About The Way of the River: Kellandale Wood (Book One)
Life is perfect for fifteen-year-old Elinora Wolton…for the most part. Anxious by nature and resistant to the often painful metamorphosis of growing up, she is most content when she is able to avoid uncomfortable feelings and experiences. This proves easy enough to do living a secure, sheltered life at Kellandale, a quiet country estate that has been isolated from many of the world’s problems.
But in Kellandale Wood (Book One): The Way of the River, a tween fantasy/adventure set a hundred years ago in the country of Eldmoor, this estate also happens to sit on the edge of a vast forest. Known as Wyches Wood to some, it is a forest with a centuries-old reputation of being haunted. No one has dared to enter it for the last two hundred years, and Elinora and her precocious, easily bored younger sister Tillie have been strictly forbidden from going near it by their parents—a fact that drives Tillie mad.
This all changes when they witness a man dropping a mysterious parcel into the river within their property. Despite Elinora’s initial reluctance, Tillie-curious and relentlessly persistent-persuades Elinora to go searching for it with her, taking them deep into the woods. There they discover an abandoned young wolfhound with an extraordinary ability, setting them off on a dangerous rescue mission and pitting them against a greedy and unscrupulous man.
As they begin to unravel the circumstances surrounding the abandonment, they discover what links their family to the forest, and the forest to the puppy’s own traumatic past. Together with their many allies, Elinora and Tillie set out to achieve what seems impossible, ultimately revealing the truth of the legendary enchanted woods and the mystic river that flows through it.
More About the Story
In a world suffering from greed, threats of animal extinction, social injustice, and threats to the environment, this tale is a reflection on the importance of cherishing our own interconnectedness to nature, to one-another, and to all living beings. It’s been my purpose to write a story for a young audience that is hopeful to read, one that encourages kindness, compassion, open communication, the recognition and celebration of diversity, and working with others to enact positive change—told within the context of a fantasy adventure. The Way of the River is the result, and is a 368 page middle grade/tween tale written with readers age 10-14 in mind. If you are drawn to stories such as Mary Stewart’s The Little Broomstick, Hayao Miyazaki’s Totoro, CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, or Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, this might be the next book for you!
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Learn More About The Author
Shan L. Spyker loves to make things with words and ink! Her passion for writing was first ignited when she discovered the world of publishing through her love of music, when at age 14, she created her first zine about her favorite band (it was Duran Duran!). Her drive to write, design and publish has never diminished since that time. She grew up along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio, earning a BA in studio art while working for a screen printer where she learned the process. She later earned a secondary degree in IT focusing on web design and development. Today, her graphic design business Tulip Tree Creative Studios blends all these experiences, offering design and writing services to small businesses, academic publishers, and non-profit organizations, in addition to interior book design services to independent authors, and creating screen printed goods, her true passions.
She lives with her family, all artists and creatives in their own right: her husband and two amazing…kids isn’t the right word anymore, their two very unique felines and an aquatic frog named Gerard. She wishes she could also be a companion animal owner to an elephant, a water buffalo, and a humpback whale, but since this is impractical, and she recognizes it is best they remain in the wild, she instead supports them through organizations who help take care of those in need. She has deep interest in nature, the environment, the pursuit of animal rights, human rights, and social justice, and these issues strongly influence and inform her art and writing.
She loves live music, gardening, cooking, traveling, hiking (particularly amongst sandstone hoodoos in the desert southwest whenever she can get there), soaking up favorite films and series, and being with her family and friends. Cilantro, rivers and waterfalls, outer space, and her Faber-Castell India Ink pens are among her biggest little joys in life. Some of her creative influences—artists, authors, musicians, some more recent and some life-long—include Hayao Miyazaki, Jamie Hewlett, Vashti Harrison, Mary Stewart, Grace Lin, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Campbell, Jason Reynolds, Holly Black, Damon Albarn, Joe Strummer, Jeff Tweedy, and Fatoumata Diawara.
The Way of the River is her first full length novel, a fantasy / adventure written for lovers of middle grade fiction. It was based upon a series of collaborative family bedtime stories that has spanned three generations, and first told by her father decades ago.