Monday, November 26, 2018

Blog Tour: Shelter Island by John Paul Tucker @pumpupyourbook

SHELTER ISLAND by John Paul Tucker, Middle Grade/Fantasy/Adventure, 224 pp., $14.95 (paperback) $2.99 (kindle)

Title: SHELTER ISLAND Author: John Paul Tucker Publisher: Brownridge Publishing Pages: 224 Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure

Thirteen-year-old Cary and his sister Clarisse must return home every day after school to mind their eight year old brother, Gregory. “It’s a non-negotiable,” insist their work-obsessed parents. There is another problem. Clarisse and Gregory don’t like Cary much, and Cary doesn’t much like anything, especially being tagged with his gummy-fingered little brother. But their troubles are about to grow talons.

While bickering over the contents of a small, intricately embroidered pouch, the siblings unintentionally summon three mail-clad birds, who hasten their three young conscripts to Shelter Island, refuge to a long divided realm hidden from the children’s homeland for hundreds of years. Spotted above enemy territory, the small company is attacked. Clarisse and Gregory escape to the caves of Husgard. Cary’s captors dispatch him to Vangorfold, a centuries old stronghold sworn to Husgard’s destruction. Entangled in a centuries old conflict, the children’s own blur of problems comes into sharp focus, hastening the fortunes, for good or ill, not only of a forgotten civilization of birds, but of the children’s homeland.



Clarisse hovered over the tiny artifact the same way
her parents would have conducted their research. The letters
on the scroll were written in the same spidery golden
threads of the embroidered feather on the pouch.
            She hesitated to check a word.

            Three fair feathers travellers are,
            Bearing friends or foes afar.
            Bound together, by bearers three,
            Summons three bearers to bear ye.

            “It’s a riddle,” said Gregory, his eyebrows climbing with
each new revelation.
            “Maybe,” said Clarisse, who had recalled a passage
from a story she had read. “It sounds more like an enchantment.”


Interview with John Paul Tucker

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Shelter Island?

Cary, Clarisse and Gregory are latchkey siblings who have been pretty much left to manage themselves by a pair of professional parents who are buried deep in examining artifacts from a recent dig, which concern the continent’s history on which they live, the Fragile Lands. The siblings have issues. Cary has withdrawn and argues with just about everybody and has slowly built up a resentment towards his younger brother. Gregory is feeling pretty lost for a reason you’ll read more about in the second book of the series, The Rooster and the Raven King. Their parents tend to dote on Gregory more than they ever did on Cary and Clarisse – when the anthropologists are around. Clarisse has been caught in the middle and plays referee to her two brothers. But their blur of problems is about to come into sharp focus when, bickering over the contents of a small embroidered pouch, they accidentally summon three birds of prey, who whisk them away to a secret island inhabited by a civilization of intelligent birds mired in troubles of their own. The remainder of the characters, which I will keep under wraps for now, inhabit Shelter Island.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

Happy you asked. Inspired by Lilith and Phantastes, George MacDonald’s classic fairytales for adults, my latest work is a Heroic Fantasy for ages 12 and up. Will Flint’s longing for his missing father ignites a dramatic and fateful quest into a mythical country in which the unseen things of the world have transformed into creatures of elemental power, a land in which one impulsive request transforms one realm and shatters another. The novel is a little darker than my first middle grade books, but who doesn’t like to feel their heart thumping once in a while? You can watch the book trailer at my author website:

How long would you say it takes you to write a book?

The first draft of approximately 50,000 words — six months. Subsequent edits and rewrites, and further edits after my publisher took it on, while I was working on other manuscripts — 3 years!

What is your favorite childhood book?

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novella by Richard Bach & Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from Shelter Island who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.

I would spend the day with Fyrndagas Underdel Dearth, the Third. Dearth is first into a fray and last to leave a battle. He’s cantankerous and doesn’t do small talk, but in a pinch he’s the one you would want on your side. I have no idea where we would go or what we would do. He takes the lead. In all likelihood the day would involve spying, pilfering of something needed to further the cause of Fridorfold, and a daring escape. Did I mention Dearth’s a rat? Actually, he’s an Underdel, not to be mistaken for the talkative, rather skittish and much rounder Underdens. Just don’t call him a r-a-t to his rather long-toothed, whiskered face.

What was the hardest scene from Shelter Island to write?

If I told you how many times I edited the first scene, which happens to be the entire first chapter, you would be appalled.

What made you want to become a writer?

I have always found stories compelling. Books opened up new worlds and introduced peculiar characters I would have liked to have as friends. Stories taught me profound truths which I could not grasp any other way. But it was Ernest Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novella by Richard Bach which had the greatest impact on my young and impressionable imagination. I wept for Hemmingway’s old fisherman. Then, I got angry. I refused to believe that the old man’s experience, which read like a sad parable, was all life had to offer. Jonathan Seagull, in contrast, swept alongside a young artist and promised much, much more than meets the eye. I was astounded that stories could wield so much power. Perhaps, those novels were the grand impetus, when I knew there would be no turning back.

Just for fun

(a Favorite book: The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.

(b Favorite website: So many…too busy! I expend a lot of energy on two of my own: & My favourite websites when writing are:,, &

Thanks so much for visiting with us today! 

John Paul Tucker holds degrees in Theatre and Theology and has many years experience as an Ontario Certified English Language Teacher, in addition to teaching mime, puppetry and Drama to teens and children. His unique journey has furnished him with an eclectic head of ideas.
He is currently celebrating his 50th article on, an educational website he created for writers, featuring writing tips and techniques harvested from the books we love to read. He has published poems in the Toronto Sun, Little Trinity Print Magazine and Imago Arts e-magazine. His poem City Sidewalks won first prize in a Toronto wide poetry contest. Two of his short stories, The Crooked Tree and The Debt Collector have each won a prize awarded by The Word Guild and The Prescott Journal respectively. You will find one of his fantasy stories recently published in the popular Hot Apple Cider anthology Christmas with Hot Apple Cider. JP has been busy polishing up The Rooster and the Raven King & The Rise of the Crimson King, Books II & III of The Song of Fridorfold trilogy, pursuing Cary, Clarisse and Gregory on their fantastic adventures.

John Paul is excited to be putting the final touches to his fourth novel, a YA fantasy inspired by the remarkable storyteller, George MacDonald. Gather the latest news about JP’s upcoming novels, enjoy a book trailer, dive into some free stories and poems, contribute some art work, take a peek at some photos, or for no other reason drop by to say hello at his official author website

John’s latest book is the middle grade fantasy adventure, Shelter Island.