Tell us about yourself!
Tell us about your books.
Please Return to the Lands of Luxury is a middle grade adventure about a girl who discovers a lost doll in the garbage. Convinced it arrived by accident, she vows to return the doll to its rightful owner who lives in a far-off land much unlike her own.
Goodreads reviewer Elora L. writes, “Tilton is a masterful storyteller who knows how to simplify complex concepts to pack a serious punch in unique and thoughtful ways. The power of story and memories, coping with grief and the importance of family are woven throughout, but especially hit hard toward the end. I also love that one of the main lessons is having the courage to push through fear and that challenges make us stronger—such a relevant message in our world today, and this novel expresses it with such clarity and heart.”
What kind of child are you trying to reach with your books?
Jane, the main character of the book, is struggling with lost memories because of her difficult past.
I have been grateful that the story has had a positive impact on young readers who have endured past hardships. The story aims to encourage remembering the past even when it’s difficult, while also learning to move forward with hope into the future.
Give us a little flavor of some great characters or the setting.
Goodreads reviewer Morgan G. writes, “Everything about this story was heartwarming and enchanting. The friendship between Jane, Timothy, and Rodney. The banter. The smooth and compelling narration. The adventure. And I loved how the world building was seamless and vividly descriptive without being overwhelming. Heartfelt themes of friendship, found family, belonging, second chances, and forgiveness are woven in beautifully! Perfect for young readers and grown-ups alike!”
Goodreads reviewer Natalie W. writes, “This book blew me away, pure and simple. It had such an interesting concept and whilst it was a fun and easy read, it was also so much more. It was gripping and thrilling, heart wrenching and heart warming all at the same time. And I loved it! Loved all of it. The world building, the characters, the storyline. I was both simultaneously eager to read more but then also not wanting it to end. And the last 50 pages were incredibly bittersweet. I can’t wait to read more from this fabulous new-to-me author.”
What inspired you to write this series?
After visiting my family for Christmas, I brought home some things from my childhood bedroom, including a battery-powered replica of Rex, the dinosaur from the Toy Story movies. Unfortunately, I discovered it had endured a few too many humid summers at my parents’ home. The old batteries had corroded inside, leaving behind some crusty white powder and goop. I considered cleaning it, but my fears about toxic battery ooze led me to throw it away instead.
In that moment, a wave of guilt washed over me. Perhaps because I don’t like throwing things away or perhaps because I grew up with animated movies that pretended this exact toy was actually alive. (I’m sure the scene where they’re almost destroyed at a dump didn’t help!)
In any case, I ignored the feeling. Despite Pixar’s best efforts, I knew a hunk of plastic did not in fact have consciousness.
But when trash day came, everything changed. I happened to be looking outside just as the truck came and took away the garbage. I knew Rex was in there, and I couldn’t help but fixate on the situation.
Then something unexpected happened. My imagination ran wild, and I pictured a girl discovering my toy at the dump and asking why I had thrown it away. The idea refused to let go, and more detail came into view, including an entire narrative.
But instead of the dinosaur toy, the girl was now holding a doll with a “please return to” tag. She was determined to return it to the original owner, and I was determined to explore more of her story.
Before long, I completed the first draft, and Please Return to the Lands of Luxury was born.
How did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved creating things and have been dreaming up stories since I was young. In recent years, I took that drive more seriously and developed my storytelling and character creation skills.
What’s one middle grade book you always recommend?
The Wingfeather Saga
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
You don’t have to wait for a full novel idea to start writing. Try putting together small scenes with dialogue or even a few short stories. You grow your skill by taking small steps forward, getting feedback, and sticking with it.
What formats are your books available in?
Find them here.
While the first book works well as a standalone, there are two more on the way. Book two, Good Evening, Citizens of the Lands of Luxury will arrive by early 2024, followed by the third book later that same year.
I’m aiming for a book a year to start, but hope to have two books out per year in the future!
How can parents find you?
You can visit jontilton.com, which is the place to find out more about my books. There you can also subscribe to my newsletter to get a FREE ebook and audiobook of my short story “Doomed Dune.”
If you’re in the market for middle grade books, I’d love to share my series with you! Power Pup is a funny Christian superhero series for readers 9-12.
For investigative journalist Alex Digger, reporting truth and busting bad guys with best friend Mittens Meow is just an ordinary Monday.
Turns out, this Monday is anything but ordinary.
When an earthquake threatens the citizens of Bowwow, a superhero calling himself Power Pup swoops in to save the day!
But the town’s troubles don’t stop with the tremors. Ordinary citizens are breaking out in wild, angry, public outbursts. Local police are baffled. Businesses fear opening their doors.
Can Alex, Mittens, and Power Pup use their super teamwork to discover what’s going on and save the city from chaos?