Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Rave Reviews Book Club Bethany Turner Pay It Forward Week Author Robin Chambers
Please welcome Rave Reviews Book Club Bethany Turner Pay It Forward Week Special Author Robin Chambers.
My guest is a bit shy, but I did manage to find this picture of him!
Let's get to know Robin a bit better. In his own words:
I was born a long time ago, in the middle of the Second World War, a few hundred yards from Gladstone Dock - then the biggest dry dock in the world, and a prime target for the German bombers. The Liverpool Overhead Railway started from there, and ran all the way to the Pier Head.
My mum and I lived at 126 Knowsley Rd. For two years we must have had each other for close company most of the time. My dad lived there too, but not until he came home from the war. My brother lived there as well, of course, but he didn't come along until 1945...
I mention these facts because they have had a major bearing on my life.
My final year at Bootle Grammar School for Boys provided me with another formative memory. There was some joint occasion held at the Girls' Grammar School one evening that required me to stride around importantly in my little gown keeping my troop of prefects and (knowing me) everyone else in order. A girl I'd never seen before walked up to me and asked me my name. I probably arched my eyebrows as I told her and watched a look of profound disappointment cross her face. "Oh," she said. "You're not a bit like I imagined."
I hadn't known before that that I had been "imagined" by anyone.
I plodded on through University as well - as far as I know the first person in my family ever to do so: getting a good Honours degree in English at London University (plodding into the top 20 of 400 or so English graduates in 1964) and then spending another three years on a Ph.D. ploddingly entitled "Chaucer's Poetic Uses of his Native Vocabulary".
The grant ran out in 1967, and my Ph.D. was so massive I needed another year to finish it. What to do?
In those days you could walk straight into secondary school teaching without having a teaching qualification. Comprehensive schools had just come about, and Dunraven School in Streatham needed a suitably (i.e. academically) qualified "teacher" to take their new 'A' level English class (and of course a whole heap of other classes as well. I needed a part-time job, and they needed a .9 teacher (i.e. 4½ days out of the 5 day week). "I can do that," I thought, with the blissful naivety of total ignorance. "I'll have the evenings, and the weekends..." It's embarrassing to think of that summer in 1967 and wonder how I could have had the gall. Even more than that, how could they have let me do it?!
For a brief period in the early seventies, while I was Head of English at Hackney Downs School, I had tried my hand at writing stories. I won't say too much here about how that came about; but if you'd like to know, click on My Blogs at the top of the Homepage and read the one entitled "Was that True?" I had been successful enough at it to make me think that I should give it a serious go sometime, once I had retired from my all-consuming profession.
I did the sums and discovered that I could retire on a full pension in the summer of 1993 at the age of 51. I had been in the profession just 25 years, but with that ten year enhancement I had 40 years and 19 days of pensionable service to my credit. It was an offer I couldn't refuse.
So why didn't I start writing for children again, when I got my life back in the 1990s? Because, as so often happens, other events intervened. I won't go into detail here and now; but if you'd like to know a little more about what happened between 1993 and 2011, click on My Blogs at the top of the Homepage and read the one entitled "Finally Getting Round to it."
I finally got round to writing again for children 17½ years after retiring from teaching in order to be able to do so. Between January 2011 and October 2012, I wrote pretty much eight hours a day, seven days a week. The first four books in the Myrddin's Heir series emerged...
Okay, let's take a look at some of Robin's wonderful books, shall we?
Blurb for Myrddin's Heir
“Gordon Bennett was born on 7th August 1999 with extraordinary powers. Where have those powers come from? Who – or what - is “Zack”...? His mother begins to notice that Gordon is different when he speaks his first words at just 5 months old and that's before the really strange things begin to happen!
Fun, refreshing and certainly different, A Wizard Of Dreams is Book 1 in The Myrddin’s Heir series by author Robin Chambers. Written at a quick, entertaining pace it’s a potent blend of magical intrigue and adventure and whilst the theme is familiar, Chambers has a unique style of writing that sets his work apart. Much more than a trite fantasy plotline his young protagonist is defined in a realistic and empathetic way that pulls the reader through the story with him, and when Gordon interacts with Zack there is always much to be taken from these well observed exchanges. With well-defined characters, Chambers demonstrates a meticulous eye for detail that makes them instantly identifiable and whilst some are more endearing than others they are all very memorable. Each captured with a distinctive tenor that adds greatly to the thematic undertones of his tale. A tale that not only entertains, but encourages thought and timely reflection.
Original and highly engrossing, A Wizard Of Dreams is a wonderful read throughout and sets the tone for a series that undoubtedly deserves your attention. It is highly recommended.”
“Amazing Grace” chronicles the way in which a girl born on 25th December 1998 plays an increasingly important part in Gordon’s life (and he in hers). Grace can read minds, and she has healing hands...
Could her father really have been a God? How can she have two mums? And what has the most powerful wizard our world has ever known to do with all this?
The answer lies in the Land of the Forever Young (and of the Dead); but they can only get there by leaving their bodies behind...
How will Gordon’s parents react when he tells them the whole truth? How important in the scheme of things are their best friends Nick and Miranda? And quite importantly: how can the four of them help YOU to write really good stories...?
Can the clock be turned both backwards and forwards? And can their guardian angels help Gordon’s dad catch a serial killer...?
Book 2 ends on 27th March 2011 (so they are still in year 7) in a “magical” dell in Wales: where Gordon and Grace aren’t - though their bodies are. And what has Nick just found at the end of a rainbow...?
I hope that this story will make you laugh quite a lot, but I must be honest and tell you that in places it makes me cry...
You will know from reading Book 1 that the Myrddin’s Heir series sets out to challenge you. One of my most important questions therefore remains: “Are YOU still up for the challenge?”
Quality of Mercy
“The Quality of Mercy” picks the story up precisely where Book 2 left off. Where were Gordon and Grace, while their bodies were in that dell in Wales...?
How do fairies cope with growing old...? And what has that to do with the wedding of William Wales and Catherine Myddleton...?
Can Gordon and Grace take on the combined might of wicked wizardry and witchcraft in Chester? And what very interesting discovery about Miranda and Nick does Gordon make along the way...?
Why is someone trying to kill them all? And what do Nick’s father and Miranda’s mother have in common...?
How do The Fantastic Four sidestep The Famous Five to become The Super Six? And who do Gordon and Grace find themselves rescuing...?
So much happens in Book 3 that it has taken 13,000 more words than Book 1 and 4,000 words more than Book 2 to tell you about.
This book will challenge you, perhaps even more than Books 1 & 2. It’s not an easy thing – to make the world a better place. With human rights go human responsibilities...
But if you’re anything like me, it will still make you smile a lot, laugh out loud here and there, and just once or twice feel the tug of tears.
It’s called catharsis.
Gifts From the Gods
“Gifts from the Gods” will give you some idea of what can happen when “gods” decide to show themselves...
How on earth can Gordon help hominids on a planet many light years away...?
When is a pony not a pony? And what is Groc the Knocker up to now...?
They need to team up; but how can they when the girls are in the grounds of a haunted stately home in Scotland and the boys are in the dungeons of a mediaeval Castle in Ireland? The answer has a lot to do with Lucifer’s rod...
What has the evil Goddess Morrigan LaFaye kept screaming for centuries at the top of a tall tower, where the walls ooze oil and look eerily like skin? And why does the God of the Sea feel the need to get involved?
And if that wasn’t enough, this is the part of the story where The Super Six become The Eight Team. What are Gordon’s sixteen greats grandmother and a lost soul from the sixth century doing getting in on the act?
What “gifts” might the gods be disposed to give: to help in the fight to make the world a better place...?
The aliens are inching their way out of the closet...
There is an explosion of happenings in Book 4. Gordon, Grace, Nick and Miranda are only 41 days older by the end of it. Of course, I can’t be that sure about time, where Zack, Zoë, Kate and Sweeney are concerned...
Just HOW many more books is this story going to take to tell? I did ask Zoë, but she just smiled, and wasn’t telling.
Remember to keep an eye on www.myrddinsheir.com. Other clues can turn up there, and there are quite a few things you can do to help...
When The Cat's Away
Book 5 begins on the same evening that Book 3 ends. It tells you a lot more about the Council of Thirteen and how its members react to Octavius Mortlake’s death.
What plans does Adolfo Aragon have to inherit Mortlake’s crown? And how much help might he get from the Capo dei Capi in London – the infamous Enzo Potenza? Just how evil ARE some of the other members of the ruling clique?
Carmen, Goddess of The Damned, does not take the loss of her daughter lying down. How will she be revenged? And how next will she seek to destroy the children who were born to heal the world?
Gordon and Grace return from holiday and find out their houses have been bugged while they were away. Soon after that they find out what happens when you don’t fight back.
They are left with no choice. They have to go to war…
You can find out more about Robin Chambers and his books by visiting him at his webpage Myrddin's Heir, on Twitter @myrddinsheir, and on Facebook.
Don't wait, get every book in this amazing series. Join the journey!