Blog tour: ‘Wildsmith: Into the Dark Forest,’ by Liz Flanagan, cover by Joe Todd-Stanton.

Today I’m sharing a magical adventure with dragons, poachers, and wildsmith magic. The first in a new series suitable for readers aged 7+. I also have a special piece from Liz about where her story ideas come from.

“When war threatens her beloved city, Rowan and her mother must flee to the Dark Forest. There they meet her grandpa and his white wolf, Arto, for the first time. Though she misses her father, Rowan makes new friends – including a trio of powerful witches.

When she rescues a baby dragon from poachers, she discovers the secret of her own identity. Could Rowan really be a wildsmith?
Fostering a whole clutch of dragons, the summer speeds by. But when danger threatens, Rowan and Grandpa must call on all their friends for help.”

Where the ideas came from,’ by Liz Flanagan.

How a desire to help one of my kids led to fostering many cats – and the inspiration for the Wildsmith series! Plus a bonus writing prompt!

A few years ago my youngest child was having some challenges and I wanted to do something to help them. They adored cats and would’ve loved to breed kittens – but we knew there were lots of unwanted animals in the world already. Then I had the idea of training as a cat fosterer – that way, we could do a useful job to help animals who needed it, and we’d get to look after kittens! I got in touch with a national charity, and after being checked out very thoroughly, I began my training. There was a lot to learn, and even some adaptations to make to our home, till we were finally ready to welcome our first cats.

Every single cat had a different story and a unique personality. Some were anxious and scared when they arrived, while others were happy and confident. Some were missing teeth, or had matted fur. My absolute favourite was a sweet white-and-ginger cat who arrived with her three tiny newborn kittens. She was gentle and affectionate and such a good mother. She did the hard work of raising her babies – we just got to play with them and make sure she had all her needs met.

Other times, kittens came to us without a mum, and they needed a lot more attention. Some needed medicine; they all needed exercise and food and warmth. Some liked to climb on my shoulders and head. Others had very sharp claws and loved to climb their scratching post. They all LOVED the cardboard forts we made from old boxes. 

So when you read Wildsmith: Into the Dark Forest and you meet Rowan who fosters a clutch of red dragons – all with different traits and personalities –  you’ll know exactly where the idea came from! As for my kids and I, looking after all these cats gave us so much love and laughter: it definitely helped us as much as it helped them. 

Writing prompt: what animals do you know – maybe pets, or birds you pass on your way to work, school or college? Could these animals and their behaviour give you an idea for a story, or a magical animal?

Wildsmith: Into the Dark Forest, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, is published by UCLan Publishing on 2nd February 2023, £7.99

This would be a good introduction to the fantasy genre for developing readers who are looking for a longer story to be transported into. They’ll love running the city walls with Rowan then exploring the Dark Forest when she’s forced to flee an approaching war.

In this first adventure are only just introduced to the powers a wildsmith has – the powers to communicate with animals and heal wounds. And Rowan is only just beginning to explore them herself. As the series continues, I look forward to seeing how these gifts develop.

With a strong female lead, a clutch of baby dragons, witches, poachers, and an approaching war, this series promises to unfold into an epic tale steeped in magic and danger.

A great read!


*Many thanks to Uclan Publishing for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*

2 thoughts on “Blog tour: ‘Wildsmith: Into the Dark Forest,’ by Liz Flanagan, cover by Joe Todd-Stanton.

  1. Erin, the Literary Cat. says:

    What a lovely blog post. And what better way to help oneself and family than to help other sentient beings in need? Incredible karma comes from such acts also. I shall most definitely be buying this book to review on the blog, as well as enjoy myself now I know Liz’s back story for it.


  2. Liz Flanagan says:

    Thanks so much for this! So exciting to see it pop into my inbox today. I’ll look out for the best ways of sharing it later today.

    Thanks again, with warmest wishes Lizx



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