Monday, July 21, 2008


We are giving away three (3), autographed copies of Gavin Goodfellow - The Lure of the Burnt Swamp by Candy Abbott. Each book will come with Apricot tea and disposable filters from Tea & Traditions. Details following interview.

What do twelve-year-old dyslexic Gavin Goodfellow, prophetically-inclined Uncle Warney, newly relocated mother-daughter witches from London, and a pimply-faced New Age guru have in common? Burnt Swamp-where flames from a mysterious underground fire have been smoldering for ten years. The battle is on for dominion of the swamp and possession of an ancient diary that holds clues to release or destroy the evil that dwells beneath the surface. Will Gavin respond to the Holy Spirit and embrace his God-given calling? Or will Bea Daark and her mother unleash forces that lure Gavin and the sleepy town of Ashboro deep into bondage?

Candy is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, and publisher. She discovered the power of the Holy Spirit in 1983. Her stories appear in numerous anthologies. She is an ordained elder and deacon in the Presbyterian Church and co-founder of Sisters in Christ, an inter-denominational women's ministry. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature, directs Delmarva Christian Writers' Fellowship, is president of Fruitbearer Publishing, and teaches Sunday school. A CLASServices speaker, Candy's inspirational messages are heard throughout Delmarva and beyond.

Why did you become a writer?
Ha! Writing was something I never set out to do. It was a direct call from God. But He has been faithful to provide me with the training and resources I’ve needed at every turn. My first book, Fruitbearer: What Can I Do For You, Lord? took ten years to write, but it is now in its third printing. In fact, the exercise of self-publishing led my husband and me to establish our own company, Fruitbearer Publishing, L.L.C. (visit Our motto, “Small Seeds for a Great Harvest,” is a reminder that when we are obedient to do what we can with what we have, God who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).

What inspired you to write Gavin?
In 2001, almost comfortable in my writing/publishing role, our grandson was reading the first Harry Potter book. “Let me see that,” I said. “I don’t know about that ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ thing.” Volunteering to read the book so we could discuss it, I was one-third of the way through when I had what I thought was a fleeting thought that changed the course of my life: Somebody needs to write a Christian book that’s just this much fun to read.
Immediately, three words: “You do it.”

“But Lord,” I argued. “I don’t know how to write fiction. I don’t know how to write for kids. I don’t even like fantasy . . .”

The Lord reminded me that I was already doing a lot of things I didn’t know how to do because I’d been obedient. And so began another learning curve. After seven years, Gavin Goodfellow: The Lure of Burnt Swamp, was ready to publish. Through the process, many people were excited about the book, including an agent who presented Gavin to major Christian publishing houses. One kept it for 18 months and, much to the editor’s disappointment, decided it was too great a risk for an unknown author. After much prayer, Drew and I decided to independently publish Gavin Goodfellow. The sales in one year have exceeded those of my first writing effort.

Tell me about the significance of Uncle Warney’s prophetic role and how you hope he impacts the reader.
Strange old Uncle Warney, to me, is much like John the Baptist—a voice crying in the wilderness (or, in this case, the swamp). The Lord will often use the unorthodox to lead the innocent. Because Uncle Warney is unorthodox, he has the freedom to speak into Gavin’s spiritual life in a way that his parents and peers can’t. My prayer is that our readers will take hold of Uncle Warney’s truths and apply them to their lives.

When I developed the characters of both Uncle Warney and Gavin, I had 1 Cor. 1:27 in mind: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” The Bible calls all believers “peculiar.” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” That’s what The Burnt Swamp Trilogy is all about—leading our youth out of the darkness of false religion and life’s pitfalls into God’s light. And that is a significant part of Uncle Warney’s prophetic role in this series.

Gavin has an incredible experience in the attic of Stokes Mansion. Why is that encounter important to him?
The attic scene rehearses the ultimate encounter that each of us will have some day. In Book One, Gavin must do some serious soul-searching, which many of us try to avoid at all costs. Intervention at many levels has placed Gavin there, despite his dyslexia and insecurities. While writing this chapter, I felt a surge of spiritual power flowing through me, and readers have told me that that the Lord has met them between the lines and ministered to them. But no flipping ahead, please. There is important groundwork in the preceding chapters, and the work of the Holy Spirit cannot be rushed.

There are witches in your book. Is there witchcraft?
As much as we try to protect our children from the occult, here are some alarming statistics. In 2006, the Barna Group released a report called Ministry to Mosaics: Teens and the Supernatural, based upon three nationwide studies conducted among more than 4,000 teens: “Three-quarters of America’s youth (73%) have engaged in at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity, beyond mere media exposure or horoscope usage. Possessing an evangelical faith perspective was by far the most significant factor insulating teenagers from unwanted exploration of the supernatural. Evangelical teens were nearly three times less likely than the norm to have engaged in witchcraft or psychic activities. While only 26% of evangelicals had experimented, the next least-likely segment of teens – those who read the Bible at least weekly – showed an engagement rate of 54%. Evangelicals were also significantly less likely to experiment with supernatural powers and activities than were non-evangelical born again teens (69%) or youth group attenders (66%).” This is information we cannot ignore. Interestingly, this survey was conducted five years into my writing project. It highlighted the need to present witchcraft in its true form and to expose its dangers. One of my goals is to present witchcraft from the biblical perspective.

My writing mentors and I have been careful to avoid the use of “spells” in the development of these characters and the plot line. Their power and direction comes from the mysterious and distant Order of Laddrach, which relies more heavily on the supernatural manifestation of evil. These witches do not use wands or broomsticks. They are more of a New Age cult which more accurately depicts the traps which our young people face today.

What is the most important thing you want someone to take away from reading Gavin?
Gavin is all about choices. If children and adults alike can recognize the influences of the world (some blatant, some subtle) that try to pull us away from the one true God who has called us to love and serve Him, then they may start making better choices. You don’t have to be perfect to be used by God, but you must be willing. Being a hero, whether anyone else knows it or not, becomes a matter of choice—whom you choose to serve. It’s time we took a good, long look at who or what we are following day-in and day-out. Joshua 24:15 (NIV) comes to mind: “. . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Even the Ten Commandments are in jeopardy in our land, the first of which is, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The most important thing I want someone to take away from reading Gavin is to resolve in their heart of hearts, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

What is the benefit of using this as part of a homeschool curriculum?
Many of our readers, young and young-at-heart, have found Gavin’s story both compelling and well-written. In the homeschool environment, it opens opportunities to discuss topics like encountering and responding to evil, honoring authority, and many other topics that are taboo in public schools. Companion products like workbooks and curriculum guides prepared by Christian school teachers maximize the educational opportunities that Gavin presents in the classroom, whether it’s a traditional Christian classroom or in a variety of homeschool situations. The fact that it’s fun to read helps make learning fun, an added bonus in the process. If parents want to equip their children as spiritual warriors, Gavin is rich with ammunition.

Do you have resources available to enhance the reading of this book and allow children to dig deeper?
Yes! We have two companion resources available for The Lure of Burnt Swamp: a student workbook, Interactive Journal: A Chapter-by-Chapter Search for Truth, and a curriculum guide, Literature Guide: Chapter-by-Chapter Lesson Plans for Middle School Teachers. Both are available as free downloads (PDF files) on the
Educator’s page of Gavin’s website. A spiral-bound, 90-page version of the Interactive Journal is also available for purchase.

Is there a Book Two in the works?
Absolutely! The second book in the series is well underway. While it took me seven years to write the first one, the second is moving right along. The characters have introduced themselves and are eager to tell their stories. I would like to give you a specific date, but Uncle Warney is telling me to wait. So, we must be diligent and patient. Please keep an eye on my website for updates.

How can someone purchase a copy of Gavin and/or contact you?
The best way to purchase a copy of Gavin Goodfellow: The Lure of Burnt Swamp is to order through the
“Buy Stuff” page of Gavin’s website or contact me direct at P.O. Box 777, Georgetown, DE 19947, 302-856-6649. The soft cover edition (ISBN 978-1-886068-03-2) is available from any traditional or online bookstore. We also have a few signed/numbered limited edition hardbacks available on Gavin’s website or directly from me.

Leave a comment telling me why you want to win this book and the winner will be chosen by a random integer generator. You may enter only once. The three winners will be announced here on Monday, July 28th and should email Mari at info(@)teaandtraditions(dot)com to claim their prizes.

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Melody said...

thank you for this give-a-way. I love reading this style of book and would love to have this book.

kamewh said...

Gavin Goodfellow: The Lure of Burnt Swamp sounds like a very interesting book! I would love to read it because I really enjoyed the interview and reading the book summary. I especially liked the section of the interview where the inspiration for the book is discussed. Thank you for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to read this because it's something both the kids and I can read. Also, it's a book with an underlying very important message but the story still involves all kinds of adventure, trouble, and scary stuff along the way--just like real life. Thanks for the giveaway.

Pam Halter said...

I already have the book. Candy is one of my dearest friends and a true sister to me! I just wanted to leave a comment saying thank you for a great interview and that I wouldn't mind the apricot tea. ;)

micaela6955 said...

I love suspense, mystery, excitement and the traditional good battles evil and wins type books-it sounds like a great book to read and I would be happy to own it as part of my collection.

TAMI said...

When I first saw this book I was sure it wasn't for me, but now that I've read your interview, I REALLY want it. I LOVE adventure and mystery and the magical - even better when it point to The Ultimate Truth!!

Anonymous said...

My book group will be looking for another book in the near future and Mrs. Abbott's book sounds very interesting.

I love apricot tea and would love to have some more.

Thank you for your offer. I would love to be selected.


Jaime (ChaseNKids) said...

ChWhat a wonderful giveaway! The book sounds fantastic and I would love to read it!!!

Anonymous said...

I would to be able to share this book with my daughter and know that there is a good message in it!
conniecirillo (at) yahoo (dot) com said...

This book sounds very interesting. I'm always looking for new authors to read and share with my friends. I enjoyed the book review and will try to locate a copy for myself, even if I don't win. However, the end of July is my birthday and what a wonderful gift, a book and tea!! Thanks for the opportunity

Anita in Powder Springs said...

I am raising my 4-year old grandson while my son is in active duty with the Navy/Marines. We have a nightly ritual of reading books before he goes to sleep. My grandson has quite an imagination and I can't think of a more useful tool to peek his interest in spiritual matters than reading this book.

bookworm said...

This is my favorite genre of writing, I would love to win this! Thanks for offering it!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book


Cindy said...

On Saturday - July 26 - I am beginning what I call '90 to 50'. I have 90 days until I turn 50 and I am going to do 90 things I have never done before or have not done in a very long time. One thing I haven't done in a very long time is read a fictional book. This one looks very interesting and I am excited to have the opportunity to receive one. Thank you for posting this!

Mari said...

I really enjoyed the summary and the interview with the author. I would enjoy reading this, then passing it to my daughter and nieces. Thanks for doing this!

Tricia said...

I am a homeschooling mom, and have found one of the best way to teach my children is by reading good literature together. After reading the interview, this sounds like a really interesting, and great spiritual teaching tool!

Anonymous said...

I teach a group of homeschoolers, and I would love to see if this book is a good fit for them. I love to read new literature books! I also love the bonus tea! Thanks for the opportunity.

cpullum said...

I would love to read this book! The inspiration for the book has me wanting to open the book and read it!

Tiffany Stuart said...

Include me in your giveaway. Sounds interesting..

Anonymous said...

I love books that use a fantasy world to illustrate Christian principles. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorites. It sounds like Candy Abbot is writing in the same vein and I would love to read her books. I am also glad someone is writing something to counter the Harry Potter epidemic too.

J. Jones

Pupillo said...

This looks like a great book. I have all the Harry Potters, and I love the idea of a fantasy world, but honestly I couldn't get through much past the second Harry Potter book. It just couldn't keep my attention. I am excited to read "Gavin Goodfellow" knowing there is positive substance in it and hopfully get something spiritual out of it as well.

Smom said...
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