I have a cute middle-grade story to share with you today!
Enchanted Misadventures with Great-Aunt Poppy is honestly such a delight. It’s here to satisfy aaaall your Christmas and Halloween needs in the perfect magical mashup 😌 The story starts with three siblings (Ava, Nolan and Charlotte) being sent to stay with their great-aunt for a week before Christmas. The kids are 0% pleased due to Great-Aunt Poppy DEFINITELY BEING A WITCH (their mother tells them to hush, they’re being silly) and also they are worried about (a) missing out on their usual christmas traditions while they’re stuck at this old house in the woods, (b) weird and creepy food Great Aunt Poppy might try to fed them, and (c) just how generally creepy and decaying Great-Aunt Poppy’s house is. So it’s all up not going to be A Good Time.
But also maybe they will finally learn if they’re estranged, reclusive great aunt really is a witch…
The writing is super conversational and easy to devour, and it keeps the spooky factors pretty tame while adding in a ton of cool magic. And oh, some monsters at the end that may or may not be threatening to eat everyone. But good thing they have Great-Aunt Poppy and her magic witchy powers on their side.
“You can find a lot of courage you didn’t know you had when someone you care about is in trouble. And I know that same courage is inside of you, too.”
Also the kids are really cute and I loved them all! Ava is so stalwart and motherly, while Nolan really makes all the bad choices 😂 and Charlotte was the perfect example of a 6-year-old. Give her the opportunity to wish for something and yeah, she’s going to ask for a pony. I also loved how they felt accurate for their ages (my niblings are similar ages now and would love this book). There is also a TALKING CAT named Merlin who was 10/10 my favourite character instantly. Mischievous and sassy and utterly content to direct havoc while lounging in the background. Incredible.
And of course there are some important lessons to learn, sifted in gently through the story. Like don’t judge people you don’t know and assume they’re “weirdos”, and give people a chance! There’s probably also a good lesson about not wishing from a magical cauldron in the middle of the night when you just want a tasty grilled cheese sandwich but 😪👌🏻 in all honesty, I would’ve done the same. I love sandwiches.
This is such a festive, heartwarming and fantastically engaging story of three siblings stumbling into the truth about their magical great-aunt.
“So, you can talk?”
“Yes, but it doesn’t appear that you understand. Let me IN.”
For a talking cat, this one was kind of rude. But then, weren’t all cats rude?
Title:Enchanted Misadventures with Great-Aunt Poppy
Author: Hallie Christensen
Publication Date:October 12th, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fantasy
Purchase a copy: Amazon | Book Depository | Indiebound
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A typical December for the Alexanders consists of gingerbread baking, movies, and looking at Christmas lights, but after their parents are called in to work, Ava, Nolan, and Charlotte are sent to stay with their most feared relative for a week-Great-Aunt Poppy. Have mom and dad gone mad?
Of course, the children are terrified. Who wouldn’t be? No one believes them when they say that Poppy-or Groppy as they call her-is a witch. If the haunted house isn’t bad enough, there are thousands of crazy cats, chaotic and deadly spells, and even worse-frightening howls from the woods that grow louder and closer every second. Something deadly lurks outside. Staying alive while living with Groppy for an entire week is-well-impossible!
In order to survive the holiday, it will take all the bravery and wit the kids can muster. But who knows? Things aren’t always what they seem! The best holiday surprise this Christmas might be hiding in the most unlikely place imagined!
Hi Hallie! Thanks so much for chatting with me today about Enchanted Misadventures with Great-Aunt Poppy! Can you tell us a bit about your publishing journey and how your story went from first idea to finished novel on our shelves?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me on your blog! Enchanted Misadventures first started out as a simple writing prompt. I was in an online writing group and they had a contest to write a novella and gave you prompts to choose from. I’m paraphrasing, but the prompt I chose was something like “Three siblings have to spend a vacation with a relative, but don’t want to.” I thought, “That sounds interesting.” So, I wrote a novella and when I finished, I decided to pass it along to my critique partner and she loved it and said I should try to get it published! So, I edited it, added some more to the story, and began to query it. 10 months later, I was offered a publishing contract with Sweetwater Books. And almost a year after that (lots of editing and coming up with a cover design, etc.), the book is available for everyone to read 🙂
Oh I love that origin story!! Your book is like the perfect mashup of Halloween meets Christmas! Do you have a favourite holiday or any fun traditions?
Yes! I love Halloween and Christmas!! Those are my two favourite holidays. I always decorate my house A LOT for both! My Halloween traditions mostly consist of carving a pumpkin and watching a ton of Halloween-ish shows and movies. My Christmas traditions consist of tons of decorating, looking at lights, going to listen to holiday music, parties, and also watching tons of holiday movies and shows. Both holidays I spend with family.
They are such fun times of year for sure 😍👌🏻 Can you introduce us to Ava, Nolan and Charlotte?
Ava – 11, Nolan – 9, and Charlotte 6, are three siblings and they are so not excited to have to be spending their Christmas vacation with their Great-Aunt Poppy, who they are pretty sure is a witch. Ava, the oldest, is very much a young adult and is protective of her siblings. She is a leader and likes to take charge, though they don’t always listen to her. Nolan is the middle child and the goof-off. He likes to just chill and play video games. He is a very picky eater and has a super quick wit. Charlotte, the youngest, is just super cute and fun! She loves cats and unicorns and loves to eat chocolate. She can be a bit timid and scared at times but she is going to surprise everyone this Christmas.
They are all the best 😭 And I loved that Merlin just told Ava to be a kid while she could. What’s your favourite thing about writing middle-grade stories?
I think I’m still just a kid at heart, so writing stories where you experience magic and wonder and adventures is just fun to me. I love humor as well, and I really had fun writing Merlin and Nolan’s dialogue. Well, humour and sarcasm, lol. They use both. There’s just a fun innocence about writing kids books. It’s really just super enjoyable.
Merlin is a total favourite 😂 Can we beg a secret or two about what you’re working on next? 👀👀👀👀
Of course! I’m currently in the editing stages of my next MG novel that is a bit spookier than this one. It deals with a local folk legend in my hometown that involves a ghost and a haunted bridge. Nobody knows how the legend started, so I thought I would write one 😊
OH. Already so stoked for that. And lastly! Tell us some of the best author moments you’ve had so far?
I have had the most wonderful support from my hometown community and Bookstagram! I am just so thankful for everyone that has been so supportive throughout this journey of mine! I have visited a lot of schools and the students are just awesome and sweet. When students tell me they love my book and ask when the next one will come out, it warms my heart!! I love to read, and sharing that feeling with others is amazing.
Thanks so much for this amazing interview Hallie!! Wishing you all the best with Enchanted Misadventures and your next book!
Hallie Christensen grew up in a small town in Alabama surrounded by professional storytellers – her family. She received her BA in English with a minor in Italian while attending The University of Alabama and her MA in Teaching English from Faulkner University. When she isn’t writing, editing, teaching English courses, or marking-up essays, she enjoys hiking, rappelling, attending rock concerts from musicians her parents’ age, staying at B&B’s, playing in a family band, and of course, reading with preferences in fantasy, contemporary, and the classics. Hallie currently resides in northern Alabama with her husband and a couple of cats. Website | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
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