News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

April 29th, 2013 Posted in Scary Tales, the writing process

My apologies, I usually don’t stoop to these lows, but I was tagged by my pal, Kurtis Scaletta, for the “Next Big Thing” Blog Tour.

Essentially, a bunch of authors make up a game of “tag” as an excuse to promote an upcoming book. I really find this kind of thing unbecoming of an author but — owwww, that hurts! — Kurtis is twisting my arm so very, very painfully.

I surrender, Scaletta. I’ll answer your stinking questions!

1. What is the working title of your next book?

SCARY TALES: Home Sweet Horror.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

As always in these cases, a variety of factors provided the impulse. First, I was looking to get back to writing for a readership that I hadn’t focused on since my “Jigsaw Jones” series. From discussions with librarians and teachers, I knew that ages 7-10 were under-served when it came to age-appropriate “scary” material. But mostly, I was eager to loosen up, write what I think of as “an Entertainment” — something purely fun that I knew even reluctant readers would happily devour.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Though the series is called SCARY TALES, the books fit into a variety of genre. This first title is pretty straightforward, filed under “Ghost” or “Horror” or “Supernatural.” The second in the series, I Scream, You Scream, seems like more of a “Thriller” to me, with “Fantasy” aspects. The third one, Good Night, Zombie, features a mob of zombies, so it’s “Horror-Thriller” combined. Fourth in the series, Nightmareland, is more of a “Fantasy” — a boy enters into a video game and must be rescued by his sister. The fifth book, which I’m currently writing, is set in the future on a distant planet, so I guess that makes it “Science Fiction.” In the coming year if I’m lucky, I’d like to write one that could be considered “Historic Fiction.” A ghost story set in a real place. Obviously, this question has confused me. Ultimately, again, I think of each book as an “Entertainment.”

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Next question!

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Family moves into haunted house . . . and the house is not pleased.

6. Who is publishing your book?

Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Eight weeks.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I guess R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” is an obvious comparison, as well as the Scary Stories collections by Alvin Schwartz. Hopefully this series falls somewhere in the middle, and offers readers something new.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was very much inspired by the old “Twilight Zone” television series. Each story was unique — new characters, new setting, a variety of genre — but at the same time, each story delivered on the Twilight Zone promise. Viewers always got that Twilight Zone experience. Cool weirdness, the sense of intellectual rigor, of the bizarre and the unexpected. So no matter where the story went, you were happy to go along because you knew it would be a journey worth taking, often with a twist at the end.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

My daughter taught me about the popular legend of “Bloody Mary,” the kids game where they try to summon a ghost to the bathroom mirror by turning around 13 times and repeating the words “Bloody Mary.” So I figured, why not? It was the hook I needed. Bloody Mary factors large in this story.

Illustration by Iacopo Bruno.

Now it my turn to tag someone. I immediately thought of a local author whose career is just lifting off, Mr. Eric Luper, the author of these books and more.

Here is Eric’s most recent book. I am linking to his website so you can click through and see his answers to the questions above… look for it next week!

Eric Luper’s next book is in progress, as yet untitled, and due out in 2014. Eric promises that he’s working on it. Really, for true!

  1. 2 Responses to “The Next Big Thing Blog Tour”

  2. By Liz S. on Apr 29, 2013

    The tag thing is a great idea! Glad you participated, JP. Even though it was so tough for you, and all….

  3. By Yvette Carol on Apr 29, 2013

    Hey, someone’s gotta be man enough to do it, right? I hope I can too, when the time comes, be man enough, that is. Making it a game of tag removes some of the ‘buy me’ shame though. May borrow that some day.

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