I had a great chat with Rege Behe from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about Sophie Quire and the power of stories–including this bit about the inspiration behind the whole book:
Jonathan Auxier’s mother, Doris Hutton, was raised on a wheat farm in a remote part of North Dakota. Hutton grew up in a strict and hard-working Catholic family where books and education were not the top priorities.
Somehow, Hutton became an avid reader, even though she had limited access to books and no one with whom to share her love of reading. By the time she was 15, she had read every book in the area’s tiny library.
There was literally nothing left for her to read.
“Every time she would tell me about that, I would always add a ‘what if’ to it,” says Auxier, the author the new young-adult novel “Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard” (Amulet Books, $18.95). “I literally imagined, what if she found one last book and if it was more than just a story.
So … I have another book coming out this year! It’s an installment in the juggernaut Spirit Animals series, created by Brandon Mull. It’s a fantasy series about a band of kids who each have magical animal companions. It was really fun taking a break from my own characters to spend a little time in another author’s world–I even got to kill off a main character! (True story: freedom to kill a character was a requirement for my taking the job.) Here’s a summary from the astonishingly comprehensive Spirit Animals fan wiki, which I used quite a bit while writing the book:
Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan are four heroes who are split between worlds, braving separate paths in order to stop this evil. With a strange and unlikely new group of allies behind them, the young guardians have a real chance at saving their home—but they will have to move fast.
An ancient trap exists, hidden within the folds of Erdas itself. Though it has the power to end this war for good, the means of starting the trap have been lost. The young heroes only have one shot. They must work with their spirit animals to uncover a secret older than time. If they can’t, then everything will be consumed.
Find out more over here!
This book marks the culmination of 2.5 years of difficult work on a story that I genuinely feared would never see the light of day. And now that it’s about to go out into the world, it feels like a good time to celebrate! Please join us for the Sophie Quire Launch Party at Classic Lines Bookstore in Squirrel Hill. Sunday, April 3, from 3-5pm. Everyone’s invited–please spread the word!
For more information, check out the Facebook Event Page.
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard doesn’t hit stores until next month, but the book has brought in some nice STARRED reviews …
From Kirkus: “This novel should be in the hands of every human young enough at heart to be enchanted by the written word.”
From School Library Journal: “So intense readers may need to take a breath as they turn the pages.”
From Booklist: “This affecting, compelling story stands on its own, embodying and highlighting the power and impact of tales well told—and why they endure.”
And from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books: “With Auxier’s exceptional character development, even minor characters display vulnerability, interesting quirks, and depth.”
Four starred reviews, people! Now doesn’t that make you want to run out and preorder the book?!
A while back, my wife and I contributed content to a textbook called Children’s Books and the Developing Reader. I also drew illustrations for the chapters. While switching computers, I came across the files and thought they might be worth posting …