Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blog Book Tour - Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles - The Brimstone Key

Grey Griffins: The Clockwork Chronicles #1: The Brimstone KeyToday Through the Looking Glass is participating in a Blog Book Tour about a new title in the Grey Grey Griffins series. Here is a description of the book:

A brand new adventure starring The Grey Griffins!
Max---the leader
Natalia---the brains
Ernie---the changeling
Harley---the muscle

A year ago, the Grey Griffins were just regular kids from Avalon, Minnesota. That was before they learned about the existence of evil fairies, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night. Now they are monster-hunters, celebrated heroes, and allies to the legendary Templar knights---but even heroes have to go to school.

When the Griffins enroll at Iron Bridge Academy, a school to train young recruits in the fight against the forces of evil, they find themselves at the center of a whole new adventure. The Clockwork King, a Templar foe from days past, has returned to finish the plan he set in motion decades ago. A plot to steal the souls of changelings---humans infused with fairy blood and supernatural abilities---in order to power his army of clockwork war machines.

In The Brimstone Key, authors Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis deftly blend the mystical wonder of steampunk with magic and adventure to create an action-packed thrill ride.

About the Authors

Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis have been best friends since diapers. They grew up sharing birthday parties, Saturday morning cartoons, comic books and baseball cards, and spent much of their childhood exploring the sprawling woodlands behind Derek's family farm, which they secretly suspected was enchanted. They are the authors of three previous books featuring The Grey Griffins: The Revenge of the Shadow King, The Rise of the Black Wolf and The Fall of the Templar. 

Derek Benz currently lives with his wife and son in New Jersey.

J.S. Lewis lives with his wife and daughters in Arizona.

This is what J.S. Lewis had to say about the book and his collaboration with his friend Derek Benz:

How did you and Derek start working together?
I’ve known Derek for most of my life. In fact, he was at my sixth birthday party where he gave me my very first Star Wars action figure (Obiwan Kenobi). And I still have it! Growing up we always talked about creating our own worlds. We thought that would involve comic books, but somewhere along the way we became avid Tolkien fans and we shifted our storytelling from panels to prose. We got serious about it in our late twenties, and the rest is history.

How you manage the logistics of working together.
We usually have a few brain storming sessions where we throw all of our ideas on a white board or Post-It notes. Once we’re happy with the general direction, we create a loose outline. Then we’ll divide the book into sections and start writing. Once we’re done, we’ll trade manuscripts and give it a solid edit. Then it’s time to switch back for one more editorial pass before we cut and paste the sections into a single document. After that, we’ll work with our editors to ensure we have not only created the best story possible, but that the book has a cohesive voice.

What inspired you and Derek to write this series.
Growing up in rural America has its advantages. Derek lived out in the country on a hobby farm, and his house was surrounded by had a few hundred acres of forest that provided amazing adventures. We took those experiences and combined them with our favorite mythological tales to come up with the Grey Griffins series. It’s fantasy firmly rooted in the true stories of our childhood.

What, if any, research did you two have to do to write these books.
Derek was a history major, and as a part of his coursework, he studied medieval warfare. Me? All I have is a broadcast journalism degree. Derek brought a great knowledge of the Templar, which we used as catalysts to root our stories firmly in actual history. From there, we were both fairly versed in mythology, fairytales and monster lore. We mixed in a healthy does of our own experiences growing up and in the end we created a kind of story stew with distinct flavors that seem to work well together.

What kinds of events do you like attending when you are promoting your books.
The best part about writing middle grade books is traveling to schools and speaking to kids from coast to coast. Instead of giving a 45 minute commercial about our books, I tend to focus on the stories behind the stories that make it into our books. When kids see that the experiences they’re going through today can actually make compelling stories, suddenly everything clicks. Writing no longer becomes a chore and they start spitting out some fantastic manuscripts.

What kinds of books you like to read
We’re both avid fans of anything by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I loved Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer, and just about anything about World War II. 

You can find out more about this thrilling book on the Grey Griffins website. 

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