Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Hello, Thomas Taylor! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! Thank you for stopping by to celebrate Malamander. Please tell us three things about Eerie-on-Sea.

Thomas Taylor: Hello, Mr Schu. Thank you for contacting me and featuring Malamander. Three things about Eerie-on-Sea, you say? Well, …

1. Eerie-on-Sea is based on the seaside towns I’ve lived in or near over my life. The most inspirational of these are name-checked as streets and lanes in the map I drew at the beginning of the book.

2. Like all seaside towns that aren’t also a port, Eerie-on-Sea is on the road to nowhere. You might go there in the summer if you fancy a day on the beach, but if you are visiting in winter, you’re probably up to something.

3. I’ve imagined the beach at Eerie-on-Sea to be a beachcomber’s paradise. But in real life I have actually found, on British beaches, everything Mrs Fossil finds in the story. Including fossilized dinosaur poo!

Scenario: A teacher-librarian spots you holding a copy of Malamander at a library conference. He asks you what it is about. You are running late for a meeting, but you have enough time to deliver a 20-second booktalk. Read, set, booktalk! 

Thomas Taylor: “Oh! Er, well, it’s about a boy called Herbie who helps a girl called Violet to find her parents, as winter closes in on the strange seaside town where they live, and something terrifying that cannot possibly be creeps out of the mist of legend. Also, there’s a magical bookshop!... phew!”

Well done, Thomas! :) 

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Tom Booth’s illustrations are brilliant, evocative and magical, whilst also carrying just enough fun to match the text. I couldn’t be happier with them!

The Grand Nautilus Hotel would be a wonderful place to stay, but I would probably lock my door at night. And maybe don’t order the eggs at breakfast. And never, EVER, go up to the sixth floor and knock on Lady Kraken’s door!

I hope Malamander finds readers in the US, as it has in the UK, and that those readers get happily lost in the twisting streets of Eerie-on-Sea in the company of Herbie and Violet, and Erwin the bookshop cat. And I hope they will want to visit again.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me where I got the character of Erwin – the mysterious white cat who lives at the Eerie Book Dispensary – from. Because then I could have told that I literally found him on the beach, whilst hunting for fossils and sea glass. I looked down, and saw a white cat looking back up at me from the sand!

Look for Malamander on September 10, 2019. 


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