Please join me in welcoming author Esther M. Bandy to the blog today to chat about her debut middle grade novel, Under the Tangerine Tree!
When Esther Bandy was five, a neighbor taught a Good News Club. She heard the gospel there, and she received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. That was the most important day in her life. She later worked as a nurse, a missionary, a director with Child Evangelism Fellowship, and a Spanish teacher at a Christian school.
Now, she’s an author. She’s been published in two anthologies: Treasures of a Woman’s Heart and Triumph from Tragedy. Her debut middle-grade novel, Under the Tangerine Tree, was published in January 2022.
You can connect with Esther on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
UNDER THE TANGERINE TREE by Esther M. Bandy
GENRE: Inspirational Children’s Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: JEBCO Publishing
RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2022
Twelve-year-old Angie Mangione lives with her parents and her five-year-old brother, Joey, in New York City. After Papa is shot, Mama moves with Angie and Joey to Granny’s house on a country lake in Florida.
How can Angie cope with missing Papa, moving to Florida, being the new girl at school, and living with her angry teenage cousin at Granny’s house?
Will Angie and Joey be able to survive the mysterious danger that lurks in the lake? With all the changes in Angie’s life, will she ever be happy again?
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Hi Esther! Welcome to the blog!
Esther: Oranges, of course. I grew up in Florida, and I’ve always loved eating Florida oranges and tangerines.
Carrie: of course!
Esther: While I love both, if I had to choose one over the other it would be dogs. They’re loyal and affectionate, and they eagerly demonstrate their love with wagging tails and puppy dog kisses.
Carrie: yes!! Nothing quite like a dog’s love 🙂
Esther: I love both, but if I had to choose just one it would be the ocean. I love the soothing sound of the waves, the salty ocean breeze, walking along the shore, and swimming in the cool water on a hot summer day.
Carrie: Ideally, I’d want both – a mountainous cliff that overlooks the ocean haha
Esther: I enjoy both. When I’m resting in bed, I prefer ebooks on my Kindle. They’re much easier to hold in bed. When I’m in my chair or sitting in the sauna, I prefer a print book. I’m usually reading at least one print book and one ebook at the same time. Sometimes I listen to an audiobook as well, so I often read several books at a time in different formats and different genres.
Carrie: I agree with you about ebooks being much easier to hold in bed!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Esther: That’s a challenging question. I think it would be either listening to people or encouraging them. I’ve asked the Lord to help me be a blessing to people. I try to do that by listening to them, praying for them, and encouraging them.
Carrie: We definitely need more people like that in the world right now!
Q: Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
Esther: The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer, Touch the World Through Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel, Streams in the Desert, Learn the Bible in 24 Hours by Chuck Missler, and Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull.
Carrie: I haven’t read the others yet but I love Tozer!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Esther: My favorite place to write is in our dining room. I’m disabled and mostly homebound, and the dining room is the only room in the house where plants grow. My son and I have a rare disease that makes us extremely sensitive to the sun, so the other windows in our home are covered in black-out curtains and black plastic. The plants won’t grow there. In the dining room, we’ve left the sliding glass doors uncovered so that the room is open to the sun for the plants to grow and thrive. I take my laptop there after dark so I can look out the sliding glass doors into the well-lit back yard. I enjoy being with my plants and looking at the trees. Sometimes I even get to see the moon, the stars, and the deer. I love to watch deer when their graceful movements look like they’re dancing in the moonlight.
Carrie: What a beautiful picture that must be ♥
Q: Which of your main characters in Under the Tangerine Tree is most like you?
Esther: My main character, Angie, is most like me. She grew up in the 60s, and she had many challenges in her life. She often made mistakes as she struggled to do the right thing. After she found the Lord Jesus, she found hope and joy in her relationship with God.
Carrie: So thankful for His hope and joy!
Q: Were there any songs that inspired you as you wrote Under the Tangerine Tree?
Esther: Several songs inspired me as I wrote my book. “The Old Rugged Cross,” “He Lives,” and “How Great Thou Art” are three songs that I’ve mentioned in my book. They play an important part in Angie’s life as well.
Carrie: three of my faves too 🙂
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Under the Tangerine Tree?
Esther: One of my favorite quotes from my book is in the last chapter after Angie’s Mama gives her a Bible for Christmas.
“Mama gave her the most wonderful book she’d ever had, her very own Holy Bible. Even though she’d read from Mama’s and Granny’s Bibles, she’d never had a Bible of her own. She opened it and read Mama’s writing.
Remember that God is your Heavenly Father, and the Bible is God’s love letter to you. God loves you more than anyone else ever has or ever will. Reading your Bible will help you know God better, and it will help you become a stronger Christian.
I love you, Angie.
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.
Esther: Thank you for the opportunity to share my book with your readers. I’m currently looking for an agent and a publisher for Barnabas Beagle, my debut picture book. I’m also working on the sequel to Under the Tangerine Tree.
Esther M. Bandy is offering a print copy of Under the Tangerine Tree to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) 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 Under the Tangerine Tree by Esther M. Bandy with a middle grade reader in your life?
Your book sounds extremely helpful to children whose families are dealing with difficult circumstances, who are grieving, who have had to relocate, or who are lonely. Most of us have probably had experiences that would cause us to benefit from reading Under the Tangerine Tree. Since I work with children at an after school tutoring company, I’d love to read it. Then I would want to pass it on to a family experiencing one of these situations. We do have a family whose father died from COVID.
Suzanne, thank you for your comment. It sounds like you have a wonderful ministry tutoring children. As I I wrote Under the Tangerine Tree, I prayed that it would be helpful to children dealing with the challenges in their lives. I hope you’re able to share my book with some of the children you work with, and I hope it’s a blessing for them.
sounds so good.
Thank you, Lori. I hope it’s a blessing for you.
This story is a treasure which I would give to my grandchildren to enjoy. So meaningful, profound and captivating. Stories like this give me great pleasure and are memorable and unforgettable.
Thank you for your comment, Anne. I hope it’s a blessing for you and your grandchildren.