January 19, 2016

Happy book birthday to Andrew Chilton. THE GOBLIN'S PUZZLE is out today!!

With The Goblin's Puzzle, Andrew Chilton has created an amazing middle grade fantasy romp, in the tradition of Lemony Snicket or Diana Wynne Jones. I've been looking forward to this book for ages: word on the street is that it's fast-paced, funny, and surprisingly emotional. Sounds like the perfect book to settle down with on a rainy day. Or a sunny one. On any kind of day, really. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom for a chance to win an autographed hardcover!

The Story
THE BOY is a nameless slave on a mission to uncover his true destiny.
THE GOBLIN holds all the answers, but he’s too tricky to be trusted.
PLAIN ALICE is a bookish peasant girl carried off by a confused dragon.
And PRINCESS ALICE is the lucky girl who wasn’t kidnapped.

All four are tangled up in a sinister plot to take over the kingdom, and together they must face kind monsters, a cruel magician, and dozens of deathly boring palace bureaucrats. They’re a ragtag bunch, but with strength, courage, and plenty of deductive reasoning, they just might outwit the villains and crack the goblin’s puzzle.

The Reviews
The plot turns and twists at a marvelously fast pace as this motley crew find one another through various adventures. Readers will have a great time trying to solve the goblin’s riddles. Though the narrative contains many characters, all of them sparkle with life...this is a smart, original, and completely engaging adventure.* 
--Starred Review, School Library Journal
Filled with quick-witted asides and engaging characters, Chilton’s novel is sure to please readers looking for a fresh spin on cherished fairy tale conventions.
--Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly

In his debut novel, Chilton crafts a sharp and engaging fantasy world that, in the vein of William Steig’s Shrek! (1990), satirizes conventional fairy-tale themes while employing them to pen an original story...An emphasis on questioning fate, societal rules, and traditions as well as the importance of wit and logic rather than brawn renders this lighthearted adventure fresh.

*The SLJ reviewer also said this book was both "heartbreaking" and "brimming with sarcastic, cheeky, laugh-out-loud humor" but no matter how I trimmed and snipped, I couldn't work those phrases into the quote above in a natural-sounding manner =]

The Interview
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for your book?A: Believe it or not, the inspiration came to me while I was discussing Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics with my friend Jack. (Never let anyone tell you that philosophy degree is a waste of time and money.)

Q: Describe your writing process, from idea to final draft. A: Step one is write the first draft; step two is rewrite; step three is repeat step two until done. Seriously though, my first draft process is a little looser than most. I never outline. I just think about my idea until I have some vague notion as to how it will end, then I dive right in. Once I start, I try to finish as quickly as possible. I do not write the first draft in any particular order. I just write whatever scene-or even piece of a scene-pops into my head next. Also, I write my first drafts out longhand. When I tell people this, they always ask me how this can possibly work. The answer is: mostly, it doesn't.

Q: Tell us about your journey, from finding an agent to publication.A: It took me a long time and a lot of tries to get an agent to show any interest in my book at all. Once one did, though, she knew exactly what to do with it. She sent it to the editor she knew would be perfect for it, and ninety days later, we had a letter of interest. There was a round of rewrites before the contract was signed, but that was it.

Q: Why would someone want to buy your book? A: Because they like books that are clever and funny?

Q: What are your favorite books? What are you reading now? A: I love Diana Wynne Jones and Joan Aiken. I've usually got bookmarks in at least a dozen books, but the ones that I'm making the most progress on right now are The Passenger by Andrew Smith and Daylight Robbery by Frances Hardinge. They're completely different books, but both are terrific.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Visit The Goblin's Puzzle on Amazon and on Goodreads