Our family just had a delightful adventure with a sweet ten year old girl named Elle Burton. Book one and two of this series were written by Peggy McAlloon and we are really looking forward to the third book! She kinda left us on a bit of a cliff-hanger... I never quite know what to write in book reviews. I don't want to give away any spoilers. I will admit I was skeptical at first because some of the characters sounded a lot like fairies, which I'm opposed to my children having anything to do with. Historically fairies are a species of demon. I think it's very sad how modern story tellers and artists have tried to endear them especially to children.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 18:10
Elle Burton is an ordinary kid...or so she thinks. On her tenth birthday, she encounters Eunie Mae, a tiny, fairylike being who comes from a world called Fiori. Other than some children under the age of eight, the only human beings who can see Fiorins are guides—people who have been chosen to help protect the children of Earth.
We follow Elle Burton in her efforts to find her kidnapped baby brother, JJ. As a newly designated guide, sworn to protect the children of Earth, she's desperate to find her brother and get him back. Elle teams up with the winged warriors from the dimension of Fiori to save him, but JJ isn't the only one in danger. What will Elle sacrifice to bring her brother home?
Author Interview with Peggy McAloon
The children's questions first.
From the 17 year old boy: How did you come up with the name Fiorin? (He also has a suggestion. When the next book comes out, could you put in a Fiorin with starry, space-like wings?)
I love this question and have wondered why no one has asked it before. The other dimension required me to envision a new land. Where would the winged creatures who inhabit this world want to live? Since they act as guardian angels to Earth’s children, I decided the dimension should resemble my idea of heaven. I love flowers and my home is surrounded by them. I would want heaven to be filled with incredible blossoms.
My husband and I had just returned from a trip to Italy when I started writing the book, where I fell in love with Florence, Rome, and Tuscany. The Italian word for flowers is Fiore. I loved the sound of the word and simply changed the last letter to a sound-alike “I.” The pronunciation didn’t change.
“Starry, space-like wings:” I love it! It reminds me of the lightning bugs that filled my backyard when I was a child. I have to work on this suggestion!
From the 16 year old girl: Why did you put in a regular sized Pegasus when everything big in our world is small in Fiori and everything small here is big there?
When Graybar first escorted Elle to Fiori, she asked him if he had become big like her or if she was small like him. (Will we ever know?) All things in Fiori are not necessarily the same as they are on Earth. In book two, Elle visits the Fiume Valley where the animals live. The lion, lamb, and koalas she encounters are regular sized.
Pets are comforting to kids, so I wanted to create a house pet common to the Fiorins. It couldn’t be the standard pets we have on Earth.
When I was little, I went to stay with my grandparents in the summer. Grandpa Burton always made sure my visit coincided with the circus coming to town. I remember when I was quite small (5 or 6) we went to the circus and I saw an elephant tied outside the tent. His foot was encircled with a metal bracelet held by a huge chain. He swayed from side-to-side, and I knew he was miserable being tied up.
Then he looked right at me, and a tear slipped from his eye and rolled down his cheek. I wished with everything in my heart that he could suddenly become very small and escape his binding so I could pick him up, cuddle him, and tell him everything would be all right. Authors reach deep into their memories to capture meaningful moments to share with their readers.
From the 14 year old boy: When is the next book going to be out?
Book two, “Missing” was published in 2016. Book three is currently being edited. Right now, I’m working on getting a cover done, so I’m hoping it will be published by the end of the summer.
From the 10 year old girl: What happened to Mr. Vicker and will Elle ever see Pegasus again? (I did explain to her that these are spoilers. LOL) Why did you kill Elle's father?
Those are some very deep questions. I have a feeling Mr. Vicker may show up in one of Elle’s adventures again, but I don’t know for sure. He’s out there!
How could I write a book where Pegasus isn’t there to carry Elle across a crimson sky?
My family has participated in every war, starting with the American Revolution. My ancestor Ambrose Burton fought in that war. Each day, my heart breaks for the children who have lost a parent in the current war. This is a harsh reality for so many children in the United States.
When Elle’s father is killed in Afghanistan in book 1, everyone tells her she needs to be strong for her mother’s sake. I was told this once, too. Children should never be asked to take such a huge responsibility on their shoulders. As a result, Elle acts like a little soldier herself, refusing to really react when her dad dies.
It isn’t until book two that all the emotions she’s hidden for over a year, take a horrible turn for her. Expressing our emotions and talking about our losses and fears is an important lesson for everyone to learn.
Are your character's experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I suffered from bullying and abuse as a child. My mother and grandparents were devoted Christians and taught me to believe in guardian angels. I pictured them as the fairies I saw in my picture books. This is the basis of the Fiorins who protect the world’s children.
My grandfather was the kindest heart I have ever been blessed to know. His name was Tom Burton, and he was loved by everyone he met. He was the perfect model for Elle’s father.
My grandmother’s family came to the United States from Ireland during the potato famine. She was a Kennedy and her name was Eunie Mae. As I write, I am constantly reminded of the two people who influenced me to be kind to everyone.
What books have influenced your life most?
The Bible has been the biggest inspiration. I was taught to memorize many Bible verses as a child. Whenever life has been the most difficult, those verses play in my head and give me comfort.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
This question made my mind spin because I have so many authors I admire and hope to someday be as entertaining as they are. I love to read and spent hours reading every day as a child. The library was only a block from my house and was always my safe place to go. It's where I was able to escape the tragedy in my life. I’d have to say Hans Christian Andersen is the author who gave me the earliest stories to comfort and inspire me to tell more stories which could give hope and empower kids to stand up to the challenges they face in this world.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading “Hall of Heroes,” an anthology by a group of clean indie fantasy authors. I loved it!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I love the dragons of Marc Secchia and H. L. Burke. I hope I never grow up and forget my love of fantasy.