Inside the World of Earthcore by Grace Bridges

Thanks for taking a moment give us an inside look into the story world you built for Earthcore: RotoVegas. Before we travel there, tell us a bit about the story.

RotoVegas is for middle grade and YA readers, and adults love it too! Genre: Urban Fantasy with New Zealand mythology and geology.

Anira thinks her family’s trip to Rotorua will be a typical vacation. She’s prepared herself for a week of grudging participation as she fights off a latent phobia of volcanoes. But this place has far greater and ancient secrets than she could ever have imagined. For its springs hold a hidden power—one that transforms those gifted by the spirits of the land. Now Anira finds herself gifted with abilities she has never known. And there are others like her—both good and evil.

Ancient secrets, hidden powers, hot springs, and volcanoes! Tell us more about where this story takes place.

Well, the best thing about my setting is that it’s a real place! My dad was born there and I’ve spent plenty of time in Rotorua throughout my life. It’s a truly magical wonderland with lots of geothermal activity. Volcanoes and geysers everywhere you look. Bit of a tourist hotspot, hence the nickname RotoVegas (yes, that part is real too). The whole Caldera Valley smells of hot minerals and in many places, you can see steam coming out of the drains in the street, and up from new cracks in the city park.

Learn more about the real Rotorua (opens external site).

Rotorua sounds like an amazing place. How is the fictional Rotorua different from our world?

The difference is that I have included elements of local mythology in a real-world setting. The Taniwha are legendary guardians who traditionally watch over a certain place, like a mountain or a spring.

Tell us more about these guardians.

The creatures who guard the thermal springs have chosen some people to receive gifts and abilities when they come into contact with the water, or sometimes just the steam. The gifts vary just like the people do.

Learn more about the Taniwha (opens external site).

A thermal spring that gives people special gifts -sounds intriguing. So what inspired you to write this story?

I wanted to write a superhero story in New Zealand, and the hot springs of Rotorua were just asking for it. Of course, there are many other places in NZ with their own legends, which provide the backdrop for the other books in the series.

What influences or research went into building your story world?

Real-world location descriptions are everywhere in these stories. Sometimes I went back and visited a place, or pulled up a map to get the details right. I also researched into Maori culture and legends and consulted with a local Maori elder to make sure the customs I described were correct.

Learn more about the Maori people (opens external site).

Is there anything you didn’t already mention that would be of interest to readers?

Book 3 will be coming out very soon now, and I’ve written book 4 already. Plans are in place for 5, 6 and 7, and I haven’t run out of ideas yet!

If you want to see the boiling pond in action, check out Grace’s video on YouTube (embedded below).

Read Earthcore: Initiation, a prequel story, for free at

And, if you sign up for Grace’s newsletter before January 20th, you can get a free copy of Earthcore: RotoVegas. Otherwise, you can grab a copy of both Earthcore: RotoVegas (book 1) and Earthcore: Volcano City (book 2) on Amazon.

Thanks for giving us an inside look at Earthcore: RotoVegas, Grace.

About Grace Bridges

Grace Bridges is a geyser hunter, cat herder, professional editor and translator, and the current president of the SpecFicNZ writers’ organisation, as well as the committee chair for GeyserCon 2019, the 40th National Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention. Her novels include space opera, Irish cyberpunk, and the Earthcore urban fantasy series based in New Zealand. She has edited and co-edited short story collections such as Te Korero Ahi Ka: To Speak of the Home Fires Burning, Alter Ego, Timegate to Tomorrow, Avenir Eclectia and Aquasynthesis I & II. Several of her works and edited collections have been shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Association of New Zealand, and Mariah’s Prologues won Best Collection in 2018.

Connect with Grace Bridges through her website, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s get a Little Crazy

It’s time to throw out the old and make room for the new, right? Well, here’s what’s coming in the new year.

New Features

Beginning in January, there’ll be a behind-the-scenes or world-building feature on the third Friday of every month (occasionally on the first Friday too). Each feature will focus on one clean, speculative fiction story written for either middle-grade or young adults.

I’m really excited about this change and ecstatic that several authors have already agreed to contribute. Grace Bridges is up first. She’ll be doing a feature on her Earthcore series on January 18th! (View the upcoming schedule here.)

More Fiction

On the second Friday of every month, I’ll post a flash fiction story or web serial update (under a thousand words).

News and Reviews

With the blog’s shifting focus, news and updates will be scaled back to just the bigger announcements.

You’ll still see the occasional book review. However, if you’d like to see more book reviews, check out Lands Uncharted or follow me on Goodreads (I generally only post four and five-star reviews).

I hope you’ll enjoy these changes. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to drop a line in the comments or send me a message using the contact form.

Snow Globe Travelers Cover Reveal!

Today, I’m excited to share the cover for Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy, my debut middle-grade novel releasing this spring!

Somehow, having a cover makes it more real. It’s really happening!

The Story

Twelve-year-old Sarah Ann Reisende’s father left before her third birthday. She longs to find him, but she never expected the path would lead her across the galaxy and force her to confront her deepest fears.

In a darkened alleyway in the heart of Vienna, Sarah wanders into a mysterious shop where each snow globe opens a portal to another world. By mistake, she breaks the globe tethered to Earth. As she searches the shop for answers, she discovers a cryptic note on the back of an old photograph that indicates a link between her father and one of the other worlds.

Unable to return to home, Sarah follows the lead into the world of Elohi. But an invading military force of vicious hybrids led by a genetically-engineered warrior named Malvine now rules the once peaceful planet. Malvine is also one of the figures in the old photograph linked to her father.

Sarah’s presence does not go unnoticed, and she becomes a target. Malvine wants to use the shop’s connections to wage war.

Can Sarah uncover the truth and find a way home before Malvine gains control of the shop?


The ebook is available at a special pre-order price on iTunes, Barnes & Nobles, and Kobo here:

Amazon and print pre-orders coming soon!

If you do pre-order, email a copy of the receipt with the subject ‘Snow Globe Travelers’ to to get a free digital copy of the Snow Globe Travelers Activity Book after both release on April 30th!