Episode 45: Introducing Bandersnatch Books & "Rosefire" by Carolyn Clare Givens

On today's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, our guest is Carolyn Clare Givens (but you can call her Carrie), who is the author of a young adult fantasy novel RosefireShe's also a co-founder of a brand-new publishing company called Bandersnatch Books. We'll talk all about both of these awesome projects, as well as theKickstarter campaign that's running right now to help get it all started. We'll also discuss our mutual appreciation for middle grade and fantasy books, and meet her two cats, Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. 

Books from today's episode (affiliate link)

Support the Rosefire Kickstarter!

Follow Bandersnatch Books on TwitterInstagram & Facebook

Follow Carolyn Clare Givens on TwitterInstagram & Facebook

Follow Library Laura on Instagram & Facebook

Dr. Diana Glyer's Trinity Forum talk 

Today's guest on The Library Laura Podcast, author Carolyn Clare Givens 

Carrie tells us all about how Bandersnatch Books got started, and I love a good origin story! A major influence was Dr. Diana Glyer's book, Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, which served as the basis for a writers' critique group Carrie was a part of, who affectionally referred to themselves as the Band of Bandersnatches. That group included several of the women who are now co-founders of the publishing company! 

Here's the talk I mentioned that Dr. Diana Glyer did with the Trinity Forum about her book Bandersnatch recently. 

My Goodreads review of Rosefire 

Carrie read part of this aloud on the podcast: 
You know how there are some books that are hard to categorize? This book is one of them. It's most easily described as YA Fantasy, but if that genre makes you think of love-struck, moody dragon-vampires, you need to set aside your misconceptions for this wonderful book. This book is a treasure found off the beaten path. 
One stormy night, Anya turns up on Karan and Richard's doorstep, and their lives are never the same. Following the Chosen One story arc, the story takes the reader on a journey of conversion, discipleship, sacrifice, miracles, intrigue, and revolution. I especially relate to the character of Karan as embraces her role of storyteller. This book is beautiful and should not be missed!

Books Carrie Mentioned

Her own upcoming YA Fantasy release, Rosefire, and the middle grade book she wrote called The King's Messenger.  She shared some of the process of writing this book, which she started quite a while ago, and she's so excited to be able to get this book into reader's hands now. 

Seabiscuit and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, both amazing narrative non-fiction works. 

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown - narrative non-fiction that is great on audio. One of Carrie's go-to audiobook recommendations. Read by Edward Herman who was the grandfather on Gilmore Girls.  

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer - Carrie doesn't always love literary fiction because she adores plot so much, but she recently enjoyed this book. 

Carrie turned to re-reading during the past year or (thanks, pandemic!) finding familiar books to be the most comforting reads, and reducing the energy expended (by not having to try new things). She mentioned some favorites she revisited: 
  • Some of the later Little House on the Prairie books, starting with The Long Winter. These are stories she grew up on, just like me! 
  • She loves a  "good, plot-driven mystery," such as Tom Clancy and also mentioned enjoying Agatha Christie's mysteries.
  • M.M. Kaye writes historical fiction and mysteries, a favorite of Carrie's is The Far Pavilions, which she describes as Kaye's pièce de résistance. It is an epic, sweeping, historical fantasy novel. The Far Pavilions is set in India starting in the 1740's and follows the story of a young man who (unbeknownst to him) is born British but raised as an Indian for a decade or so until he finds out he is British and is sent away to be educated. He then returns to India. His lineage and experience give him a unique perspective on the historical happenings. 
Handle With CareHow Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry by Lore Ferguson Wilbert - a non-fiction book about the role of touch in Jesus' ministry. Jesus touches the sick and the outcast, the bleeding and the unclean. The book examines how we don't handle the language of physical touch well in the 21st Century, and what we can learn from Jesus in this area. 

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri - Carrie just started reading this Printz award book and I am looking forward to reading it for a book club next month. She said the audiobook version is compelling so far. 

The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries with Harriet Vane by Dorothy L. Sayers - Carrie recommends this series of mysteries. She must like them, as her cats are named after these two characters! 😸

Gordon Korman's books - Korman has been prolific, but Carrie mentioned he's not always one who comes up when Middle Grade is being discussed. She particularly likes the McDonald Hall series (or as Carrie grew up knowing it as, the Bruno and Boots series) and the Swindle series. He does a great job of writing kids being kids. 

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is another book Carrie loves. Stargirl is a lovely, deep, interesting character. She also mentioned that Jerry's wife Eileen Spinelli writes picture books (like this one) that are fantastic. 

Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword is up there as one of Carrie's all-time favorite books. It was a Newbery honor book. The prequel is The Hero and the Crown, which McKinley wrote later. This book received the Newbery Medal, which Carrie believes is because the committee realized they should have awarded that to The Blue Sword but they "messed up" and so gave it to The Hero and the Crown to make up for their mistake. That's her theory anyway! 

Books Laura Mentioned 

A Compass for Deep Heaven: Navigating the C.S. Lewis Ransom Trilogy, edited by Diana Glyer (Laura's sister Rachel Roller is one of the contributors!) 

The Other Half of Church: Christian Community, Brain Science, and Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation by Jim Wilder and Michel Hendricks - This is the book I mentioned my husband just read. It's main assertion is that our modern-day church is too heavy on left-brain (rational, teaching, instruction, practice) and too light on right-brain (relationship, community, fellowship, encouragement). 

A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat - both Newbery Honor 2021 recipients. I was currently reading A Wish in The Dark at the time of recording and really enjoying it. (Since then I finished it and it was lovely and thought provoking.) 

I recommended that Carrie would enjoy Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park, based on her enjoyment of Little House on the Prairie books. Park won the 2002 Newbery for A Single Shard.  Prairie Lotus tells the story of an Asian American girl living in a very similar town to Laura Ingalls with her father. Hanna dreams of being a dressmaker. She also experiences racial prejudice due to her Asian ethnicity. 

Lovely War by Julie Berry - When it comes to historical fiction I'm just going to keep recommending this title. It's so good! A story of two couples during WWI, but narrated by several Greek gods. Sounds weird but it works. 

The DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul reminds me in some small ways of Rosefire. It's also a fantasy with a strong allegory through line. And there's Paladin, who is a Christ-like character. As a teen I loved the dragons and the mind-speaking.  Let's be honest, I still do. It's soooo good. The series starts with DragonSpell

With lots of literary love from my library to yours! (And don't forget the Rosefire Kickstarter 🌹)


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Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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