Spotlight: THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON interview + giveaway (US & UK)

Hello, YABCers! Today, we're excited to introduce you to a new-to-us fantasy author. See below for information on THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON, read an interview with author John Tarrow, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

The cover for The Stranger's Guide to Talliston, which is dark red with gold lettering.

Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers The Stranger’s Guide, a cryptic book charting this immense no-man’s land and his only map through its dark and dangerous puzzle of doors and rooms.
 
Hunted by sinister forces, Joe is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What lies at the labyrinth’s centre and will it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?
 
THE GOLDEN KEY
 
Within each and every copy of The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is a token that allows entry into an annual lottery to win a quite wondrous and unique prize. Every year, at 12:00 midday on 6th October, a grand draw will be held to award the fabled Golden Key to Talliston to one fortunate child and their guardian. The winner's prize will include ownership of a private and exclusive holiday living inside the magical house and gardens featured in the book.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
 
John Tarrow's photograph

John Tarrow is a storyteller, poet, shaman, award-winning author and creator of Britain’s most extraordinary home; Talliston House & Gardens.

THE HOUSE | Talliston House & Gardens | Britain's Most Extraordinary Home | www.talliston.com
 
THE BOOK | The Stranger's Guide To Talliston | The Epic Fantasy Adventure | www.tarrow.co.uk
 
Twitter @sotalliston

 

THE INTERVIEW:

  1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

The novel is inspired by and set inside a unique and amazing house and gardens. Talliston was a 25-year project that took the UK’s most ordinary house and transformed it, room by room, by ordinary people on an ordinary budget, into Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home.

Starting as a three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex, today not a single square centimetre of the original house remains. In its place is an extraordinary labyrinth of locations, each set in different times and places.

  1. Who is your favorite character in the book?

The main character Joe is very strong – I love his resilience and ability to embrace all the weirdness the world throws at him. But in the story the New Orleans maid-turned-best friend Evangeline became much loved. She is sassy, capricious and a lot of fun to write!

  1. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The title. The idea of a book within a book – à la The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – that is found by the main character and is their guide through an alien world – in this case a labyrinth of times and places – was central to the idea of the book right from the start.

  1. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

Almost the last scene that was added was one where we see where Joe and his mother’s relationship fractured. It was one that appeared right at the end of the writing process, but it is essential to understanding the rift between them both. I always love when your favourite scenes appear like this! Almost by magic.

  1. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

I think a writer needs to think of themselves as a long-distance runner – and how you don't just get up one day and run a marathon. It requires daily practice, training and lots of bad writing to get to the great stuff.

  1. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

Being YA the publisher wanted characters on the front of the book, but I felt that this needed to look like a book that had fallen out of a wizard’s library. Books haven't looked like this in decades, and that’s what makes it really stand out from the shelves.

  1. What’s up next for you?

Almost finished with the writing of The Stranger’s Guide To Ringthorne – featuring this time a thirteen-year-old girl and all set in Elizabethan England. Both sequel and prequel to The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston, featuring the same locations, different moments – and two dozen new rooms in this extraordinary expanded universe.

  1. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

While on a ship in the Norwegian chapter, Joe writes a letter to his parents, seals it in a bottle and throws it into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a letter that brings together all his feelings of

  1. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

I think it was the main character, thirteen-year-old Joe. It was so hard to work out his emotional arc and make him loveable.

 

THE GIVEAWAY:

One winner will receive a signed hardback edition of THE STRANGER'S GUIDE TO TALLISTON. The contest is open to residents of the US and the UK. To enter, please click on the Rafflecopter link below. Be sure to subscribe to our biweekly newsletter to see the winners announced!

 

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

 
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