October 18, 2022

The Tiltersmith Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to The Tiltersmith Blog Tour!

Follow along as we celebrate the release of The Tiltersmith with behind-the-scenes looks from author Amy Herrick, plus 10 chances to win a copy!

 Folktales and Mythology Which Inspired the Character of Superintendent Tiltersmith 
by Amy Herrick

The character of the Tiltersmith is woven from many sources. I knew first off that he was going to be one of those trickster fellows, a slippery dude, intent on mischief and thievery and getting his heart’s desire by whatever means necessary. He is never quite what he appears to be. 

Naturally, the first mythological guy that I thought of was the Norse god, Loki. In our own contemporary world you can meet up with him in many places—comics, movies, television. In his mythological back-stories, he is the adopted son of Odin, king of the gods, and always in the middle of one battle or another, always changing his shape from man to woman, from stallion to salmon to a biting fly--whatever suits his needs. According to legend, he is one of those responsible for setting “Ragnarock,” the destruction of the world, in motion.

However, when I was thinking about the way the Tiltersmith might look when he first shows up in my story, I pictured a more up-to-date conception—a devilish fellow, a snappy dresser with tiny feet and slightly crooked shoulders. At one point, the Lady he is in love with even makes fun of the tail she says he keeps tucked in his pants. 

Although my Tiltersmith spends much of the story up in our world making trouble, he returns now and then to a gloomy, underground, many-hallwayed residence of his own. Some of my ideas for how this world might look came from the research I did on the Greek myth of Hades, the God of the Underworld. Hades was assigned by Zeus to live beneath the earth where he ruled over the dead. Cerberus, the three-headed dog would let you in once you were dead, but after that it was the dog’s job to make sure you didn’t get out. In one of my first drafts, Cerberus makes an appearance, but, sadly, I needed to edit him out. However, Danton and Brigit do make a perilous crossing over a river much like the River Styx, which also appears in the world of Hades. In my version the river is set with a series of deadly and sweet-smelling traps that you wouldn’t have found in old Greek mythology. 

In many of the old season myths there is a powerful, love-mad winter god who holds the goddess of Spring as a hostage until she escapes or is rescued or makes her own deal for freedom. Hades is one of these, as is the Winter Katsina who, according to a Hopi legend, holds the Blue Corn Maiden in his house of ice and snow until she is rescued by the Summer Katsina. The Egyptian story of Osiris, the ruler of the underworld, and his wife, Isis, has some interesting, but topsy turvy similarities. All of these were inspirations in creating the character of the Tiltersmith.

There are numerous others that kept me coming up with new ideas, but let me just mention one more of my favorites—the Chinese beast/monster of New Year’s Eve. His name was Nian (which means ‘year’ in Chinese) and the myth goes that he climbed out of the sea on the night of the second full moon after the Winter Solstice. He’s been described and pictured in various ways, but often with a ferocious horned lion’s head and the body of a dragon. Every year, he showed up, devouring as much he could get his mouth around--chicken, cattle, and people. Then one day, a wise old man—perhaps a god in disguise?— showed the people that the beast was terrified of the color red! Also, loud noises, particularly firecrackers. The old man frightened the beast away with these devices and Nian went off with his dragon tail between his legs. Ever afterwards, the Chinese people have decorated their homes on New Year’s Eve with red banners and lanterns and set off plenty of fireworks.

I doubt this would have worked against my Tiltersmith, but it did give me an idea for one of my favorite scenes—the one where the small-footed, dandily dress villain turns himself into an enormous, golem-like monster, his head the size and shape of a giant boulder, his footsteps booming down the corridors right behind the escaping Brigit and Danton.


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Myths and monsters collide with climate chaos in a thrilling fantasy adventure.

Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, New York, but winter refuses to let go. Sleet, snow, and even a tornado batter the city. Mr. Ross, the science teacher, believes climate change is the cause, but classmates Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit suspect older, magical forces are at work. When a peculiar character calling himself Superintendent Tiltersmith appears with a keen interest in the foursome, their suspicions are confirmed, and they’re swept up in a battle of wits and courage.

The friends must protect a set of mysterious tools belonging to the Lady of Spring. If they can free her from her underground prison, winter will end. But if the Tiltersmith steals the tools, he will keep the Lady in his power and upset the balance of nature forever.

Perfect for readers of Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper, The Tiltersmith returns to the world of Amy Herrick’s acclaimed Time Fetch in a timely, exciting stand-alone adventure.


"Herrick combines vivid descriptions of climate events, school-set science lessons, and weather-related stories from various cultures around the globe...resonates with current events and fits tonally alongside children’s fantasy classics." —Publishers Weekly

“Vacillating between scientific reasoning and lore from worldwide cultures, the descriptions of beautiful legends of seasons and the sobering study of climate change are so rich.” —Kirkus Reviews

"Despite the contemporary setting, a diversified cast, and topical themes, events take on ritualistic elements that readers up on their Greek mythology will recognize. American fans of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence will find themselves on familiar footing, albeit a bit closer to home." —Booklist

“The author proves to have a keen eye for developing wonderfully dastardly villains. Tiltersmith is a fantastic bad guy who oozes disarming charm while also being deeply unsettling…cleverly handled…a compelling tale.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books  

“It’s a great combination of the mystical and the scientific! A bit of gentle romance shouldn’t deter younger readers...The writing style is craftily literary, with warm incisive forays into each character’s inner life.” —Youth Services Book Review   

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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.

  • Ten (10) winners will receive a hardcover of The Tiltersmith
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11/6 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Schedule:

October 17th Mama Likes This
October 18th A Dream Within a Dream
October 19th Always in the Middle
October 20th BookHounds
October 21st Mrs. Book Dragon

October 24th Good Choice Reading
October 25th Mom Read It
October 26th YA Books Central
October 27th Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
October 28th Randomly Reading


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