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Betsy Cornwell Books In Order

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Publication Order of Mechanica Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Tides (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Forest Queen (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Circus Rose (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reader, I Murdered Him (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Betsy Cornwell is a science fiction, fantasy and children’s author from County Galway, Ireland. She is also the story editor of a leading international magazine named “Parabola” that focuses on religion and mythology. Cornwell is highly experienced in magazine and book publishing which she has done for several years. She worked with popular novelists such as Emily Giffin and Nicholas Sparks at Park Literary Group, where she was the 2011 Sparks Fellow. Given her pedigree, she has been on National Public Radio in the United States, where she discussed the state of young adult fiction. She has also been a columnist and editor at “Teen Ink” and Editor in Chief at “Labry” before she decided to go to Notre Dame and graduated with her MFA in creative writing. Betsy’s debut novel was a young adult retelling of “The Selkie Bride,” a popular Irish folk tale. She published the novel in 2013 and it went on to win critical acclaim and landed a nomination from the Bisexual Book Awards, Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, and a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her second novel was a steampunk retelling of the classic Cinderella story that she titled “Mechanica.” “Mechanica” was the first of the Mechanica series and was also a bestselling title. The second novel in the series titled “Venturess” was published in 2017.

Cornwell had always loved writing since she was a child but when she tried to get into writing school, she got rejections from thirteen MFA programs before she was accepted at Notre Dame. After writing the manuscript for Tides, she set out looking for agents. Of course, her first draft of Tides that she completed in 2008 was a rough and discombobulated thing and she never got anywhere despite going through thirty-five agents. In 2010, she decided to change her approach and after rewriting and polishing her draft, she set out to pitch to agents and nine months later she got Sara Crowe as an agent. Three months later, Clarion Books accepted her manuscript for publishing though it was not until 2013 that it was published.

Betsy Cornwell always loved folklore and fairy tales since she was little though she asserts that she also binged on any type of books she could lay her hands on. As such, it is not surprising that she decided to write novels with a fairy tale bent when she graduated from her MFA. Among some of the novels that she read during this time included the likes of Briar Rose, Ella Enchanted, and Beauty. These novels have clearly been influential in her debut novel “Tides” and her subsequent Mechanica series. She was inspired to write Mechanica right back in 2009 while she was at Smith College. During this time, she was taking a course taught by Betsey Harries her advisor titled “Fairy Tales and Gender.” In the meantime, her best friend was involved with research for some steampunk and she was fascinated with what she had found. Betsy had also been having conversations with her instructor about how fairy tales worked and it seemed that they fit well with steampunk. Cinderella particularly lent itself to a remake especially given that it has the archetypal perfect and tight story. As such, she wrote “Mechanica” as a short story and everything ballooned from there.

Cornwell’s debut novel “Tides” is the story of a teenage boy named Noah who is looking forward to a summer internship under Professor Foster his lifelong idol. He has spent years studying to be a marine scientist and had at times abandoned many of his other responsibilities. He is currently living with Lo his adopted sister and their grandmother on White Island just off the coast of New England. His sister has depression and an eating disorder and their parents believed that time away on the remote island would be good for her. But still, she is an ordinary teenage girl who does the usual things that teenage girls do to vex their older siblings and parents. While their grandmother Dolores looks ordinary enough, she is a lesbian in love with Maebh with whom she has been in a relationship since she was a teenager. But what the two teenagers do not know is that Maehb has a supernatural heritage given that she is a selkie. This means that Dolores and Maehb have a link, a psychic connection between their souls that has made for an everlasting love that has been going strong for four decades. Everything had been fine until things take an interesting turn when Noah tries to save some girl from drowning, which proves a mistake.

“Mechanica” the first novel of the Mechanica series introduced the lead Nicolette and her awful stepsisters. They have nicknamed her Mechanica since she loves to fiddle with things and invent some clever contraptions. She had learned her craft at her mother’s knee but her mother is long dead and now her stepsisters have practically turned her into a maid in her father’s own house. But on the day she turns sixteen, Nicoletta stumbles into a secret workshop and thinks that she can make a new life and be free from her evil sisters. Could the mysterious tools, books, and the mechanical horse be what she needs to get out of her dreary life? A royal ball is being organized in a few weeks and with the technological discovery she has made, she may have hit on the right timing to grab her long-awaited freedom. Betsy Cornwell writes on the themes of family, social justice in this gorgeous retelling of the Cinderella narrative. Nicolette ends up getting what she wanted only to realize that she does not like it after all.

Betsy Cornwell’s “Venturess” starts right after the events of the previous novel when Nicoletta realizes that a happy ever after Cinderella ending with a prince was not what she wanted anywhere. She decided to pursue her talents and is now a full-fledged inventor and has her happy fairy tale ending on her own terms. She no longer has to deal with her stepsisters and has formed strong bonds of friendship with the prince of Esting named Fin and Caroline the palace servant. Then she gets a message from a revolutionary that was once upon a time her housekeeper that had gone missing to go start a rebellion. He is asking that she bring Fin the prince for a diplomatic meeting at Faerie. Nicolette thinks it may be a trap but believes it may just be a chance to end the bloody war that had weakened the kingdom. Together with Caro and Fin, they travel across the monster filled sea and finally get to the beautiful land now overrun with revolutionaries. In the strange land, dark magic and mechanical armies lie in wait and they are soon fighting for the life of their kingdom and for their own lives.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Betsy Cornwell

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