Growing Bookworms – Meet children’s book author, Darlene Foster, and learn about her Amanda travel series and a review #childrensfiction #bookreview #growingbookworms

Today, I am delighted to introduce Darlene Foster, author of the Amanda travel series of books for children aged 9 to 12 years old. I have read several of the Amanda books and enjoyed them all.

Your Amanda stories appeal to me as they take me back to my own childhood readings days of The Famous Five and Adventure series. Was there any particular children’s author who influenced the style of your Amanda series?

That makes me very happy to hear this since the Enid Blyton books were very popular. I didn’t read the Famous Five series growing up in Canada, but I enjoyed The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope as they travelled to interesting places, encountered danger and solved mysteries. I also enjoyed Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, and Nancy Drew because the main character in each series is a young girl who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries. The author who influenced me the most was Lucy Maude Montgomery. She created a character I totally admired. Anne Shirley is spunky, caring, positive and resourceful. Her relationship with her best friend, Diana Barry, is described incredibly well, as is the setting in the charming province of Prince Edward Island.

Are the characters of Amanda and Leah based on any particular person or people?

Amanda is the twelve-year-old me I would have liked to have been. I felt my life was boring living on a farm and dreamt of travelling the world. So there is a bit of little me in Amanda. The great thing about being a writer is that you can recreate your childhood and be whoever you want to be! Leah is a combination of some of my closest friends as well as a dear aunt who is my age. Leah is Amanda’s, Diana Barry.

When you visit schools and chat to the children, how do they react to the travel element of the Amanda books? Do they find it exciting and exotic or do some find it scary and overwhelming?

I am always amazed at how many of the students have done a lot of travelling already. One of my first questions at a school presentation is, “How many of you have travelled to other countries?” There is always a sea of hands. Then I ask if they have been to the country in my most recent book. There are usually some who have travelled there. The classrooms are very diverse these days and many of the students were born in a country other than Canada or the US. The international schools I visit in Spain contain students from all over the world. Children are much more well travelled these days for various reasons. They always suggest I write a book that takes place in their or their parents’ original country. I would say that most children today relate to the travel element of my books. If they haven’t been to the countries I’ve written about, they plan to visit them someday.

What comes first, the setting, characters, or the plot idea?

For me, the setting always comes first. I choose a place that I find intriguing and go from there. The two main characters, Amanda and Leah are always the same, but I have fun coming up with a few new ones for each story.  The plot is the last thing I work on and the part I find the most difficult at times. It usually evolves as I write the story.

What are your goals for the Amanda series? Are you planning to make it a long-term series like The Famous Five?

As long as people continue to want to read these books, I plan to continue writing them. There are so many more places Amanda could visit. I’m currently working on book number ten, Amanda in Scotland: The Standing Stones.  There are twenty-one Famous Five books; I’m not sure I’ll write that many but you never know!

Books for children are harder to market than books for adults. How do you go about marketing your books and what works best for you?

This is true. Word of mouth is always the best; getting the books in the hands of children is vital so they can spread the word. Visiting schools, libraries, and book stores is effective but not always possible. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been doing virtual visits to schools all over the world. This has been great for getting the students, teachers and school librarians to know about my books. I have learned that I need to market the books to adults as well since they are the ones who actually purchase the books and write the reviews. Being part of a blogging community has worked well for me as everyone is so supportive and helpful in getting the word out about my books. I have also learned a lot from other bloggers/writers. Marketing is ongoing, and there is a huge learning curve.

Thank you, Robbie, for the opportunity to talk about my books and writing in general.

You are a delightful guest, Darlene, and I am thrilled to host you here and discuss your books.

My review of Amanda in France

Amanda in France is the latest in the adventure series of books by Darlene Foster. I have read several of the books in this series, and enjoyed them all. The author has a marvelous way of integrating historical and environmental landmarks into her works in a natural and interesting way that is appealing to young readers.

Amanda and Leah are fortunate enough to accompany Aunt Jenny to Paris, France. Paris is a fascinating location and Amanda is completely bowled over by the sights, sounds, and foods on offer. The threesome are staying in a dormitory attached to the Shakespeare and Company book store, where they will work a couple of hours each day. Amanda, a great lover of books, is delighted and can’t wait to share her book knowledge and enthusiasm with others and promote reading.

Naturally, the girls meet a wide spectrum of new people, including the fascinating but mysterious, Phillipe Lawrence, an older man who is doing research for a book; Jerome, a young man who has become involved with some dodgy friends; and Pierre, who works at the Paris Opera House.

The new characters and fabulous sites set the stage for another exciting and interesting Amanda adventure that includes their visiting famous gardens, graveyards, and helping to save works of art during the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Congratulations to the author on another exciting and well written adventure story.

Purchase Darlene Foster’s books

Darlene Foster’s Amazon Author page

Amazon UK

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, traveling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not traveling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia. www.darlenefoster.ca

Darlene has a blog where she shares here stories and adventures here: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

About Robbie Cheadle

Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.

Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.

The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/


Kickstarter for Delilah coming in January

Delilah

Exciting News!

The re-release of Delilah is scheduled for March 21, 2023, from WordCrafter Press. After almost a year of revisions, this isn’t just a ‘slap a new cover on and call it good’ type of release. This is the story of Delilah as it was originally intended, and it’s being launched as the first book in my new Women in the West adventure series!

It all starts with Delilah

Books 2 & 3 in the series will feature the stories of Sarah and Marta, who are introduced in Delilah, but both have stories of their own worthy of telling. They will be released in 2024 & 2025 respectively. I am truly excited about this new series, which features strong female protagonists and strong historical women in supporting roles.

Delilah is available for pre-order now: https://books2read.com/DelilahWIW

The Book

Delilah is a woman haunted by her past.

Her homecoming from prison quickly turns into a quest for vengeance when she is brutally raped and left for dead, and her fourteen-year-old ward is abducted. Sheer will and determination take this tough and gritty heroine up against wild beasts of the forest, Indians and outlaws to Leadville, Colorado, where she .

Can the colorful inhabitants of the Colorado mining town work their way into Delilah’s heart, offering a chance for a future she thought she’d lost along with her innocence?

If you like strong and capable female protagonists, you’ll love Delilah.

Upcoming Kickstarter Campaign

To bring in 2023 right, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign for Delilah January 2 – 31. It’s my very first Kickstarter, so I’m starting out small, with a goal of $500. The money raised will be used to improve covers and to fulfill the wonderful rewards which will be offered.There will be lots of great stuff offered, and I need all the support I can get, so I hope you all will drop by and show your support.

When you support my Kickstarter at any level you get an early digital copy of Delilah, which will be delivered before the March 21st release date, and there will also be opportunity to recieve a signed print copy, or even to name a character in book 2, Sarah. You might also get access to an interview by Sara W. McBride with Delilah herself, or to an audio story narrated by me, of my flash fiction western, “I Had to Do It”, or a PDF of my western paranormal short, “Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”.

You can check it out now, on my Kickstarter pre-launch page, which will take you directly to the Kickstarter once it goes live. While you’re there, sign up to be notified upon launch, so you can be there on Day 1. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayelynnebooth-wcp/delilah-women-in-the-west-adventure-series

Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

In addition, she keeps up her authors’ blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. Kaye Lynne has also created her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, and WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services, where she offers quality author services, such as publishing, editing, and book blog tours. She has served as a judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Saying Good-bye to “Delilah” – But not for long

After long deliberation I have come to a rather painful decision. After April 2022, Delilah will no longer be available through any book outlet. Delilah has been on the virtual shelves for five years now, and really hasn’t had many sales, even after adding forwards from authors Robert Hanlon and Paul L. Thompson, and a new cover and new back cover matter, so I’ve decided not to renew my contract with Dusty Saddle Publishing.

Originally, the story I wrote for Delilah was very different. I made major changes to the plot after the first draft was complete, based on feedback from a beta reader, which at the time I felt was valid, so I basically rewrote more than half of the story. The Delilah that I published, was not the same story that I originally conceived. Upon re-reading to see if I could determine why it might not be selling, I discovered several places where the story feels forced, where I was trying to make the events fit into the amended plot line and it was like trying to fit a round peg into a square whole. One of things authors must strive to accomplish is to write a good story that draws readers in and then provides a satisfying ending, so as not to disappoint readers, delivering on the promise. I think I’ve failed to do that with Delilah, leading to sales not being as good as I had hoped.

Delilah: A Western Adventure

The good news is, although Delilah will be disappearing from the virtual shelves for now, I’m going to go back to that original story, at least as much as I can, as I resurrect her and revise this tale into the one I originally wanted to tell. Before the end of 2022 I plan to re-release Delilah in a revised edition complete with new cover (above) and ‘blurbage’. If you already read Delilah and liked it, the revised edition will be even better. It will be a story that is true to character and creator; the story that originally should have been and almost was, will be again. So watch for this new and improved western adventure to be released in June.

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