By LAUREN THOMSON Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on September 10, 2021.
Local children’s author Darlene Foster has released the eighth book in her Amanda Travels series, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady, published by Central Avenue Publishing.
“I was born in Medicine Hat actually and I lived on a ranch near Irvine and went to school at Irvine School,” said Foster. “I have lived other places since, but yes, I consider myself a Medicine Hatter.”
Foster says she always enjoyed writing and was first published at the age of 12 when she wrote a short piece called ‘Stretch Your Food Dollar.’
“I always wanted to write and I dabbled in it, but I was a busy mom, I had jobs, I had kids I was raising and I never really got serious about it until I was well into my middle age,” said Foster. “I went on a holiday to the United Arab Emirates to meet up with a friend who was living and working there and I had such a great time and I thought, ‘You know, I really want to write about this.’
“I started writing about it but the excitement I felt didn’t come through, so I wrote about it from the point of view of a 12-year-old and that’s how Amanda and Arabia, my first book, came to fruition.”
Foster says by the time she found a publisher, she was finishing her second Amanda Travels instalment. She says her books have been well received by middle school readers, usually between eight and 12 years old.
“Children like to read about other countries and things you can see and do in those countries and what you can eat,” said Foster. “Amanda always has an adventure because she’s very inquisitive and she always wants to help people out.”
In a press release emailed to the News, Foster gave a small teaser for the newest Amanda Travels book:
“A postcard arrives from Malta. Leah is in trouble. Protected birds are being killed and a special artifact, The Sleeping Lady, has been stolen from a museum. Can Amanda and Caleb come to Leah’s aid before she is accused of wrongdoing? Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.”
Amanda is named after her granddaughter but Foster says the character is loosely based on herself.
“I should add that Amanda does not get to go any place that I haven’t been,” said Foster. “So every one of these books is based on a holiday I’ve had.”
Foster will be at Unlimited Characters on Dunmore Road on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. She will be available to answer questions and will also be reading from and signing her books.