Podcast #14: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

An Interview with A. T. Baron

For my fourteenth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author Angela Baron, who writes under the name A. T. Baron. We talked about one of her favorite books, the children’s middle grade comic fantasy novel, The Wee Free Men by the late, great Terry Pratchett.

First published in 2003, The Wee Free Men is a Discworld book, the setting of so many of Terry Pratchett’s middle grade and adult satirical novels.  Here we are introduced to nine-year old Tiffany Aching, who discovers she may have a calling as a witch after she dispatches a river monster with a well-aimed frying pan.  But before she can learn more about what all that means, she must rescue her bothersome little brother from the Queen of Fairyland.  She won’t have to go it alone, though.  She has the assistance of the Nac Mac Feegle, the Wee Free Men, a band of six-inch, kilt-wearing, sheep-stealing blue men who never pass up the opportunity for a fight or a drink. This is the first of a series of books featuring Tiffany and the Nac Mac Feegle. Others include A Hatful of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, and the posthumously published The Shepherd’s Crown.

Angela Baron has written under the name A.T. Baron such children’s books as  the self-illustrated Tale of Two Squirrels as well as her forthcoming YA novel The Ruby Cell. She has also created the illustrations for Sandy Barton’s picture book, The Tree. You can find her website at www.atbaron.com.

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published on June 1st, 2017.

Podcast #13: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

An Interview with A. B. Westrick

For my thirteenth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author Anne Westrick, who writes under the name A.B Westrick. We talked about one of her favorite books, the children’s middle grade comic mystery novel, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

The novel was first published in 2012 and was a Newbery Honor Book. Set in Tupelo, North Carolina,  the story is told by Moses “Mo” LoBeau, a young girl who was rescued from a flooded river eleven years before, and has stumbled into the middle of a mystery when one of the locals turns up murdered. Along with her best friend Dale, she tries to find the answers to a whole basket full of questions. Who killed Mr. Jessie?  What happened to the Colonel, the man who’s been raising her along with the cafe owner Miss Lana, before he lost his memory? When will her “upstream mother” answer the notes she’s been stuffing into bottles and releasing in the river? Why was her teacher at the races with the detective investigating the case? And where was Dale’s head at when he thought it was a good idea to steal Mr. Jessie’s boat? All these questions and a few more besides are answered in this not terribly serious mystery novel.

Under the name A.B Westick, Anne has written the young adult novel Brotherhood, which was an ALA/ YASLA Best Book for Young Adults in 2014 and a Junior Library Guild selection. The story  is set during the tumultuous time of the Reconstruction, and deals with one brother’s conflict between his ties to the Ku Klux Klan and his friendship with a young former slave. Her website can be found at abwestrick.com/

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published on May 16th, 2017.