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Alex Mortimer & The Beast of Wildeor Paperback – November 11, 2011


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About the Author

B.A.Dearsley is an odd mix of the Old and the New Worlds. Born in Canada and raised in England, he’s a graduate of the second oldest school in Britain (King’s School Rochester, founded in 604 AD) as well as Stirling University in Scotland where his love of history, haggis and Hogmanay deepened. After twenty years as an editor and writer, he’s now writing novels full-time.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Walden House (Books & Stuff) (November 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0987866400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987866400
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,078,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

B.A.Dearsley is an odd mix of the Old and the New Worlds. Born in Canada and raised in England, he's a graduate of the second oldest school in Britain (King's School Rochester, founded in 604 AD) as well as Stirling University in Scotland where his love of history, haggis and Hogmanay deepened. After twenty years as an editor and writer, he's now writing novels full-time from his home in Muskoka*.

(* Muskoka is well known amongst Hollywood's elite - Tom Hanks, Stephen Spielberg and Goldie Hawn have cottages there - and the New York Times has called it "the Malibu of the North"!)



An INTERVIEW With B.A.Dearsley (an excerpt from an interview with the Markham Village Writers)

At what point in your life were you hit with the "writing bolt?"

It took awhile... and in fact happened twice. I dabbled in writing while at university in Scotland, but it wasn't until I moved back to Canada a few years later that I seriously considered writing as a career (bolt #1). I landed a job as the summer reporter for a local newspaper in Muskoka, and a few years later joined CARPNews FiftyPlus, the magazine of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. After eight years as Associate Editor, I moved back to Muskoka to freelance. Bolt #2 hit me after hearing a CBC Radio documentary that said that to be considered "good" at something you needed to have practiced it for at least 10 years. By that time, I'd been writing and editing for 15 years, so I felt I was ready to start that novel...


Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?

In England, aged 11, I wrote my own version of Treasure Island. Truly awful (my teacher agreed). I also remember my first piece published in Canada. I was thrilled at the chance to interview the Barenaked Ladies at a concert celebrating the release of their first album. As I waited across the other side of the arena, I swore I heard them arguing over who had to go talk to the kid writer. The drummer lost...


Where do you find your ideas?

Ideas are everywhere! Friends, family... people I like, people I don't like. I read a lot of history. The world's full of interesting people, places and things just waiting to be re-imagined and included in a story.


How do you choose your characters' names?

It's a bit like naming a baby. The name must feel a natural fit for the character, and at the same time provide a few clues about them. As above, great names come from many different places.


The idea you've been nurturing is ready to go. Describe your writing process.

I usually have a pretty good idea of what's required of a chapter or scene before beginning the serious task of writing. With notes and ideas sprinkled liberally around the document as guideposts, I just let my subconscious take over. No concern about spelling, grammar, punctuation, anything... just getting the ideas down. Polishing comes later.


What inspired you to write your first book, The Beast of Wildeor?

My love of history and cinema. Particularly any movie Stephen Spielberg has been involved in. Growing up with his movies showed me just how important it is that a story have heart. Lots and lots of heart. Books are no different.


How long did it take you to complete, from idea to finished manuscript?

Three and a half years. I couldn't help but feel my characters were getting a little impatient with me...


The Beast of Wildeor is the first of a planned series. Do you already have a rough idea of how many books will be in the series? Or will you figure it out along the way?

I actually started writing a different story - same characters, only older - before The Beast of Wildeor but soon realized it wasn't the right story to kick things off with. It started to tell the story of Alex Mortimer as it was discovered many years later. It was just too complicated and didn't work. So I made a decision to start at the very beginning and do things chronologically. The events of that first book would now fall somewhere around book nine in the series! I figure I'll be writing Alex Mortimer stories for some time to come...


The most challenging aspect of the writing process is:

Getting started each morning and staying focused.


What do you love most about being a writer?

Working from home in my pjs...


Lessons you've learned...

Have no expectations of anyone or anything. That way, every good thing that happens is always a nice surprise and I'm never disappointed. And buy a second pair of pjs...


What would you say is your most valued writing resource?

A very, very fertile imagination. That, and an ability to see the potential for adventure and mystery everywhere.


When you need creative inspiration, you... (Do you have a good motivational tip to share?)

... do something else altogether! A nap is often the best way to get the mind wandering freely again.


What would we find on your bookshelf right now?

Erm... do a few dozen books sprinkled liberally around the home count? Good! Sidney Kirkpatrick's Hitler's Holy Relics, a fantastic true adventure that takes place in the closing days of WWII; The Mammoth Book of Best War Comics, edited by David Kendall (don't laugh!); Muskoka-based writer Cheryl Cooper's Come Looking For Us, a sea-fairing adventure set against the War of 1812 (perfect for this anniversary year); and Sting: Back on the Beat by Christopher Sandford.


What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Take your cue from Sting's life: hone your skills, regardless of the indifference you may face along the way - persistence pays off in the end. Seek advice and a mentor (or mentors). Network. And get writing... now! Ten years is a long time.


What's up next on your agenda?

It's been four years since I began my adventure with Alex Mortimer, and nobody's more excited to find out what happens to him than me! Book two in the series, The Lords of Allegiance, is well underway... I can't wait to see what happens as I throw events and people his way.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
58%
4 star
33%
3 star
8%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
This is a fast paced page turner.
Coowie
Loaded with action... intriguing characters... and with a refreshing sense of humor and playful whimsy.
TJ
Love the characters very well described, even like the bad guys.
Kadkat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TJ on December 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Beast of Wildeor is a gem, perfect in just about every way for young-adults looking for something new and unusual to fire the imagination. Loaded with action... intriguing characters... and with a refreshing sense of humor and playful whimsy. Did I mention it's also a history book? Its has zepplins, bi-planes, and the sinking of the Titanic. Dearsely effortlessly mixes the old and the new into a delightful fantasy. I can't wait to read the next installment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JoMarshall on February 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Bryan Dearsley's fantasy surprised me from the start by tossing me aboard the Lusitania just as it's struck by a torpedo, and sunk. In the midst of the panic a mystery is born, and from then on a tale of action and intrigue is spun. The story begins again in 1929 on the heels of The Great War. Filled with extraordinary characters - daring aviators, cruel taskmasters, and remarkably beautiful creatures of land, sea, and air - the mystery swirls around two young teens thrown together who are truly mystified by their part in the unfolding drama. From daring acrobatics on a float-plane to a bitter battle for life on an U-boat, Dearsley describes a fantastic world with amazing creatures that Darwin would love - and, in fact, it's possible he did. In a clever twist, many other historical figures enrich this skillfully written fantasy. Told from the viewpoint of a young boy coming of age, how is Alex to know that ultimately his choice between two paths may impact the future of the world? The story is perfectly ended to keep the suspense intact for the next exciting novel in the series. All young adventurers will love this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Star @ The Bibliophilic Book Blog on March 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Alex Mortimer lost his family when he was little due to reasons unknown to him all his life. He's lived with his guardian, Mrs. Pudsley ever since they disappeared. Until one day, when Alex was fourteen, odd things start to happen. First, he's almost kidnapped by thugs after he's betrayed by someone close to him. He's rescued by Mop, a pilot who takes Alex and Sarah Greystone to the land of Wildeor. Once they reach Wildeor, Alex and Sarah must figure out their roles an ages old conflict. Meanwhile, they run into fantastical beasts - not all of whom are friendly - thieves and ultimate evil. What side will Alex choose?

Alex Mortimer & The Beast of Wildeor is a great fantasy adventure blended with revisionist history. Alex is an interesting proto-hero, very likable and smart, but not very knowledgeable about the world. Thankfully Sarah Greystone is along for the adventure. She's very intelligent, savvy, and quick to pick up on ideas. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. I think readers of all ages will enjoy Alex's adventures!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Review by This Kid Reviews Books! Find Me on the Web!

Fourteen-year old Alex Mortimer was an orphan. He was forced to work as a helper in the boiler room of a ship by his mean guardian, Ms. Pudsley. Alex actually didn't mind all the hard work because it kept him away from Ms. Pudsley. His life changed one day when some men from a group called "The Ultima" tried to kidnap him along with Sarah Greystone, a first class passenger on the ship he was working on. What made things worse is that Mrs. Pudsley was in on the plot to kidnap him! World War I flying ace, Lonsdale Donnely (A.K.A. Lonnie A.K.A. Mop) was sent by Sarah's parents to rescue the two children. Mop rescues the kids from the Ultima by flying them away in his sea plane at the last minute! Mop promises to take the kids to a safe place called "Wildeor". Alex can't understand why anyone would want to kidnap him. During the plane ride Mop explains that Alex's family has played an important role in keeping the balance between good and evil in the world for a very long time. Once in Wildeor, Alex discovers that his family is part of "The Lords of Allegiance" and this time it is up to him to help save Wildeor and the world from the Ultima (who want to destroy Wildeor and take over the world). Once in Wildeor, Alex and Sarah find that the legends of King Arthur and Merlin are true...well sort of...and that the legends connect King Arthur, the Ultima and Alex.

I TOTALLY LOVED "The Beast of Wildeor." It is the first book in the series. The book is a cool mix of historical fiction and fantasy. The book is PACKED with action and excitement and romance (kidding - no romance ). The world of Wildeor Mr. Dearsley created is just awesome. It is a completely different re-telling of the King Arthur/Merlin legend.
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By Lauren on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
First off, I'd like to state that reading The Beast of Wildeor was like one big roller-coaster, each chapter leaving me with the satisfaction from an adrenaline rush and the longing to read on.
The way each adventure led to another one very quickly kept me very interested. With constant adversity, I was pulled into the story...leaving me wanting to know how the main characters, Alex and Sarah, got out of each risky undertaking.
The story entailing knowledge of history and the unpredicted transition to fantasy kept me very intrigued. This book is open for all, especially young adults, to learn from and to take pleasure in an exciting story.
I'm very excited to know what happens to Sarah and what becomes of Alex...
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