Should teenagers read this book?

Although The Formations is intended for adults, most older teenagers would probably be fine. The book contains a mild, non-graphic consensual sex scene. There is also drug use, but no real drugs are glorified. If parents want to pre-screen the sex scene, it's on page 88 of the paperback, halfway through chapter 6 of the eBook, 1:12:30 into the audiobook as a whole, and 5:13 into chapter 6 of the audiobook.

Is is scary?

The Formations is not a horror genre book. There are some suspenseful scenes, but there is no gore, no torture, no rape.

What is the publisher / copyright / credits / ID numbers?

The Formations: A Natural Mystery

Published by Streamwood Press

Typesetting, Cover, & Illustrations by Kate Baldwin

Audiobook read by Monica Buch

Paperback ISBN: 979-8-9876490-0-8

eBook ISBN: 979-8-9876490-1-5

Audiobook ISBN: 979-8-9876490-1-2

Library of Congress Control Number: 2023902042

1. Subjects: LCSH: Social isolation--Fiction.

2. Mushrooms, Hallucinogenic--Fiction.

3. COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020---Fiction.

4. Wisconsin--Fiction.

5. Mystery fiction.

[Interestingly, there are no biology-related Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) for fiction books.]

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth.

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths.

PS3602.A43 F67 2023 (print) | PS3602.A43 (ebook) | 813/.6--dc23.

How long is the book?

The Formations is a long Novella.

  • The paperback is 225 pages.
  • The eBook is 34,000 words.
  • The Audiobook is 3.25 hours.
Where can I get this book?

The Formations is available in Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook. The paperback and eBook are currently only available through Amazon/Audible, but there are more marketplace options for the audiobook. Let us know if there is somewhere else you would like to see it!

Can I get this book at my local library?

The Formations is available for libraries to buy in Paperback and Audiobook if they choose to add it to their collections, and the audiobook is available as "Library-Pay Per Use". They are ready to enter the card catalog, including PCIP and MARC Records. The eBook is being sold exclusively through Amazon/Kindle for 90 days starting in March, 2023.

What was the inspiration?

One of my cousin's books, Field Season, is about biologists at a research station in South America. I really enjoyed the book and I was talking about it with the author. I told her how I was excited about the recent discovery of weird web-like formations on the sides of trees in the Amazon. At the time, no one had any idea what they were, and the theories ranged across multiple kingdoms of life. I tried to convince my cousin to weave that into a sequel, but she didn't take the bait.

Inspired by my cousin, I had the idea of writing it myself. I wanted it to be a mystery, but where biology is part of the conundrum. Not just a crime-who-done-it, but an ecology-what-is-it too. I wanted to follow one-person's investigative journey.

But that is where I got stuck, because it didn't seem reasonable that a relatable person would work in isolation as an individual to unravel this minor natural mystery. So, the idea simmered on the back burner for a few years.

Halfway through the year 2020, I was feeling isolated, reckless, and very cooped up. I realized the pandemic was the catalyzing event that would make an otherwise regular person go on a dangerous campaign of discovery. Also, I had plenty of quiet time at home with nothing better to do!

My husband and my friends helped me come up with many of the details. Jeremy, my husband, in particular, is responsible for the minor car collision and the body swap.

Where is Oconshe?

Oconshe is a fictional town, but I live in rural Cross Plains near Madison, WI.

All the companies, people, and locations are entirely fictional.

What are some similar books?

If you enjoyed, The Formations, check out these recommended mystery books with natural history themes:

A Murder of Crows by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, A Dr Nell Ward Mystery

Dr Nell Ward is an ecologist, not a detective. But when she's the prime suspect in a murder, only her unique set of skills could help to clear her name...

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr, an Anna Pigeon Mystery

Patrolling the remote West Texas backcountry, Anna’s job as a national park ranger is marred by violence: the brutal death of a fellow ranger. When the cause of death is chalked up to a mountain lion attack, it’s up to Anna to save the protected cats from the politics and prejudices of the locals.

Are the science anecdotes real?

Yes, the animal facts and plant and fungi ecology and biology information is factual with a few exceptions:

  • The hand helper mushroom isn't real
  • Rose hair fungus isn't real (but you should still be careful consuming wild mushrooms)
  • The Oconshe beetle isn't real, although round fungus beetles are a real family of common small beetles that eat fungi
How were the prices selected?

In a word, Amazon. The prices of the paperback and eBook are minimums Amazon would allow to cover their required costs plus royalties for the publisher of less than a dollar. The publisher and author have no input on the selected price for the audiobook on Audible: It's entirely chosen by Audible/Amazon based on mysterious criteria that include the book length.

Wildlife in The Formations

  • Clues to the biological mystery sprinkled throughout with a classic summary solution at the end.
  • Fun, fast reading format including many social media and news posts.
  • Comedic and serious reminders of the fearful early days of the pandemic.
  • Some frustrating tribulations of wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Evolution as the steering force behind all life and the witty implications of that in everyday life.

The Formations, © 2023

Streamwood Press

Kate Baldwin LLC