Lily Lightfoot can make weird things happen, just by telling a story. It’s a gift she can’t always control, making her the queen of seventh grade outcasts. She can’t make a million dollars appear out of thin air or make it rain cupcakes, but it’s not for lack of trying. More than anything, she wants to see her mom, who’s left her in the care of her unconventional grandmother, Gwendolyn, and her only friend, Peter.
When Lily finds a strange fairytale book, she’s drawn into a fantasy world where her mother waits for her. When her grandmother admits to Lily they are fairies, hiding in this world from dark forces in another place, Lily is convinced the book she’s been reading is real. According to the book, those dark forces now threaten to destroy her mother. What Lily doesn’t know is they are already hunting her as well. Despite the dire warnings of Gwendolyn and Peter, Lily embarks on a mission to find a way into the fantasy world to save her mom. The events she sets into motion with the telling of a story will change all of their lives forever.
The second book in the Storyteller Series, “The Quest of Galamar”, continues the tale of Lily Lightfoot and her friends Peter Everheart and Heather Whipple. Now that they’ve found their way into the True World, the friends must rely on the help of Lord Gabriel, an enchanted elf, now a manticore, to find Lily’s captured grandmother, Gwendolyn.
Gabriel sends the three friends to find the full moon amulet, hidden deep in the mountains and guarded by a fierce dragon. The amulet, one of four moonstones created ages ago by the fabled elf warrior Galamar, holds the power of the Northern Portal keeper, Ironblood the dragon. Whoever possesses all four amulets has the power to recreate or destroy the True World. Gabriel’s brother, Lord Kane, will stop at nothing to have the ancient powers for himself and keep Lily from fulfilling the Prophecy of Galamar.
On their epic journey, Lily learns more about magic, friendship, the power of forgiveness and finding the strength we all possess inside.
When her story began in Storyteller: The True World, Lily Lightfoot didn’t know she was a fairy with the power to make things happen, just by telling a story, but then everything changed. Now she’s on a quest to save the True World with only a few friends to help her. Her mother and her best friend captured, it’s up to Lily to complete the Quest of Galamar – a centuries old fairy tale. All she has to do is figure out how to turn back time. Easy, right?
In Storyteller Book II: The Quest of Galamar, Gabriel sent the three friends to find the Full Moon Amulet, hidden deep in the mountains and guarded by a fierce dragon. The amulet, one of four moonstones created ages ago by the fabled elf warrior Galamar, holds the power of the Northern Portal keeper, Ironblood the dragon. Whoever possesses all four amulets has the power to recreate or destroy the True World. Gabriel’s brother, Lord Kane, will stop at nothing to have the ancient powers for himself and keep Lily from fulfilling the Prophecy of Galamar.
The amulet recovered, Lily loses her guardian and best friend in the process. The only way to save him is to face the remaining portal keepers, the Griffin and the Harpy, and Lord Kane himself. As the True World prepares for an epic battle, Lily races to find those she loves and fulfill the ancient quest before it’s too late.
Lisa, like most writers, began scribbling silly notes, stories, and poems at a very young age. Born in North Carolina, the South proved fertile ground to her imagination with its beautiful white sand beaches and red earth. In fifth grade, she wrote, directed and starred in a play “The Queen of the Nile” at school, despite the fact that she is decidedly un-Egyptian looking. Perhaps that’s why she went on to become a real life archaeologist?
Unexpectedly transplanted to Idaho as a teenager, Lisa learned to love the desert and the wide open skies out West. This is where her interest in cultures, both ancient and living, really took root, and she became a Great Basin archaeologist. However, the itch to write never did leave for long. Her first books became the middle grade fantasy trilogy, The Storyteller Series. Her first traditionally published work, Hush Puppy, is coming soon from Featherweight Press.
Lisa still lives in Idaho with her family and a menagerie of furry critters that includes way too many llamas!
Interview with Author Lisa Cresswell
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
The first book in the series is about a young girl, Lily Lightfoot, who finds out on her thirteenth birthday that she’s a fairy. She’s always known she has a strange ability to make things happen just by telling a story, which makes her a bit of an outcast in school. What she wants more than anything is to meet her mother, who’s been mysteriously missing since Lily was a baby. The second and third books are about Lily’s journey through the fantastical True World to save her mother by fulfilling an ancient prophecy.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
It’s hard to remember, the project started so long ago now. I had been reading some middle grade fantasy books with rather annoying main characters and I knew I could do better. I always start off with my character, my hero. With Lily, I knew I wanted a strong female character who could dig deep to find the strength inside herself to save an entire world.
What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?
That we’re all stronger and braver than we know. That we can do amazing things if we try.
How long did it take to write the book?
I probably spent a couple years on the initial book and the outlines for the series. The first two were written pretty close together and then I had a break where I worked on another project. The last book I was determined to finish in record time. I had it all planned out and decided I would write a chapter a week for twenty weeks to get the first draft done. I think I made it in nineteen weeks.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
That’s tough! I love Lily because she’s so determined she’s not going to let anything stop her in her quest to save her mom. I do, however, have a fondness for Edan the Troll. I could see myself writing an Edan spin off story for fun in the future.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I’ve learned a lot about writing over the course of this series. The biggest thing I learned is I must have an outline. I have to know where I’m going to end up, or I’ll be all over the place. The better I got at outlining over the three books, the faster the writing went. It makes life so much easier!
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
I write very spare. Rather than being the writer that has to cut during revisions, I have to add. I wish I had a more lush, descriptive style, so if anything, I would add more description.
How did you come up with the cover?
When I choose a cover, I look for the most dramatic photos I can find. I want it to evoke a feeling of intrigue and perhaps even mystery. The first book cover features a striking lion face, which represents the character of Gabriel, who’s an elf that’s been transformed into a manticore – half man, half lion. Then I turn the photo over to my multi-talented friend Chris Ash, who works the final magic.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written stories and plays, since I was very young. I kind of wish someone had explained to me that I could actually make a career out of writing. I guess I never considered it as a profession. My writing took a back seat when my kids were born, but as they got older and we read books together, I realized I wanted to write for kids.
What are you favorite books and authors?
I loved the Anne of Green Gables books growing up. I love Tolkien and C.S. Lewis fantasies. One of my favorite books is Bridge to Terabitha. It’s a fairly short book, but so powerful.
What are you working on next?
I’ve been writing more young adult books lately. I recently published a contemporary young adult novel called Hush Puppy and also sold a young adult scifi manuscript that’s due to be published by Month9Books in early 2015. I’m hoping that one will be well received and they’ll ask me to write a sequel.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write all the time and don’t worry whether it’s good or not. At first it probably won’t be very good. My first drafts never are. But the more you write, the better you become. It’s not something you’re born knowing how to do. You must practice, preferably every day.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
It’s hard with two kids. I often write while waiting in the car for my daughter to finish her dance lessons. Luckily, she takes dance three times a week so I have a lot of time to kill!
Excerpt from Storyteller (Book One)
Weird was quickly becoming a fact of life for Lily Lightfoot. For the third time in a week, she got the feeling invisible icy fingers were slipping down the back of her neck, seeping into her spine. It was if something was tugging at her very bones, pulling her toward her future. She walked along a broken sidewalk littered with fall leaves toward her school; her friend Peter up ahead on his skateboard. The crisp air was heavy with the moldy smell of decay as the skateboard clicked on the cracks in the sidewalk.
Spinning around, Lily saw nothing but leaves rustling as the wind swished them across the sidewalk. Lily pulled her coat closer around herself and sighed. Maybe she really was losing her mind. Everyone else seemed to think so. Peter was probably the only kid in school who didn’t cringe when she walked into a room. Ever since she gave her entire second grade class the chicken pox, just by telling a story, everyone had avoided her. That was before Peter moved to Maplewood. Lily had a feeling he might see things differently if he had witnessed the infamous pox incident. Peter stomped the end of his skateboard, stopping it, and looked back at her.
“Hurry up, Lily!” he said. Why he walked to school with her every day was a mystery to Lily. Peter had lots of friends – normal kids – he could hang out with. Still, Lily was glad he didn’t seem to mind her little quirks. OK, so maybe they were big quirks.
“I’m coming,” said Lily. “Unfortunately,” she added under her breath.
“So, tell me a story,” said Peter. He grabbed the end of his board and walked next to Lily.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, staring straight ahead.
“C’mon, witch girl,” Peter teased, pushing the dark brown hair out of his eyes.
“What kind of story?” asked Lily, annoyed that Peter would call her that. Still, it was better than “freakazoid,” which was what most people called her.
“You know, the kind where you make something up and then it happens,” he said.
“I don’t know, Peter. That last one got me in trouble,” said Lily, remembering the math test two weeks ago. Peter had bet Lily he would score higher than she would and she wanted to put him in his place. Unfortunately, she flubbed the story trying to whisper it during the test so no one could hear.
“His answers are gone,” she said softly. Not only did Peter’s answers disappear, so did every other guy’s in the class.
“Yeah, but you have to admit, it was pretty funny watching Mrs. Doorman trying to figure out what happened,” said Peter. Lily grinned at the memory of her poor, frantic teacher. She didn’t mean to upset Mrs. Doorman. If only she could get the hang of storytelling.
“Just a little one? It’s so cool,” begged Peter, smiling sweetly.
“Nothing big?” asked Lily. She had promised her grandmother she wouldn’t tell any more stories, but it was hard to tell Peter no.
“No, nothing big,” said Peter, grinning. How could she disappoint her best friend in the world?
“Are you sure you’re prepared for the consequences? You know I can’t always control what happens,” she asked.
“I’m not scared,” he said.
“Well, all right. Just a little one.” Lily stepped over the smashed remains of a jack-o’-lantern on the sidewalk, scrunching up her freckled nose.
“Tell a story that will help me pass pre-algebra,” said Peter close to her ear.
Lily smirked at him. She thought to herself, and closed her eyes in concentration until she got that familiar tingle in her toes, like they’d gone to sleep. She listened for the warbling of birds, like far away meadowlarks she always heard before storytelling. Sometimes it took awhile to hear them, but today they sang instantly. Lily opened her green eyes and began her tale. Peter listened closely.
Excerpt from The Quest of Galamar (Book Two)
“But what if it’s right about the dragon? What if I can’t protect you?” asked Lily.
“I’ll take my chances. I’m supposed to be the one protecting you, remember?” teased Peter. “Besides, if there is a dragon, I’m certainly not going to let you face it alone.”
“Maybe if we made her think I was alone, I could distract her while you got the stone?” said Lily, thinking out loud.
“Her? We don’t even know if there is a dragon, much less whether it’s a him or a her,” said Peter.
“Take cover!” yelled Jude up ahead of them, diving into the brush with Heather. Peter saw it first, a
golden dragon swirling high above them. He pushed Lily down, following her to the ground.
“What is it?” cried Lily.
“Your dragon,” whispered Peter, trying to look up through the branches they hid under.
“Her name is Ironclaw.”
Excerpt from The Last Page (Book Three)
Big, crisp, orange leaves floated down on the park like a constant, slow motion rain as the sunlight dappled the green grass. Lily looked up at the clear blue, autumn sky. The swings swayed in the breeze without making a squeak. Lily knew this place. She had been here before. She and Peter came here after school sometimes.
“Where are you?” she called out.
“Not far,” said a voice. “You can always find me if you know where to look.”
A wind chime on the porch of a house across the street played sweet tones, but there was no one there.
“Peter, come out!” It’s not fair if you use magic.”
“Are you sure? You’re so close.”
“I don’t see you anywhere.” There was no reply. “Please?”
“Oh, all right,” said Peter, right behind her. Lily whirled around to face him. He hung upside down from the monkey bars, his arms dangling in the air. “I win again.”
Lily wasn’t about to let him gloat. She tickled under his arms while he giggled and squirmed to get away. His legs slipped and he ended up in a heap on the grass, laughing as he knocked Lily down next to him. They lay there, catching their breath. Lily watched the white clouds against the blue sky, soaking up the sunshine on her skin. She couldn’t remember when she felt so happy, which is what made her realize she was dreaming. She reached out for Peter’s hand, hoping he was real. His fingers locked with hers, warm and firm.
“You said I could find you. Where are you now?”
“Do you know what a griffin is?”
“One of the portal keepers, isn’t it?”
“So, it’s some sort of magical creature.”
“A griffin is a lion with the head of an eagle. It’s beak and talons are like razors.”
“What does the griffin have to do with finding you?”
“You won’t be able to reach me until you find the griffin.”
“What do I have to do? Kill it?”
“No, restore it.”
“But how do I do that?”
“You’ve got to hurry.”
Suddenly, clouds covered the sun and the sky darkened.
“Peter?” Lily sat us and squeezed his hand, but he didn’t respond. The brightness of his eyes dimmed. Lily watched as the darkness seeped into the whites until they were solid black.
“Hurry, Lily. I haven’t got much time.”
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