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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

(MMGM) John David Anderson, author of Minion {Interview & Giveaway}

I'm SUPER excited to have John David Anderson stopping by the March MG Madness today! Check out our Interview and enter the Giveaway...

(companion to Sidekicked)
by John David Anderson
Walden Pond Press

John David Anderson returns to the world of superheroes he created inSidekicked with an entirely new cast of characters in Minion, a funny and emotional companion to his first breakout tween novel—perfect for superhero fans who also love the work of bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Louis Sachar, and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Michael Morn might be a villain, but he's really not a bad guy. When you live in New Liberty, known across the country as the City without a Super, there are only two kinds of people, after all: those who turn to crime and those who suffer. Michael and his adoptive father spend their days building boxes—special devices with mysterious abilities—which they sell to the mob at a price. They provide for each other, they look out for each other, and they'd never betray each other.

But then a Super comes to town, and Michael's world is thrown into disarray. The Comet could destroy everything Michael and his dad have built, the safe and secure life they've made for themselves. And now Michael and his father face a choice: to hold tight to their life or to let it unravel.

What three words best describe Minion?
Nefarious by necessity
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Minion a try?
Let’s see: It’s got comets and explosions and bank robberies and bazookas and snow cones (and sarcasm) and twists and magic tricks and moral complexity, and a tormented young anti-hero who can control people’s minds but can’t seem to make up his own.
Grab a copy of Minion and answer the following:
favorite chapter? “Chapter 6: Six Fingers and a Helping Hand”
favorite page? The very last one.
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser? Protagonist running for his life. Superhero on a rampage. Mysterious figure emerges. Car blows up. Somebody trips. I know that’s more than two sentences, but it was a full page.  
What was it like returning to the world you first created in Sidekicked? How does this companion to Sidekicked compare and differ?
They share the same basic universe—and astute readers will pick up on several allusions to Sidekicked and its characters and history—but Minion tells its coming-of-age story from the other side, from the point of view of someone forced into a criminal world that is much more morally ambiguous than the one Drew inhabits. As such, Minion is decidedly darker, and I think the main character (not sure I can quite call him a hero), Michael, is even more conflicted. He’s also more powerful, and he has to decide what purpose that power should serve. That said, it’s still an action-packed romp through a world of colorful heroes and villains alike, and I think readers will find something to admire in Michael’s loyalty and determination.
There are some memorable characters in Minion, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?
Outside of the main character, I think the two that stick out most are Michael’s (adopted) father, Benjamin, and the Comet (the super who comes to town and shakes things up). It was interesting to see a superhero from Michael’s point of view, to discover how definitions of heroism shift completely depending on perspective; you won’t find the Comet getting a whole lot of love in the book. But the professor is still my favorite, if only because, in some ways, he embodies some of the doubts I sometimes have as a father, trying to strike a balance between preparing children for the harsh reality of the world and so desperately wanting to insulate them from the worst it has to offer. Plus I love his little boxes.  
Would rather be a Superhero or Supervillain? What would your superhero/villian name and power be?
I think I would rather be a superhero. Granted supervillains are cooler, they get better lairs (in volcanos!), and they get to laugh like maniacs whenever they feel like it, but at the end of the day, their selfishness makes them hollow. I imagine that if any supervillain ever did take over the world they would still feel unsatisfied.
As for what superhero, it changes daily. Today I would be the Germinator and my superpower would be to cure the common cold, as I am currently working my way through an entire box of tissues fighting one.  
As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?
Middle-grade is the best audience. Mature enough to handle complex thematic content, but with a wondrous, wide-eyed, as yet unadulterated conscience that allows them to approach it with honesty. They are sarcastic without being overly cynical, and they have no problem suspending their disbelief. I think it’s important to capture readers at this age—to keep them invested in reading as a viable way to spend an hour of their free time, given how many other things (usually screens) are competing for their attention. The best feeling I ever get as an author is hearing from a twelve-year-old who couldn’t put my book down.
What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?
Favorite middle-grade book is probably Lois Lowry’s The Giver—at least it’s the one that’s stuck with me the longest. Favorite MG hero would probably be Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper from The Chronicles of Prydain, if only because it kick-started a love of fantasy for me. For heroines I’d have to say Amelia from Amelia Rules or Hermione Granger—mostly for their wit and compassion.  
Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at eating M&Ms.
I’m really embarrassed to admit that I interview myself in the shower. And pretend I’m Oprah.
The last great book I read was Flora and Ulysses. I was skeptical at first, but Flora’s earnestness and imagination and the sheer poetic whimsy of the book and its title characters soon drew me in. Plus it was always easy to find a chapter break.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Minion, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
It would be chocolate vanilla swirl (symbolism!), but most importantly it would come in this little black box with three buttons on it. And if you pressed the wrong button the whole thing would just explode. I would call it Professor Edson’s Marvelous Combustible Confection.

Thank you so much for stopping by, John!

John David Anderson once hit himself so hard on a dare by his sister that he literally knocked himself out of a chair and nearly blacked out. He has since translated this passion and singularity of purpose to the related arts of novel writing and pizza eating. The author of STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR and the forthcoming SIDEKICKED, Anderson is a firm believer in wearing the same pair of jeans for three days in a row (four in the winter). He lives with his beautiful wife and twins in Indianapolis.

Win a finished copy of Minion!
Walden Pond Press has offered up one finished copy.
-US only
-ends 4/4
-must be 13+
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out the Rafflecopter form:


Carl Scott said...

I think the idea of a super-villain father and son team sounds great. The fact that they are the good guys in the story just ices the cake. I'd love to win a copy of Minion. Thanks!

Jillyn said...

I love villains, so this book sounds like something that I'd really enjoy, and my nephews would too.

maria.selke said...

I adored Sidekicked! I have an ARC of Minion (which I'll be reading soon) but I'd love to also have a finished copy for my classroom!

Laura Frondorf said...

I really enjoyed Sidekicked and can't wait to read Minion. I am looking forward to Mr. Anderson's visit to my school in May!

alanajoli said...

So excited that you're returning to the same world as Sidekicked! Any hope for cameos?

Unknown said...

(This is Darith L)

Love that cover! :D

Laura Frondorf said...

Can't wait to read Minion!

Laura Frondorf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Librarians across our state are raving about his author visits, and we are in the process of booking him to visit our school! I've ordered copies of Standard Hero Behavior and Sidekicked for teachers to read aloud to gain maximum exposure of his great work.

Brenda said...

Villians with plenty of action, sounds like a great combination!

anne s. said...

loved sidekicked. hope to get my hands on this, too!

Orchid said...

How could I not know about a companion to Sidekicked, one of my favorite reads last year. It sounds so good. =)

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

That cover is so awesome! I love his superhero name choice!