An award-winning short story fiction writer with a strong flare for middle grade fantasies, author Emma Greville (aka. E M Greville), is here to delight, entice and inspire us with her first chapter book in an exciting new series; Raine in the Underlands: The Lorekeepers. Let’s find out a little more about Emma’s writing journey and her magical tale brimming with mythological and fantastic beasts, and the navigation of self-identity and complex relationships. Thanks, Emma! 🙂
About the Author
E.M. Greville is an award-winning short fiction writer. An ex-English teacher from England with an MA in Literary Criticism, she trotted around the globe before settling in Victoria. She can usually be found herding children, chooks and cats, and scribbling brilliant story ideas on scraps of paper, which she promptly loses and blames on the badly herded children, chooks and cats.
She is passionate about helping kids discover a love of reading and writing, and explores the world of words through school visits, presentations and writing workshops. She promises to leave the wild creatures at home.
Please find E M Greville at her website: E M Greville | children’s author
Congratulations, Emma, on the release of your thrilling middle grade fantasy, Raine in the Underlands: The Lorekeepers! Can you briefly tell us about the significance of this title?
I can’t give too much away about the Lorekeepers just yet, because readers will learn more about the hierarchy of this magic in books 2 and 3! I can say this – the Lorekeepers have been the traditional custodians of magic for centuries – but is it a fair system, and will Raine be happy to bow down to tradition?
Why did you write this book / series?
I wanted to write a story full of the magic and fantasy I adore, but rooted in the things that matter to young readers in the real world. Complicated family relationships, loneliness, lack of self-belief are all issues that middle to upper primary aged kids deal with, and so does Raine. She just does it with a chorus of farting dragons.
This is an epic story of magic and adventure (and dragons!), casting a strong female character in Raine as she navigates her journey of self-identity and responsibility. What else can you share about Raine and the other major characters in this book?
Even though the setting is fantastic, and the characters are mythical, there are lots of touches of reality in the book. There are little bits of all my children in both Raine and her baby dragon side-kick. I’m definitely the over-protective dragon mum, and Monkey is my actual toy monkey who has travelled the world with me and is now full of holes!
Some of the themes the novel presents with include friendship, bravery, self-belief, family loyalty, and of course, power! What are the main ideas you hope readers will identify with and benefit from after reading Raine in the Underlands?
I hope that readers will realise that no one is perfect, that we all struggle, and that is absolutely ok. And that feeling isolated, or shy, or like you’re not good enough are normal emotions. Raine just does her best. She makes mistakes, and she fails, but she doesn’t give up, and finally she starts to believe in herself. My aim in writing this book was to show kids that we all face challenges, even heroes get it wrong, and that your best is good enough.
The story is written with boundless imagination, as well as perfect pacing and suspense. What did you enjoy most about the writing process? How would you describe your style? Do you have a favourite part of the book?
I loved writing Raine! But I went about it in the most slap dash fashion possible! There was no plotting, no outlines or anything – I just went at it and stopped at the end. So, the first draft was awful! There have been so many rewrites and I’ve enjoyed seeing how it’s evolved. I’m actually writing another middle-grade book now, and I’m trying to plot it first to see if that works for me – but I think I’m always going to be a pantser. It’s funny how characters that exist only in your own head absolutely refuse to do what you want and make you write the story their way. That’s my favourite bit, watching how the story unfolds nothing like the way I expected!
The cover design by Kit Cronk is stunningly mystifying – brilliantly matched to your story with its magical energy. Did you collaborate with the illustrator throughout the process? What do you love most about Kit’s work?
I know! Isn’t the cover beautiful? I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it. And the internal illustrations really lift the story up to another level, and I know young readers love them. Kit was wonderful, she understood my vision straight away. She worked off a few notes I made, and hey presto!
- What is your favourite magical power? The mum in me wants to say something boring like click my fingers and the house is tidy or something, but let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to fly?
- What would your favourite magical world look like? I’d live quite happily in the Underlands! But I’d steer clear of the Dark Forest.
- What is your favourite mythological creature? Why? I think you can guess… Dragons, of course! I love everything about them. In fact, can having a dragon and riding on it be my magical power, please?
- What are your favourite children’s books? As a child I loved The Worst Witch series – Mildred was like Raine in the fact that I could see myself in her and her struggles to fit in and thrive.
- Name five words to describe yourself. Creative, absent-minded, distractable, dreamer, chocoholic!
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or the Raine in the Underlands series? Any spoilers?!
Spoilers? Let’s see. In book two, Raine in the Dark, you’ll learn much more about the Lorekeepers, the Grand Magus, and there might be a ghost with a body made from rainbow spew!
If there are any budding writers out there, I run a free monthly writing prompt challenge and publish my favourite story on my website. At the end of the year, I’ll choose an overall winner who will get the chance to collaborate on a character in book two with me!
Sounds like so much fun! Can’t wait for Book 2! Thanks so much for answering our questions, Emma! 😊
Enter the Underlands to WIN this EPIC fantasy adventure!
Click here for a chance to WIN a copy of Raine in the Underlands, PLUS an amazing opportunity for a FREE online school workshop with author, Emma Greville*, please answer the following question:
Which mythical creature would you like to be, and why?
Closing October 31, 2023.
Join in this EPIC adventure with Emma Greville and her exciting middle grade fantasy, Raine in the Underlands: The Lorekeepers, delighting readers across the blogosphere!
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