Monday, May 16, 2016
Artifacts by Pete Catalano
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Tantrum Books
It's funny how one little letter can change a person's life. Jax and his friends have been planning the summer of a lifetime at Camp Runamuck. However, when one of them is facing summer at a school desk for failing English, they watch those plans crash and burn!
At the last moment, they're given a way out: an extra-credit assignment to find several fake artifacts for a fairy-tale display their teacher is presenting at the local library.
Thinking they've hit the easiest-extra-credit-ever jackpot, they begin rummaging through any piles of junk they can find. As they start putting the clues together, they realize that what they're really searching for is one authentic artifact that can rewrite fairy tales!
Enlisting the aid of the Lost Boys, Jax and his friends battle fairy-tale villains to see who can get their hand -- or their hook -- on it first.
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Guest Post by the Author: What appeals to you about writing middle-grade books?
In one word, it’s Audience.
My readers have these wonderful, endless imaginations that take these stories I write and breathe life into them. They laugh at the jokes, fall in love with some characters while disliking others, and more than anything with ARTIFACTS they know what they would do if they had an artifact that could re-write fairy tales.
The readers I write for have a need to be inspired, astonished, and surprised to the point where they are scrambling as fast as they can to turn the page and see what’s coming next. I enjoy writing contemporary with a touch of magic. I remember going to see the movie FIELD OF DREAMS, and there are several points where I had that “Whoa” moment. I put that “Whoa” moment in every story I write, and it’s the part that will be read over and over.
While reviewing ARTIFACTS, a reader said, “Mr. Catalano was able to create the hysterical sarcasm that is the trademark middle-school wit.”
I seem to have found my “MG voice.” Finding your Middle Grade voice is not easy, but when you find it and it works, MG becomes the only thing you want to write. The dialogue is built from words I imagine any Middle School reader saying at any time. The reader is walked into a world where the language they read is the same language they use to talk with their friends -- and they love it.
Humor is a big part of ARTIFACTS. I can imagine that many one-liners from the story will be repeated over and over by the reader and their friends. A good friend of mine said that her son, who’s eight and will be nine in September, picked up the book on Friday, read it twice so far, and had carried it around with him all weekend. That’s a great compliment.
There are many writers who search for a lesson that can be conveyed by their writing. ARTIFACTS includes a lesson, but it’s slipped in instead of being a sledgehammer. Those sledgehammer lessons make the reader want to save their place after a couple of pages and never come back to it. The center of the ARTIFACTS story is the idea of “no man left behind.” Friends who have planned all school year to go to camp together have their plans changed as one of them may be forced to go to summer school. But instead of going on without him, they gather together and take the extra-credit challenge thrown at them by one teacher, who will soon be discovered as a fairy-tale villain. As my wife Darla and I watched our girls grow up, their was, and still is, this “hurray for me” attitude in kids and some adults. The “As long as I’m invited or as long as I’m going, who cares if anyone else is left out” attitude that I’ve heard far too many times over the years. Most people are going to read ARTIFACTS and know that the kids did the right thing by trying to help out their friend and possibly miss the summer of their lives. Some people are going to read it and not understand it at all. But if even one reader thinks about it for a moment and decides that, “Yeah, maybe I would stop and help my friend instead of leaving on the trip without them,” then the story has done exactly what I had hoped it would do.
Month9Books did a beautiful job on the cover, and it will be one that readers reach for the moment they go into a bookstore. The greatest compliment I’ve had so far is when a sixth grader picked up ARTIFACTS, looked at it and then up at me and said, “The cover draws me in!”
Pete Catalano’s books are written for kids of all ages -- and adults who secretly never grew up. He lives in Charlotte, NC, with his adorably funny wife and two neurotic dogs. Pete was a theatre major in college and tries to keep the "suspension of disbelief" in his life as much as he can.
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Giveaway Information: Contest ends June 3, 2016
* Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Artifacts by Pete Catalano (INT). Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.
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