Author introduces debut book to local young readers

Author Morgan Tarpley

Local children’s author M.L. Tarpley hosted a book-signing event Dec. 5 at the StoryBrew Coffee Café on Front Street. She is the daughter of Jeff and Robbie Tarpley of Natchitoches.

Her debut novel for ages 8-12, “Maylie and the Maze,” follows a 10-year-old girl on an inspirational trip across Europe filled with the shenanigans of her zany family and the mishaps of her overactive imagination. The book, the first in Tarpley’s Tales of a Travel Girl series, released in October and signed copies can be purchased at Bella Ann’s Boutique on Front Street in Natchitoches. She has also published a writing book for kids called “Young Writer’s Kit,” which can be purchased through emailing her at or at bookstores and online retailers.

Tarpley said she sold 23 books at her book signing event in Natchitoches and hosted another signing at As the Crow Flies coffee shop Dec. 19. Her next book signing in Natchitoches is set for next year and her next novel in the Travel Girl series, “Maylie’s Luck of the Irish” will be released in the spring of 2021.

Book Synopsis:

Ten-year-old Maylie Montes’s dream is to become an author, but she has a problem. She can’t finish a story. Not a single one. Her second problem is Camden, her annoying twin brother, who is determined to ruin their summer traveling through Europe with their famous photographer aunt and spunky grandma.

The first stop is England where a castle and maze, a new British friend, and a lot of weird words await Maylie—but the first item on her itinerary is to learn how to write, so she can finally finish a story. However, this goal may land her a one-way ticket home after her writing targets her brother in a spooky story involving a nighttime maze full of monsters. And Camden has his own plans, leaving Maylie to wonder if her imagination has actually become a reality.

“Maylie and the Maze” is the first book in the Tales of a Travel Girl series and the book’s layout features a variety of illustrations, doodles and other media. She added that each novel in the series promotes elements of creative writing, world geography and classic literature including suggested companion reads of classic children’s books.

“Throughout this series, I want kids to have a chance to travel the world through fiction and along the way learn a bit. I’ve tapped into my own first-hand experiences from traveling to over a dozen countries and filtered them through Maylie’s eyes,” Tarpley said. “I wrote ‘Maylie and the Maze’ to show them that you can go after your dreams no matter what roadblocks stand in your way. I also wanted to write a book that could be enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike. It’s a fun bedtime read!”

Tarpley resides in Grant Parish with her husband, Steven Smith, and her son, Gareth. Tarpley is also an award-winning journalist and world traveler. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her other interests include hanging out at cool coffee shops, listening to vintage records, going on adventures with her family, and researching her family history. For more information on Tarpley and her novels, visit