Book: The Shadow of Atlantis (Shadows from the Past Book 1) by Wendy Leighton-Portercategories: Book, Time-Travel, Adventure, History, Talking Cat, Ancient Civilisations, Educational, Mystery, Children's Fiction
Wendy Leighton-Porterabout this book: I was inspired to write this book, the first in a series of time-travel adventures – Shadows from the Past – when I found I had enough time on my hands to fulfil a long-held dream of becoming an author. I'd often heard the phrase, "Write about what you know" and, after almost 20 years spent teaching and with a passion for history, I decided that I still wanted to educate children at the same time as helping them to develop a love of reading. My books are aimed at the Middle Grade age group (8-12) and the idea for the first story sprang into my head, fully-formed, during an international flight. I was so excited about it that I couldn't wait to start writing. The idea of time-travel fascinates me. I wish I could travel into the past myself, but writing about it is the next best thing!
Going back to one of the earliest mystery stories of the ancient world seemed like a logical place to start as I set my primary characters off on a quest that would span more than 2,000 years over the course of the whole series. Obviously, I needed to do some research, to be sure that I had my facts straight but, having taught Classical Civilisation, I already had a wealth of information at my fingertips.
I chose 3 children to be my main characters because I wanted to underline the importance of friendship, loyalty and working together. Jemima and Joe Lancelot are ten-year-old twins and their best friend is next-door-neighbour, Charlie. However, for me, the central and most important member of the group is Max. I love cats, especially Tonkinese cats, and that's what Max is. A larger-than-life character in more ways than one, it soon becomes apparent that Max is no ordinary cat. In this, the first book in the series, Max reveals his ability to talk, thanks to a golden owl charm he wears on his collar. We only get a small hint of how crucial Max will become as the series progresses, but it is immediately obvious what a loveable, charming and very funny animal he is. Because of this, it is Max who always injects an element of comedy into the stories, which is particularly welcome when things get tough. I don't want to give away too much in plot terms, either for The Shadow of Atlantis or for the books that follow it, but suffice to say there is no shortage of suspense and intrigue.
I was unprepared for just how much I was going to love writing once I'd started and the first draft took only a few months. I also grew to love my characters, and they became so real to me that I swear I can hear them speak as I'm writing their dialogue! (Hearing voices? I hope that's not the first sign of madness!) As soon as I completed the book, I just had to launch straight into the sequel… and so, here I am, ten years on, working on number 17 in a series that will ultimately comprise 25 adventures.
I sincerely hope that my young readers will enjoy their journey through the pages of history over the course of my series, developing a thirst for knowledge and a sense of curiosity that will never leave them. Among the reviews that I've received, many people comment on the fact that children will learn without even realising it, and that makes me very happy indeed!
"Education and adventure go hand in hand with these books." Readers' Favorite Book Reviews
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Other books by Wendy Leighton-Porter (more)
• Book Review: The Shadow of the Tudor Rose (Shadows from the Past Book 13) by Wendy Leighton-Porter|
• Book Review: The Shadow of the Witchfinder (Shadows from the Past Book 15) by Wendy Leighton-Porter|
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