VICTORIA PIONTEK first fell in love with books when she discovered a battered set of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia in the family barn. By the time she finished the series, Victoria believed real magic was found behind the cover of a book. Though, she did thoroughly check all wardrobes first. Victoria published two short stories Where Dragon’s Soar (Wyvern Publications) and Wanting Mary (Vine Leaves Literary Magazine), before writing her debut novel, The Spirit of Cattail County (Scholastic Press), a ghostly story of magic and friendship set in the Everglades. She is now working on a new middle grade novel about family secrets and, of course, magic.
Victoria is also a Literary Associate for Executive Agent Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, an agency specializing in children’s literature and consistently ranked #1 in juvenile sales by Publishers Marketplace. Prior to her current roles in publishing, Victoria worked as a Television Producer, a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep and a Senior Consultant for the Dale Carnegie Institute. But her favorite job was teaching English to middle school students in New York City as a Teach for America Corps Member. She also taught Education Methods to Teaching Fellows at Pace University.
Victoria continues to work with middle grade students, both as a school volunteer and as a Girl Scout leader, helping kids to find their voice and passion. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, hiking the Bay Area, or wrangling her three children and a big fluffy dog.
THE SPIRIT OF CATTAIL COUNTY
“Wrapped in prose as mysterious and lovely as a southern breeze lies a story about loss that haunts, and the ghosts that help us heal. This story is a treasure.”—Natalie Lloyd, New York Times bestselling author of A Snicker of Magic
Sparrow doesn’t have many friends. Some kids believe her house near the swamp is haunted. Others think there’s something “unusual” about her.
But Sparrow’s not lonely — she has a best friend who’s always with her. He sits with Sparrow on her porch swing. He makes her smile by playing pranks in church. Yet Sparrow is the only one who can see him . . . because the Boy is a ghost.
So when her mama passes away, Sparrow doesn’t give up hope. After all, if the Boy can linger after death, then surely Mama can return as well.
But the Boy has a secret of his own, one that Sparrow will need to uncover before the ghost will lead her to Mama. To solve the mystery, Sparrow joins forces with some unlikely allies — Maeve and Johnny, siblings from a family of town outcasts –and Elena, a visiting child fortune-teller.
With its loving depiction of small town life, and characters who feel like old friends, this magical debut will enchant you, dazzle you. . . and make you feel at home.
PRAISE FOR THE SPIRIT OF CATTAIL COUNTY
“With gorgeous prose, an eerie historical undercurrent, and a lush, larger-than-life Florida backdrop, Piontek not only delivers a taut exploration of fractured small-town dynamics, but an entrancing, compulsively readable mystery. Sensitive readers with a yen for all things supernatural will hungrily sleuth their way through this atmospheric debut.” —Booklist
“A melancholy, but ultimately uplifting, story about overcoming sorrow and finding one’s place in the world.” —School Library Journal
“Wrapped in prose as mysterious and lovely as a southern breeze lies a story about loss that haunts, and the ghosts that help us heal. This story is a treasure.” —Natalie Lloyd, New York Times bestselling author of A Snicker of Magic.