Welcome to The Tiltersmith Blog Tour!
Follow along as we celebrate the release of The Tiltersmith with behind-the-scenes looks from author Amy Herrick, plus 10 chances to win a copy!
How I Came to Write The Time Fetch (the book which precedes The Tiltersmith)
by Amy Herrick
Ever since I was a kid, I’d always wanted to write a story that would take place at the Winter Solstice. To me, it has always seemed the most powerful time of year, full of mystery and paradox and anticipation. On its joyful side, it draws us into crowded rooms full of candles and beloved foods, scents of pine trees and damp coats, potato pancakes and gingerbread, the sounds of people singing and playing games. But on its dark side, I believe it awakens in us a deep-down-in-the-bones-awareness of the cold pressing against the windows and the light dwindling out of the day. The ancients must have felt this very keenly, the approaching darkness and realized the peril they were all in if this pattern continued. They would have been watching the sun every day, very carefully, noting how the sun rose later and later and set earlier and earlier. They could never be sure that the sun would come back and that they would not freeze or starve to death in the coming months.
I Imagined that over the long-ago centuries, our ancestors huddled around their fires in December (in June below the equator) and they came up with all sorts of stories of gods and spirits and demons and ghosts to explain to each other what was going on. They must have devised rituals and sacrifices to persuade the sun to return.
Nowadays, we moderns know the cause of the sun’s dwindling away. We know that after the Solstice passes, the sun will begin to rise higher again all on its own, and the warmth and the light will eventually return. We know this because we have devised the tools and the math to understand the tilt and the rotation of the earth. We know that after the 21st of December (or the 21st of June, in the southern hemisphere) the days will lengthen again and spring will come back and then summer.
And yet, for all we have learned about earth’s origins and its place in the universe, there are always new questions opening up to us and much that remains uncertain and mysterious. This uncertainty and mystery always seem particularly strong at the time of year when the darkness presses against the windows and I was always looking for a suitable story idea to set against this background. But it eluded me.
Then, one day, my oldest BFF (we’ve been friends since we were five) asked me a peculiar question. She asked it right, smack in the middle of the holiday season.
All week I had been getting ready for our annual family and friends Solstice party. I had been shopping and gift wrapping and baking and decorating the house. I was rushed off my feet. When all the food was out on the table and everybody was laughing and talking, I spotted Kate, and pulled her over into a corner and we plopped down into chairs. We were both exhausted, but glad to be side by side again. She leaned over and this is what she asked:
“Does it ever seem to you that our mothers had more time in their days than we do?”
I thought about it. And it seemed exactly true in a way, that their days had more space in them. Looking back in my memory, our moms always seemed to be moving around at a much more leisurely pace than we did.
“Yeah,” I answered. “It really does. Wouldn’t it be funny if something had gotten into our world and was stealing our time?”
She looked at me with one eyebrow raised (she has beautiful dark eyebrows). “What do you mean? What kind of something?”
“Well, I don’t know. Maybe some kind of alien force that feeds on time.” My imagination was off and running. “Some sort of tiny creatures. Quantum sized, zillions of them zipping around. The bites they take out of our seconds would be just way too small to measure. We’d still have 24 hours in a day, but the hours would slowly start shrinking and they’d move along faster and faster without our realizing it. And eventually maybe time would just disappear altogether.”
My friend thought this was a very creepy notion and quickly changed the subject. I, however, suddenly started wondering if maybe I could use this idea for the sort of Solstice story I had always wanted to write. A modern version of the old tales. Instead of bringing the sun back, in this case, my heroes would need to bring time back, and maybe I could mix my story up with bits of old ones.
So, down the rabbit hole I went, doing a lot of research on long ago Solstice traditions and rituals and stories. In my next blog I will share with you some of the treasures I managed to bring back with me and used as inspiration for The Time Fetch.
About the Book
Myths and monsters collide with climate chaos in a thrilling fantasy adventure.
Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, New York, but winter refuses to let go. Sleet, snow, and even a tornado batter the city. Mr. Ross, the science teacher, believes climate change is the cause, but classmates Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit suspect older, magical forces are at work. When a peculiar character calling himself Superintendent Tiltersmith appears with a keen interest in the foursome, their suspicions are confirmed, and they’re swept up in a battle of wits and courage.
The friends must protect a set of mysterious tools belonging to the Lady of Spring. If they can free her from her underground prison, winter will end. But if the Tiltersmith steals the tools, he will keep the Lady in his power and upset the balance of nature forever.
Perfect for readers of Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper, The Tiltersmith returns to the world of Amy Herrick’s acclaimed Time Fetch in a timely, exciting stand-alone adventure.
“Herrick combines vivid descriptions of climate events, school-set science lessons, and weather-related stories from various cultures around the globe . . . resonates with current events and fits tonally alongside children’s fantasy classics.”
“Vacillating between scientific reasoning and lore from worldwide cultures, the descriptions of beautiful legends of seasons and the sobering study of climate change are so rich.”
“Despite the contemporary setting, a diversified cast, and topical themes, events take on ritualistic elements that readers up on their Greek mythology will recognize. American fans of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence will find themselves on familiar footing, albeit a bit closer to home.”
“The author proves to have a keen eye for developing wonderfully dastardly villains. Tiltersmith is a fantastic bad guy who oozes disarming charm while also being deeply unsettling … cleverly handled … a compelling tale.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“It’s a great combination of the mystical and the scientific! A bit of gentle romance shouldn’t deter younger readers . . . The writing style is craftily literary, with warm incisive forays into each character’s inner life.”
—Youth Services Book Review
About the Author
Amy Herrick grew up in Queens, New York, and attended SUNY Binghamton and the University of Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn, where she has raised two sons, taught pre-K and grade school, written books, and kept company with her husband and numerous pets. A retired teacher, she loves traveling, learning Spanish, and above all reducing her carbon footprint.
- Ten (10) winners will receive a hardcover of The Tiltersmith
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11/6 at 11:59pm ET
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!
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