My fictional telephone interview with fiction writer, James Riley…
Middle Grade Greg (MGG): So James, who are you really? Your bio makes it sound like you don’t exist?
FictionRiley (Friley): I’m Nobody.
MGG: Yes, you made that very clear in this second book in the Story Thieves series. You broke so many rules. I mean who writes a book and makes themselves a part of the plot?
MGG: Please don’t send me text in the middle of our interview…
MGG: Okay, I’m beginning to understand why your editor said writers are just pure evil.
Filrey: I’m bored. Do you know J.K. Rowling or Jo as I refer to her?
MGG: Let me ask the questions, but no, I’ve read a few interviews is all.
Friley: Too bad. I have no time for you then.
MGG: No wait, just a few more questions. How did you get away with opening the book the way you did? Nine chapters of mostly blacked out text leaving just a few words to ponder. You must know an opening has to hook the readers, providing them with a reason to read on.
Filey: You obviously read the entire book and the first one?
Friley: I rest my case.
MGG: But what about your chapters? They’re supposed to go in order. One second I’m reading missing chapter nine and the next thing I know I’m in chapter 132.
Friley: Do you have a copy of these writer rules?
MGG: Of course, not where I can reach them at the moment, but you’re getting me off track and this odd interview has left me thinking I’m trapped in one of your books.
Friley: You want an autograph?
MGG: No, I mean maybe. Let me just admit that in the real world Mr. Friley… I loved the sequel. Hello? Mr. Friley? Are you still there? Do you even exist in the non-fiction world?
Hey, I gave it my best shot. Anyway, read the first Story Thieves book then read THE STOLEN CHAPTERS sequel. It won’t completely reduce the confusion and mystery, but you’ll have fun figuring out how everything fits together. Returning are Owen, Betheny, and Kiel who were last together in their middle school classroom. This next adventure is full of surprises, more time travel, a dizzying array of flashbacks, and a book you’ll have trouble keeping closed.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 258
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Owen Conners would never jump into a mystery. There are too many hidden clues, twists that make no sense, and an ending you never see coming. Mysteries are just not Owen’s thing. So how exactly did he end up in one with his memory erased? And that’s far from the only question.
How did Kiel Gnomenfoot, boy magician, lose all of his magic? Where’s Bethany, their half-fictional friend? And who’s the annoying guy wearing the question mark mask and Sherlock Holmes hat, taunting Owen and Kiel that Bethany is in grave danger?
Bethany is trapped in a hidden room that’s slowly filling with water, and she can’t escape until her friends find her. But is she imprisoned by more than just chains and a locked door? What’s she hiding from Owen and Kiel?
Maybe some mysteries just shouldn’t be solved…
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE STOLEN CHAPTERS (STORY THIEVES) by James Riley
- Such a unique, satisfying ending setting up an exciting third book in the series, STORY THIEVES: Secret Origins.
- Tongue in cheek commentary on both the fictional and non-fictional world along with the craft of writing had me giggling many times.
- An exciting adventure with a heavy does of mystery is laid out for readers like a sumptuous buffet. There’s something to love at each serving station… er, chapter.
- Plenty of twists to keep you turning pages and twists within twists to hook you even more. A fine dose of expert plotting done in a non-conventional way. A true meta stylized experience.
- Clever is my description, but if you are 8-13 years old reading THE STOLEN CHAPTERS the word will be awesome.
All of this was beginning to feel like one of those terrible stories, where half of it took place in the present, and the rest was told in flashbacks. So irritating. You knew the characters would be okay during the flashbacks because you were seeing them in the present too, so the flashbacks were always boring. Why couldn’t those writers just tell the story the normal way?
AUTHOR BACKGROUND: James Riley is the New York Times bestselling author of the HALF UPON A TIME trilogy and STORY THIEVES series. He lives in the Washington, DC area, and is most likely fictional.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. The comments link is below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.