my love of music and my addiction to challenges—which I don’t always meet, I must confess. I was trained as a classical pianist, and throughout my life, music has been my favorite language. As for challenges, anyone who wants to live—as opposed to vegetating—must try to meet them, don’t you think? Vin and the Dorky Duet is about a challenge that a seventh-grader gamely takes on. Of course, his plan of attack produces unexpected results, but when was life 100 percent predictable? My challenge in writing the story is to encourage reluctant readers to turn a few pages. I’d be thrilled if the book succeeds on that level because enthusiasm for reading as a child is critical to success as an adult. Literacy is a must if you want anything like quality of life in adulthood. But that’s another story …
Vin and the Dorky Duet is available from MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon UK and Amazon US
Both books are available in print from Halo Publishing
I’m a trapeze artist, astronaut, spy—just kidding! Well, the bit about being a spy is true. It was a long time ago in a far off land, lots of fun, and planets away from my middle-class upbringing in the UK. I was born in a little coal-mining town in South Wales and properly brought up in England where I did English things like attending an all-girls grammar school, playing rounders, doing two hours of homework every day, and going on soggy caravan holidays with my family. 

I also trained as a classical pianist, which meant annoying family and neighbors with daily four-hour practices. Once I grew up—wait, that’s a fib; I’ve never actually grown up—I experimented with hedonism in Paris, where, among other things, I taught English to very proper French schoolgirls, and I failed to abide by the British embassy’s social rules in Romania, but that’s another story. My job in Bucharest was to appease visiting Royal Ballet dancers. If you’ve ever attempted to herd butterflies, you’ll know what I mean. Soon after that, I gravitated to the USA because the streets there were supposed to be paved with gold. They weren’t, but I stayed anyway and finally wound up catching my breath in a tranquil fishing and farming community on Virginia’s coast.

The rest of my so-called professional life has been a regal zigzag through a motley slew of careers from orchestral management to law-firm media relations to academic editing, all of which entailed a lot of writing and editing. Although that work brought me plenty of satisfaction, it didn’t produce the kind of magic that can come from writing fiction and nonfiction for children. My articles and poetry have miraculously appeared in Stories for Children Magazine and knowonder! magazine. My two adventure stories for children ages seven through twelve, Vin and the Dorky Duet and Dewi and the Seeds of Doom are published by MuseItUp Publishing (e-books) and Halo Publishing International (paperbacks) and available at most bookstores including Amazon and Kindle. I hope they inspire children, especially reluctant readers, to turn more than a page or two.

You can find out more about Maggie on her website, blog and Facebook

6 comments:

  1. What a coincidence! I just finished readng these very books last night. And I laughed so hard. Vin and the Dorky Duet is just as funny as Diary of a Wimpy Kid! I see great things for this story.

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  2. Delightful post, ladies. Maggie, these books are sure to capture the imaginations of children of all ages. I wish you the best with them. And good luck with promoting Wales!

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  3. Thank you, Rosemary, for having me as your guest and thank you, Suzanne and Pat for all your encouraging words.

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  4. Hi Suzanne - thanks for your encouraging comment!

    Many thanks for visiting, Pat!

    You're very welcome, Maggie!

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  5. Congrats on the releases. The dragon book has a cute cover.

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  6. Thanks for dropping in, Charmaine.

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