It’s our first giveaway of the new school year, and it’s a doozie–two titles each from some of the best “boys” writers around. These six books are guaranteed to tickle the funnybone or shiver the spine of any middle grade reader. Their authors have been kind enough to share some inside, interesting facts about their work.
From IndieBound: Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It’s what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys’ bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.
Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it’s going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that’s just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else’s problems is that there’s no one left to solve yours.
1. The only character based almost completely on a real person Chris knew in school when he was a kid is Kitten.
2. The fight with the vampire and his brother in the sandbox when Mac and Vince are in kindergarten is based on something that really happened to the author, except in the real-life version Kristoff and his brother were armed with knives and axes!
3. There is a character named Great White mostly because Great White sharks are author Chris’s favorite animal.
THE FOURTH STALL PART II:
1. Mr. Skari, Mac’s teacher, is based on the author’s own 6th grade teacher, whose name was also Mr. Skari.
2. Some of the weird things Vince’s grandma says were inspired by song titles from some of Chris’s favorite bands.
3. A deep-fried, jelly and sugar-covered ham sandwich called a Monte Cristo makes an appearance in the book. The author has actually eaten one, and it was terrible!
My first job straight out of high school was as a cadet reporter on the local newspaper, so my very first writing projects involved me going out into the world, observing some stuff then coming back to the office and bashing out a story on an old Olivetti manual typewriter. So now that I’m writing books I still feel the need to wander out into the wild and check on how things are. The Billionaire’s Curse is based mostly in England so I went on a research trip to London and the Somerset region to get some ideas. The whole process worked so well that when I got to writing The Emerald Casket, which is based in India, I knew I had to go there to get the descriptions right. The reason the book is based in India is because of a newspaper article I read way back in 2002. The article was about a little fishing village in the south of India where the local fishermen had spoken for generations about a mythical city beneath the waves. The legend had it that the city had seven beautiful temples and the gods grew so jealous of their beauty that they sent a giant wave to bury them. Then in 2004 the Boxing Day tsunami hit. The tide was drawn way back and for the first time in a thousand years, the remnants of this mythical city were revealed buried in the sand. Then the wave hit and covered them again. But what a terrific place to set an adventure story: in a lost city reclaimed from the sea.
I write my first draft longhand in an exercise book, using a pencil. It takes about three months to map out the storyline and most of the twists and turns. Then I set about transcribing it into my laptop, adding and polishing and embellishing as I go. Then come the multiple re-drafts and edits. By the time I send it off to my publisher it’s probably at draft nine or ten. Then my editor has a crack at it and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, it’s ready for the printer — about a 12 month exercise all up.
Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex and David Yoo
A teenage terrorist
A mysterious wish-granting machine
The world’s worst private detective
The second volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading is chock-full of mystery, intrigue, and nefarious activity. Featuring some of the best writers around, and compiled by certified guy Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Thriller is a pulse-pounding collection of brand-new short stories, each one guaranteed to keep you riveted until the final page.
2. The story “Your Question for Author Here” was written by Jon Scieszka and Kate DiCamillo back and forth, in a truly improvised manner. Though some light editing was done, what you see on the page is pretty much what they came up with as they wrote to one another in character.
3. Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s “Pudding”, which appears in Guys Read: Thriller, is the first comics contribution to the Guys Read Library.