Children of the Black Glass: A Bedtime Story, a guest post by Tony Peckham
Children of the Black Glass began some years ago on a family road trip, when we found an obsidian deposit near a dirt road on the wild side of a jagged mountain range. Ancestral skills and materials were part of our family’s zeitgeist at the time, so we’d already seen what kind of stunning treasures raw obsidian could become, in the right hands.
That night, at bedtime, I began to imagine and then tell a story centered around black glass and the people who might have used it. My kids clutched raw chunks of it in their hands as they fell asleep. As soon as we could, we removed their plunder because even when raw, obsidian is sharp.
The story grew and evolved night by night thanks to their ruthless feedback, a wonderful tool for a story-teller if you can take the heat! Nothing like your own kids to let you know instantly when the story’s sagging.
Eventually, my wife gently suggested that I write the story down in private, rather than tell it at bedtime, because the kids weren’t going to sleep any more.
I took that to be a good sign but as we know, bedtime rules all things, and so that’s what I did and that’s how Children of the Black Glass became a novel. But a novel I never stopped writing for myself, and for two growing kids whose life and future meant everything to me.
That’s why there are a lot of contemporary concerns and issues hidden inside a story set somewhere between the swiftly changing time between the end of the Age of Stone and the beginning of the Age of Metal.
For instance, I wanted Children of the Black Glass to model physical, mental and emotional resilience, because I suspect that our children will need to be resilient human beings throughout their 21st Century lives.
I wanted our kids – all our kids – to see and feel that the capacity for courage, for honor, for loyalty aren’t emotional luxuries, they’re necessities.
At the time of writing, children – young adults, really – like Greta Thunberg and the Parkland Student Activists were much in the news, and I admired their clear-eyed passion and commitment. I still do.
Inspired, I wanted my characters and my readers to wrap their heads around the idea that, often, the rules we’re told to live by are created to benefit the people making the rules, first and foremost. And that therefore you can’t wait for change; you have to make change.
That said, I hope that my readers never know I’m back there telling them about these things. I want them to be thrilled by the story of two children long ago and far away, and to be inspired by Tell and Wren, rather than a father sitting by their bedside at the witching hour.
Though, I have to admit, Children of the Black Glass and the two novels to come are still bedtime stories to me.
Meet the author
Anthony Peckham is a writer, surfer and gentleman farmer who grew up in South Africa and lived for many seasons on the California coast, writing screenplays such as “Invictus” and “Sherlock Holmes”. He now perches on the side of a supposedly dormant volcano in the most remote island chain on the planet. Children of the Black Glass is his first novel.
About Children of the Black Glass
Howl’s Moving Castle meets Neil Gaiman in this middle grade fantasy, set in a world as mesmerizing as it is menacing, following children on a quest to save their father who get embroiled in the sinister agendas of rival sorcerers.
In an unkind alternate past, somewhere between the Stone Age and a Metal Age, Tell and his sister Wren live in a small mountain village that makes its living off black glass mines and runs on brutal laws. When their father is blinded in a mining accident, the law dictates he has thirty days to regain his sight and be capable of working at the same level as before or be put to death.
Faced with this dire future, Tell and Wren make the forbidden treacherous journey to the legendary city of Halfway, halfway down the mountain, to trade their father’s haul of the valuable black glass for the medicine to cure him. The city, ruled by five powerful female sorcerers, at first dazzles the siblings. But beneath Halfway’s glittery surface seethes ambition, violence, prejudice, blackmail, and impending chaos.
Without knowing it, Tell and Wren have walked straight into a sorcerers’ coup. Over the next twelve days they must scramble first to save themselves, then their new friends, as allegiances shift and prejudices crack open to show who has true power.
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publication date: 03/07/2023
Series: Children of the Black Glass #1
Age Range: 10 – 14 Years
Filed under: Guest Post
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network