Kingdom of Lost Children

Kingdom of Lost Children

by L. J. Carter


It is an honour to announce, Kingdom of Lost Children, is being read and enjoyed in select Australian schools. It has been humbling to read the wonderful comments and reviews! A big, gracious, "Thank you," to everyone who has read and reviewed, for sharing your thoughts on, Kingdom of Lost Children!


Here are just a few reviews from some of the awesome kids at St. Johns School, Springvale, Victoria, Australia:


It is a true privilege to read The Kingdom of Lost Children. There were so many twists so if any time I put the book down I would never know what would happen at the end. The art work in the book is AMAZING!!!! To be honest I couldn’t put the book down. The characters and the setting of the story are absolutely unbelievable.  The genre of the story is just suitable for me. I also liked how the story captured my interest and imagination from the very start. I really enjoyed reading the book. Even by just judging the cover, it still looked interesting and really captured the eye. I would read this book again and would never get bored. I would say that this story by L J Carter is quite mesmerizing and the artwork is very captivating and beautifully presented. ”     (by Tracey Year 6)


“I feel so lucky to have read such a wonderful  book that isn’t available in bookshops in Australia yet. The book was great to read; I liked it very much. The story was interesting, mysterious and captivating and it didn’t take me too long to read because I couldn’t put it down. It was one of the longest books I have ever read and enjoyed all the way through. I enjoyed reading the book a lot. I also rate this book 10/10 and I would like to thank Ms. L.J. Carter for writing such a wonderful book for young people to read.”    (by Aaron Year 6)


I’ve just finished reading the book and it blew my mind, literally. The book had a very rich and interesting plot line because for me it was the balance between reality and fantasy that had me drawn in. Although the story was meant to be serious (or so I think), I can’t help but find some parts humorous. The characters were very detailed and that made them very realistic. I find that the book has some identical events that happen in the real world. The story had me thinking of all different possible outcomes in the end. There were many plot twists that surprised me and had me captivated to the very end of the story. The artwork was very beautiful and nearly had me taking pictures. The art style suited the story line and I think Ms Carter is very creative. I also read the authors note at the end and It saddens me to even think that children are going through immense pain while we are living obliviously in our lives. To me it is a privilege to have read this book. The book has opened my eyes to see the harsh truth but has also made me realise that just a little bit of help can change a whole world sometimes.”  ~Artemis (Year 5)


"I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of reading this wonderful novel when it was not even distributed in Australia yet. When I first saw the book, I knew I would enjoy it. Oh, and I’d like to tell you that the ‘Kingdom of Lost Children’ is the longest book I have ever read. I believe that the Kingdom of Lost Children – The Book of Ren should also become a movie because of the wonderful story line. It was full of mystery and beautiful artwork and I just couldn’t put it down. I rate this book a 10/10, which means that it is one of my favorite books every! Thank you Ms Carter for your wonderful novel and the beautiful artwork!”

(by Kelly Year 5)




Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren, Launched in Print!

I am excited to say, Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren is now available in print in bookstores across Hong Kong. The book is offered in two cover options for your selection.

To see photos from the book signing and launch, please visit the, Kingdom of Lost Children, FACEBOOK page and watch this space for how to own your own copy, worldwide!



Great Minds Think Aloud Interview with L.J. Carter


I am honoured to have recently been interviewed again, this time by CEO of Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club and Literary Community, Kitty Bullard. Kitty asked some very interesting questions of which you may be surprised by some of the answers!…


Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club and Literary Community Interview with L. J. Carter, Author and Illustrator of, Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren


Clips from the Illustrated Fantasy Novel, Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren.

All illustration work by, L. J. Carter


Photograph of L.J.Carter, courtesy of:



Hello Lydia! It is so wonderful to have this opportunity to interview you. You have quite a few books you have written, tell us more about each one and the inspiration behind them.


Thank you so much Kitty; it’s a pleasure!


Well, I have many books floating around in my head but the first to be released is my illustrated YA novel, Kingdom of Lost Children. Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren, is the first in a series of YA fantasy novels, following the adventures of Leyla and her orphaned ‘siblings’ Christian, Lizzie, Seph, Jasmine, Caterina and Ali.


After Leyla’s mother mysteriously disappears on her sixth birthday, Leyla is forced to live in a small orphanage run by the cruel and corrupt town mayor, Lord Faolan. Now at fifteen, Leyla is having bizarre and frightening visions compelling her to return to her haunting past and question the truth about her mother’s disappearance.


But when Leyla discovers an ancient script in her old childhood home she is thrust into a world she never expected; a world filled with strange creatures, secrets and dark magic. There is more to Leyla’s past than she realised and more than just her future is threatened. Only an ancient book holds the key to her survival but Leyla is not the only one after the book’s great power…


The Book of Ren involved a great deal of research into ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Hebrew myths, beliefs, writings and languages. The ‘Ztepian’ language used in the book was created from a combination of these languages; the term, Ztep Tepi, being an ancient Egyptian term meaning, ‘first time’. The book takes the reader back to a time before time and a forgotten world secretly linked with our own. Here, Leyla discovers dark and evil forces on both worlds are plotting the unimaginable in a conspiracy to rule and Leyla and the other children are in grave danger. Leyla must find the Book of Ren, a book of ancient and powerful magic, to not only save her own life, but also the lives of those she loves before they are lost forever.


Although this is a fantasy book, there are many layers to this story that many people can identify with; love and loss, betrayal, learning to have faith in yourself and your abilities, speaking out and standing up against abuse and oppression, and whatever the circumstances may be, never giving up hope.


You were born into a very large family, how do you think this has been an inspiration in your writing career if any?


I do have a very large extended family. My grandmother was one of 10 children! I love hearing her stories of growing up in that environment; it is so full of community and happy childhood adventures!


My immediate family is much smaller. As my mother and I moved around a lot when I was child, and my brother and sister were not born until I was much older, in my early years, I spent a lot of time on my own. I missed having access to family but in the end it developed in me a big imagination! I loved reading and could spend hours imagining my own stories. I also spent a great deal of time drawing which developed my skills as an illustrator.


Our travels had a big impact on me too. Living in England added a gothic edge to my writing. Any moment I could spend in a gothic church, cemetery (yes, as morbid as it sounds…) or museum, I was there. The mystery, atmosphere and history surrounding these places fascinated me. It wasn’t easy changing schools all of the time but exposure to other countries opened my mind to many different cultures and that comes across in my work.


My mother was also always one to encourage my brother, sister and I to follow our hearts. Her belief and encouragement was instrumental in giving me the confidence to become a writer.


You speak so fondly of your family and growing up, tell us one of your most favorite memories of that time.


Growing up, there were some very difficult times. My real father left when I was only six and my stepfather was a very abusive and manipulative man. Somehow, despite it all, my mother, brother, sister and I would steal away and find moments of relief and laughter. These were wonderful times of hope.


I think my most precious memories are of reading to my brother and sister when they were little. There was such a closeness in those moments filled with love and safety.


Who are some of your favorite authors and inspirations that have helped you along the way?


I’ve always been partial to, A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My favourite scene is when she is forced to be a servant and is made to sleep, hungry and cold in the attic; she uses her imagination to pretend she is attending a rich, colourful banquet in India. It is a wonderfully described example of using the imagination to survive a terrible situation.


As for inspirations, they come from a number of sources. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient history, people and their beliefs. When you see structures like the pyramids and the Temple of Karnak, it’s extraordinary to think they were built five thousand years ago. These are structures, with all of our modern technology, we are unable to replicate today. Today, we look at flat slabs of grey concrete high-rises built by businesses competing to see who can be better and bigger. Thousands of years ago, architects, writers, artists and sculptors all worked together to create a beautiful structure that was not only functional but had a deeper meaning into their beliefs and society. We like to think we are so much more advanced and civilised but there is so much we seem to have lost.


I am also inspired by life and the challenges many of us face, often to survive. WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates there are over five million children in forced labour or prostitution, one hundred and fifty three thousand girls and seventy three thousand boys facing domestic, sexual or physical abuse. It saddens and angers me that there are so many dealing with this and that so little is being done about it. As someone who has faced abuse, this is an issue that is very close to my heart and one I can speak about from experience. Kingdom of Lost Children, takes the perspective of children dealing with abuse and oppression and the challenges they face to speak out about it; shame, fear, society’s complacency, lies and manipulation used by an abuser. My blog post, ‘Why Your Greatest Power is Your Voice’ gives direct links to worldwide helplines for anyone facing this issue or for anyone who knows someone facing abuse:…-is-your-voice.


Ten percent of the proceeds of my book, as well as ten percent of proceeds from artwork associated with the book, are also donated to a small yet wonderful organisation, The Grey Man, dedicated to fighting the trafficking and exploitation of children. Ninety-five percent of all donations are used directly toward their work, unlike many charities that use a large proportion for self promotion. They are receptive to any way you can help, be it donations, dedication of your time and skills or spreading the word. You can check them out by going to:


You are a very religious person and it shows not only in your bio but your writing. Tell us more about how God has made a difference in your life.


I’m not a religious person but I do believe in God. To me, religion and God are two different things. People often get so caught up in tradition and rules (and sometimes corruption) created by people they forget the true message.


A good example of this is the way many people have jumped on the biblical passage, Matthew 5:31-32.


31It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.


The last sentence is really shocking when you read it. What if a woman and her children are suffering abuse? What if her husband cheated on her or abandoned her; she can never remarry? What is interesting here is, in that last sentence, the King James Bible incorrectly translated the original Greek word, apolelumenEn, which is the past tense of, apoluseE, meaning, “put away,” not divorce. In ancient times it was common for a man to “put away” his wife if she no longer pleased him as he could marry numerous times. When you now read the two verses making this amendment and place it in historical context, you see that what Jesus was saying is, if you put away your wife, give her a legal divorcement so that she can remarry legally (this was also to protect her from a cruel husband who may later come back, accuse her of adultery, and have her stoned to death). Strangely, although this word appears two previous times in the verses, correctly translated as “put away”, the translators chose to translate the word as divorced, even though the actual term for divorce, apostation, is a completely different word and is correctly translated in verse 31. This is why it so very important for people to do their research and not just blindly follow what people tell them. As a result of this one little passage, many religious women stay in abusive relationships because they believe it is a sin or shameful to do otherwise.

Jesus was actually frustrated by the religious leaders of his day for exactly the same reason. He taught compassion, generosity, love, open-mindedness, common sense and to be non-judgemental. One of my favourite stories in the bible (and one that corresponds with the above point) is when the scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders of the day) decide to stone the adulteress, Jesus said the simple words, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ (John 8) None of them could, of course. He was also fiercely protective of children, the weak, sick and the poor. His example, to me, is a true example of what God really is.

It is this belief of what God is that has seen me through some very difficult times. I truly believe, if there were no God or guardian angels listening to my prayers, there are times in my life I could not have survived.


What are some of the novels you have that are forthcoming and when can we expect more from you?


Kingdom of Lost Children tells of five magical books, all based around the ancient Egyptian belief of the five parts of a person. The first book, the Book of Ren, had the power of the Name. In ancient times, it was believed that as long as the name survived (even past physical death) it could be used to acquire the knowledge and magical powers of the person or persons who owned the name. This is why a name in ancient Egyptian text was surrounded by a protective ‘magic circle’ or cartouche of protection.


The four remaining books are: Ba, the soul; Ka, the life force; Ib, the heart and Sheut, the shadow. I am currently working on, Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Shadows, which will be the second book in the series.


Give us an idea of what a day in the life of Lydia is like.


Haha, an attempt at organised chaos! As I am also an illustrator and graphic designer, no two days are the same. It is a whirlwind of writing, illustrating, graphic design and art commissions, maintaining websites, blogs, interacting with readers and art lovers. Somewhere in-between, I try to squeeze in some regular life.


Do you allow your family to read and critique your writing before it is published?


I would be happy for them to but they aren’t novel readers (I’m the odd one out!). They often say, they hope the book becomes a film as they would definitely watch it! My husband does read novels but he’s into adventure and true crime. Fantasy isn’t his thing but he has been so supportive of me and my work. That means the world to me. Both of my brothers-in-law enjoyed Kingdom of Lost Children though! Everyone is different but I am very excited and blessed by the positive response my book has received by the public.


What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your life besides family and writing?


Well, I started my career as a designer and I continued in that field for many years. I first began writing, Kingdom of Lost Children, ten years ago in every spare moment I had. It took a lot of courage to take a leap of faith and follow my heart. I’m so glad I did! But when people contact me to say my book inspired them to follow their dream or helped them to deal with abuse or a trauma they have faced, I feel the greatest accomplishment of all.


Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other authors, or in general that you think would be beneficial to our readers? Also we’d love you to share your links and let us know where we can find out more about you.


Never stop learning, never listen to negativity and never give up! I often think of Thomas Edison’s response to a critical reporter, ‘I haven’t failed, just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.’ Despite all of the criticism, mistakes and years of hard work, Edison went on to not only light and perfect the two and three wire lightbulb, he proceeded to create the very first power grid. Edison didn’t stop learning; every time he failed was a learning experience. He refused to listen to negativity which could have caused him to quit too soon. He never gave up and look at what he achieved! What an awesome way to live!


Kingdom of lost Children: The Book of Ren is now in digital format and will be available in print in late 2012. To find out more about, Kingdom of Lost Children, you can visit the official website:

You can also join the Kingdom of Lost Children Facebook Page for free wallpaper downloads of some of the illustrations included in the book, as well as updates, freebies, special offers and more!



To view this interview on the Great Minds Think Aloud website, go to:

Author Spotlight Interview

I am honoured to have recently been interviewed by talented, award winning, fellow author, Ryan Schneider. Check out the interview below, which can also be viewed on Ryan's website:


Friday, March 23, 2012



10 Questions with Fantasy Author/Illustrator L.J.Carter

Interview by Award Winning Author,

Ryan Schneider


Author Photograph Courtesy of:



1. How did you get into writing?

I don’t remember ever learning to read; books were always such a major part of my life. I would get lost in books for hours as a child, imagining the story and even re-reading sections I thought were beautifully written. I guess writing seemed a natural transition from imagining another person’s story to creating my own.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I love entering that other realm where the impossible is possible and that incredible feeling when you ‘wake up’ to the real world after hours and pages of a story you’ve created from nothing. But this is also the difficult part about writing. It requires a lot of solitude, a great deal of research, focus and time; not something many people understand.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
As I am also an illustrator, an organised process can be a challenge for me! It makes it much harder to maintain a routine. I find the best method for me is to rotate between the two for chunks of time. So, a few months of regular writing, followed by a few months of regular illustrating. That way I can get the work done cohesively but also step away for a time to re-evaluate a work to pick up on mistakes or changes that need to be made. Of course, this is the ideal. There are also articles I need to write during my illustration time or illustration/graphic design commissions requested during my writing time, which often throws a spanner in the works! Time is a constant battle!

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
One of my all time favourite books is, ‘A Little Princess,’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I love how Sara uses her imagination to survive frightening and tragic circumstances.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
A tricky one! This is a typical example of the US vs UK grammar war. If the quote indicates a title or a term, as opposed to quoting speech, the quotation marks should stay inside the question mark…according to the UK…

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I was born in the US but moved to England when I was twelve so I find these little grammatical differences entertaining! (Other favourites are, single versus double quotation marks and semi-colon usage.) I think there are some people who get too hung up on the technicalities and, as a result, miss out on the rhythm and message in a piece of writing. There is also a battle between British English and American English for who’s right and who’s wrong. These days, globalisation is forcing people to rethink old, standard practices and narrow thinking. At some point, the grammatical powers that be, may need to create a new English International Version. Until then, I tend not to use the Oxford Comma, unless a pause is needed to add emphasis or impact to the latter half of the sentence, but that’s just me!

7. What is your book, Kingdom of Lost Children, about and how did it come to fruition?
Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren is a Young Adult fantasy story that revolves around fifteen-year-old, Leyla, whose mother mysteriously disappeared when she was only six. Leyla is forced to live with a small group of other orphaned children under the guardianship of the highly respected town mayor who is secretly forcing the children to work for his own profit. At great risk to her safety, Leyla returns to her old childhood home in search for answers about her missing mother. It is then she discovers an ancient script which opens the door to a dangerous other world, connected with her own. Dark and evil forces on both worlds are plotting the unimaginable in a conspiracy to rule and Leyla and the other children are in grave danger. Leyla must find the Book of Ren, a book of ancient and powerful magic, to not only save her own life, but also the lives of those she loves before they are lost forever.

Kingdom of Lost Children was a story I just couldn’t get out of my head. I was working as a designer in New York and didn’t have a lot of spare time but the story kept nagging at me until I began writing passages down in journals and on scrap pieces of paper. My day job was so all encompassing I would often have to put my writing aside for periods of time, coming back to it sporadically.

A tremendous amount of research into ancient civilisations and religions was also a vital part of this story. I would steal away moments, to and from work or long into the night, to research ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Hebrew myths, writings and beliefs. As I began to construct these worlds in my mind, it seemed natural to illustrate them. So, all of these things combined, it was ten years before my first draft was complete. 

Although I love a little magic, the driver behind this story was not so much the fantasy but the battles many of us face to survive. That little word, hope, that can make or break us, and finding the courage to use the greatest power we have against evil and oppression; our voice.

8. What’s your current writing project?
Kingdom of Lost Children tells of five magical books, all based around the ancient Egyptian belief of the five parts of a person. The first book, the Book of Ren, had the power of the Name. In ancient times, it was believed that as long as the name survived (even past physical death) it could be used to acquire the knowledge and magical powers of the person or persons who owned the name. This is why a name in ancient Egyptian text was surrounded by a protective ‘magic circle’ or cartouche of protection.

The four remaining books are: Ba, the soul; Ka, the life force; Ib, the heart and Sheut, the shadow. I am currently working on, Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Shadows, which will be the second book in the series.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I recently finished reading, The Grey Man. The true story of a former special forces commando who began a personal mission to rescue children from traffickers. He now runs The Grey Man Organisation to continue this work and has recently set up a centre with COSA to rehabilitate and educate children rescued from these situations. A percentage of Kingdom of Lost Children book and artwork sales are donated to this organisation. You can find out more about them by going to:

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
There are many things that inspire my writing, but I guess if I had to narrow them down, I would say, firstly, I have always been fascinated by the beauty of ancient myths and ancient beliefs. Ancient civilisations used and believed all gifts to be equal. It wasn’t simply money or money-making industries that were valued. Artists and sculptors were used in conjunction with architects and engineers. Equal emphasis was placed on science and mathematics as in the belief in ‘magic’ and the afterlife. Nature was valued and respected. Books and knowledge were treasured and revered. Of course, many people suffered in ancient times, as they do today; but I think there is a lot we can learn from the way they lived.

Aside from this, I would say my greatest inspirations are two powerful emotions: anger toward injustice and compassion for those who fall prey to it. Some people may say that anger is a negative emotion but I think it’s an emotion that can kick us out of complacency enough to do something. Others may say compassion is for the weak; I would hardly call people like John Curtis (founder of The Grey Man organisation), Somaly Mam (a trafficking survivor and founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation) Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Jesus Christ weak, because they dedicated their lives toward helping people and fighting injustice instead of backstabbing and stepping on people to make their millions on the stock market. It takes a great deal of courage and determination to stand, often alone, for what you believe is right.

I think the driver for me is best summed up in the words of King Adon, Kingdom of Lost Children:

‘Children have the right to grow and live without fear and oppression; to become what they are meant to become; to fulfil what they are meant to fulfil. You have the chance to dispel the myth that there is no hope and the opportunity to see the light in their eyes when they can see a future before them. There is no heaven greater or more beautiful than this.’ 

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc.

Thank you, Ryan. It has been a pleasure to be interviewed by a talented fellow author!

Kingdom of Lost Children will be available in print 2012. For more information on the book and to read the digital format, direct links can be found on:

Thank you, Lydia. Your illustrations are superb and the book looks incredible. Let us know when THE BOOK OF SHADOWS is available.

Visit Lydia's amazing website to view additional illustrations of her original work in her Gallery and to purchase KINGDOM OF LOST CHILDREN in all ebook formats.


Posted by Ryan Schneider

Visit Ryan’s Blog:


Haven't seen the KINGDOM OF LOST CHILDREN book trailer? Check it out!


What Children Can Teach Us

I recently read a blog, asking the question, ‘Why do adults like to read children’s books?’ The blog then proceeded to list a number of children’s books and analyse each with a fine tooth comb, until each book had been boxed and neatly filed into their perspective category. And I thought, they’ve missed the point.

On average, children laugh over 300 times a day, while adults manage to laugh a pitiful 10-20 times a day. Why are we so much unhappier than children?

As we grow older, we are told how to think. We seem to be obsessed with boxing things up and locking them away. Certain things are fact, others are fiction (don’t dare dispute it!); we should give up on dreams: this is reality after all; it’s irresponsible to explore: you have responsibilities; we are taught to place the highest value on money and things and status…

If you have ever watched young children, you will notice that they treat each child or person equally. They are fascinated by rainbows and sunlight sparkling on the water. If they are lucky enough to get a bicycle for Christmas, they don’t stare at it and say, ‘I can’t ride that,’ they get on it and no matter how many times they fall off, they keep riding.

Although a shiny, trendy, expensive new gadget that moves and speaks on its own, may have a child intrigued for a moment, it is soon abandoned for something simple; blocks, a doll, a few army men, a simple car, and suddenly they are in another world where ‘impossible’ buildings can be constructed and cars can fly. Why? Because simple things allow you to create, improvise and imagine. Imagination, that is the key.

Adults love to read children’s books because they allow us a glimpse back into a world where magic is real, where we can experience incredible things, dare to imagine a better world, where we believe we CAN instead of can’t, where we don’t see race, religion, disabilities or preconceived notions of what a person should be or shouldn’t be, just another human being we can play and laugh with.

So what can we learn from children? How to be fearless, how to have wonder in the beauty that surrounds us, how to laugh and play, be non-judgemental and believe the impossible. In a word, how to be free.


"The Ark of Fire and Ice," Kingdom of Lost Children: The Book of Ren




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