I am absolutely delighted to welcome author M.L. Tarpley to the blog today to chat about her upcoming middle grade novel, Maylie and the Maze, and how you can help!
Author M.L. Tarpley is a kid at heart with an active imagination that she thankfully doesn’t have to rein in when writings quirky novels that she would have loved as a kid. She is also an award-winning journalist who loves to travel the world.
Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her other interests include hanging out at cool coffee shops, listening to vintage records, going on adventures with her family, and researching dead people in her family from long ago (*cough* it’s called genealogy). She lives in Louisiana with her husband and son. For more information about her, visit her website at mltarpleybooks.com
MAYLIE AND THE MAZE
SERIES: Tales of a Travel Girl #1
GENRE: Middle Grade (grades 3-5)
PUBLISHER: Ink Map Press
RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2020
Will Maylie’s dream be crushed by her own imagination?
Ten-year-old Maylie Montes’s dream is to become an author, but she has a problem. She can’t finish a story. Not a single one.
Her second problem is Camden, her annoying twin brother, who is determined to ruin their summer traveling through Europe with their famous photographer aunt and spunky grandma.
The first stop is England where a castle and maze, a new British friend, and a lot of weird words await Maylie—but the first item on her itinerary is to learn how to write, so she can finally finish a story. However, this goal may land her a one-way ticket home after her writing targets her brother in a spooky story involving a nighttime maze full of monsters. And Camden has his own plans, leaving Maylie to wonder if her imagination has actually become a reality.
“Maylie and the Maze was an amazing book that was set in an extraordinary place. I loved how this book was fictional, but you also learned important things about England. I love this book and would definitely recommend reading it.” – Book Reviewer Rylee M. (age 11)
“I really loved it! One of the best books I’ve read.” – Ceanna B. (age 8)
“Maylie and the Maze has all the components you would want in a children’s novel. Relatable characters, adventure, friendships, and a touch of geography embedded throughout. As an educator, I feel this would be a great read-aloud in my classroom!” – elementary educator Erin Masters M.Ed
“Maylie and the Maze was a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading as a parent, reader, and educator. I loved that it promoted so many positive lessons of character and knowledge without my child even realizing it! As an educator for the past 20 years, I would highly recommend this book to young readers who are ready to make the journey from easy reading chapter books to something with more interest and substance.” – elementary librarian Jennifer Benandi
how can you help?
click the graphic below to head to the kickstarter campaign!
Hi M.L.! Welcome to the blog!
ML: Winter. Give me all the hats, scarves, and cozy sweaters! A combo of steaming cup of coffee or tea, an armchair, and a book (whether writing or reading) is the ideal activity for me for the winter months.
Carrie: YES PLEASE!!
ML: Cats. Maybe it’s because they can be snarky and cuddly cute at the same time. But hands down I’m a cat person.
Carrie: hmmm… by ‘cats’ you meant ‘dogs’ right? 😉
ML: Mountains, (See Answer One for reason lol) which is pretty ironic since my first name, which is Morgan, literally means “Born by the sea” in the Welsh language. ha! I was born by the Mississippi River. Does that count?!
Carrie: See? I knew the cat answer was just an anomaly – you’re my kind of people!
ML: Board games are my fave. My husband and I have a growing collection of cool ones like Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan. And we used to love playing the board game, Pandemic, but, uh, well we don’t now. 🙂
Carrie: Gee. I can’t imagine why not LOL. PS – we love Ticket to Ride, too!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
ML: Probably planning international trips and traveling by myself. I’ve traveled to over a dozen countries, several by myself. There’s just something amazing and special about experiencing other cultures with their own languages, unique landscapes, and fascinating people.
I love talking to locals wherever I go and asking them about their country and what they think I should see and do. It opens up a new perspective for that place and its culture. I love that!
And that’s part of why I’m setting my books around the world in countries I’ve visited, so I can infuse them with that first hand experience. I want readers to have the chance to travel the world even if only through fiction.
Carrie: that’s awesome!
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
ML: Mr. Popper of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I read this book by Richard and Florence Atwater for the first time in fifth grade and fell in love with this quirky story. It’s about an ordinary man with an extraordinary dream and after a bunch of penguins are literally dropped off at his doorstep the shenanigans ensue! Such a fun and imaginative read. I wanted to be Mr. Popper with his penguins. What adventures they had!
Carrie: I love Mr. Popper 🙂
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
ML: She likes to stay up too late writing about us. We want to sleep. It’s annoying. Ha!
But, seriously, I think my characters would say they get tired of me prodding and poking them to tell me more and ask them what they’d like to do next and what they thought about this or that. I’m always interviewing them! But I am a journalist, so it comes second nature to me.
Q: Which of your main characters in Maylie and the Maze is most like you?
ML: Maylie totally! She has so much of my 10-year-old self in her while also standing on her own two fictional legs. 🙂 I’ve loved to dream up stories since before I even could write them down. I wrote my first full novel at age 12. (It will not see the light of day though unless I need a good laugh! hehe)
She’s also very curious about the world around her while also having to try to rein in her overactive imagination. *Raises hand* That was so me! What am I saying…it still is.
She was a fun character to write and I can’t wait to continue her stories throughout the series.
Carrie: you both sound like a lot of fun to know 🙂
Q: Some authors like to hide little things in their stories. Is there anything you have hidden in your book?
ML: I’ve actually been to the main setting of this book: Leeds Castle in England and its amazing maze. It’s such a beautiful castle. The maze is a thrilling part of it. Much like Maylie, I wasn’t prepared for its grotto though. Wow!
Carrie: ooo i’m intrigued!!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Maylie and the Maze?
ML: That no matter what dreams you have and challenges you face they can be overcome whether it be finishing a first story or facing the uncertainty of a new experience. You have to believe in yourself and surround yourself with others who are positive and encouraging.
Carrie: So true!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
ML: Thank you so much for having me as your guest! It was a blast!
My Kickstarter campaign to publish Maylie and the Maze started [August 15th]! Yay! I’ve created some fun and unique packages that you won’t be able to get anywhere else including a print edition of my Young Writer’s Kit, holographic stickers and more. Please check it out here!
And the second book in this series comes out in Spring 2021! So I’m hard at work editing it as well as writing Book Three, which will publish in Fall 2021. Hooray!
M.L. Tarpley is offering a $10 Amazon gift card, so one of my readers can purchase that book they’ve been longing to read! (Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Must be able to accept gift card from US Amazon) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Maylie and the Maze by M.L. Tarpley?