Please join me in welcoming the wonderfully prolific British author Tracey Mathias to the Reading Room today. With a middle grade fantasy adventure trilogy under her belt published in German and now in English, she’s also started a new YA project. Click on her website link below to read the first chapters of her fantasy adventure books–you’re in for a treat.
Q. Hi Tracey! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. Hi! My name is Tracey Mathias, and I live in London, UK, with my husband, three teenage daughters and a fierce tabby kitten called Teddy–who has just about learned not to tread on the computer keyboard when I’m trying to write. I’m the author of the Assalay Trilogy: the story of a fantasy land with a hidden secret in its past and a growing ecological crisis in its future–and a heroine called Gaia who is the key to resolving both.
I loved writing as a child, and always thought I would write when I grew up, but for many years, a lack of confidence stopped me. Then, about ten years ago, a coincidence of things got me started again (as a keen reader of crime fiction, I like to think of these as motive, means and opportunity!). I rediscovered how much I loved writing–and how much fun it could be–when I helped write the lyrics for some children’s songs at my kids’ music school. The idea for a story landed in my mind and wouldn’t leave. And my youngest daughter was just starting school, freeing up time in the middle of my days. I decided that I would spend a year, seeing if I could finish a book… and the result was A Fragment of Moonswood, which became the first volume of the Assalay Trilogy.
The Assalay Trilogy
Assalay… a land with a hidden and forgotten history, facing ecological collapse. Can the past be recovered and the future be saved?
A fantasy adventure for children aged 10–14 (and some adults too…)
Published by Canfield Dragon Press
Q. Tell us something about your greatest success.
A. Phew! Tricky question! I guess my most obvious success was landing a three book deal with the first book I’d ever written, when Assalay was bought by the German publisher, Erika Klopp. But at the same time I always felt that it wasn’t a complete success because I hadn’t managed to sell to a publisher in the UK or US, and family, friends and acquaintances kept asking “When can we read your books in English?!” That’s why I decided to self-publish the English editions, and I see those books as a big success too–I’m very pleased with how they look and feel (which is largely thanks to my wonderful Dad, Tim Mathias, who did the lovely cover art).
Q. What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
A. I think the time of biggest challenge was just after I had finished Assalay. I had created this huge, complex, colourful fantasy world, and it was so difficult to begin writing something new: everything I started felt tiny and insignificant by comparison. And of course, everything IS small when you start it: it’s the germ of an idea, a couple of words on the page and you have to give it room to grow… but at that time, I found it hard to feel the truth of that. In the year after I finished Assalay, I started and abandoned three books. Then I decided that I had to finish the next one, which took me the best part of four years. I’m still not totally satisfied with it (and I may never be), but I learned a lot through writing it, and through making myself get to the end!
Q. So true! There’s certainly something to be said about finishing what you start. What plans do you have for the future?
A. I don’t know about the long term future, but I have definite plans for 2016! I will be revising, editing and publishing the English edition of Assalay volume three: Weatherlord. I also want to finish a new Young Adult novel that I’m writing–set in more or less contemporary England, about politics, grief and love.
ASSALAY BOOK ONE: A FRAGMENT OF MOONSWOOD
Home for Gaia and Tal is a remote, barren mountainside that they think they’ll never leave. But winter brings a series of disasters, forcing them to set out on a long and difficult journey. In the heart of Assalay, they encounter undreamed-of dangers–and uncover old secrets that have the power to change their world for ever.
ASSALAY BOOK TWO: THE SINGING WAR
In Assalay there is fire, flood, famine, and growing opposition to the ruling Fellowship. Born to privilege and wealth, Leo and Rachel Philemot have had a comfortable and happy childhood. But now strange revelations will make them doubt what they have been taught, while unexpected friendships will present life or death choices between old and new loyalties.
Thanks for reading!