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Tim Te Maro and the Alphabet Book Club podcast

Today’s post is centred around an LGBTQ YA novel set in a magical boarding school, a podcast catch up about the book itself (with guests including the author and me!), and the Alphabet Book Club who do such great work getting books like this out to Kiwis!

Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues by H.S. Valley

Fun, magic, friends, romance, queers, antics, and all with a strong Kiwi flavour. I adored this book and cannot stop recommending it to friends and whānau!

I really want to tell you all about the characters and everything that happens, but I know if I start I won’t be able to stop, and my rambling would be awash with spoilers, which I do not want for you.

Instead, all I shall say is I could not put this book down and that you should BUY THIS BOOK!

Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues by H.S. Valley on a carton of chicken eggs
I didn’t have any magically enchanted egg-babies lying around, so had to make do with regular chicken eggs for this shot

Firstly, the catch up that wasn’t

Recently, I was supposed to be seeing H.S. Valley (the author!) and Chelsea (the one who recommended this book to me!) in person to chat books, pat dogs, drink tea, and eat cake (i.e. possibly the perfect morning).

Unfortunately, it was not to be! I went and caught C*vid, didn’t I? I had to isolate at home, all without cake.

I had also planned to pick up my online book order from ABC (see below), including paperback copies of Tim Te Maro that I was going to ask H.S. Valley to sign for me. She went and signed them for me anyway, and then Chelsea boxed up my book order and posted it through, which was a wonderful mid-isolation treat!

Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues signed by H.S. Valley to Gavin
My signed copy of Tim Te Maro that I shall guard from my bookish friends, ensuring it never leaves my house!
Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues signed by H.S. Valley to Gavin's friend
My second copy of Tim Te Maro for foisting upon bookish friends. Signed in the hope it’ll encourage them not to let it languish on their reading pile!

Alphabet Book Club podcast (i.e. the catch up that was!)

This episode of the Alphabet Book Club podcast is hosted by Chelsea, with guests H.S. Valley (the author), Molloy (Chelsea’s friend), and G.B. Ralph (i.e. me!).

Listen to this episode on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.
Beware: there are some minor spoilers for the book.

Photo of laptop showing video call in progress
Podcast recording in action
(Source: Alphabet Book Club Instagram story)

Each guest interview kicks off with brief intros, what everyone’s reading at the moment, then gets into discussing Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues.

I recommend listening all the way through, but I’ve noted timestamps and very rough and incomplete topic summaries for each section below so you can jump around if you like.

[00:02:00] H.S. Valley (the author)

The Murderbot Diaries, Heartstopper, Spanish translation, writing angst, the Ampersand Prize, middle grade books, magical vocations, sequels, insults, public buses, adaptation casting, side characters, egg-babies, core memories, having the book translated, egg certificates, being Writer in Residence, pigeon pie, epilogues, works in progress.

Find H.S. Valley at and on Instagram (@hsvalley).

[00:43:35] Molloy (host’s friend)

What they thought of Tim Te Maro, Tim vs Elliott, Kiwi-isms, taonga, relationships, wanting to know more about the world of the book, egg-babies, Maggie Hatcher, eugenics, magical vocations, alchemy, philosophy, Dungeons and Daddies, sentient swords, villain creation, Celtic mythology, Māori mythology, marriage.

Find Molloy on Instagram (@fallenredninja) and Twitter (@FallenRedNinja).

[01:04:25] G.B. Ralph (me!)

Reading habits, bookish catch ups, enemies to lovers, insults, egg-babies, egg-daddies, Calf Club, Kiwi-isms, thicc boi of the forest, favourite characters, Team Meggan, magical vocations, my works in progress, Rise and Shine short stories, The Milverton Mysteries, books set in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Find G.B. Ralph at, on Twitter (@gbralph), Instagram (@gbralph_), and Facebook (@gbralph).

Alphabet Book Club bookstore

As per their website, Alphabet Book Club (ABC) are “an online bookstore in Aotearoa New Zealand, selling books and products with positive LGBTQIA+ representation.”

It’s so great to have them here, with a fantastic selection of books available for Kiwi readers without us having to deal with prohibitively expensive and slow international deliveries. And even better, a portion of each sale goes towards supporting our LGBTQIA+ family though non-profit groups!

So next time you’re looking for some great queer books, you know where to go i.e. right here (click click!).

Book stack. Red, White & Royal Blue. Boyfriend Material. In Deeper Waters. Only Mostly Devastated. Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues.
My Alphabet Book Club book haul!

Also, check out ABC on social media – they post plenty of fabulous queer, bookish things! Here they are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues book stack. Photo courtesy of Alphabet Book Club.
Photo courtesy of Alphabet Book Club.
Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues book. Photo courtesy of Alphabet Book Club.
Photo courtesy of Alphabet Book Club.

If you’re keen for more queer book recommendations and other such fun, jump on my mailing list – I’d love to have you on board! You’ll get some of my exclusive short stories right away, then 1–2 emails a month with bookish, writerly stuff.

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