First off, there’s still time to register for my writing YA class, which starts Feb. 14th. Details here.
Second off, I have the winners of the two copies of The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book 1. The winners are…
Alden Ash and Heather Hiestand
Alden and Heather please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize. Winners of Anya Bast’s Raven’s Quest will be anounced Monday.
Today we welcome Middle Grade Author David Burton who’s going to tell us about his new steampunk adventure for kids, Scourge (and giveaway some copies, too.)
First, can you tell us a little about yourself and your latest steampunk creation?
Gladly! I was born in Windsor, Ontario (just across the river from Detroit) to parents who encouraged me to read from a very young age. I graduated from the University of Toronto with a major in Biology and a minor in Classical Civilization. I currently live near Toronto with my same-sex partner and our three boys (we adopted three brothers three years ago). And we have one basset hound that keeps us all in check.
Scourge is a middle-grade (ages 9-12) novel that is the first in a series. It centers around a young boy and his family that travel to the world of Verne. Naturally, there are dirigibles, goggles (my favorite part!), and absinth.
Here’s the blurb and the book trailer:
Two dads, five siblings, and goggles!
Grim Doyle has always known his life was not exactly “normal”, and things get even more curious when he discovers a set of stones that sweep him and his family to the fantasy, steampunk world of Verne – a place they had escaped from years ago. Now that they’ve returned, Grim and his siblings hide from the evil Lord Victor and his minions. And while learning about Jinns, Mystics, and the power of absinth they try to discover who is trying to kill them with the deadly Scourge.
Why did you choose steampunk as a genre?
For most of my life I would have considered myself more of a fantasy reader/writer. But looking back, prior to adopting our children I was a Final Fantasy addict for two decades, so a steampunk influence has been in my life a long time. In fact, that’s probably the greatest influence when it comes to this book (other than my boys, that is!). When we adopted our boys I watched what really got them hooked and that’s when I realized that I should go back to my roots and not focus solely on fantasy as a genre. Incorporating steampunk with fantasy was the perfect mix and it really allowed me to stretch my imagination for this series.
Why did you write it for middle grade?
There are great works out there in the YA category: Boneshaker, The Windup Girl, Leviathan, Soulless (and thankfully because of these, I think the steampunk genre is really taking off), but there isn’t as much in the middle-grade arena. Pullman’s His Dark Materials series is wonderful, but I thought there needed to be more. Fortunately, the voice of the narrative seemed to come out in a middle-grade format when I started writing it, so it worked out well.
Can you share with us a scene from Scourge?
Here’s a scene when Grim takes it upon himself to try to find a cure for the Scourge:
The streets were bare. The lampposts gave off a bluish-white light that reflected off the slickened streets. The moisture in the air settled into Grim’s bones. There were no moons or stars in the sky. The thick cloud cover had taken care of that. Yet despite the lack of life on the street, Grim couldn’t help but feel that there was something there, watching him. He looked for the strange bird that he had seen across the street, or the cloaked man.
There was nothing.
He stopped. A couple of sewer rats scampered across the road behind him. An alley cat, or maybe it was Pringles, was perched upon a steel railing. It paid him no heed, more interested in the rats.
Grim moved on, determined to make haste. He pulled his jacket about him to ward off the night’s chill. Three small dirigibles sped overhead.
He looked at the street signs, one at a time, yet none were Absolution Street. And none of the buildings had signs that read The Green Fairy.
Grim ducked into an alley at the sound of something coming up the street. One pair of boots and a walking stick that tapped the ground at a hurried pace. He stuffed himself between some old crates that smelled like bad cabbage and waited.
The footsteps turned into the alley towards him, and Grim shuffled back, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever was coming. All he could see were shiny boots and a pointed walking stick.
Grim turned and ran, twisting and winding through alleys. The footsteps continued behind him.
The passageways funneled Grim between large buildings, yet never seemed to lead him anywhere, or at least not to any street. It became a maze of darkened laneways and slippery cobblestone corridors. He tried various doors.
The footsteps quickened. Grim ran, his feet sliding.
Until finally he came upon a door. On it was a metal emblem of a girl with emerald wings.
He yanked on it, and it opened.
Then a large, meaty hand reached out and tugged Grimwald Doyle inside.
So what’s next for you?
Currently, I’m working on another children’s novel that I’m posting live at my blog as I write it called Billy Bones: Beyond the Grave. I’m also releasing a paranormal romance novel in the spring titled Broken, and I have a dark fantasy novel I released last year called The Second Coming. Naturally, I’m trying to work in the next of the Grim Doyle series as well.
You’re offering to do a giveaway. Can you tell us about that?
At my site, I offer an electronic version (ebook) of my novels with a dedication page, addressed to the purchaser, that is autographed by me. I also substitute the name of one of the minor characters in the book with the name of the purchaser. It makes for a unique version of the book for those that want it. So I’ll be giving away 3 of these for Scourge. I’ll let you handle the rules for the giveaway.
Good luck to those that enter, and thanks so much for having me here!!
Want to win one of three of these unique ebooks (for you or someone else)? Just comment here and three lucky people will be chosen at random. Open internationally. Contest closes Sunday, Feb 20th. 2011 at midnight PST. Good luck!