Today, I have the privilege of introducing a new adventure as well as a new author. Hannah Cobb’s debut novel is here and it looks exciting.
Enter a world of assassins, hidden blades, and deadly romance!
A young assassin must betray all she knows.
In an underground school rife with duels and deadly classes, Jane hides in the shadows to stay alive. She is the invisible assassin. But as she prepares to graduate from Mortis and take her place in the world as a fully-trained killer, Jane stumbles over shadowy secrets revealing dark truths that affect more than her world. Will she embrace the darkness, or betray the school that raised her—and the boy she loves? Once Jane sets herself against her school, there is no turning back because in Mortis, failure always means death.
Please welcome Hannah Cobb as she shares about the importance of reading.
Importance of reading
by Hannah Cobb
As a writer and a librarian, I am doubly invested in promoting reading. Not just reading skills, though those are important, too—I want kids and teens to grow up with a love of reading that turns them into life-long readers.
I was homeschooled all the way through high school, and my parents read to me every day during my childhood. Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, Tolkien, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Dickens—I lived in a world of powerful stories and rich language from a very young age. Throughout my elementary school years I read all the time. My mom supplied a wealth of books to supplement all my school curricula; I learned history through historical fiction, read biographies of famous scientists, and even came to (almost) appreciate the beauty of math by learning about famous mathematicians. And, of course, my family went to the local library on a regular basis. My poor mother enforced a limit on many books we could bring home because otherwise we would have checked out the whole library, but she never censored what we read, so long as we stayed within an age-appropriate range of reading materials. I am so appreciative that my parents adopted this open-minded approach to reading habits. Too many people narrow what they read and experience to only what coincides with their particular worldview or religious/political/philosophical perspective on life. Kids need to read about what life is like for other people. They need windows into other worlds. This is one of the reasons I write teen fantasy.
I like writing for teens because (having been one myself) I know that this is the age when kids really start to come to terms with the world around them. Reading the right book can be like looking into a mirror and finally seeing yourself, or who you want to be. I write fantasy for a couple of reasons. The first is the easiest: I like reading fantasy. The second is more serious. I believe that everyone faces dark times and hardship in life. Fantasy offers worlds where evil and darkness can be defeated, often by a young protagonist. Teens might feel disenfranchised and powerless in the real world, but reading fantasy—or fairytales, or dystopian fiction—gives them a chance to see someone their age choose to face down evil and defeat it. I hear people complain that fantasy is just “escapism,” which frustrates me. All good literature is escapism. It scoops your mind out of this world and deposits it in a fictional world, where you can vicariously experience the joys and struggles of another person. Journeying into fictional worlds is a way to learn empathy and gain a greater understanding of our world and the human condition. And sometimes readers of all ages need a safe place to escape to. If one of my books can give young readers a safe haven for an hour, or give them the courage to look at the world around them with new eyes, then I will consider my writing career worthwhile.
I write for teens, but the foundation for a reader’s life has to be laid much earlier—which is one reason I am also a children’s librarian. I’m a firm advocate for the importance of early literacy. I cannot emphasize enough the difference made in the lives of kids who are fortunate enough to be read to regularly. Even playing rhyming games and reciting nursery rhymes can help babies and toddlers develop crucial language and vocabulary skills that they will need later in life.
So if you have young children, or you work with kids, read to them! And if you are a teen, or a parent of a teen, or a teacher looking for books to give to a teen, don’t be too quick to dismiss fantasy. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien crafted intricate, enchanting fantasy worlds full of brave heroes and heroines willing to risk their lives to stand against evil. Plenty of today’s fantasy writers do the same, even if their protagonists are vampires and wizards instead of hobbits and wardrobe-exploring children.
About the Author:
Hannah Cobb lives in Maryland, where she maintains a cover identity as a librarian by day and moonlights as a writer. When she isn’t writing, Hannah enjoys designing elaborate period costumes and collecting swords. Mortis is her first novel.
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