Welcome to a special blog tour stop for CURIOSITY HOUSE: THE SCREAMING STATUE. Other tour stops this week include MIDDLE GRADE MAFIA (Tuesday); LITERARY HOOTS (Wednesday); UNLEASHING READERS (Thursday); and ME, MYSELF, AND I (Friday).
Last year I featured a review of the exciting first book, CURIOSITY HOUSE: THE SHRUNKEN HEAD. I’m holding off my review of the second book until tomorrow, April 26th, because today I have two special interviews and a giveaway.
First up is a unique chat with Sam, the strongest twelve-and-three quarters-year-old in the country, possibly the world. He once lifted a car–one-handed–to save a dog trapped beneath it, and in fact he loves animals and is desperate for a pet (preferably a dog, cat, or rabbit, but he would even be happy with a turtle).
Sam plays a key role in the CURIOSITY HOUSE Series as one of the young residents and performers at Dumfrey’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Horrors.He’s quite tall for his age and very polite. He extended his hand for us to shake, but quickly pulled back fearing he would crush my fingers. Thanks for the heads-up thinking, Sam. Now on to the interview:
Your ability is astounding. When did you first realize you had unbelievable strength?
I’ve known since I was a kid–I mean, for as long as I can remember. When I was a toddler I used to play airplane with Mr. Dumfrey, except I was the one holding him up.
What is the most unusual thing (or person) you have ever lifted?
One time I had to lift a five-ton industrial mixer at a bakery in Queens to find a lady’s earring. I smelled like powdered sugar for days.
Are there drawbacks to being so strong?
Oh, yeah. To be honest, most of the time, I hate it. Mr. D says I can’t have a pet, not even a turtle, because he’s worried I might hurt it. I’m always breaking things. And forget hugs–I might squeeze the life out of someone without meaning to.
What tips do you have for your young readers who want to increase their own strength?
Get sleep! I sleep a lot.
If you could trade your ability with one of the other curious residents of Mr. Dumfrey’s Dime Museum, whose ability would you most like to have?
Definitely Pippa’s. I’d love to know what Max was thinking. I mean, I’d love to know what lots of people are thinking, but Max too, for sure.
Thanks Sam and good luck with figuring out Max. If you’re ever out my way in a blizzard, I’ll hire you to help with snow removal.
Exit Sam and right on cue are the inspiration behind this imaginative and fun series… Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester.
Welcome to ALWAYS in the MIDDLE. I enjoyed talking with Sam. What do you like about writing for a young audience?
I fell in love with reading when I was a “middle grade” reader, and to a certain extent writing for that age group feels like a joyful continuation of my first explorations into books and reading.
You have collaborated on two books in the Curiosity House Series, what approach did you take to ensure your ideas, writing style, and creativity were each represented?
We actually had a fairly regimented way of working. Mr. Chester did the research and structured the book, providing invaluable insights about the way the mystery should unfold, and I simply wrote under his direction. Then he edited, and reedited, and reedited….
How long did it take to write this sequel from inception to release?
The book took about 8-10 months to write. But as is typical in publishing, it took another year and a half to be released!
Which character’s ability at Mr. Dumfrey’s Dime Museum would you most like to have?
Hmmm. I think that being a knife thrower would be pretty cool, actually!
What advice do you have for kids (big or little) who want to be future published authors like yourselves?
Practice! And read as much as you can.
Thank you Lauren and H.C.! Be sure to visit their superb Curiosity House website.
Finally, I have an awesome giveaway – Hard back copies of THE STOLEN HEAD and THE SCREAMING STATUE… plus a nifty set of playing cards featuring the residents and curious items from the museum. Just comment below either today or on the review post tomorrow. I’ll announce the winner May 2nd. Good luck!
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.