One of my favourite children’s authors, Ursula Le Guin, once said: ‘The writer cannot do it alone. The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.’
The Mirror of Pharos has always seemed to have a life of its own. Something compelled me to write it and even when I felt like giving up – which happened often – the story seemed to rattle in the drawer like a game of Jumanji, demanding to be played, come what may. Despite its intransigent author, it insisted on finding its audience!
Ten weeks on from the book’s publication, it’s still a matter of great delight that those ‘little black marks on wood pulp’, the product of ten years hard graft, are out there in the world. The story has taken hold of other imaginations and what’s more, the reviews are coming in from respected book lovers – people I’ve never even met.
Reading what they have to say about Jack, Nan, Charlie and the gang, is kind of surreal. It’s as if the characters have taken on a life of their own, too. I can almost hear them chattering with excitement while Alpha the wolf sends out one of his spine-chilling, mystic howls. The timing couldn’t be better as I begin to think how the sequel will unfold. Yes, to my excitement, young readers are asking for more and their questions and curiosity have stirred the already glowing ember of an idea … I’m back in the grips of the story again.
I’ll share some of the children’s comments soon, but the purpose of this post is to feature some reviews from the book blogging community. As a newcomer, I’ve been astounded by the warmth and generosity of this group. Eight fabulous bloggers from England, Wales, Ireland and The Netherlands stepped forward to take part in a blog tour organised by Anne Cater. With no idea of what to expect, I sent out review copies and waited, heart-in-mouth, for their views.
What followed was an extraordinary book buzz that completely took my breath away. My heartfelt thanks to all the reviewers below and to Anne for drawing everyone together. Writing can be such a solitary task, but your enthusiasm for the story was like a surge of electricity that will carry me forwards. Le Guin was right. The writer cannot do it alone. Readers breathe life into those ‘little black marks …’ The tiny animated seagull in the corner of each page of the book, is beating his wings hard in anticipation of another adventure!
Illustrations by Amanda Pike
……………..Click on the links to read the full reviews………………..
Susan Corcoran – Books Are My Cwtches
‘Full of adventure and magic, it’s a book I would without hesitation recommend to all ages. As the Harry Potter series has come to be read and loved by adults and children alike, so I believe The Mirror of Pharos will also. It captures the essence of what an excellent YA book should be about, great characterisation and a strong flowing storyline.’
Kim Nash – Kim The Bookworm
‘It reminded us to look for the magic in the world and to keep your heart open … I wish this book was one I had when I used to run a reading group at Ollie’s school because those children would have completely adored it.’
Karen Cole – Hair Past A Freckle
‘J S Landor has created a wonderful story here, filled with magic, time travel and danger. As an adult reading the book, I was completely gripped and I have to admit to Maggie having a few later bedtimes as we couldn’t resist one more chapter! … The story flows beautifully, there are twists and turns, scenes that will set hearts racing and moments that threaten to break them. I absolutely loved The Mirror of Pharos, it was a pleasure to read aloud …’
Caroline Vincent – Bits About Books
‘The author has created an imaginative and exciting modern fairy tale, a wonderful YA story for all ages that flows well and captivated you from the beginning!’
Donna Maguire – Donna’s Book Blog
‘Five stars from me – this is such a good book – I really enjoyed it and very highly recommend it.’
Linda Green – Books of All Kinds
‘A compelling and absorbing tale of friendship, danger, magic, and strength … It has that special something which really makes it stand out and I really could imagine seeing this on the silver screen.’
Helen Giles – Life of a Nerdish Mum
‘Though I’m way out of the age range of a middle grade books target audience, I always think if a book is good enough, it shouldn’t matter how old you are when you are reading it. The Mirror of Pharos is one of those good books.’
Debbie Johnston – Brook Cottage Books
‘A great book to introduce pre-teens to a more mature style with themes such as grief and bullying explored within the context of the story … I became engrossed in the story and found myself totally abandoned to Jack’s adventures … A brilliant read and highly recommended.’
Blog tour organiser Anne Cater – Random Things Through My Letterbox