Middle Grade Madness will be a new feature here at Lilybloombooks, that showcases Middle Grade books! Reviews, Interviews, Guest posts and Giveaways.
I’m excited to have FOUR more authors on this stop for the Back to School Bookshelf Tour! Check out the first post for another interview (and their books too!!) by visiting this tour page. Remember, all authors have middle-grade books publishing in August and September!
For today’s post, we are doing another Round Robin. One question is asked to one author and it continues down the line. I started off with Bridget, author of The Rat Prince! But before we get to that, here’s more about their books!
The Rat Prince
Cinderella thinks she must work alone to save her noble family from the ruin and disgrace her stepmother has brought to Lancastyr Manor. She has an ailing father, a sweet, innocent little stepsister, and dependent servants to protect from the wicked Wilhemina–and no way to call attention to their plight unless she figures out how to attend the royal ball.
But Cinderella knows nothing of the ancient pact between the House of Lancastyr and the rats who live within the walls of her ancestral home.
Nor is she aware that the sleek black rat she thinks is her pet is actually the Rat Prince…and she is not alone.
Howard Wallace, P.I.
Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he’s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else—least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he’s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick—and a friend—is such a bad thing after all.
The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee
Eleven-year-old Thelma Bee is never bored. In fact, she has curiosity and adventure in her blood. She spends her time running science experiments, practicing Spanish, and daydreaming about exotic landscapes. But Thelma gets more than she bargained for when a strange woman sells a jewelry box at her father’s antique shop. That night, a ghost kidnaps her father, and the only clues are the jewelry box and a word the ghost whispered in her ear: “Return.” Now it’s up to Thelma to get her dad back, and it might be harder than she thought—there’s someone wielding dark magic, and they’re coming after her next.
The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes
A thrilling debut novel where fantasy and science fiction meet, dragons aren’t as innocent as they look, and nothing is quite what it seems.Anne has spent most of her thirteen years dreaming of the day she and her best friend Penelope will finally leave Saint Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children. When the big day arrives, a series of very curious happenings lead to Anne being charged with an epic quest. Anne, Penelope, and new questing partner Hiro have only days totravel to strange new locales, solve myriad riddles, and triumph over monstrous foes–or face the horrible consequences.
HI! Thanks for coming on the blog today!
Thanks so much for having us on your blog 🙂
Since THE RAT PRINCE is your own story based on the beloved Cinderella, I have to ask, what fairytale would you completely rewrite, if you could?
And to answer your question… I have a couple of super-secret Middle Grade projects in my computer that are complete re-writes of fairytales!
There’s only one project I’m free to talk about, though, and that’s the one I’m working on just for fun: a YA retelling of BLUEBEARD.
It’s very dark, and for a different readership than THE RAT PRINCE, but I’ve always been drawn to the stories that don’t make much material sense when you look at them closely. I’m pulling together the threads that go nowhere in the original, and seeing an underlying pattern I think we’ve missed for hundreds of years: BLUEBEARD is a ghost story.
I think I’d best leave it at that!
Bridget’s question for Casey:
HOWARD WALLACE, PI is a loveable, tough-talking kid detective, with a touch of Sam Spade. It makes me wonder: what were your favorite mysteries to read when you were a kid?
My aunt gave us all of her old Nancy Drew hardcovers so those were a huge favourite of mine. I liked how she drove around with her best buds solving crimes. It was a hobby I could get behind. After those, I dove into more advanced books pretty quickly. I remember discovering a great series at one of our library books sales when I was a kid. It was the Toby Peters series by Stuart M. Kaminsky. They all take place during the Golden Age of Hollywood and each case centres around a classic film star. It’s a series that appealed to a large chunk of my interests (and still does to this day). The best part was that I found out later: my parents had donated them! I couldn’t believe they’d let them out of the house. They’re all out of print now so I still hunt for them every time I’m in a used book store.
Casey’s Question to Erin:
Your main character Thelma is a scientifically-minded individual thrust into the paranormal world. Are you Team Science or Team “I Believe?”
One of the main concepts in the book deals with just this! I believe that 100 years ago Bluetooth speakers would have seemed like some kind of sorcery, you know? I do believe in things that lie beyond – but I also believe that there may be a scientific way of understanding them. So I guess I’m “Team Science is Magic!”
From Erin to Wade
The characters in your book are summoned to go on an epic quest. Can you remember the first adventure you read (or watched) that totally blew your mind? What elements make for a truly epic adventure?
I think my earliest recollection of an adventure that really wowed me was Bed knobs and Broomsticks (a British-American musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1971, the year before I was born). I honestly don’t recall much of the overall story (I had to Google it to refresh my memory), but two things have always stayed with me: one, they combined live action with animation, which I thought was the best thing ever, and two, the characters used magic to bring an entire museum of empty suits of armor to life in order to fight off an advancing army (the setting was WWII). I’ve never forgotten that, because I was young enough when I first saw the film to believe that the suits of armor really were moving on their own, and it was both frightening and enthralling all at the same time. Interestingly, my story also features empty suits of armor that can nevertheless move under their own power, so I guess that imagery really stayed with me.
As for what elements make for a truly epic adventure, I think a sense of scale is definitely important. That is to say, epic adventures are typical broad in scope and have a significant impact beyond just the lives of the characters themselves. Their choices and actions affect other people, and often even their entire world. So the stakes tend to be very high, while the odds of success remain low, making for a nail-biting narrative.
Thanks to all the authors participating in the Round Robin!! Be sure to add their books to your TBR ASAP! And wait! Before you go, enter the amazing prize pack giveaway!