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Friday, December 5, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Heath Amodio, author of The Keeper and the Books of Power

I'm thrilled to have Heath Amodio here today to chat about his YA novel, The Keeper and the Books of Power! Plus, you can win signed copy...

The Keeper and the Books of Power
(The Keeper Series #2)
by Heath Amodio
A young boy named Shay must defend the Books of Power from those that would use them to create an army of the most infamous villains ever written.Villains such as Captain Hook, The Invisible Man, Dorian Gray, and the winged beasts from the land of Oz come to life in the first book of this adventure series.
Every famous classic novel was once a hand-written manuscript into which its author poured his or her heart and soul. These manuscripts, full of raw passion and life, have the power to bring characters to life when read aloud. For over a century, protecting these manuscripts from those who would use their infamous villains to wage war on humanity has fallen upon the shoulders of the Adkins Family. Now, with his parents killed and grandfather kidnapped, Shay must take up the mantel of The Keeper and protect the Books of Power from the worst threat yet. For fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games

...and be on the lookout for book two in The Keeper Series

What three words best describe The Keeper and the Books of Power?

Intense, family, action

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers to give The Keeper and the Books of Power a try?

It's a cinematic fast-paced experience in the palm of your hand that even book "haters" will sit and enjoy.

Grab a copy of The Keeper and the Books of Power and answer the following:

favorite chapter?

I love the action chapters but chapter two is definitely my favorite because of Shay's interaction with his mother. It's reminiscent of my mother and me.

favorite page?

Again I would normally go with a page full of action, but I don't find those as difficult to get right as the emotional scenes between characters. It's my mission to make the character driven scenes as "real" as possible. As relatable.

My favorite page, from the hardcover anyway, is 206. I think I did a good job of creating a very genuine and honest exchange between Becky and Shay.

favorite place/setting?

I love the Haverland Mansion, and I believe I did it justice based on the image in my head. I'm a ghosthunting addict. I've gone to some pretty intense places and I wanted the Mansion to have that creepy rush that raises goose flesh. It's also an homage to Matheson's Hell House, which I loved!

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:

The red-headed boy's legs kicked back and forth violently as whatever had him by the throat held him a foot off the ground. His face turned from a deep red to a sickening purple.

What inspired The Keeper and the Books of Power? How did the story come to be?

I was saddened by how few kids actually seek out the classics. The reason they've earned that title is because they're timeless, yet too few people enjoy them anymore.

I thought that if I could bring the classic characters to life during our time -- show them exist in our society -- that it might excite younger readers to explore the titles those characters originated from. I especially want to create excitement about the less obscure characters like Oliver Twist's William "Bill" Sikes for example.

I also thought about how cool it would be to see Captain Hook in the same book as Dorian Gray. For Peter Pan to face off against Wells's Invisible Man, and so forth. An army of the most infamous villains in literature history would be insane!

Can you tell us a bit about your hero, Shay? What makes him unique and what do you love about him? Other than Shay, is there a particular character in The Keeper and the Books of Power that is your favorite?

I wanted Shay to be relatable to a wide variety of people. He's a nerd that's bullied in school, a fiercely loyal friend, a sarcastic smart-mouth, and very close to his mother. He has issues with his father, but still cares deeply about him. When the fate of the world is thrown on his shoulders he bends but doesn't break.

I think what makes Shay unique is his sense of humor. I wanted him to make people laugh out loud when they read his interactions with others, and above all else I hope I pulled that off. There simply isn't enough laugh out loud levity in fiction that's aimed towards a younger audience.

I love Shay's mother for much the same reason. As I said before they're interaction is my favorite part of the book. Also, when the crap hits the fan, she's a force to be reckoned with.

In The Keeper and the Books of Power, characters from books come to life (which is really cool)...which famous literary villain and hero/heroine would you love to bring to life?

I can't wait to see where the story takes me. I look forward to seeing them all hopefully, but I'm really excited about the first action sequence in the second book where I bring a pivotal character from the Jungle Book to life in the middle of Times Square. I don't want to give too much away so I'll go with my second most anticipated...that'd have to be probably be Sikes from Oliver Twist. He's such an underrated antagonist. I don't think people understand just how vile he is. Although Fagin was just as bad.

Can you tell us a bit about the cool board game you’ve created based on this series?

This was a lot of fun. It combines aspects of Candyland (very butch) with Heroquest. Players -- one hero and one villain -- choose a mission. They draw cards and whenever they draw one of that mission's cards they move along the trail. First to arrive at the mission's book unlocks a character from said book, and adds that character to their army. Let's use Dracula as an example. If the hero reaches Dracula first they unlock Van Helsing and vice versa.

There are spots called "battle points" along the way where the two players fight by rolling the dice. These battles can be initiated by throwing down "battle point" cards. The winner of these fights benefits greatly, but they're to be used with careful planning. Losing a battle can set the player back.

Once all of the characters are unlocked from the 5 missions, the two armies face off in a battle by picking opponents and rolling three dice. Last character/army standing wins.

It's awesome because you can make Pinocchio battle Dracula, Sherlock battle Captain Hook, or Alice from Wonderland battle Mr. Hyde just as some examples.

It features original art by artists from all over the world, including Denmark, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, and more!

What other projects are you working on and/or should we be on the lookout for?

Well I've literally just started book two of The Keeper series. I'm about six chapters in, and already know where I want to go with the third book.

I'm also in the process of optioning my first feature length screenplay. I can't discuss that too much, but the story is very character driven. It's along the lines of Blue Ruin, Mudd, Cold in July, and Joe. All of which I highly recommend.

Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at Not boasting how awesome I am. Lol j/k. I think my best attribute regarding writing is my wit. I feel like it translates naturally into my writing.

I’m really embarrassed to admit My grammar is atrocious! If you want to be a writer focus in English class!! It set me back quite a bit, but I've worked extremely hard at it.

The last great book I read was Great covers a lot of territory. I adored the Harry Potters but the most recent book would have to be Perks of Being a Wallflower. A Fault in our Stars is up there too. My all time favorites are anything by Bukowski, Stephen King's IT and The Count of Monte Cristo.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Keeper and the Books of Power, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

Well, I'm diabetic so unfortunately it'd have to be made with Splenda. I suppose it'd have to be vanilla with chocolate icing because that's classic. Then I'd spice it up with some whip cream (because I can still have a ton of that), and sprinkles of every flavor. Throw one delicious cherry on top. Hopefully it'd taste good, and I'd call it a Classic Come to Life.

Mmm, that cupcake sounds delish! Thank you so much for stopping by Heath!


Heath Amodio is a 35-year-old writer from Upstate New York. He lives with his beautiful fiancé Anna and amazing dog Bella. He's been writing for over ten years, and has used that time to improve upon his talents as much as possible.

He's been a fan of fiction ever since his mother read him his first Hardy Boy book. His first taste of success was when he and five others were chosen for publication through Marvel's open submissions call. He's currently in negotiations to option his first screenplay with one of his favorite actresses. Heath hopes to continue writing stories about the Keeper and his friends until there's no story left to tell.

Win a signed/personalized hardcover copy of The Keeper and the Books of Power!
Heath has generously offered up one signed hardcover copy of his book for one winner.
-US only
-ends 12/14
-must be 13+ to enter
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for prizes lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, take a selfie with your copy of The Keeper and the Books of Power and post it on the book's Facebook to enter for a chance to win a 1,000 piece puzzle featuring the original cover art by Mathieu Morse!

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