Estelle Grace Tudor is one of the kindest, most supportive people in the writing community, and I was so excited when she asked if I would join her blog tour! Her middle-grade fantasy Octavia Bloom and The Missing Key released in July, and Estelle talks about the inspiration behind the book, her love for fantasy, and the joys that come when family helps you out.
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Thanks for having me Madison! My name is Estelle Grace Tudor and I live on the lovely South Wales Coast in the UK with my husband, four children and crazy dog, (who incidentally was the inspiration for a great character in my book series!) I have written since I was a child but had quite a large break whilst having my children. Last year I felt the pull again and I picked up my pen and haven’t put it down since!
What was the first book that had an impact on you?
Definitely The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I have so many happy memories of being curled up with my mum and sister listening to her read it to us for probably the hundredth time! But it was a firm favourite and one that ignited my own writing passion.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember but I had a period in my life when I didn’t think it would ever happen, so went to work at one of my other favourite loves – a Castle. Although, while I was there, I wrote an epic love story using inspiration from the Roman wall remains beneath the castle.
Your new middle grade fantasy, Octavia Bloom and The Missing Key, was released on July 20th!
Can you pitch us this book?
This book kickstarts the first of a five-book MG fantasy series, which introduces us to almost 10-year-old Octavia Bloom. Desperately lonely and looking for adventure she is quite literally thrust into an epic one with the discovery of a tiny fairy door. Two life-changing secrets are revealed which sees Octavia, her sister and twin cousins decide to go through the door to help reunite their fractured family. But first they must find the key…
What inspired you to write this book?
I absolutely love fairies and was looking for a creative outlet to share with my children. I came across a lady who created the most stunning fairy doors and I became an ambassador for her company and bought a few doors for my children. Through my daily setting up of little scenes outside the door I got to thinking what would happen if a child went through the door, and the story evolved from there. Octavia had been a character in my mind for a long time and now she was most insistent that I tell her story, and so she became the little girl who made it through the door.
What has been the biggest joy of writing this book?
Definitely weaving together all the elements that I love. Castle Bloom is based on Cardiff Castle, where I worked for six years. I was also able to pull in my love of fairies, and of family dynamics and sibling bonding. Fairy Land itself has Welsh names interspersed with other fun names. It has also been a family affair, with my daughter brainstorming with me, my oldest son drawing the artwork that is in the back of the book, and my eldest niece beta reading for me.
What draws you to fantasy?
Ooh, love this! Quite simply – the magical elements, where anything is possible! Oh, and the creatures that you pull from folklore and your imagination can come to life and walk side by side with your characters on an epic adventure!
This is book one in a series. What else do you have in store for the readers?
Each book will focus on a different Bloom child, whilst moving the story on to its resolution in book five. Book two, Beatrice Bloom and the Star Crystal releases 20th November 2020, just in time for Christmas, when the book is set.
What advice would you give to fellow middle grade writers?
Read middle grade books to get a feel for the genre. Also, have an epic cover because children’s books tend to do better as physical books rather than just e-books. As a parent I really enjoy sitting with my children with a ‘real’ book. And other than that, just write from your heart and write for those who will enjoy your books and you will find your market.
Follow Estelle on Instagram: @from_the_desk_of_e_g_tudor