Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Tree of Water by Elizabeth Haydon Tour

It's unusual that I'm in touch with two different people in regards to the same book, but it makes me think I'm definitely in for a treat.  Below you'll find a question/answer session with author Elizabeth Haydon.  Tomorrow, I'll be posting my own personal review of the book.  Continue reading to find out more about this book and stay tuned to find out how good it is!  

Make sure you find all the stops on the tour and enter the multiple giveaways to win a copy!  

Interview with Elizabeth Haydon, 
documentarian, archanologist and translator of Ven’s 
journals, including The Tree of Water

Little is known for sure about reclusive documentarian and archanologist Elizabeth 
Haydon. She is an expert in dead languages and holds advanced degrees in Nain Studies from 
Arcana College and Lirin History from the University of Rigamarole. Her fluency in those 
languages [Nain and Lirin] has led some to speculate that she may be descended of one 
of those races herself. It should be noted that no one knows this for sure. 

Being an archanologist, she is also an expert in ancient magic because, well, that’s what 
an archanologist is.

Being a documentarian means she works with old maps, books and manuscripts, and so it is believed that her house is very dusty and smells like ink, but there is no actual proof 
of this suspicion. On the rare occasions of sightings of Ms. Haydon, it has been reported 
that she herself has smelled like lemonade, soap, vinegar, freshly-washed babies and 
pine cones.

She is currently translating and compiling the fifth of the recently-discovered Lost 
Journals when she is not napping, or attempting to break the world’s record for the 
longest braid of dental floss.

We had the chance to ask her some questions about the latest of Ven’s journals, The 
Tree of Water. Here is what she shared.

1. Dr. Haydon, can you give us a brief summary of The Tree of Water? 

Certainly. Ven Polypheme, who wrote the, er, Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, 
lived long ago in the Second Age of history, when magic was much more alive 
and visible in the world than it is now. His journals are very important finds, 
because they tell the story of ancient magic and where it still may be found in the 
world today.

In the first three journals we saw how Ven came to the mystical island of 
Serendair and was given the job of Royal Reporter by the king of the island, a 
young man named Vandemere. The Royal Reporter was supposed to find magic 
that was hiding in plain sight in the world and report back about it to the king. As 
you can imagine, this could be a fun but dangerous job, and at the beginning of The Tree of Water, we see that Ven and his friends are hiding from the evil Thief 
Queen, who is looking to find and kill him. 

Amariel, a merrow [humans call these ‘mermaids,’ but we know that’s the wrong 
word] who saved Ven when the first ship he sailed on sank, has been asking Ven 
to come and explore the wonders of the Deep, her world in the sea. Deciding that 
this could be a great way to find hidden magic as well as hide from the evil Thief 
Queen, Ven and his best friend, Char, follow her into the Deep. The sea, as you 
know, is one of the most magical places in the world—but sometimes that magic, 
and that place, can be deadly. 

The book tells of mysterious places, and interesting creatures, and wondrous 
things that have never been seen in the dry world, and tales from the very bottom 
of the sea. 

2. The main character in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series is 
Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme. Tell us about him. 

Ven was an interesting person, but he really didn’t think so. He and his family 
were of a different race than the humans who made up most of the population 
where he lived, the race of the Nain. Nain are an old race, a little shorter and 
stockier than most humans, with a tendency to be on the grumpy side. They live 
about four times as long as humans, are very proud of their beards, which they 
believe tell their life stories, don’t like to swim or travel, and prefer to live deep in 
the mountains.

Ven was nothing like the majority of Nain. He was very curious, loved to travel, 
could swim, and longed to see the world. He was actually a pretty nice kid most 
of the time. He had the equivalent of a baby face because only three whiskers of 
his beard had grown in by the time The Tree of Water took place, when he was 
fifty years old [around twelve in Nain years]. He had a great group of friends, 
including the merrow and Char, who were mentioned earlier. It is believed that 
his journals were the original research documents for two of the most important 
books of all time, The Book of All Human Knowledge and All the World’s Magic.
The only copies of these two volumes were lost at sea centuries ago, so finding 
the Lost Journals is the only way to recover this important information. 

3. What kind of research do you do for the series? 

I go to places where Ven went and try to find relics he left behind. Usually this is 
with an expedition of archaeologists and historians. I am an expert in ancient 
magic [an archanologist] so I don’t usually lead the expeditions, I’m just a 
consultant. It gives me the chance to learn a lot about magic and lets me work on 
my suntan at the same time, so it’s good.

4. What is/are the most difficult part or parts of writing/restoring the Lost 

Here’s the list, mostly from the archaeological digs where the journals have been 
1] Cannibals
2] Crocodiles
3] Sunburn
4] Sand flies
5] Dry, easily cracking parchment pages
6] The horrible smell of long-dead seaweed
7] Grumpy members of the archaeological expedition [I could name names, but I 
8] Expedition food [when finding and retrieving the journal for The Tree of Water,
we ate nothing but peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives and yellow tea for 
six months straight]
9] When salt water gets into your favorite fountain pen and clogs it up. This is 
very sad.
10] Unintentionally misspelling a word in the Nain language that turns out to be 
embarrassing [the word for “jelly” is one letter different from the word for 
“diarrhea,” which caused a number of my Nain friends to ask me what on earth I 
thought Ven was spreading on his toast.]

5. What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your 
other books? 

Getting to write about a lot of cool magic stuff that used to exist in our world, but 
doesn’t anymore. And getting to travel to interesting places in the world to see if 
maybe some of it still does exist. Also getting to show the difference between 
merrows, which are real, interesting creatures, and mermaids, which are just 

6. What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

I hope, in general, that it will open their eyes to the wonder of the sea, which 
takes up the majority of our planet, but we really don’t know that much about it 
down deep. There is a great deal of magic in the sea, and I hope that if and when 
people become aware of it, they will help take care of it and not throw garbage 
and other bad stuff into it. I have a serious dislike for garbage-throwing.
Probably the most useful secret I learned that I hope will be of use to readers is 
about thrum. Thrum is the way the creatures and plants that live in the ocean 
communicate with each other through vibration and thought. As Ven and his 
friends learn, this can be a problem if you think about something you don’t want 
anyone to know about when you are standing in a sunshadow, because 
everyone gets to see a picture of what’s on your mind. Imagine how 
embarrassing that could be. 

7. Are there more books coming in this series? 

Well, at least one. In the archaeological dig site where The Tree of Water was 
found was another journal, a notebook that Ven called The Star of the Sea. We 
are still working on restoring it, but it looks like there are many new adventures 
and different kinds of magic in it. The problem is that it might have been buried in 
the sand with an ancient bottle of magical sun tan lotion, which seems to have 
leaked onto some of the journal’s pages. This is a very sad event in archaeology, 
but we are working hard to restore it. 

As for other books, it’s not like we just write them out of nowhere. If we haven’t 
found one of Ven’s journals, there can’t be another book, now, can there? We 
are always looking, however. We’ve learned so much about ancient magic from 
the journals we have found so far.

8. You are a best-selling author with other books and series for adults. What 
made you want to write books for young readers? 

I like young readers better than adults. Everyone who is reading a book like mine 
has at one time or another been a young reader, but not everyone has been an 
adult yet. Young readers have more imagination and their brains are more 
flexible—they can understand magical concepts a lot better than a lot of adults, 
who have to deal with car payments and work and budget balancing and all sorts 
of non-magical things in the course of their days. 

Besides, many adults scare me. But that’s not their fault. I’m just weird like that.
I think if more adults read like young readers, the world would be a happier place. 

9. Tell us where we can find your book and more information about where you 
are these days. 

You can find The Tree of Water anywhere books are sold, online and in 
bookstores. There are several copies in my steamer trunk and I believe the 
palace in Serendair also has one. I also sent one to Bruno Mars because I like 
his name.

At the moment, I am on the beautiful island of J’ha-ha, searching for a very 
unique and magical flower. Thank you for asking these interview questions—it 
has improved my mood, since I have only found weeds so far today. I am hoping 
for better luck after lunch, which, sadly, is peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, 
olives, and yellow tea again.

All the best,
Dr. Elizabeth Haydon, PhD, D’Arc

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