Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia Levenseller

“It’s easy to forget danger is near when one cannot see it.”

Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Daughter of the Siren Queen continue Alosa’s adventure with her mostly-lady crew as they voyage to the Isla de Canta with the most cruel pirate on their tail.

After putting herself as a willing-prisoner in Daughter of the Pirate King in order to find a piece of map, Alosa is back to her ship, Ava-Lee. With the help of her crew, she manage to capture Vordan, an enemy pirate who holds another piece of the map that will lead to the vast treasures of the sirens. While captured, Vordan managed to give Alosa information that put doubt to Alosa’s head about her own father, The Pirate King. When Alosa uncover the lies and secrets that her father kept from her, she had no choice but to go against him. By doing so, she not only put herself in front of Pirate King’s wrath but as well as her whole crew who are implicated by her actions. She needs to beat the Pirate King before they all get doomed.

Tricia Levenseller’s debut novel, Daughter of the Pirate King is a surprising fun read for me last year. I enjoyed it so much that I make sure to read this second installment, Daughter of the Siren Queen right after the book become available.

The story mostly focus on Alosa learning about her siren half – her abilities and her family. There are lies, secretes, betrayal and more.

Readers finally get on board to Alosa’s ship, and meet the mostly female crew. With them, the plot carry not only a good cast dynamic but also a new side of adventure. Inside the ship, readers will experience how the crew works, and their pirate lives. Each of them has their own personal stories, even Tricia didn’t get to tell everyone’s story, which is understandably so given that the book is about Alosa. But still, watch out for Roslyn, the youngest pirate aboard Ava-Lee. That girl can easily steal scenes from anyone in the book.

Alosa and Riden chemistry is still there. But the fun banter is less compare from the first book, which for me is where the fun mostly came from. Good thing even without enough banter there’s still the tension between the two to add some thrill on the plot. Also, readers will finally get to know more about Riden and his past.

“There are different kinds of fathers. Those who love unconditionally, those who love on condition, and those who never love at all.”

The villain is another surprise for me. I actually expected Vordan to wear that shoe, but I am glad with Tricia’s option. Not only it is more exciting as it offers different twist, but it also makes the stake a little higher and the actions more daring.

All in all, Daughter of the Siren Queen is a perfect sequel and satisfying conclusion to Daughter of the Pirate King. It offers the same amount of fun and adventures that readers of the first book will surely enjoy.

Blog Tour: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Review & Aesthetics)

“There was always someone with more power.”

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Tempest and Slaughter is a new prequel series from the legendary fantasy writer, Tamora Pierce, that tells the early years of one of the greatest mages of Tortall, Arram Draper or most know from other Tortall books as Numair Salmalin.

Arram Draper is a talented young mage. At the age of ten he went to studies magic at the Imperial University of Carthak. Arram loves to learn new skills and he excel in his studies. When he accidentally flood his classroom during one of his lectures, Arram was given an advanced classes instead of suspension. At a young age his masters saw the great mage that he is. From then on, Arram honed his natural talent in magic, learning from the university masters. Being the only kid in higher classes is not easy for Arram, but he eventually found his closest friends with Verice and the young Prince, Ozorne. The three of them become inseparable since then. Together they start to carve their paths in the world of magic and politics.

“Learn it now or learn it later,..But a wise man does learn it.”

It’s been a while since I last read a novel from Tamora Pierce, and I am gladly surprised that she is finally writing from a point of view of a male character in Tempest and Slaughter. To those who haven’t read Tamora’s other fantasy series, Tamora is known for her kick-ass heroines. She always created a champion in them. Girls who are not only feminine but also warriors. I drew inspirations from her characters and from her as an author. Her books shows girl-power and a lot more. Her male characters, though not the main narrators are also well crafted, and to have one of them tell a new story in this latest fantasy novel, Tempest and Slaughter is surely a welcome experience for Tamora Pierce’s followers like me.

Tempest and Slaughter is a character driven novel which may easily feel dragging, especially to readers who are not yet familiar with the Tortall realm. But if you fall into that category, I dare you to continue reading, because not only Arram is really an interesting character but also Tamora Pierce offer a wonderful world of magic and myth in Tempest and Slaughter. Even if you haven’t read her other fantasy books, there are many things to love and to enjoy in this first instalment of a new prequel series from Tamora Pierce.

“If a little power doesn’t do what you want, think of something else before you try using a lot of it.”

Arram’s character development is interesting to follow. From his inner struggles to fit-in with his classmates, the challenges he encounter in learning more about magic, and using what he learned to help people around him. His inner thoughts shows his true character, like how he questioned the life around him, the slavery, and role of mages in politics. He maybe young but he is learning not only about magic but also other important things around him. I look forward reading how he transformed from Arram Draper to the powerful Numair Salmalin in the future.

Tamora Pierce also introduced a rich mythology in this book. The presence of Gods in different forms, like Enzi, the crocodile god of Zekoi, and other powerful beings that shows their interest to Arram are all wonderful addition to the story. Even if you haven’t read the other books of the Tortall world, Tempest and Slaugther will give you enough background to fully grasp the fantasy world of mages.

Overall, followers of Tamora Pierce will surely love this new addition to the world of Tortall, as they read new things about the familiar character, Numair Salmalin. It’s like rediscovering the greatest mage and loving him more than we never thought is possible.

It’s really an interesting read to discover the beginning of many familiar characters in this book. I am looking forward to see more about Arram and his friends, Verice and Ozrone as well as the other mages in the next book of Numair Chronicles.

* This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, Penguin Random House International.


Here are some aesthetics for Tempest and Slaughter to entice you more into reading the book.

@credit to owners / artists

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Welcome to another feature for Celebrating Debutantes 2017. Today I’m joined on the blog by new author Allison K. Hymas to answer few questions about her debut middle grade novel, Under Locker and Key. This book is like mission impossible for middle grade readers.  It’s fun, clever and captivating story for everyone to enjoy.

Following the interview with Allison is her bio along with places where to find her online. Then there’s also the book description and where to buy copies of Under Locker and Key.

Also, don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom and enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win fabulous prizes from Allison.

Here’s my interview with Allison. Enjoy reading!

Interview with Allison Hymas

Can you tell us a bit about your journey with Under Locker and Key? Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you write? And how was the publication process goes for you?

Under Locker and Key had a strange process for me, since it was a book that I didn’t take seriously for a long time. I first started it as part of an assignment for a college class on writing for children and adolescents. I had to develop a middle grade character, and that’s when I first met Jeremy. I liked him so much I wrote a short story about him, and I liked that story so much (and other people did too) that I turned that short story into a novel.

I worked on Under Locker and Key in my spare time as a backburner project when my other writing projects got too hard or I just needed a break. It was fun and easy for me to write; it fit my voice and style well. But I didn’t think it would go anywhere. Then, one of my teachers encouraged me to workshop it in his class, and that’s when I started to think that maybe I could publish this silly, fun story I’d just worked on for fun.

So I entered the book into a state-wide writing contest. I lost. In response, I queried agents like crazy out of determination and a little bit of spite. A couple agents responded, I chose the one I liked best, and she helped me find a publisher. It’s still strange, but not unwelcome, that the silly book I wrote but didn’t expect to publish ended up becoming my debut novel.

Why middle-grade? Do you think it is easier to write for younger audience than YA and adults?

Under Locker and Key was the first MG novel I’ve even drafted. As for why middle grade, I’m still not sure why I enjoy writing it so much. I suppose I like the fun I can have with this age group. Middle schoolers are at the beginning of a transition; they’re not yet teens, but they’re not elementary school children either. They’re losing their childhood identity and gaining a new one, which means that some, like Jeremy, can try to invent themselves as whatever they want. That means I can write adventures with heroes and villains as the kids try to decide who they’re going to be but don’t yet have the self-consciousness of teens about how that’s all going to work for them.

I don’t know if it’s easier to write for a younger audience, but I know it works well for me. I like humor and adventure, and Jeremy’s, a middle grade voice, comes easily to me.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing Under Locker and Key? Are there any fun things you discover during your research?

I’ve learned a lot about how to break the law while writing about Jeremy’s adventures. I have not picked a real lock (yet) or cracked the combination on a locker (yet), but I know how to do all these things in theory. I learned is that it’s not much like the movies. Picking locks takes a long time, and figuring out a locker combination takes quite a bit of patience and luck. You can climb through an air duct but they’re cramped, dark, and dirty. I’ve also been learning a lot about real-life hacking for later books.

However, my favorite thing that I’ve learned is how to lie convincingly and how to recognize a liar. Too much eye contact or not enough eye contact, touching the nose and near the mouth…clues like those. I can actually use this research in my life!

Do you have a favourite scene to write? And what scene are you most proud of, and why?

My favorite scene to write was the climax. I won’t give spoilers here, but I loved the way the story came together at the end in a nice, dare-I-say-clever solution.

But the scene I’m proudest of is the scene in the band room, when Jeremy is hiding from Becca. Some writers have to push their characters into trouble. Not me—Jeremy gets himself in trouble and I go crazy trying to figure out how to haul him out of the fire yet again. This scene gave me so much grief because I couldn’t figure out how to realistically resolve it for the longest time, but in the end, it worked out and because it was tricky, it turned out better than I expected with more suspense.

If Jeremy could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your younger years, what would the title of that book be and what would be the first line?

Oh, my. That’s a scary thought. I was pretty energetic and got into some trouble as a young child, but by the time I was Jeremy’s age I had mellowed out and was the shy, quiet girl in class who liked to read and write. I suppose the title would be something like Born to Be Mild and the first line would be, “See that girl reading over there? She has some stories to tell, some of them true.”

Are you working on other stories as of the moment? Could you tell us about it?

I’m working on a couple other stories. One is a sequel to Under Locker and Key, and the other is a YA science fiction about a boy who goes into other people’s dreams and learns that a girl in his town is in danger.

Thank you!

Thanks so much Allison!


As a middle schooler, Allison K. Hymas was a law-abiding citizen (except for the occasional offense of reading under her desk when she should have been listening). She now holds an MFA from Brigham Young University and currently lives in Utah. Under Locker and Key is her first novel. Allison is hard at work writing Jeremy Wilderson’s further adventures.

Find Allison

Website | Blog |Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads



Book Details:

Title: Under Locker and Key
Author: Allison K. Hymas
Publisher: Alladin
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Eleven-year-old Jeremy Wilderson teams up with his rival crime fighter to stop the stealing spree that’s wreaking havoc on Scottsville Middle School.

Jeremy Wilderson is not a thief. In fact, he is his middle school’s one and only retrieval specialist. Confiscated cell phones, stolen lunch money—he’ll discretely retrieve it before the last bell rings. Business is good, and if it weren’t for the meddling of preteen private investigator Becca Mills, he’d be happier than a gym teacher on dodgeball day.

But a new job shatters his comfortable lifestyle. Now, thanks to Jeremy, the master key to the schools’ lockers is in the hands of an aspiring crime kingpin who doesn’t exactly have Jeremy’s strong moral character. Soon not even combination locks can protect the students’ textbooks and jackets. Retrieving the key is too big a job for one crime fighter, and only one person wants the key returned as much as Jeremy does: Becca Mills.

Lockers are being robbed, the teachers are looking for the culprit, and the only person Jeremy can turn to is the girl who most wants to see him in the principal’s office. Will Jeremy be able to trust Becca enough to get the key back in the right hands? Or could he end up in detention until the end of high school instead?

Book Links

Book Page | Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Goodreads


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed copy of Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas
  • Under Locker and Key Bookmark
  • Retrieval Specialist” pair of sunglasses 

The Rules:

  • Open International
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends July 12th, 2017
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: Rules for Thieves by Alexandra Ott (Author Interview and Giveaway)

Happy Monday Everyone!

Today I’m so pleased to welcome new author Alexandra Ott to the blog as part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017 blog event. You guys know already how much I love reading adventure, fantasy and stories with thieves as main characters, so I couldn’t be more excited about Alexandra’s debut novel, Rules for Thieves. The book comes out tomorrow, June 6th, 2017 and I am really excited for everyone to get the chance to read it.

If you’d like to catch up with Author Alexandra Ott online or just know more about her, her bio and social links follow the interview. If you want to know more about Rules for Thieves, and where to pre-order copies, check out the book’s description and links below.

And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of this amazing book, enter in the Rafflecopter at the end.

A huge thank you to Alexandra for taking the time to answer my questions, I hope you guys enjoy!

Interview with Alexandra Ott

Rules of Thieves is out tomorrow and I’m sure you are more than excited. How was the experience writing the novel and going to publication process so far?

The experience has been so surreal. I started writing this book the summer after my freshman year of college, and I didn’t think anything was going to come of it at first. It’s taken five years to reach publication day, and I still can’t believe it’s really happening.

Most of the thieves characters in fiction that I have read, end up to my favorite list. There’s something in them that drew me in. What draws you to the characters in your novel, Rules for Thieves?

The characters are probably my favorite part about this book. The cast is full of smart, resourceful kids that I can’t help but root for, even when they don’t always make the best decisions. I had a ton of fun writing the witty banter between them, too—most of my thieves are prone to snark. 🙂

Could you tell us a bit about Alli? What is her origin? Who is she based on?

Alli is smart, funny, more than a little hot-tempered, and prone to get into trouble. When I first envisioned her character, I was thinking about young orphans and what happens to those who are considered “bad” kids. Alli is a girl who misbehaves, who isn’t well-adjusted, who can’t get adopted because she’s seen—and sees herself—as a “bad” kid. That was what drew me to her story: what happens to an orphaned girl that no one believes in?

What scene in Rules for Thieves are you most proud of, and why?

Ooh, tough question! If I had to pick one scene that I’m truly proudest of, I think it’s the climactic moment at the end. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it involves a lot of action, some tough character decisions, and some unexpected twists. It’s the most important moment in the book and one that was tough to get just right, but I’m proud of how it turned out.

If one of your characters could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your teenage years, what would the title of that book be? What would be the first line?

Hmm… my teenage years were pretty boring, so I doubt they’d make a very interesting story. If Alli were telling it, she’d definitely tease me for being nerdy and studious. She’d probably title it Nerd Girl, and the first line would be something like, “Alex spent a truly ridiculous amount of time reading books.” 🙂

Which authors, fantasy or otherwise, have inspired you?

So many! I have to mention J.K. Rowling, of course; Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood. As for Rules for Thieves specifically, the biggest influences came from Cornelia Funke (especially The Thief Lord) and Megan Whalen Turner. And Eoin Colfer, naturally; I blame Artemis Fowl for making me fall in love with criminal characters in the first place. 🙂

Rules of Thieves is the first installment of a series. Are you working on the next book already? How many books are planned for this series?

I just finished another draft of the second book and turned it in to my editor. I should be able to reveal its title and cover soon! Right now, I’m planning to end the series with Book 2. But I might be tempted to return to Alli and her world someday, so I wouldn’t rule out more books in the future.

Do you think you’ll stick to middle-grade fantasy or branch out into something else?

Hopefully a little of both! I love middle grade fantasy, and I definitely plan to continue writing it. I’m working on a new middle grade fantasy idea right now that I think might become my next project. But I also plan to explore some new things; I have a secret young adult novel in the works as well. So we’ll see what the future holds!


Alexandra Ott holds a B.A. in English from the University of Tulsa. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her tiny canine overlord. Rules for Thieves is her debut novel. Visit her online at alexandraott.com and on Twitter @Alexandra_Ott.

Find Alexandra

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads


Book Details:

Title: Rules for Thieves
Author: Alexandra Ott
Publisher: Alladin
Publication Date: June 06, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover, eBook

After twelve-year-old orphan Alli Rosco is cursed with a deadly spell, she must join the legendary Thieves Guild in order to try and save herself in this high-stakes debut.

Twelve-year-old Alli Rosco is smart, resourceful, and totally incapable of keeping her mouth shut. Some of these traits have served her well during her nine years in Azeland’s orphanage, and others have proved more troublesome…but now that she’s escaped to try her luck on the streets, she has bigger problems than extra chores to contend with. Surviving would be hard enough, but after a run-in with one of the city’s Protectors, she’s marked by a curse that’s slowly working its way to her heart. There is a cure, but the cost is astronomical—and seems well out of her reach.

Enter Beck, a boy with a gift for theft and a touch of magic, who seems almost too good to be true. He tells Alli that the legendary Thieves Guild, long thought to be a myth, is real. Even better, Beck is a member and thinks she could be, too. All she has to do is pass the trial that the King of Thieves will assign to her. Join the Guild, collect her yearly reward and  a cure. Plus, Alli hopes the Guild will be the home—the family—that Alli has always wanted. But when their trial goes wrong, innocent lives are put in danger, and Alli has to decide how much she can sacrifice in order to survive.

Book Links

Amazon | B&N | BAM | IndieBound | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • Signed hardcover copy of Rules for Thieves by Alexandra Ott

The Rules:

  • Open to US residents only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced through rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends June 26th, 2017
  • Prize will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2017 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each feature post, or check out twitter and facebook using #CelebratingDebutantes2017.

Avenged (Ruined #2) by Amy Tintera

“Just because you have the title of King doesn’t mean you have any power.”

In the sequel to Ruined, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Avenged is a quick, easy read, and entertaining sequence to Amy Tintera’s young adult fantasy, Ruined.

In this installment, we are reacquainted with Emelina Flores and her sister Olivia. The two are now ruling side by side as Queens of Ruined. They plan to rebuild Ruina but soon they realized that it will take a while to restore their lands to its former glory. While Casimir, now the new King of Lera, is struggling to maintain his position as the new leader. His cousin, Jovita is a huge threat, and not everyone believe that he is fit to rule.

With the ending of the first book, Ruined, I was actually looking forward for Olivia in this second installment. She is the big sign that promised great battle and wars. Which makes me excited to read Avenged. Add the title, I’m positive that the book will be an action-pack read even before I start reading. And true to itself, Avenged is packed with battles and war. Olivia is portrayed as menacing, non-empathetic and cold-blooded, which makes her a terrifying villain. But Olivia doesn’t start as the villain in the story. Though readers will see her true side, for Emelina, Olivia is still her younger sister, her family – the very reason Emelina put herself in danger in Ruined.

But inspite of not seeing ahead what Olivia truly is, Emelina is actually smarter in this installment. Most of her decisions are thoughtful and clever. She don’t make drastic decisions, she ask opinions from others and most importantly she put her people first. She deserves her position as one of the leaders of the Ruined in-spite of her being powerless.

Casimir Gallegos on the other hand started weak. He was poisoned, lost his position as King, and almost give up his entire Kingdom just to be with Emelina. Soon, with the help of Em, he realized what a huge mistake it will be. He then start to claim his throne, and fight for land and his people.

“Maybe ‘coincidence’ is another word for fate.”

Emelina and Casimir are caugth in the middle of political war, revenged, and relationship issues. Which basically makes the plot flowing. With so many things that is happening around these two, there’s no time for boredom. The only mild complaint is that despite of all those things, I still feel like that the story doesn’t contribute much to the whole plot of the series. From book one, we already know that Lera and Ruina are at war with each other, which continue here in this second installment. It’s a never ending war and revenged that started from earlier generations. It’s like they haven’t learn after losing their parents and many of their people. Though we finally seen the land of warriors, Olso, and get glimpse of how their Kingdom operates, that lasted shortly and cramped near the end.

All in all, Avenged is a heart-pounding, addicting, and light-fasting read. Though it offers little resolutions being the middle book that it is, it is still satisfying and enjoyable overall. Followers of the first book, Ruined will surely relish additional time with Emelina and the rest of the characters, while eagerly waiting for the final installment.


* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins International in exchange of honest opinion.

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

One of the perks of hosting a blog event like Celebrating Debutantes is the chance to work with talented authors. The chance to ask them questions and have a peek of their creative minds. Just like today, I got the chance to interview new author Wade Albert White about writing for middle grade readers and his upcoming book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes. This sci-fi, fantasy adventure will hit the shelves next week, September 13 and I am excited for every kids and kids at heart out there to experience an adventurous read.

I hope you guys enjoy the interview and be sure to check the bottom of the post for all the details about Wade Albert, The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes, and a fab giveaway!

Interview with Wade Albert White

Was The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes always for middle grade readers, or not? If so, why did you choose middle grade?

It was always intended for younger readers, yes, although in the first draft the main character was sixteen instead of thirteen, which would typically be considered more young adult than middle grade (going strictly by age, that is). As I revised the story and received feedback from various critique partners, however, I realized the overall voice and content were more middle grade in tone, and so adjusted accordingly.

I write for a younger audience because my kids are still young. I wanted to create something they could read and enjoy. Also, some of my favorite books have been middle grade books (Harry Potter anyone?). Plus, sometimes I tend towards the silly side, and that tends to be a good fit for middle grade as well.

Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you wrote? How did the story evolve?

It started with the world. I knew I wanted to write a fantasy parody of sorts (although the book is definitely more than that), but I was also familiar with several such works and didn’t want to simply duplicate what was already out there. With that in mind, I thought it would be really interesting to write a story that mashed together fantasy with science fiction, and it took me a while to figure out how best to combine the two. In the end, I decided it would be fun to have a fantasy setting filled with magic and dragons and the like, but whose ancient history hinted at a society of science and technology (sort of the reverse of our world today).

Once I had those elements in place, I had to figure out what would be the most interesting story to tell in such a world. The answer, of course, was to send the characters on a hair-raising adventure that explored how their modern world of magic had evolved from an ancient world of science.

What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?

I enjoy the enthusiasm of younger readers, whether it’s the jump up and down kind of excitement of some, or the quieter sit in the corner and smile of others. But when they love a thing, they tend to really, really love it.

I also enjoy the challenge of writing for that age group. They’re a sophisticated bunch, and can typically tell when they’re being pandered to, which keeps a writer on their toes. So you can be silly and playful, but the story still needs to mean something. The stakes need to be real for the characters, no matter how ridiculous the story gets.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging, and why?

In terms of the process of writing, I have developed the ability to put myself in a chair and just write. I do sometimes, however, fall into the trap of spending too much time on smaller tasks that feel related to writing (such as organizing my bookshelf or cleaning my desk or checking out social media) but which are not the actual writing itself. These tasks make you feel like you’re getting stuff done, but the true work, the primary work, the writing, gets neglected. I think it happens most often when I’m feeling stuck, and by keeping busy with other things I trick myself into thinking I’m still moving forward. And don’t get me wrong: sometimes time away helps. No question. I do some of my best creative thinking while I’m washing the dishes or going for a run. But I’ve learned to see some of this other “busy work” for what it really is: a distraction. The writing should always come first.

In terms of actual content, I find my greatest challenge is conveying the emotions of characters—in my head I know what they’re feeling at any given moment, but as I write them it’s not always clear on the page. Of all the notes I receive from my editor, the item that recurs the most has to do with having the characters show a bit more emotion or reflect more on what’s happening to them.

Fantasy and science fiction are both exciting genres, you can create whole new worlds and defy common structures. For you, what’s the best part of writing in these genres?

I like both fantasy and science fiction because no matter what I think up, no matter what outlandish thought pops into my head, if I want to fit it into the story I can usually find a way to put it in there. So I can write a book that has robots fighting dragons and make it seem perfectly normal. Or I can include a wizard with a platypus for an arm. Or a holograph-like sparrow for a guide. As long as it all serves the needs of the story, I’m not constrained by any one particular view of reality.

Do you have a set of rules for your world? Is there a process you go through that helps define these?

There are rules, definitely, and I would argue that every story or world needs well defined ones. The primary rule for The Adventurer’s Guide series is that the world is run as a Bureaucracy. There are rules governing everything. That means paperwork or it didn’t happen. This sometimes (read: almost always) makes things more difficult, since often what should be a simple and straightforward task might be made infinitely more difficult because of some completely arbitrary rule. But the characters can use this to their advantage as well. It allows me to play with and even poke fun of a lot of common fantasy tropes.

Rules provide the parameters for the story and characters, and the parameters are what help the reader interpret the story in context (think of the rules as a container and the story the liquid you pour into it). That might at first blush seem contradictory to my answer in the previous question (that I like these genres because I can do whatever I want), but I think of it this way: I can make the rules whatever I want, but thereafter it’s important to make sure the story follows said rules.

What project are you working on or planning to write next?

I’m happy to say my next project is already well underway. I just finished the second draft of the sequel The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (And Why They Keep Biting Me), which is due out in the fall of 2017.

Thanks so much Wade for those wonderful answers. I had so much with this interview. Your answers are not just thoughtful but also a welcome reminders for beginners writer like me. I’m looking forward for the release of  The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escape in few days. And have fun writing the sequel, The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (And Why They Keep Biting Me).


Author Wade Albert WhiteWade hails from Nova Scotia, Canada, land of wild blueberries and Duck Tolling Retrievers. He teaches part-time, dabbles in animation, and spends the rest of his time as a stay-at-home dad. It is also possible he has set a new record as the slowest 10K runner. Ever. He owns one pretend cat and one real one, and they get along fabulously.

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Book Details:

The Adventurer's Guide to Successful EscapesTitle: The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escape
Author: Wade Albert White
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover

A thrilling debut novel where fantasy and science fiction meet, dragons aren’t as innocent as they look (which is to say, not innocent at all), 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 adventuring partner Hiro have only days to travel to strange new locales, solve myriad riddles, and triumph over monstrous foes–or face the horrible consequences.

Packed with action, humor, and endless heart, this debut novel marks the first volume in an irresistible and original fantasy series.

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