Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
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It’s Harry Potter meets the Celestine Prophecy in this magical and thrilling ride! The McTish Series is an explosive adventure through a dimensional Gateway into another world, a world of beauty and magic, Coranim...a land of insight, thought and possibilities, that sits beneath the enchanted Gilley Forest.
There is local legend in the small town of Grandlochcheshire that has been passed down for a 100 years about the mysterious disappearance of the Chickering family, that trails on the coat tails of the equally shocking abduction of the Skeffington Union Rails heirs. The circumstances that follow this notorious tale enter into the modern world of Benjamin and his two best mates.
One day Benjamin watches as a mysterious little woman steps out of a taxi and in one synchronistic moment their eyes lock and a series of visual snippets of unfamiliar events unfold in his mind’s vision. His razor sharp sixth sense allows him the freedom to explore the extrasensory messages coming at him like a derailed freight train. And when Benjamin finds a peculiar relic of a key in his grandmother’s garden shed, he could never know his world was about to change forever.
Annabel and Mathilda, two sisters who have come from America, have become more than mere friends to Benjamin, they have all become the three Muskydeers (Mathilda’s mispronounced version of Musketeers, which was a huge laugh and of course it stuck), as they are plunged head first into this curious journey.
In the Gilley Forest they discover that the path they have chosen is inundated with many obstacles as well as intrigue. Alliances are made with the Forest clan of Gnomes and with the aid of the Vila sisters, Sethina and Morel, as well as some surprising and unexpected allegiances, the three friends take on the test that is the Grandfather Tree. They must stay on the pre ordained Path of Prophecy, whose ancestry comes from the home of the oldest living beings on the planet, the Elves of the Darmon. However, this is no easy task for the Muskydeers as they have the foulest of sorcery hunting their every move, the powerful dark beauty, Tar Vigorn.
This ruthless Queen is not without humor however and loves a good game of cat and mouse, as long as she’s the cat. With her biting sense of sarcasm and calculated taunting, she knows just how to unnerve Benjamin. Her phantom army, the Blunt, are searching for a way into the Grand Tree and will stop at nothing to infiltrate the pristine world beneath his giant roots.
Once in Coranim the children make the acquaintance of the greatest Medicine Elder alive, Esmerelda Fet. A most powerful Light Sorceress with a brazen in your face attitude, who guides the trio on their Path of destiny. However, a Path can change in the blink of an eye...what could alter the overpowering trajectory Benjamin has followed to Coranim? How will it change his life?
Find out as our three heroes delve into the mystic, as well as their own inner character, as you watch from the edge of your seat.
Interview With Author June Pace
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
The story is about a journey through a dimensional gateway into an enchanted Gilley Forest by three young friends, Benjamin, Annabel and Mathilda. Benjamin has a very astute sixth sense and he is faced with some hefty challenges for a 14 yr. old. The Gilley Forest clans, consisting of Gnomes (the Til’aut Set, which are soil workers), the Vila sisters (Sethina who rules the sky, and Morel the water) some Fairy clans and one super powerful woman known as the Path Tender, the Whisper clans (magical beings I’ll let you discover on your own) and a surprise or two, are all involved in an ancient battle with the dark Queen, Tar Vigorn and her army the Blunt. The good guys all lend their magic and ingenuity to help the children make it to the Grandfather Tree. When they arrive they must perform a series of tests to open the Great Door that leads down to a wonderfully mystical world called Coranim.
They meet up with their mentor, Esmerelda Fet, along with a few very interesting characters and the adventure gets bigger and much more serious…I mean in the end of the series it’s about repairing the damage caused to the Earth’s crust…it’s a big story that focus’s on accountability and honor.
It’s a world entirely wrapped up in Magic and Sorcery and a little science to boot…it’s really entertaining. The children have such strong personalities..it makes for a fun read. The story has adventure and action. And in a deeper sense, it’s about finding the courage to figure out who you are and then live that truth. It’s about accountability and taking a stand for what you believe in. It’s about loyalty, friendship….and synchronicity.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
Most of it came to me as I wrote. Originally I had done some illustrations, the first I’ve ever attempted when it comes to Whimsey…and as it turned out, I did a fair job. Then I began naming the characters I created and one day I thought…hey, there’s a story here…and that’s how it started. However, the story does dictate where it wants to go sometimes, so I simply follow along…and most times it’s the right place to be.
What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?
It’s about having the courage to find out who you are and then once you understand that to live the truth that you find. To walk your talk and stand up for your ideas and to always understand that your actions have repercussions that can sometimes impact others. So you need to honor your choices and be willing to either admit when maybe they weren’t an optimum direction or stand tall for the ones that are important to you.
How long did it take to write the book?
You know I’m not quite certain, I want to say a year….I had begun writing it in the beginning of 2010, and then put it down for roughly five months maybe…big changes in my life, moving etc. Then I believe I finished it in 2011. I attempted to “get it out there” for almost a year and then decided to self-publish, and that official date was July 3, 2013.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
Mathilda, hands down. I’m simply crazy about this little girl. She’s the best part of me. Although there is nothing like writing a scene between the two sisters, Annabel and Mathilda…I really enjoy those, and the second book has more of that compared to the first one.
I was getting to know the characters in the first book. I wasn’t even entirely sure where it was all going…however, once I finished and began the second book it was pretty clear what was happening, so the story just flowed out of me. I would actually like to go back in and change a few things up in the first book…but not anytime soon it appears. I’ve gotten some amazing reviews so far, so why mess with anything. Just as in life, things progress and get better…so look out for book number three!
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
Yeah, like I said, I’ll be writing and suddenly I’m putting in a dialog that I hadn’t really thought about and I’ll stop and think, okay is that where I really want to go?…and then I’ll think, hmm, interesting, alright let’s see where this takes me…and it’s usually spot on. I do have to keep notes because the story is so big and sometimes unexpected sidesteps occur and it either changes the direction or even better yet, it gives me a huge answer to something that may have been puzzling me, or even better still, it gives me a whole new twist that I hadn’t even almost thought of and the next thing you know I’m freaking out because I just got a whole glimpse of something that triggers some dynamic outcome in the story.
That happened the other day. I ended up completely inventing a whole new story line for one of the main characters that really juices up the plot in a major way, and will become a huge twist in the big picture and made more sense out of the beginning. It actually had a bit of a domino effect and a couple other characters had to shift a bit and now I feel like….WOW..this is going to be something! So, yeah, at that point I’m scribbling things down and figuring out when and where, and I’ll have to go back and change up a couple things from before to make sense, even one little word changes up the meaning of something.
Like now, this second book, I really had to plan out how it ends, calculate all the side stories so that they met up and nothing was left open that shouldn’t be. I needed to make sure everything leading up to the end will be exciting and that there are no loose strings and more importantly, how to leave the mystery dangling…giving a major cliff hanger so when a reader turns the last page they think, holy crap! Now what? ha ha…I love when that happens!
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
Mostly it’s the punctuation believe it or not..it just changes up the way things are read sometimes, and I kick myself when I read the book and think, geez, how did I miss that? But as far as the story goes, no I wouldn’t change too much, I might fine tune a bit and give a more edited succinct idea of something. Let me explain that.
I’m an artist, I see the story in perfect detail when I write, and I write what I see, literally. For example, I’ll see Mathilda sitting on a stool next to Esmerelda Fet and her sister is on the other side and something surprising was said….I’ll actually write, “Mathilda leaned forward and peaked to her right around Esmerelda and caught Annabel staring at her with the same surprise.”
I don’t know how to not write which angle someone is looking, or the expression on their face, etc. I write exactly what I see….and luckily most of the reviews have said that the story is VERY visual and that you can actually feel the wind blow and see the colors, etc. So I think I’ll stick with what I know.
How did you come up with the cover?
The first illustration I did was of a little boy sitting in a row boat with a tree growing out of his head and a fish swimming by with a cat face and tail, I called him Benjamin McTish. In the beginning I was all about the close up of his face, with the tree and he wore round eye glasses…it was super cute. However, as the story grew, I felt that it was becoming more grown up than what I initially thought and I began writing it for an older audience, young adults and older. Then I realized my illustrations were too young and that I didn’t need to make the story fit the drawings anymore.
It was challenging at first because I already had an audience of fans for the illustrations and I felt obliged to use them verbatim, but then one day I thought, you know what, I’m changing this up, it’s simply to constricting for me and I want to go some place else with it. So I attempted to do a modern day version of the boy with the tree growing out of his head, I didn’t want to keep the glasses because that was TOO Harry Potter, and it still didn’t work for me. Then I thought, well wait a minute this is called the Grandfather Tree, why don’t I simply use the tree, so that’s what I did.
Oh, and as an aside, it turns out the younger kids (10) are starting to read the book and are loving it. I believe the first book is more simple with regards to esoteric ideas, however, the second one delves deeper, so we’ll see if these younger ones truly do understand it as it goes along…in the meantime, I’m keeping it in the YA category where I feel it truly belongs.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I began writing this series. This series, this writing, taps into a part of me that nothing else has come close to in my life…and that’s saying a lot. I was a musician for a long while and music was everything to me, I dreamed music…and painting, painting is in my blood, I can’t imagine my life without it..however, this, writing, it holds a deep passion for me that nothing else has and satisfies everything. I’ll write no matter what. If I never sell another book, I’ll keep writing.
What are you favorite books and authors?
You know I really can’t answer that question. I’ve gone through different periods in my life of reading. And since I began writing my own series I rarely have time to read anymore and let me tell you, I really miss it. So I mostly read in the summer when I take a break and sit out in the sun. I read three books last summer, and one of them by the way was marvelous, it’s a dystopian novel by Shaunta Grimes called, Viral Nation…loved it! She wrote one of the best literary characters ever, Clover, an autistic teen with a special gift.
For a very long period of time I read a lot of science and quantum physics, things of this nature, my favorite is Dr. Candace Pert, her books are phenomenal. I was way into stuff about the brain and Ayahuasca studies, and the beginnings of the planet’s civilizations, a lot of Graham Hancock and Zaccaria Sitchen. When I was younger I read every Dick Francis and Laurence Saunders, whose McNally series is one of my all time favorite literary characters, I even loosely based one of mine from Archie, and of course Steven King. The Anne Rice stuff for a while, then that got too negative and dark for me. I’ve read a ton of novels…all those Ya Ya Sisterhood series…loved loved loved those. Memories or a Geisha, amazing. However, the past decade I’d say, for just relaxing and fun…I need a good fantasy…His Dark Materials trilogy was tremendous, and I finally finished the Inheritance series, although not super happy with the ending, enjoyed getting there. Right now I have three new books sitting on my desk to read, they are: Etiquette Espionage, Wander Dust and Aquifer…so we’ll see where those lead, oh yeah and the Hunger Games trilogy, got that one here too. I’m finally meeting up with some good fantasy and dystopian authors through my blog, so there are plenty to choose from, like the Cull from Enn Kae.
What are you working on next?
I am literally finishing up with the last chapter in book two of this series and then it’s a whirl wind of editing and publishing, then on to book three. At this point book two had the ending I thought book one was originally going to have, so this has become a bigger story than when I first began…so expect no less than five books, but it could be more, we’ll see when we get there.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Wow, that’s a good one. I suppose just keep at it. If you want to write, then write. You’ll always find the time if it’s what you’re truly meant to do. Write because you have to, make sure it’s your passion because it’s a really tough business to get into if you don’t have the fight and patience to do it.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
My family totally backs me and this work…my husband has taken on a few of the household chores and when I’m on a roll and I don’t feel like stopping they get it and figure out their own dinner, although that really hasn’t happened too often…besides, it’s easier and quicker for me to just go in and pull something together than it is for them to figure it out, it’s painstaking to watch sometimes, ha ha…And I have the luxury of making this my work, so I treat it like a job and everyone knows when I’m in my room writing that I’m working and they leave me to it. I’m very blessed that way.
June will be awarding an ebook copy of Benjamin McTash to two (2) randomly drawn commenters during the tour and one (1) randomly drawn commenter will receive an autographed print copy of the book (international) during the tour.