Welcome to The Tiltersmith Blog Tour!
Follow along as we celebrate the release of The Tiltersmithwith behind-the-scenes looks from author Amy Herrick, plus 10 chances to win a copy!
Two Truths and a Lie – Can You Guess Which is Which?
by Amy Herrick
1. Three Stories About Amy Herrick, author of The Tiltersmith, and Her Dog in Prospect Park– Two Truths, One Lie
1. One morning my dog, Autumn and I, were out walking on the lonely path that goes around Lookout Hill in Prospect Park. We hadn’t gone far when I noticed that Autumn had stopped and was staring alertly at something in the trees. I followed her gaze and saw a large, solitary mastiff dog staring back at us. I searched the area, but there was no other human in sight, so I called to the dog, worried that he was lost, but he turned and loped off into the trees. After that we would run into him from time to time, but he never let us get near him. When I asked around, I discovered other people had seen this fellow, too, and that he was something of a legend in Prospect Park and was often referred to as The Ghost Dog. I soon started thinking of him as an enchanted guardian of the woods and it was he who first led me into the story of The Tiltersmith.
2. At one point in the novel, the character, Danton, drinks out of a magical water fountain in Prospect Park. There is an actual fountain in the park that looks exactly like the one described in the book: “it had a wide dark metal bowl, and around its rim metal birds and dragonflies peeked out from bronze leaves.” I have often (and my dog, too, when she was alive) taken drinks from this fountain, although, as far as I know, it never gave us any magical powers.
3. Two of the important scenes in The Tiltersmith take place in a hidden, overgrown garden place. Brigit and Feenix both come upon this place accidentally while walking in the park at different times. It seems to disappear behind them when they leave it. This garden also actually exists in “real life.” Autumn and I discovered it one morning when we went exploring in the woods. We had happened upon a crumbling brick path and followed it through an opening in the trees. Eventually, we came upon a half empty pond, overgrown with lily pads and weeds. In its middle was a little island. All around it were overgrown shrubberies and hedges and flowers grown wild. You could see that it had all once been carefully tended, but no longer, which somehow, made it all the more enchanting. It’s still not easy to find, but it’s definitely there.
2. On Amy Herrick’s Writing Process of The Tiltersmith— Two Truths, One Lie
1. In its final published form, The Tiltersmith is 308 pages long. If the book had been published in its original draft length, it would have been closer to 425 pages.
2. It took me seven years to complete the writing of this novel.
3. I believe it’s very helpful for a writer to share their work and ask for opinions and responses as they go along. I’m always reading bits of what I’m doing out loud to my husband, and sharing chapters with my sons and several trusted friends.
3. On Creating the Characters in The Time Fetch and The Tiltersmith— Two Truths and One Lie
1. Although there were eventually four main characters in The Time Fetch (same characters in The Tiltersmith), I started with only one—Brigit. The other three showed up, without anybody’s permission, one by one, as I was writing the book. I think Brigit was the first because she is the one most like me as a teenager—in school, very shy and prone to blushing.
2. The character of Feenix is often in trouble at home and in school. For instance, she puts peanut butter in the toes of the French teacher’s shoes. She persists in face-painting small figures next to one of her eyes every morning before school. She addresses Mr. Armand (the school security guard) as Mr. Armpit. The character of Feenix is loosely based on my darling firecracker of a son, who spent much of his high school years in detention.
3. I had a real roller coaster of a ride creating the character of the Tiltersmith. Should he come across as a Being of pure gleeful destruction or a powerful spirit of a more mixed nature? There are so many figures in mythology and folklore to model him upon, how to choose? In the end, I decided he needed to be pretty bad, but that he, too could fall in love and that none of us could be here without him.
Scroll down for the answers…
1 – # 2 is the Lie: There are many water fountains in Prospect Park. They are all delicious, but they are pretty basic looking–no metal birds and dragonflies peeking out from bronze leaves.
2 – #3 is the lie. Although I actually do believe it can be really helpful to share one’s work while in process, I’m intensely private with my writing. I can’t help myself. I pretty much never show it to anybody until I think it’s finished.
3 – #1 is the Lie: Although I definitely drew on aspects of myself in creating Brigit, Edward was the first character to show up in The Time Fetch. I had written quite a ways into the first draft of the book before I even knew the others existed.
About the Book
Myths and monsters collide with climate chaos in a thrilling fantasy adventure.
Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, New York, but winter refuses to let go. Sleet, snow, and even a tornado batter the city. Mr. Ross, the science teacher, believes climate change is the cause, but classmates Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit suspect older, magical forces are at work. When a peculiar character calling himself Superintendent Tiltersmith appears with a keen interest in the foursome, their suspicions are confirmed, and they’re swept up in a battle of wits and courage.
The friends must protect a set of mysterious tools belonging to the Lady of Spring. If they can free her from her underground prison, winter will end. But if the Tiltersmith steals the tools, he will keep the Lady in his power and upset the balance of nature forever.
Perfect for readers of Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper, The Tiltersmith returns to the world of Amy Herrick’s acclaimed Time Fetch in a timely, exciting stand-alone adventure.
“Herrick combines vivid descriptions of climate events, school-set science lessons, and weather-related stories from various cultures around the globe . . . resonates with current events and fits tonally alongside children’s fantasy classics.”
“Vacillating between scientific reasoning and lore from worldwide cultures, the descriptions of beautiful legends of seasons and the sobering study of climate change are so rich.”
“Despite the contemporary setting, a diversified cast, and topical themes, events take on ritualistic elements that readers up on their Greek mythology will recognize. American fans of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence will find themselves on familiar footing, albeit a bit closer to home.”
“The author proves to have a keen eye for developing wonderfully dastardly villains. Tiltersmith is a fantastic bad guy who oozes disarming charm while also being deeply unsettling … cleverly handled … a compelling tale.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“It’s a great combination of the mystical and the scientific! A bit of gentle romance shouldn’t deter younger readers . . . The writing style is craftily literary, with warm incisive forays into each character’s inner life.”
—Youth Services Book Review
About the Author
Amy Herrick grew up in Queens, New York, and attended SUNY Binghamton and the University of Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn, where she has raised two sons, taught pre-K and grade school, written books, and kept company with her husband and numerous pets. A retired teacher, she loves traveling, learning Spanish, and above all reducing her carbon footprint.
- Ten (10) winners will receive a hardcover of The Tiltersmith
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11/6 at 11:59pm ET
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!
Blog Tour Schedule:
October 17th — Mama Likes This
October 18th — A Dream Within a Dream
October 19th — Always in the Middle
October 20th — BookHounds
October 21st — Mrs. Book Dragon
October 24th — Good Choice Reading
October 25th — Mom Read It
October 26th — YA Books Central
October 27th — Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
October 28th — Randomly Reading
The cover is eye-catching and the premise makes me want to read this exciting book.
Science, climate change, and mythology, with echoes of Susan Cooper and Madeleine L’Engle—this catapulted to the top of my reading list! Thanks so much for featuring this.
Hits all the high points for my taste 🙂
This books sounds great and I love how the author presented the truth and lie quiz!
Great ‘Truth and Lies’ interview with Amy Herrick! I really want to read Tiltersmith.