Today I have a cool book for all of you who have kids and teenagers today! Hey, I love to read, and did so as a child, so maybe if your kiddos have something cool to read, they would read more 🙂 So, I decided that since it’s summer and sometimes the kids need something to preoccupy themselves, I’d spotlight this one, and it’s got a giveaway!! 🙂 Let’s get this show on the road!
Hero’s Sword Vol. 2
Genre: fantasy -middle grade
Publisher: Delabarre Publishing
Date of Publication: April 24, 2013
Number of pages: 76
Word Count: ~24,000
Cover Artist: Jen Domani
Eighth-grader Jaycee Hiller is beginning to fear she only imagined her trip to Mallory. But when a rainy afternoon leaves her with hours of playing Hero’s Sword, her favorite video game, she finds herself drawn back into the game – literally.
STORM CLOUDS is the exciting second volume of the HERO’S SWORD saga – chronicling Jaycee Hiller’s trials in eight grade, and her exciting adventures in Mallory, the setting of her favorite video game. Jaycee enters the video game realm via a special controller and is caught up in the action of this fantasy realm.
In STORM CLOUDS, a valuable jewel belonging to the neighboring estate of Devin, the Sapphire Star, is missing, stolen at the Fall Consortium. Lady Starla stands accused of the theft. Devin’s demands are clear: return the Star or they will take it back by force.
Now it’s up to Lyla Stormbringer to find the Star and the thief. before Mallory finds itself at war.
First, tell me a little about your book ….
The entire Hero’s Sword series is about becoming comfortable in your own skin. I don’t want to call it a “coming of age” because that has some connotations (for me) that just don’t apply here. In this particular book, it’s Jaycee’s second trip to Mallory. She kind of knows what’s going on. But whereas the first book she had to prove herself, this time it’s expected that she’s going to solve the problem and avert war. She’s also going to find out a little more about this shadowy “bad guy” trying to disrupt the world of the game – the “Empire” – and she’s going to find out a little more about herself, too. Things that will hopefully translate to her non-digital life.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know?
Absolutely. I was kind of like Jaycee when I was 13. Except I didn’t play video games; those were just gaining popularity in the mid-80s. Instead, I read – a lot. I escaped into those fictional worlds. And eventually, I thought, “If I could create my own world, this is what it would be like.”
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
Oh, it was awful! LOL Again, I was 13. I was not popular. My best friend was a talented artist and we collaborated on sort of what would now be called “urban fantasy,” about a girl who finds out she has magical powers and goes to a fantasy world to reclaim her family’s throne. And of course she’s pretty, smart, tough, witty, and good with guys. Which was totally the opposite of what we were at the time, but then again, that was the point.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes and no. I mean, I was 13. I have a daughter who is now 13. And there are a lot of things that are just common to that age, at least thematically. I think most, of not all, kids in middle school are trying to decide who they are and where they fit. And in that way, yeah, Jaycee’s story is based on what I experienced and what I see my daughter going through. But the specifics are not drawn from real life. That is, neither of us are gamers battling evil cheerleaders.
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books?
So far, nobody has died in Hero’s Sword. Because of the target age group, 8-12, I’m not sure anybody will die – although there has to be a threat of danger/death there to keep the story going. But if I were to kill someone, it wouldn’t be casual/throwaway. The death would have to move the story forward somehow, or move Jaycee’s personal character arc forward. I wouldn’t want to hit too close to home so she’s emotionally devastated, but it would have to be close enough that she’d feel emotionally charged up enough to do something about it – either justice or finding the responsible party or something.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
In middle-grade? Not that I’ve stumbled across. Because my “to-be-read” pile is always falling over, I’m forever “discovering” authors who have been around for a while. I can say I’m really looking forward to the fall release of Rick Riordan’s latest Hero’s of Olympus book, House of Hades. I also read a fair amount of mysteries/crime fiction, and I’m really enjoying the DIY series from Berkeley by Jennie Bentley – but that’s not exactly new.
Who do you look up to as a writer?
Oh wow, um, I hope I can create worlds and characters like JK Rowling. And I’d love to plot like her too. Harry Potter was just such an amazing accomplishment on both points. Of course, I’d never dream of being in her league, but she’s definitely the gold standard for me when it comes to the middle-grade/young adult fantasy genre.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I don’t think so. I’ve only published two books in the series (third is in final draft), but I’m pretty happy with it so far. What I’ve written is making me change some of my future plans, though.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sounding like a real 13-year old. Fortunately, I have an expert to talk to in that regard. And since this is expected to be a relatively long series arc (up to 12 books), finding new and exciting plots – and tying the whole thing together – is going to be a challenge in and of itself. I mostly know where I’m going, but characters have a way of surprising you.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I literally just finished Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower. Still processing that one before I pick up something new.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
My cover artist was a woman named Jen Domani. I don’t help design covers – I’m so not an artist – but I do get substantial opportunity to provide feedback and approve them, which is nice.
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it?
It’s been over 25 years since I was in 8th grade and nothing has changed about social dynamics. Well, some of the details – there were no iPhones in the mid-80s – but that’s it. And I find that both comforting and depressing.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
I’d probably be Roger. He’s the guide/mentor, the one who is helping Jaycee on her personal journey. Having passed through the middle-school gauntlet already, that’s where I see myself as a parent and an author. “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt,” now I’m trying to pass on those lessons.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because?
Oh, tons of them! LOL But you probably want me to pick one, so I’ll say To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s one classic that has truly stood the test of time, at least in my opinion.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You might be going through some tough times, right now. Your body is changing, school is challenging, and you’re just trying to fit in, whatever that means to you. You might think it’s useless. But hang in there. If you’re one of the kids on the edge, resist the temptation to do what’s “cool” just to fit in. It really does get better. You’ll find those people who like and appreciate you for the unique, amazing person that you are – so don’t ever give up what makes you that way.
About the Author:
A software technical writer by day, Mary Sutton has been making her living with words for over a decade. She writes the Hero’s Sword middle-grade fantasy series as M.E. Sutton, and The Laurel Highlands Mysteries series as Liz Milliron. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children.
So, I’ve actually got a few giveaways to show you… First is my giveaway, which is ebook copy Winner’s choice of format (Kindle, Nook, Kobo).
The second giveaway is a tour wide giveaway- A Kindle Paper white or Nook Simple Touch. Yep, giving away cool reading utensils hehehehe I wanted to use a big word instead of a reading device. 🙂 GO HERE TO ENTER for that giveaway!!
Alright guys! I wanna thank the wonderful author for stopping by for an interview today! I really hope we can get some parents involved to enter so their kiddos, or nieces, nephews, neighbors, whatever, can win a book! GOOD LUCK!! 🙂 Happy reading and later gators!