I’ve spent a lifetime with stories—listening to my father’s wonderful stories when I was a child, teaching about stories as an English professor, and finally writing stories for my grandchildren and loving to watch their faces as I read the stories aloud to them.
My first published book for middle schoolers is Madelon and Cameron and the Dominions of Time. It starts out almost as a fairy tale, with a magic ring that can conquer time and space and a boy uncertain of his parentage. As the story unfolds, the two worlds of time become evident. One is the real world of science and rationality—the rocket ships on their launching pads at Cape Canaveral, a New York City brownstone house, the dinosaur hall in the Museum of Natural History. The other world is the magic world. It shades from real places like Stonehenge and a Neolithic Irish burial site to the spectacular imagery of the Bridge of Swords and the brooding terror of the Castle of Bron.
Twelve-year-old Madelon and Cameron are the main characters in my story—or as they soon call themselves Mad and Cam. “Let’s just be Mad and Cam against the world,” Mad says--and rightly so, as they do battle against the evil wizard Daimastron and his gnome-like Gorbuc warriors. Mad is the one who does the right thing impetuously, not always thinking of the consequences she may face. Cam often holds back, but does the right thing in the end.
Mirrors reflect the two worlds of the story. And the mirrors ask the question, “What is real?” The brownstone house has an ordinary mirror on the living room wall. But what about the mirror that wasn’t really there—the mirror that shows the old-fashioned grandfather clock, with no numbers on the dial and an evil wizard with an iron key? Or what about the two-dimensional mirror in the Castle of Bron from which the sinister, three-dimensional leopard- creatures emerge?
Adventure follows upon adventure as Mad and Cam do battle with evil wizards, fearsome Gorbucs, and treacherous knights. Cam is assailed by phantoms and must fight with them. Mad must outwit the duplicitous Dr. Sargon and save her grandfather’s life by placing a magic sunstone on his tongue. The place-names of the chapters give some sense of the way in which the story progresses: the Woods of Mordremar, the High Walls of Bron, the Tower of Timbuktion, and also The Council Chamber, where the totally evil Lord of Tenebris sits at the modern-day computer, wearing an ordinary business suit.
“You can’t be the Lord of Tenebris,” Cam splutters, “You’re much too—“
“Ordinary?” said the plump little man, stroking his neat, plump belly. “But that’s the point, Cameron. Being ordinary is the best disguise I have. That’s why [evil has] survived so long.”
To which Madelon replies that ordinary people fight evil, too. And that perhaps is the theme of the book—that courage and compassion will win out every time.
Madelon and Cameron and the Dominions of Time is available via amazon.com as an e-book at $3.99 and, if I say so myself, a very handsome 400-page paperback at $10.99. The cover says that the book is part of the Two Worlds Chronicles series, and I hope that the reader response to this book is positive enough for me to publish the other volumes as well.