Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. Here's hoping your holiday weekends went well with loads of fun and good times to be had! Today, we're jump starting the week with a BOOK BIRTHDAY celebration for two names we've come to love in the Children's Lit arena....authors Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson! They are the creative minds behind the exciting series The Familiars and to help us celebrate the day, bloggers (including myself) were given the chance to ask the authors about heroes on their mind. Pretty cool, right? I went with a semi-obvious question but one that has been circulating through my mind since the series began. Curious what it was? Read on to find out more!
From the "desk" of Adam and Andrew...
With the release of the third book in The Familiars series, The Familiars - Circle of Heroes, we are stopping by some of our favorite blogs discussing all things heroes. One of the questions we get asked most frequently when we visit elementary schools and do author events at bookstores around the country is, "WHY did we choose to make the heroes of our series animals as opposed to humans?"
When we looked back at all of the fantasy novels we enjoyed growing up they were always told from the same perspective: the wizards, the elves, the human heroes. Oft times, they had an animal companion sitting on their shoulders or sitting beside them. The sidekick or the seldom seen helper. Think Hedwig in Harry Potter or Gandalf's trusty horse, Shadowfax. But these animals had never had a book of their own. We thought it would be an interesting perspective shift to take a traditional fantasy story and turn it on its head by seeing the adventure through their eyes.
The follow-up question is usually how we chose a cat, a blue jay, and a tree frog as the animal heroes of The Familiars. Aldwyn was easy. Adam had a black-and-white alley cat with a bite taken out of its ear living in his backyard. Cats were also a staple of classic familiars. Every Halloween poster has a witch standing next to a black cat. An alley cat also seemed like an outsider, a character who would know little about the world of magic. In picking a blue jay for Skylar, we were looking for an animal that appeared stuck up, and the posture of the blue bird struck us as just thought. Moreover, birds are another all-too-common familiar. Finally, there was Gilbert. We needed our comic relief, and wanted an animal that made us chuckle on sight. And a tree frog seemed both silly and lovable in exactly the right way.
We knew we'd have opportunities to follow other animals, too. In The Familiars - Circle of Heroes, there are seven more animals that join our heroic trio on their latest quest to save the land. We meet Orion, a noble lightmare; Simeon, a wise old bloodhound; Anura, a luck-bringing golden toad; Navid, a slithering king cobra; Marati, a fearless white-tailed mongoose; Banshee, an invisible howler monkey; and Lothar, a villainous wolverine.
For those of you who haven't discovered The Familiars series yet, now is a perfect time to start, as Circle of Heroes completes the initial trilogy of books. If you have read The Familiars and The Familiars - Secrets of the Crown, then you won't want to miss this exciting conclusion. But fret not, Familiars die hards. A fourth book is coming in 2013, beginning a brand new adventure for Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert!
The Familiars - Circle of Heroes will be on-line and in bookstores everywhere September 4th.
-- Adam and Andrew
Now, how about a little MORE fun with the guys?
We want you to send in stories about your own heroes, the real people who have had an impact on your life. Parents, grandparents, teachers, or friends. We'll be featuring them on our blog, our Twitter feeds, and our Facebook page. We want to know who's in your Circle of Heroes. The ones voted the most inspirational will win a signed copy of book #3. Send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Special thanks to BOTH fabulous authors for the chance to participate in this bloggy party. I know this book is on my wish list...and will be added to many more before the day is done.
For more information on the series, be sure to check out the official website, check in over at their blog, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter!
Until next time...happy reading!