Twelve-year-old Samantha Sutton isn’t sure she wants to go to England with her Uncle Jay, a brilliant, risk-taking archeologist. But the trip seems safe enough—a routine excavation in Cambridge—and Samantha has always had a love for the past.
At first the project seems unremarkable—just a survey to clear the way for a massive theme park. But everything changes when Sam uncovers something extraordinary. Are the local legends true? Is this the site of the ancient fortress belonging to Queen Boudica, the warrior queen? What treasures might be found?
When others begin to learn of her findings, Samantha senses she is in danger. Can any of her friends be trusted? Samantha will need to solve the mystery of the site in order to protect herself and let the world know of her remarkable discovery.
Amie: Hi Jordan! *Waves* Thanks for joining us here at MUF. Please tell our readers what you like most about writing for middle-grade readers?
Jordan: In the school visits and events I get to do, and the letters I receive, I’m always impressed by how thorough middle grade readers are. Nothing escapes their attention. They’re towards the beginning of their lifetime of reading and still question everything: every potential plot hole, every out-of-character action, every motive and decision. Writing for such an engaged audience is a challenge I really enjoy.
Amie: I’m just learning how true that is! What is your favorite middle-grade book? Favorite character?
Jordan: I am very bad at picking favorites, but do keep coming back to Lindgren’s “The Brothers Lionheart.” Beneath all the great adventure, it is such a sweet, sad book and haunts me now as much as it did when I was eleven or twelve. My favorite character? Otis Spofford has to be somewhere near the top.
Amie: I’m going to have to read that right now. *Goes to library. Checks out copy of The Brothers Lionheart. Reads it. Cries.* THREE HOURS LATER….Darn! I always excuse myself at the most inappropriate times. Let’s get back to that interview, shall we? What inspired your Samantha Sutton series?
Jordan: The Samantha Sutton books come right out of my childhood interest in archaeology. In writing the series, I want to capture that sense of adventure and puzzle-solving and discovery that drew me to archaeology in the first place. But I also wanted to use actual archaeological information and add in some of my own experiences to give readers an authentic sense of how the science really works.
Amie: That’s so fascinating. Thanks for sharing that with us. I’m sure your readers really appreciate the authenticity in your series. Last question….Favorite pizza topping? Do you dunk your crust in your soda?
Jordan: I’m a pineapple guy, which I know upsets some purists. But dunking crusts in soda? That I have to try!
Amie: I’ve never tried pineapple. I promise I’ll try it if you promise to dunk your crust!
Jordan Jacobs has loved archaeology for as long as he can remember. His childhood passion for mummies, castles and Indiana Jones led to his participation in his first excavation, at age 13, in California’s Sierra Nevada. After completing a high school archaeology program in the American Southwest, he followed his passion through his education at Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge. Since then, Jordan’s work for the Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History and UNESCO Headquarters in Paris has focused on policy and the protection of archaeological sites in the developing world.
Jordan’s research and travel opportunities have taken him to almost fifty countries– from Cambodia’s ancient palaces, to Tunisia’s Roman citadels, to Guatemala’s Mayan heartland and the voodoo villages of Benin.
Jordan now works as Head of Cultural Policy at UC Berkeley’s Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter. More information can be found on his website (www.j-jacobs.com), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJordanJacobsPage), or Twitter (@JordanNJacobs).
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Amie Borst is the co-author of Cinderskella. Her second book, Little Dead Riding Hood, releases later this year. Find her on facebook www.facebook.com/AmieAndBethanieBorst and her blog www.amieborst.com