First of all I want to thank Laurie for having me as a guest on her blog. Although there is some magic in my book, The Knights of Boo’Gar, I aspire someday to write a truly paranormal book. (Laurie, I may be calling on you for advice.)
I’m here to promote The Knights of Boo’Gar, and hopefully convince a few book lovers to pick up a copy for a middle grade reader who likes a silly, easy-to-read adventure story. I would love it if Laurie would read my book, and share her thoughts.
First question: New York or L.A., and why?
Los Angeles for two reasons. First, I’m a pretty shallow person and I kind of like all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. I’m a huge TV and movie fan, and going to Los Angeles feels like the center of the pop culture universe to me. Second reason is that I’m a person that doesn’t like a lot of noise and crowds. NYC just wears me out with all that big city stimulation. Short NY visits are great though. The pizza is better.
Beatles or The Monkees?
Oh, The Monkees. The Beatles are a bunch of hacks. Haha, just kidding! I did grow up listening to both obviously, but I have to say the Beatles kind of lost me with their later albums. Remember… I’m shallow. The Monkees, on the other hand, had so many fantastic pop songs with great hooks. They just released a new album and one song, Me and Magdalena I think is just beautiful. Team Monkees!
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you’ve received.
My very first piece of fan mail wasn’t a letter at all. It was fan art that an 8 year-old reader drew for me. It was a picture of Crustos the knight, bending over and farting. I cherish it, and it occupies a place of honor in my office.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
The world has become a very scary place for kids and adults alike. This book reminds us that what we have, and what we will always have no matter how bad it gets, is the bravery that we can find in ourselves and in each other.
Do you have a favorite quote, quip or saying? What is it?
No, but I do have a LEAST favorite quip that I wish people would stop saying! And that is, “It is what it is.” I absolutely hate that saying. I once had a boss who used it all the time, and I think it is defeating and doesn’t mean anything. So, I wish that people would stop saying it.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
I would choose Princess Phlema. She’s smart, and curious and she’s a princess and has her whole life ahead of her. Just wait until you read the new adventures I have planned for her. I think she’s the most interesting person, but I love all of my characters alike. They are all a mess. I prefer characters with very messy lives, like mine!
What would we find under your bed?
Besides mutated dust bunnies crawling around down there, you’d find long plastic bins filled with my old artwork and story ideas going back to the beginning of time, because I can’t seem to throw anything away. I even have copies of a comic I did in middle school called The Space Adventures of Zach Trilldon, featuring a scrappy hero in a black vest - who may or may not remind us of Han Solo.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most want to go?
Wow, you do have an active imagination. Publishers with research budgets. I think I would choose Ireland; because I love castles and the gray, cool weather. I tried to capture a bit of medieval life in The Knights of Boo’Gar because I love that era. I’m a huge fan of films like Monty Python’s Holy Grail and The Princess Bride. I also love all the Celtic traditions. I think in a former life I must have been a Celtic warrior. Or maybe not a warrior, maybe a shy cobbler, but I was definitely wearing leather pants at some point.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Middle Grade Humor,
ages 7 to 12
ages 7 to 12
Date Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel / AMP! Kids
Princess Phlema’s pet goat Babycakes has been kidnapped from Castle Boo’Gar, and the ransom note demands the kingdom’s sacred Book of Loogey in exchange for the goat’s safe return. King Mewkus summons the Knights of Boo’Gar to track down the kidnappers, but the Knights have been on furlough for so long that only one person responds to the call: a 13-year-old boy named Rowland. Undaunted by the lack of reinforcements, Rowland agrees to take on the quest, enlisting the help of his pet turtle and his trusty steed, who happens to be an ostrich. While Rowland treks through the Dark Woods, encountering dangerous obstacles and fearsome creatures, Princess Phlema takes matters into her own hands.
The Knights of Boo’Gar is a quirky adventure set in an engaging world of heroes, nose goblins, a spunky princess, giant bats and way too many cantaloupes. Packed with full-color illustrations, this wacky chapter book emphasizes the importance of friendship, bravery and is a delightfully easy read for kids and grown-ups alike.
The two monks of the Green Order, Pik and Flik, lingered behind the king and princess, wearing their stiff ceremonial robes. Pik nervously fingered the cuff of his sleeve.
Edwart the wizard stood calmly, his fingertips touching as he surveyed the festive scene, nodding to the assembled nobility and trying to look extra magical.
King Mewkus looked around the courtyard. It had been years since he felt so important and in charge. Perhaps this kidnapping was just the thing he needed to get his kingdom back on track and to start ruling like a king again—more like his father.
He pictured the scene to come. Perhaps five hundred knights would ride into the courtyard and bow to him. He’d say something inspirational and the crowd would cheer. It was going to be grand.
Perhaps he would lead the knights into battle against the evil kidnappers and ride back into the castle carrying Babycakes. His daughter would be so proud of him.
“A rider approaches!” shouted a teenage girl perched high up on the castle wall.
A ripple of movement went through the crowd as they moved toward the gate to see the gleaming armor of the imposing champions riding under their colorful banners. The atmosphere was charged with excitement and everyone held their breath and waited for that moment—the moment they’d tell their grandchildren about.
About the Author
Art Roche is a cartoonist and three-time author, previously published by Sterling Publishing. He is currently the content director for the Charles M. Schulz studio in Santa Rosa, California. Before that, Art worked in video games and was a creative director at Cartoon Network.