I am so excited for this chance to present a cover reveal and preview of Amy Herrick’s upcoming book, The Tiltersmith, which promises supernatural overtones that allude to the works of Susan Cooper and Madeleine L’Engle.
Spring is late coming to Brooklyn, NY, and while climate change might have something to do with the chaotic weather patterns bringing late snow and even a tornado to the city, there may be supernatural elements at work, too. A curious character named the Tiltersmith —Superintendent Tiltersmith, he claims — shows up at the kids’ school, in search of the tools that will bring Spring to life. But the Tiltersmith is trying to collect them himself and use them to keep the Lady of spring underground and in his power. Unbeknownst to Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit, the tools have been entrusted to them, but competing forces are working to lead and mis-lead them. If the quartet can protect and use the tools properly, spring will arrive. But if the Tiltersmith has his way, as the underworld teems with life, our world will be trapped in an eternal winter.
The cover features a tight grouping of four young heroes surrounded by a maelstrom of colors. Lightning bolts strike leaves from the trees, hinting at the story’s chaotic weather themes. The kids are layered in brightly colored outerwear, arms akimbo, with hair and jewelry chains flying as if we’ve caught them in the middle of a dance.
And you’ll see it soon.
But first, an excerpt…
Edward Finds a Cocoon
Edward was dreaming. He was trying to pick something up with a spoon. The thing, which was going to lead him to a brilliant scientific discovery, kept sliding away like a piece of spaghetti. Then, just as he thought he’d finally got it, there was a tremendous kaboooooom! and he woke up.
He found himself in the deep middle of the night. A thunderbolt lit the sky outside his window, and in its brief flash of light, he saw that it was snowing again. Seriously? It was March 21. Enough already with the snow.
He lay there counting. Ten seconds and kaboooooom! This meant, he knew, that the storm was about two miles away. He waited for the next flash of lightning, which came quickly. It tore out of the clouds and shot down behind the houses beyond Ninth Street. Snow swirled madly through the air. This time the kaboooooom! came only five seconds later.
The storm was headed right this way.
Edward forced himself out of bed with his blanket around his shoulders. He stood in front of the window, scanning the sky. He wanted to see another bolt up close.
Perhaps thirty seconds later, the next strike happened, right up the street. This time the lightning appeared to burst out of the ground like an enormous electrified finger. It was met almost simultaneously by a bolt from the sky, followed by an enormous concussive baaadoooooom! The whole house shook, and the windows rattled. Peering into the darkness and the snow, Edward saw a round metal disk go flying through the air. It landed with a great crumpling noise on top of a nearby car. The roof of the car folded upward like a piece of origami paper. The disk then slid off the car and came to a stop balanced against its side.
A manhole cover! That was what it had to be. He’d read all about how these things happened. Between the flammable gases that could build up underground and the old and frayed electrical wiring down there, sometimes all it took was a little spark to cause an explosion and—boooom!—a manhole cover would go flying off.
His theory was confirmed when a long tongue of fire shot up from what he could see was an open hole in the middle of the street. All the streetlamps went out like the candles on a birthday cake as the tongue of flame reached higher and higher and slowly died back. He was surprised at what a short time it took before the fire department and then Con Edison began to arrive.
A few minutes later, Edward’s aunt Kit knocked on the door and came in without waiting for an invitation. She was barefoot and wearing her flannel pajamas. The storm had already begun to move slowly off. She joined him at the window. “Well, did you see it?” she asked.
“Did I see what? Could you be a little more specific?” Her vagueness often drove him crazy.
“The part where the lightning shot up out of the ground.”
“Well, yes, I did. That was pretty cool. But it’s common, you know. There’s a positive electrical charge on the ground, and it shoots upward to meet the negative electrical charge coming from the clouds. Happens all the time.”
“Does it, now? Well, that’s an interesting explanation.” “Isn’t it?” he said and hoped she wasn’t going to give him one of her crazy alternative theories.
She didn’t. Instead, she said, “Well, in any case, the timing is amazing, isn’t it?”
He didn’t like to encourage her, but he couldn’t help asking her what this meant.
“I mean with tomorrow being what it is.” “What’s tomorrow?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten. Well, you’ll remember in the morning. We’d better get to bed. We’re going to need our sleep.”
Science and supernatural weirdness in a middle-grade novel that starts on a dark and stormy night… If you liked A Wrinkle in Time, this book will hook you for sure.
And now, the big reveal
The Tiltersmith releases on April 5, 2022 from Algonquin Young Readers.
About Amy Herrick:
Amy Herrick grew up in Queens, New York, and attended SUNY Binghamton and the University of Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn, where she has raised two sons, taught pre-K and grade school, written books, and kept company with her husband and numerous pets. A retired teacher, she loves traveling, learning Spanish, and above all reducing her carbon footprint.
Awesome cover and FANTASTIC OPENING!