November 18, 2014

The Tree of Water Blog Tour and Giveaway

I am pleased to welcome The Tree of Water and its author Elizabeth Haydon to The Teacher's Desk 6 as it makes its premiere blog tour this week. I am even more pleased to announce that I am able to give away a copy of this wonderful adolescent novel. Please continue reading for more about The Tree of Water, its author, and how to win a copy of the book.

"Encounters with dragons, merfolk, and sea life modern, mythical, and prehistoric
await magic seeker Ven as he ventures into the depths with his fish-tailed friend, Amariel."
---Kirkus Reviews

Little is known for sure about reclusive documentarian and archanologist Elizabeth Haydon, the author of The Tree of Water. However, she did take time out from her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.

 1.  Dr. Haydon, can you give a brief summary of The Tree of Water?

Certainly. Ven Polypheme, who wrote the, er, Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, lived long ago in the Second Age of history, when magic was much more alive and visible in the world than it is now. His journals are very important finds, because they tell the story of ancient magic and where it still may be found in the world today.

In the first three journals (The Floating Island, The Thief Queen's Daughter, and The Dragon's Lair) we saw how Ven came to the mystical island of Serendair and was given the job of Royal Reporter by the king of the island, a young man named Vandemere. The Royal Reporter was supposed to find magic that was hiding in plain sight in the world and report back about it to the king. As you can imagine, this could be a fun but dangerous job, and at the beginning of The Tree of Water, we see that Ven and his friends are hiding from the evil Thief Queen, who is looking to find and kill him.

Amariel, a merrow [humans call these ‘mermaids,’ but we know that’s the wrong word] who saved Ven when the first ship he sailed on sank, has been asking Ven to come and explore the wonders of the Deep, her world in the sea. Deciding that this could be a great way to find hidden magic as well as hide from the evil Thief Queen, Ven and his best friend, Char, follow her into the Deep. The sea, as you know, is one of the most magical places in the world—but sometimes that magic, and that place, can be deadly.

The book tells of mysterious places, and interesting creatures, and wondrous things that have never been seen in the dry world, and tales from the very bottom of the sea. 

 2.  What kind of research do you do for the series?

I go to places where Ven went and try to find relics he left behind. Usually this is with an expedition of archaeologists and historians. I am an expert in ancient magic [an archanologist] so I don’t usually lead the expeditions, I’m just a consultant. It gives me the chance to learn a lot about magic and lets me work on my suntan at the same time, so it’s good.

 3.  What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope, in general, that it will open their eyes to the wonder of the sea, which takes up the majority of our planet, but we really don’t know that much about it down deep. There is a great deal of magic in the sea, and I hope that if and when people become aware of it, they will help take care of it and not throw garbage and other bad stuff into it. I have a serious dislike for garbage-throwing.

Probably the most useful secret I learned that I hope will be of use to readers is about thrum. Thrum is the way the creatures and plants that live in the ocean communicate with each other through vibration and thought. As Ven and his friends learn, this can be a problem if you think about something you don’t want anyone to know about when you are standing in a sunshadow, because everyone gets to see a picture of what’s on your mind. Imagine how embarrassing that could be.


 4. Are there more books coming in this series?

Well, at least one. In the archaeological dig site where The Tree of Water was found was another journal, a notebook that Ven called The Star of the Sea. We are still working on restoring it, but it looks like there are many new adventures and different kinds of magic in it. The problem is that it might have been buried in the sand with an ancient bottle of magical sun tan lotion, which seems to have leaked onto some of the journal’s pages. This is a very sad event in archaeology, but we are working hard to restore it.

As for other books, it’s not like we just write them out of nowhere. If we haven’t found one of Ven’s journals, there can’t be another book, now, can there? We are always looking, however. We’ve learned so much about ancient magic from the journals we have found so far.

 5.  You are a best-selling author with other books and series for adults. What made you want to write books for young readers?

I like young readers better than adults. Everyone who is reading a book like mine has at one time or another been a young reader, but not everyone has been an adult yet. Young readers have more imagination and their brains are more flexible—they can understand magical concepts a lot better than a lot of adults, who have to deal with car payments and work and budget balancing and all sorts of non-magical things in the course of their days.

I think if more adults read like young readers, the world would be a happier place.

 6.  Tell us where we can find your book.

You can find The Tree of Water anywhere books are sold, online and in bookstores. There are several copies in my steamer trunk and I believe the palace in Serendair also has one. I also sent one to Bruno Mars because I like his name. In fact you can enter the Rafflecopter below to win your very own copy. Just be sure to enter before the deadline, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Meanwhile, until you win your own copy of The Tree of Water, please enjoy the opening lines of the story...
The human boys had an expression back in the faraway city of Vaarn where I was born. It went like this:
Curiosity killed the cat
Satisfaction brought him back
I am a curious person. I was just as curious back in my early days in Vaarn as I am now, perhaps even more so, because my curiosity had not yet been given a chance to be satisfied.
The first time I heard this expression, I was very excited. I thought it meant that my curiosity could make me feel like I was dying, but it would let up if I discovered the answer to whatever was making me curious.
I told my mother about the rhyme. She was not impressed. In fact, she looked at me as if I had just set my own hair on fire on purpose. She patted my chin, which was woefully free of any sign of the beard that should have been growing there.
“That’s very nice,” she said, returning to her chores. “But just in case nobody told you, you are not a cat, Ven. Unlike you, cats have whiskers.”
My pride stung for days afterward.
But it didn’t stop my curiosity from growing as fast as my beard should have been.
My name is Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme, Ven for short. Unlike the human boys in Vaarn, I am of the race of the Nain. Nain are somewhat shorter than humans, and grumpier. They live almost four times as long as humans, and tend to be much less curious, and much less adventurous. They hate to travel, don’t swim, and generally do not like other people. Especially those who are not Nain.
I clearly am not a good example of my race.
First, I am very tall for a Nain, sixty-eight Knuckles high when I was last measured on the morning of my fiftieth birthday. I’ve already mentioned my uncontrollable curiosity, which brings along with it a desire for adventure. I have been blessed, or cursed, with quite a lot of that recently.
But as for the curiosity, while I’ve had a lot of satisfaction for the questions it has asked me, it doesn’t seem to matter. As soon as one burning question is answered, another one springs to mind immediately. As a result, I am frequently in trouble.
So now I am about to lay my head on a chopping block, on purpose, and a man with a very sharp knife is standing over me, ready to make slashes in my neck.
I’m wondering if in fact instead of being a live Nain, I am about to end up as a dead, formerly curious cat.

Because now I have three whiskers of my own.

I'll be sharing this book with my sixth graders as a read aloud after our Thanksgiving break. I can't wait to get started reading it to them!
You can follow the complete blog tour (and additional giveaways) for The Tree of Water HERE.

2 comments:

  1. Tree of Water sounds like one of those books that gets you thinking from a new angle - one where you can expect the unexpected! :)

    -Lisa
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

    ReplyDelete
  2. This book sounds like it is action packed, and I can think of several of my fourth graders that would be interested to read this book.

    ReplyDelete

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