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If you could have one paranormal power what would it be?
Telekinesis – the power to move things with your mind alone. I have always loved the idea that humans have not figured out how to use the majority of the grey matter in their brains. That somehow if you could tap into it we might be capable of incredible things like manipulating matter with only our brainwaves. How great would it be to do things like take out the garbage and put dirty clothes in the hamper with having to get up?
What are you passionate about these days?
I am becoming more and more passionate about child literacy. I think reading, or literacy, is core to learning for kids. Strong literacy skills allow kids the opportunity to be everything they can be in terms of education. I also think reading expands a child’s world view, it gives them an opportunity to understand or aspire to things that might be foreign to their household or community.
One of my colleagues in the United Arab Emirates is named Vikesh Gadhia. He and his daughter Kushi started a project called Old Books for New Eyes. They collected used books in Dubai and shipped them to Kenya to establish physical libraries for underprivileged schools. They have collected more than 60,000 story books and commenced more than 30 libraries. A key challenge in the process has been the physical logistic of shipping books.
They recently created a new venture called Kupepo which is a free digital platform that aims to provide access to ebooks for children who have limited access to libraries. I’m excited to say that I have donated my books into the project and will be working with Vikesh as they try to scale the platform.
If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?
While I had always been an avid reader, I knew very little about how the book publishing industry worked when I finished the first draft of The Order of Time. I didn’t know how the industry was structured in terms of authors, agents, publishers, distributors and retailers. I count myself lucky that I was able to ask someone about the process because I had a colleague whose wife worked for a publisher. That was really helpful. The one thing I would change if I had to do it all over again would be to have started writing a decade or two earlier. I hate to think about how much better I could be and how much more I could have learned if I had listened to my impulses and put pen to paper much sooner.
Ebook or print? And why?
Print hands down. It’s the feeling of a book in your hand and the smell of the paper. There is a character to a physical book that I don’t find in ebooks. I don’t deny the utility of being able to read an ebook on my phone while commuting on the train. Ebooks are incredibly practical; however, if I had unlimited shelf space they would all be physical books.
What is your favorite scene in this book?
I think one of my favorite scenes is when Ivar, the young Viking boy, recounts the story of Nidhogg’s attack on the Great Hall of Jernhus to Anastasia, Edward, Erik the Red and Soren the Viking Jarl. To me it was a very powerful scene that makes the reader feel Ivar’s excitement at getting to be part of the gathering, the terror of the dragon’s unexpected arrival, and the pain of losing his father. The scene also creates a real sense of intrigue and sets the stage for what’s to come when Edward reads the mysterious inscription on the stone platform within the ruined hall.
Yggdrasil’s power through all realms flows
From its source all life grows
It runs like blood beneath the surface
So our Jernhus was built with purpose
That we can protect Odin’s Door
Which brought Mímir’s wisdom to the fore
When Odin’s key is put to lock
All our foes will be made to stop
About the Series
Picture two twelve-year-old fraternal twins who are like night and day. She is a smart and highly organised MMA fighter. He’s not a fighter, he’s a lover of history, art and Star Wars. Despite their differences they are one formidable team. Together Anastasia and Edward Upston travel through time and navigate ancient civilisations, angry gods and mythical monsters in their quest to protect the integrity of human history.
Anastasia and Edward Upston are eleven year old twins who are different in almost every way. Despite this they are inseparable and he best of friends. They tackle the highs and lows of sixth grade together whether they are fending off bullies at the elite Blake Academy or examining rare antiquities at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then: life gets complicated.
They discover that their friend and mentor, Dr. Gregorian, is part of a secret society called the Order of Time. It turns out that time is not fixed, it’s a fluid continuum where changes to the past can create ripples all the way through to the present. It unwittingly falls to the twins to travel back through time to ancient Egypt where they must overcome deadly assassins, evil high priests and vengeful gods in order to prevent disaster. Together Anastasia and Edward must navigate all obstacles to preserve the past and find their way back home.
The orange light bathed the snow-covered fields as the fiery globe began to dip below the horizon. It was strange that something so beautiful could signal the arrival of something so evil. One thing twelve-year-old twins Anastasia and Edward Upston knew for sure was that when mortals were caught between two bickering gods nothing good would come of it. Surviving the Viking Age may be the hardest thing they ever do, if they can…
Read an Excerpt from The Order of Time and Odin’s Door
“Um, Anastasia, can I talk to you for a minute? Alone?” Edward asked as he grabbed his formerly sane sister by the elbow and led her away from Erik. “What in the heck are you thinking? Help them kill the dragon?”
“I said we’d help Erik try to convince Soren to leave first. We’ll only help them kill the dragon if Soren won’t listen,” his twin explained, as if it should all make sense now.
“Have you lost your mind?” Edward snapped.
“It’s a really simple plan. Don’t overthink it,” Anastasia said, looking at him like he was the one who was crazy.
“Ahem,” they heard Erik interrupt from behind them.
“I’m sorry, but we’re a little busy here at the moment,” Edward called over his shoulder at the red-haired Viking with the big sword.
“While you’re talking to the slow one, I am going to find the Jarl. He’s also fixated on getting killed by Nidhogg. Perhaps you’ll have better luck talking some sense into her,” Erik said, shaking his head dismissively.
Edward watched the big Viking follow Soren’s footprints until he disappeared into the underbrush before turning back to Anastasia. “We’re supposed to be in Strasbourg earning our entrance into the academy. We don’t even know why we’re here and you’re talking about killing dragons,” Edward whispered harshly just in case Erik was still in earshot.
“I know we’re not supposed to be here but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help someone who needs our help,” his twin whispered back, her posture stiffening.
“You know we can’t risk changing what happens here. How many times has Dr. G told us that the ripples from any change in the past can completely change the future? That red-haired dude is Erik the Red, the man who colonizes Greenland. His son Leif Erikson was the first European to sight North America: five hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Assuming we could help kill this dragon, just imagine what changing the past related to that guy might do. Dollar bills could say In Odin we trust and we might not even exist!” Edward was no longer whispering as he threw his hands in the air in exasperation.
About the Author:
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