Bristol author releases first children's book about opera-singing mouse

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 12/7/23

It’s the first children’s book for the author who has previously published five novels, and by her own admission generally traffics in mystery and mayhem.

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Bristol author releases first children's book about opera-singing mouse

Posted

“I love it so much,” said Bristol resident Elizabeth Splaine of “Tyrone the Tenor Mouse”, which she wrote seven years ago as a poem, just for fun.

It’s the first children’s book for the author who has previously published five novels, and by her own admission generally traffics in mystery and mayhem.

According to the story, Tyrone the Mouse rehearses night and day to improve his singing voice, hoping he’ll earn the spotlight in the opera house where he lives surrounded by animal friends. He secretly practices by hiding in the wings, singing along with the famous tenor, Roland L’Amour. When Roland becomes ill on opening night, Ty sees an opportunity to fulfill his dream. With the royal family in attendance, Ty nervously asks the opera house manager if he might play the lead role.

Although he’s nervous, with the support of his friends Stella the precocious Persian cat and Oscar the mangy mutt, he finds the courage to take the stage and discovers that hard work and friendship can make any dream come true.

Despite the apparent departure from her usual fare, including thrillers “Blind Order” and “Blind Knowledge”, the historical fiction work “Swan Song”, and most recently “Steel Butterflies”, Tyrone the Tenor Mouse is a character close to Splaine’s heart. A former professional opera singer and current voice teacher (when not writing), Tyrone’s world and experience is a familiar one.

Given Splaine’s established relationship with her publisher, it was a fairly easy sell for the author. “I asked my publisher if she wanted to publish a children’s book,” she said. “And from there it just came together.” She then found artist, Mariia Stepanova, on a site that connects illustrators with clients. According to Splaine, the heavy lift in this new-to-her format were the layout, though that was mostly out of her hands.

Splaine selected Stepanova, a Ukrainian, because she liked her work, and she came highly recommended on the site. “I didn’t choose her because she was Ukrainian, but I was happy to have the opportunity to work with her,” said Splaine, who added that Stepanova was disinclined to talk about the situation in Ukraine, but was an accommodating, professional collaborator.

“I don’t know a lot about her, but I am proud that she is part of it,” said Splaine. “There’s no question I would use her again.”

“Tyrone” is available at Wink in Bristol, Inkfish in Warren, and Barrington Books. There will be a book signing this Sunday, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Barrington Books, at 184 County Road, Barrington.

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