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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity



Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

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Kids' Q&A

R. L. LaFevers

Describe your latest project.
Theodosia's adventures continue in Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris, where she has been assigned to catalog the jumble of artifacts down in the catacombs, where some of the most long-forgotten, cursed artifacts lurk. While there, she stumbles onto an artifact that just might be the Staff of Osiris, the wand the Egyptian god of the underworld used to maintain power over the dead.

She soon has her hands full juggling unwanted mummies, trying to discover what the Serpents of Chaos are up to, and avoiding a bothersome string of governesses. Once again she will have to take on secret societies, evil curses, and dark magic too sinister to imagine. Theodosia will have to rely on her own skill and cunning — along with a little help from the most unexpected places — to avoid an evil conspiracy that strikes at the very heart of Britain.


  1. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos
    $4.95 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist
    "A combination of Nancy Drew and Indiana Jones." School Library Journal (starred review)

    "A sure bet for Harry Potter fans as well as Joan Aiken's and Eva Ibbotson's readers. This imaginative, supernatural mystery will find word-of-mouth popularity." Booklist (starred review)


  2. Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris Once again Theodosia will have to take on secret societies, evil curses, and dark magic too sinister to imagine — especially if it falls into the wrong hands. Blocked at every turn, Theodosia will have to rely on her own skill and cunning — along with a little help from the most unexpected places.
Describe your most memorable teacher.
My most memorable teacher was Miss Kemp in fourth grade at Ivanhoe School in Los Angeles. She was the first teacher I had who made me feel as if my love of reading and writing were something special, as if I were something special.

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Cap'n Crunch! I adore those little brown squares of sweet crunchiness. Of course, my mother never, ever bought sugary cereal, so I think I only had it three times in my entire childhood, but boy, the memory of it still lingers...

What was your favorite story as a child?
My favorite story as a child would have to be The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I adored those books and read them at least once a year for about six years. I wanted to find a wardrobe to Narnia so badly!

What do you do for relaxation?
In addition to writing as a job, it is also my favorite way to relax. I love nothing more than picking up a fresh, pristine notebook and new pen and brainstorming. I have many, many notebooks full of story notes that will most likely never become full-length books, but I sure had fun "playing" in that world for a while. However, when I simply cannot write anymore, I like to read, watch movies, and hang out with my family.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I've always wanted to be a writer. I began writing at age seven, with my first poem, "An Ode to Baby Victoria," which was dedicated to my Madame Alexander doll. A couple of years later that was followed by "An Ode to Narnia." Luckily for the world of poetry, I quickly moved out of odes and into fiction. Even though I've always written, I didn't really have the confidence to pursue it seriously until I was a stay-at-home mom with my own two kids.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
I once received a letter once from a woman who said she had bought my fantasy trilogy, Lowthar's Blade, for her younger, eight-year-old son. She had an older son, 12, who hated reading and would have nothing to do with it. But he overheard her reading The Forging of the Blade to her younger son and became intrigued. Later that night, and many nights thereafter, she found he had taken the book and was reading it in bed, under the covers with a flashlight. It was the first book he'd ever read on his own without being forced! I think this is the sort of story that thrills every children's author to the marrow. It's why we write!

Tell us about your pets.
We had a wild variety of pets when I was young. One of my brothers was allergic to cow's milk, so we had a pet goat. I also had pet chipmunks that I carried around in my shirt pocket. We even had an anteater for a few short weeks. But I think the two baby bear cubs were the pets that took the prize. My stepfather had come across them while on a trip to Oregon, and decided to bring them home. Even though they looked like teddy bears, they were very rough and wild. Much to my dismay, they wouldn't stay in my lap or cuddle; instead they liked to roughhouse with each other — just like my brothers! But they were a very exciting addition to the family for the few short weeks we had them.

Now all we have is an aging Jack Russell terrier named Yoshi and a demonic cat named Oreo, who has been immortalized as Theodosia's cat, Isis, in Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos.

÷ ÷ ÷

R. L. LaFevers (Robin Lorraine when she's in really big trouble) has been fascinated by libraries and museums ever since she first set foot in one. When she's not gazing longingly at ancient artifacts or wallowing in old forgotten texts, she's busy trying to keep one step ahead of her two teenage sons. She lives with the aforementioned sons, her husband, and a demonic cat in Southern California.

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