Welcome to Day 15 of the 6th Annual March MG Madness, featuring A.E. Conran and her book, The Lost Celt!
The Lost Celt
by A.E. Conran
March 15, 2016
Fourth Graders Mikey and Kyler are convinced that they've seen a real live Celtic warrior just like the men their video war game Romanii: Northern Borders. Has he been transported to the present as part of a secret defense project? If they track him down, they're sure to reveal the secrets of time-travel once and for all, and write the best Veteran's Day report in the history of Veteran's Day reports in the process. Instead they discover a very different secret: the invisible effects of war on veterans of all generations and their families, and the transcendent power of friendship. The Lost Celt was awarded a Gold Medal for Children's Books from The Military Writers Society of America.
“THE LOST CELT is the best kind of children’s adventure story, full of taut suspense, riveting action, and, most importantly, humor and heart. Not to be missed.” Katherine Applegate, Author of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal
Magical Moments in Middle Grade
When I was nine I fell in love with C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was the book that made me fall in love with reading. It was the book that made me want to become a writer.
I’d had to go to work with my dad, who taught teachers to teach. I was to stay in his college library all day. I was more than fine with that. While browsing, I noticed The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe on a bottom shelf. I couldn’t believe a book could have such a strange title with so many “the’s” in it. Was that even allowed?
I pulled it out and, intrigued by the cover, knelt on the floor and began to read. The sunbeams, full of dancing dust motes, streamed through the library windows to light the pages. By the time I’d finished the book, the light was behind me and I hadn’t moved. It was the most magical experience I’d ever had. As you know, in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Lucy pushes through the back of an enchanted wardrobe into a fantasy world, but just opening the covers of that book was like walking through the wardrobe for me.
The book grabbed me because every child is looking for moments of magic in the world. As children we have a fundamental belief that there is something more to life. I think most adults still want to believe that, too. Certainly as a child, there was nothing I wanted more than for that wardrobe to exist, for it to be possible to travel to a new world or to travel into the past.
My ten-year-old characters in The Lost Celt, Mikey and Kyler, are convinced that they’ve seen a real live Celtic warrior in the VA hospital of their Californian town. He looks exactly like the Celtic warriors in their video war game Romanii: Northern Borders complete with spiky red hair, tattoos and a seriously impressive Celtic necklace called a torc. He even speaks a foreign language at times. The boys decide that he’s either travelled to the present as part of a secret defense project or that he using the Celtic Otherworld as a wormhole through time and space. Either way, maybe he needs their help to get back to his own time on that most significant of Irish holidays, Halloween, when the gateway between the Otherworld and our world is open. They even wonder if he’ll take them to see the past for themselves.
My boys are desperately looking for magic, and the scientific theories they research and the coincidences they encounter are so convincing that they believe they've found it. Are they wrong?
At the end of the book, when their families and Mikey’s Grandad’s veteran buddies gather together to help the boys’ Celtic warrior, real magic occurs: a healing magic. It isn’t instant. It will take time, but family, friends and telling stories may still be the best magic of all.
Is it “Middle Grade Madness” to believe in in middle grade magic. I don’t think so. Not at all. Not at any age. Reading is an enchanted and enchanting experience.
(The language the Celt is speaking, by the way, is Arabic. I hope that isn’t too big a clue.
When A. E. Conran (Amanda) is not writing her own children's books or working as a freelance editor, she is a children's book specialist, school book fair booktalker and children’s book club facilitator at the renowned Bay Area independent bookstore, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA. The Lost Celt is her first middle grade novel. A modern adventure story, it draws upon time-travel conspiracies, Roman and Celtic history and the stories of Irish warrior hero Cuchulain, but ultimately deals with the invisible effects of war on veterans and their families throughout the generations and the transcendent power of friendship. Originally from Leicestershire, England, Amanda now lives in the Bay Area with her husband, son and daughter.
Win a signed copy of The Lost Celt, plus bookmarks, postcards, and temporary tattoos!
A.E. Conran has generously offered two (2) signed books and swag for two winners.
-there will be one US winner and one Worldwide winner
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes