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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Mad Apprentice Blog Tour

I'm so excited to have The Mad Apprentice Blog Tour stopping by today...

The Mad Apprentice
(The Forbidden Library #2)
by Django Wexler
When Alice's mysterious Uncle Geryon sends her to help capture a rogue apprentice--a boy who has the same ability Alice has to Read himself intostories--she knows to expect a wild and unpredictable trip. But even though Alice has visited the magical realms inside libraries before, this adventure is far more dangerous. Because Torment, the magic creature holding this library together, has gone mad.

But he might also have information about Alice's missing father.

The Forbidden Library (#1)
by Django Wexler
Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.
It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Praise for The Forbidden Library Series

"Will gratify book lovers and fantasy experts alike." --The Horn Book

"Fans of Harry Potter and Cornelia Funke's Inkheart (2003) will relish that the library houses magical books . . . It's a joy to watch the dutiful Alice develop her innate curiosity and become a proactive, resourceful heroine, matching wits with snarky cats, dangerous beasts, and a certain smug boy. This is a charming, adventuresome fantasy from a promising new author." --Booklist

"Reminiscent of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart (Scholastic, 2003) and Neil Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002). Wexler ingeniously creates an inventive world with interesting creatures and frightening situations." --School Library Journal

"Wexler is an able builder of magical worlds and creatures, with labyrinths, an enchanted library, and a feisty, swashbuckling heroine at the center. A story rich in action and allegory—fantasy fans will want to hang on for what comes next."—Kirkus

"Full of action and adventure, this tale will enthrall fans of the first novel."—School Library Journal

What three words best describe The Mad Apprentice?
Dangerous, Heroic, Bittersweet.

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give your The Forbidden Library Series a try?
The Forbidden Library is about a girl named Alice who has the power to go into books, fight monsters, and then use the powers of those monsters to help her; she uses this magic to search for his missing father with the aid of a talking cat.

Grab a copy of The Mad Apprentice and answer the following:
favorite chapter? I like Chapter 29 because the title let me sneak a Shakespeare reference into an MG book.  Chapter 19 is probably my favorite, though, because the characters stop to catch their breath and we learn a bit more about them.

favorite page? Page 129, where Torment (the master of the labyrinth, a giant wolf) threatens Alice, is a favorite.  I can just hear him roaring.  It's also where things start to go wrong!

favorite place/setting?  I like the tower of hands (where disembodied arms stretch out from the wall to snatch at Alice as she goes past) because it's super creepy!

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
"It was like someone had taken a well-maintained park and rolled it into a tube, like a cigar.  It was obvious that the direction of down changed with the floor, since the shrubs halfway up the curve of the wall stood just as straight as the grass under Alice's feet."

Can you tell us a bit about your heroine, Alice? What makes her special and sets her apart from other middle-grade heroines?
In a weird way, it's that she doesn't really know what she's doing.  She doesn't have a wise mentor to tell her who the good guys and bad guys are -- or, more accurately, she has several, and they all disagree.  So she's picking her way through this strange world without much of a map, which makes her a bit more thoughtful and empathic, even for "bad guys".  It also makes her more like all of us in real life!

If you could Read yourself into any story, which would you choose? What would you do there?
It's a hard choice, because the stories I LIKE best usually aren't very safe!  I wouldn't want to be in A Game of Thrones, for example.  I'd probably choose a far-future story, like one of Iain Banks' Culture books, and then spend my time catching up on the thousands of years of stuff between then and now.  The trouble with the present is that you have to wait a long time to find out what happens next!

As a middle-grade author, why do you think MG is so important and popular?
For starters, because it's fun!  This seems really obvious, but when I was a kid a lot of the books I was given to read were real downers.  (I like to joke that it was all Newbery Award-winning books about dead dogs.)  Sometimes between then and now, people remembered that books should be fun -- not that they can be dark or scary (Mad Apprentice is both, I think) but that they should be exciting and adventurous as well.  Unsurprisingly, the rediscovery of fun pretty much corresponds with the wild popularity of MG books today!

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at Mario Kart?  I'm not really awesome, by world standards, but I played an awful lot of it.

I’m really embarrassed to admit I talk to my cats, and then make little voices for them so they can talk back.

The last great book I read was The Mechanical, by Ian Tregillis.  Just fantastic.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Mad Apprentice, what would it look and taste like and what would you call it?
I had to ask my girlfriend for help with this one, because I'm not a baker!  She suggested a dark chocolate cupcake inspired by the Swarmers, the little black kiwi birds that are the first thing Alice tames.  Each cupcake could have little eyes and a beak, so when you put them on a plate there's a swarm of them!

Thank you so much for stopping by, Django! That cupcake sounds awesome!!

Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research.  Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books.  When not writing, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Why am I so drawn to stories with talking cats? This sounds like a great book with lots of adventures. Added it to the TBR.