The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

I am it. Or one of its. I was tagged by Trisha Shaskan in the “Next Big Thing” Blog Tour, which just means authors get to talk up their new books — which is all they really want to do — and pretend they’ve been pinned at a party and compelled to do so. Thanks, Trisha!

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

The Winter of the Robots

It is no longer a working title, though it originally had a different title. It is about  kids building robots. It looks like this. Isn’t it pretty?


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

My drives to and from work take me by a lot of industrial areas — barbed wire and concrete and who knows what going on back there. That led to imagining the industrial wasteland-slash-junkward where a lot of the action of this one takes place. I also wanted to set a book in my own neighborhood. One thing led to another.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Well, it’s middle grade fiction, and in the same vein as my other books, kind of a tall tale more than all-out science fiction or fantasy. There are lots of robots but pretty well within the realm of the possible. It is “sciency” fiction, not science fiction.

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

It’s tough to answer this because I don’t know many child actors and the main characters are all kids. It would be cool for Everette Plen, who read the audiobook version of The Tanglewood Terror, play one of those characters.

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

It’s all about robot battles, but the science club rivals have to set their differences aside and team up when they have to fight some real-life robot battles.

6. Who is publishing your book?

Knopf Books for Young Readers

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

About nine months. Or maybe a year. It’s a blur, now.

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

I think robot books are hot, but I hope mine stands out as being more realistic — I had to think about what kids could do with supplies they had access to. I didn’t just drop a fully conversant, powerful robot in the book.

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

My neighborhood was a big inspiration. I never set a book in my own neighborhood before. And no specific kids, but I really enjoyed learning about robots and robot teams — those kids are amazing.

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

For me it’s always about the characters, and the main character in this one is Jim. Jim’s story is, in many ways, a tough one — he has a strained relationship with his parents and in a lot of ways he’s a delinquent kid. He skips school, lies, cheats, and steals. But he’s a sympathetic character, and everything he does, he does out love and friendship.

Now comes the fun part, where I tag people. First of all, by coincidence, they’ve all written baseball books — and some really good ones! 

  Brothers at BatCurveball Six Innings Fiel Trop Mysteries: Ball Game With No One At Bat

Here are the new books. I am linking to their blogs so you can click through and see their own answers to the questions above… look for them next week!

bogartandvinnie2 Are You Experienced? Home Sweet Horror RP Cheaters

Audrey Vernick, author of the great true-story baseball picture book Brothers at Bat, has a new picture book, Bogart and Vinnie, illustrated by Henry Cole. It’s about a dog and a rhino. 

Jordan Sonneblick is the award-winning author of a bunch of books, including  Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip. His new book is Are You Experienced? and is about drugs, time travel, and rock and roll.

James Preller is the author of Six Innings, one of the best middle-grade baseball books you’ll read, and dozens of other books for pretty much every age level. His new series, Scary Tales, begins this summer with I Scream, You Scream and Home Sweet Horror.

Steve Brezenoff has a baseball mystery as part of his Field Trip Mysteries chapter book series coming out, and two more installments in the Ravens Pass chapter book series. He also has a YA novel coming out in 2014, Guy In Real Life, about WoW gaming and romance and how terribly those two things intersect.

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