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Should Boys be Forced to Read Books with Girl MC’s?

23 Apr

There are a couple of interesting posts on Author Andrew Smith’s blog about boys and reading.   Should boys be indoctrinated into reading “girl” fiction?  After all, girls read “boy” fiction.  Should they be forced to read books with girl MC’s?

Andrew Smith talks about this and literacy for boys in general.

Don’t forget to participate in the DJ MacHale Morpheus Road Giveaway.  The winner gets an autographed copy of Morpheus Road – The Light!

 

MORPHEUS ROAD: THE LIGHT – Autographed Book Giveaway

20 Apr

The publishers of Morpheus Road have graciously agreed to provide an autographed copy of the book for the giveaway.  I’ve added the Google Friends thingie for the occasion.   Please participate and spread the word!

Morpheus Road - The Light

MORPHEUS ROAD: THE LIGHT

BOOK RELEASE / GIVEAWAY

Prize:

One (1) winner will receive:

  • Signed copy of Morpheus Road: The Light

Start Date:

Tuesday, April 20 – Release Day!

End Date:

Tuesday, May 3 – Midnight

Rules:

This book will be sent by the publisher so, the contest is open to anyone that has a US address where they can recieve the book if they are the winner.    Leave your name/nickname in each post you leave. You must also provide me with your emailing address so that you can be contacted.  If it’s in your profile, that will suffice.

Extra Entries

+1 If you Subscribe to the site
+2 If you become a Google Friend of the site.
+1 If you leave a comment
+1 If you TWEET About This Giveaway (Leave Link)
+1 If you add me to your blog roll (and link it back to my blog)
+5 If you blog about this Giveaway in it’s own post (Link back)
____________
DISCLAIMER:  THIS IS A FREE GIVEAWAY AND THIS IS A NONPROFIT BLOG.  WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO MAKE SURE THAT WE PROPERLY ACCOUNT FOR EACH ENTRANT’S POINTS, BUT ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS BEING THE WAY THEY ARE, WE CANNOT GUARANTEE COMPLETE ACCURACY, BUT WE WILL BE AS COMPLETE AND THOROUGH AS WE CAN BE.

Author’s Website:

http://djmachalebooks.com/

About the book:

D.J. MacHale, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pendragon series, has a new adventure for readers in Morpheus Road.

Marshall Seaver is being haunted. In The Light, the first installment of this chillingly compelling trilogy, sixteen-year-old Marshall discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this is–it’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined.

Book in stores April 20th.

About the author:

D.J. MacHale is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pendragon series. He has written, directed and produced many television series and movies for young people including the cult-favorite TV show ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK. His work has been seen on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, HBO, Showtime, PBS, Discovery Kids and the broadcast networks. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California.

 

An Interview with DJ MacHale – Morpheus Road

16 Apr

D.J. MacHale is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pendragon series. He has written, directed and produced many television series and movies for young people including the cult-favorite TV show ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK. His work has been seen on Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, HBO, Showtime, PBS, Discovery Kids and the broadcast networks. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California. Today, he talks to Boylit.com about his new book, Morpheus Road, which is being released on April 20, 2010. Please visit his website at http://djmachalebooks.com/.

About Morpheus Road:  Marshall Seaver is being haunted. In The Light, the first installment of this chillingly compelling trilogy, sixteen-year-old Marshall discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this is–it’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined.

Boylit.com will be doing a giveaway of an autographed copy of Morpheus Road beginning on April 20, 2010. The contest will run for two weeks – details to be announced.  Please enjoy the trailer for Morpheus Road at the end of the interview.


1. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. I understand that you have a background as a writer and producer for children’s television. My children loved Flight 29 Down, which you co-created and produced, and you were also the co-creator and producer of Are You Afraid of the Dark, as well as several other successful children’s shows. You author the very popular Pendragon series, which is Young Adult series with a male main character. Now you have taken a more macabre turn down Morpheus Road. Is Morpheus Road your first venture into the horror/suspense genre? Tell us a little about the story.

I’ve actually worked quite extensively in the genre. “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” was all about being spooky. Between the 91 episodes and twenty some odd books and computer games, board games, articles, etc., I wrote more scary stories than the average bear. I also wrote and directed a movie for Disney called “Tower of Terror”, and created several scary TV shows that never got off the ground. So I’m fairly well versed in the world of horror/suspense, that’s why I wanted to write the Morpheus Road trilogy so much. After having gotten away from that genre for a few years, and written so many books, I thought it would be fun to go back to my roots and write a spooky book. So for me it was like going home. A very creepy home.

2. What inspired you to write in this genre? Do you think there is a large market for it in the Young Adult demographic?

I’ve always loved scary stories. I like the notion of normal people being confronted with totally abnormal challenges. It also allows me to flex my creative muscles by coming up with unique and surprising scares. That’s the fun part. Coming up with the scares. There’s a scene in Morpheus Road: The Light where the main character, Marshall, is home alone and you know something spooky is going to happen. He knows something spooky is going to happen. And it does. But rather than encountering a monster or horrific image, he is drawn to his living room by music box music and finds that the room is completely, impossibly, decorated for Christmas. It twists his head inside out, and then the terror happens from there. I love stuff like that.

As for there being a market in the YA demographic, I hope so! But that’s not why I’m writing the story. For me, it always starts out with an idea that excites and interests me. I write it, and then the story itself determines who it will appeal to. For instance, Flight 29 Down was definitely a “girl” show. Guys watched it, but girls LOVED it. Another book series that will soon come out is called The Monster Princess. I came up with the idea for a little troll who dreams of becoming a princess, and the only place that story could exist was with a picture book which will appeal to very young kids. I found with my Pendragon series that the largest number of readers are boys . . . of all ages. From 9 to grandfathers. So I think my job is to tell the best story I can, and then see who likes it!


3. Did you give any thought to the prospective audience for this novel when you were writing or editing it? What is it about this book and its genre that you think boys in particular will enjoy?

Like I said, I write the story the best way I can and then see who likes it. But for whatever reason, most of my writing appeals to boys, which is kind of cool since everybody is trying to get boys to read. Girls are easier. Boys are tough. But it’s not like I said: “I’m going to write a book for boys!” I just write what I think is fun, and in most cases, guys like it.

And what I think is fun is showing normal guys rising to the occasion. Or sometimes not. That’s what I think so many guys like about my stories. They can see themselves in the story and reacting the way the characters react. That’s key for me. I want the readers to imagine what they might do in hairy situations. I love that stuff, and I’m a guy, so I guess other guys do too!

4. I noticed that you started the book with a prologue. A lot of writing “experts” discourage the use of prologues, but to me it came off like a voice-over at the beginning of a movie setting the stage for the action, which I think will appeal to the tastes of young men. Does your television background influence your writing?

I never listen to experts. I just write what I think works. One of the reasons I have used a prologue, and did it with Morpheus Road: The Light is that I think it’s important to set up the main characters early on. As much as I like action, I think the heart of a story rests with interesting characters that you get to know and care about. Or hate. To do that, it takes a bit of exposition early on. Call it my movie-instinct, but when you want to grab somebody up front with a book that is expected to be exciting, starting out by introducing characters doing “normal” things might turn off the more impatient reader. So a short prologue is my way of saying: “This is the kind of story it’s going to be so relax. Learn about the characters and then the fireworks will start.”


5. Morpheus Road is the first book in a planned series. How many books will be in this series, and what can you tell us about the “rest of the story?”

Morpheus Road is going to be a trilogy. I don’t want to give away anything about where it’s going because there are some big surprises. But I’ll say this much, it’s going to be one of those stories that starts out small and just keeps on building and building in ways you could never imagine.

6. You have a book trailer for Morpheus Road, which we have embedded in the Boylit Blog site. How did the making of the trailer come about? We have a great interest in book trailers here because we think it’s a great way to market to boys.

I think the Morpheus Road trailer is awesome. Publishers are always looking for new ways to get the news out about their books and my good friends at Simon & Schuster started making trailers that are seen before movies in the theaters. When I heard that they wanted to do one for Morpheus Road, my first reaction was: “Great, but boy it better be good if it’s going to be on the big screen!” And they pulled it off. It’s going to be seen in late May in certain theaters before the film “Prince of Persia”. It’s gotten such a great reaction that they’re already throwing ideas around about what the trailer for Morpheus #2 will be!


 

Coming Soon, An Interview with DJ MacHale about his new book, Morpheus Road

15 Apr

We’ll be posting an interview with DJ MacHale about his new book, Morpheus Road, tomorrow or Saturday. We’ll also be doing a giveaway of an autographed copy of his novel beginning on April 20, 2010!

Don’t forget to check in for that.

 
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Posted in Contests and Announcements

 

The Haunted Series, by Chris Eboch Book Trailer

14 Apr


Chris Eboch’s Website

 
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Posted in Book Trailers, Fiction for MG, Thriller

 

An Interview with Dee Garretson – Wildfire Run

14 Apr

Dee Garretson is the author of Wildfire Run, which is being released on August 31, 2010.  She writes books for middle graders.  Dee has a degree in Landscape Horticulture and worked as a landscape designer and taught landscape horticulture classes for several years before returning to writing.  Please visit her website at http://deegarretson.com/index.html

A draft cover for Wildfire Run, before the title was finalized.

1. The idea for the plot of ‘Wildfire Run’ came to you during the 2008 primary elections for the U.S.presidential race. Please tell us what the story is about and how you developed the idea for it.


Here’s my one sentence blurb for it: When Luke Brockett, the President’s son, is trapped at Camp David during a wildfire by high tech security gone haywire, he and his friends Callie and Theo know they have to find a way out before it is too late.

I developed the idea for the story because I’m one of those people who follow elections and politics obsessively. (I have a degree in international relations from Tufts University.) It’s my version of sports addiction. The fascination is partly with the people and personalities behind the events. Having children of my own, what struck me during the ’08 primaries was the number of young children or grandchildren of the candidates. That led me to think of how some of those children’s lives were going to take a drastic change.

2. Can you tell us a little more about Camp David?

Camp David is the presidential vacation retreat located right in the middle of Catoctin National Park in Maryland. It’s supposed to be a place where the presidents and their families can vacation safely and away from media scrutiny. Information about what’s inside is very limited, especially after the events of 9/11. I cobbled together what I could from a variety of sources, so the historical detail in the book is as accurate as I could make it, and the rest, well, it’s fiction.

3. What age group do you think would enjoy Wildfire Run? Is this a book for middle graders?

The book is for middle graders, and probably slightly older readers up to the age of about fourteen.

4. When you were writing this story, did you do any research about what life might be like for a child of a U.S. President?

I had already done quite a bit of research on presidential children, because I was toying with the idea of a nonfiction picture book on the subject. I ended up using that material to write a play which will be on my website in the near future for teachers’ use as a class project. Doing the research gave me an overall feeling of how to handle my main character.


5. Wildfire Run will be released on August 31, 2010, will it be your first published novel?


Yes, it will be my first published novel.

6. Did you give any thought to the prospective audience for this novel when you were writing or editing it? Did you intend for this to be a book for boys?

I did intend it to be a book for boys. I became interested in middle grade fiction targeted to boys when my son was about nine. He was so excited about some of the books he was reading, and he really wanted me to read them as well. I took a serious look at the books he particularly loved that he read over and over, and that’s what made me decide to try my hand at a sort of book he would want to read.

7. What about this book do you think boys in particular might enjoy?
There’s problem solving with cobbled together gadgets. I’m showing my age, but I’ve always described the main character, Luke, as a MacGyver-type kid. There’s a kid-built robot. And Luke gets to drive around in the woods in an old jeep. I think that appeals to any pre-licensed driver!

8. If you had to describe it by comparing it to other books, which would you choose and why?

It’s set up more like an adult thriller/suspense novel, because early on I switch points of view each chapter between several different people, but the later parts are more action oriented from the main character’s perspective. I would hope kids who like Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series would like this book as well.

9. Are you working on another novel? Do you plan to write any other books with male protagonists?

I’m working on a second middle grade book right now for HarperCollins, also with a male protagonist. This one is about kid actors on a sci fi movie set who get trapped in a blizzard. It’s been so much fun to research movie-making for this, plus I’m a huge science fiction fan, so that part is exciting as well.

10. Is there going to be a book trailer for your novel? Are you or the publishers taking any special steps to try to reach boy readers?

I plan to have a book trailer up by early summer. One very exciting step HarperCollins is taking is their new site, Awesome Adventure Books, http://www.awesomeadventurebooks.com/, which targets their action-oriented books with some additional games for kids. It also has special sections for parents and teachers. I’m hoping my book will be on the site when it is released.

11. Which novels by other authors would you recommend to boys?

There are so many I enjoy, it’s hard to limit it. The GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series by Suzanne Collins is fantastic. Most people now know her for her young adult books, HUNGER GAMES in particular, but the earlier middle grade GREGOR series shouldn’t be overlooked. The ARTEMIS FOWL series by Eoin Colfer are both fun and imaginative. Those were my son’s absolute favorites.

12. Besides your author website and your blog, you have another website called “Adventure Books” at www.kidsaventurebooks.com , please tell us about that website and what inspired you to create it.

I’m very interested in why some kids love to read and others don’t, and it seems that many kids who say they don’t like to read may think that only because they haven’t been exposed to the sort of books that would draw them in. I wanted a site parents, teachers and librarians could use with kid-tested high appeal books. It’s not a traditional review site, because I don’t list any books that don’t pass my kid readers and my own somewhat arbitrary parameters. There are many books I’ve recently read that need to be added to it, but I just haven’t had the time. Too many great books in the world!

 

Odd and The Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman – Book Trailer

13 Apr

Neil Gaiman’s Website

 
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Posted in Action Adventure, Book Trailers, Fantasy, Fiction for MG

 

Gone, by Michael Grant – Book Trailer

13 Apr


Michael Grant’s Website

 
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Posted in Action Adventure, Book Trailers, Dystopian, Fiction for YA, Thriller

 

Dark Dude, by Oscar Hijuelos – Book Trailer

12 Apr


Oscar Hijuelos Website

 

City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare- Book Trailer

12 Apr


Cassandra Clare’s Website

 
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Posted in Action Adventure, Book Trailers, Fantasy, Fiction for YA