Candace: Before we get started can you tell us a bit about Scourge?
David: Sure! Scourge is a children's steampunk fantasy aimed at the 9-12 age range (middle-grade).
Here's the blurb:
Two dads, five siblings, and goggles! Grim Doyle has always known his life was not exactly "normal", and things get even more curious when he discovers a set of stones that sweep him and his family to the fantasy, steampunk world of Verne - a place they had escaped from years ago. Now that they've returned, Grim and his siblings hide from the evil Lord Victor and his minions. And while learning about Jinns, Mystics, and the power of absinth they try to discover who is trying to kill them with the deadly Scourge.
Candace: Why Steampunk? What was your inspiration to write Steampunk?
David: I wanted to do something a little different than just fantasy and since adopting our boys (we adopted three brothers almost three years ago) I've been intrigued by what I see in the video game world. In fact, that's probably the greatest influence when it comes to this book (other than my boys, that is!).
I've been watching what really gets them hooked and that's when I decided to incorporate steampunk with fantasy. They're a great mix!
Candace: And why did you choose to write it for middle grade?
David: In truth, I can't tell you why middle-grade - just the voice of the narrative seemed to come out that way. When I originally wrote this book, it was aimed at middle-grade with a very different feel to it. It also had a female lead (Grim's sister Rudy). But after adopting the boys, I quickly realized that there weren't as many boy books that grabbed my own children's interest so I decided to make some changes to this one. They were also a great resource to draw from when it came to sibling interactions. :)
Candace: What is your favorite aspect of Steampunk?
David: Goggles!! In Scourge, I gave them a twist - you have to wear them to be able to see the races of beings referred to as The Unseen. It's the one thing about steampunk I'm always looking for. I love goggles!!
Candace: In Scourge who was your favorite character to write and why?
David: Oh, that's a difficult one. I don't know that I liked writing one character more than another. That said, I did enjoy writing Grim's character. He has a great sense of responsibility, especially for his siblings. He grows a little in this book, learning to see the other adopted children as his brothers and sisters by the end. And Grim's little sister Ellen, who has a smaller role in this first novel, is a little quirky, which I like. As Grim describes her: she's the "closest thing to a serial killer among the lot". :)
Candace: What was your biggest challenge with writing Scourge?
David: Writing about two dads. Not because I have any moral issue with it (I'm openly gay, live with my same-sex partner of fourteen years, and our three adopted children - so no issues there!). Nor do I think that kids would have a hard time with it. I'm going to digress here for a moment to illustrate.
ABC's Good Morning America wanted to see how today's children would do with the following riddle:
The setup: A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies immediately, but the son gets taken to the hospital for surgery. Once in the operating room, the surgeon takes one look at the boy and says: "I can't operate on him. He's my son."
The riddle: Who is the surgeon?
Back in the day, previous generations had trouble with the idea that the surgeon was the boy's mother. Today's generation very quickly volunteered that answer, but what some also suggested was that the boy had two dads. So back to what I was saying earlier, I certainly didn't struggle with having two dads in this story. Today's children totally grasp the concept and don't seem to have an issue with it. My struggle was, funnily enough, how to illustrate two dads in various scenes. Some early readers (usually adults) had a bit of a challenge with who was who, so I had to carefully craft the scenes to make the two distinct so you know which dad was doing what. :)
Candace: Your the author of other books, do you want to tell us just a bit about them? Do you have a particular favorite?
David: I released another novel earlier this year titled . It's NOT for children, nor for those who are sensitive about their religious beliefs. If anyone is interested further they can check out my blog (htt://davidhburton.com) for more information.
As for a younger audience, I am currently writing (and posting as I write it), another middle-grade book called : . It's about a boy who's dead, literally, and his adventures in the Afterlife. I wish I could give you more than that, but I'm learning about the story as I write it, so folks are more than welcome to join me in the journey. :)
As for favorites, I don't have a favorite at this point. I love them all! ;)
Candace: Okay, so you mentioned something awesome about Scourge. You said that if people bought it on your site that you would customize it for the buyer. Can you tell us about that and the link to purchase?
David: Sure! At my site, I'm offering an electronic version (ebook) of Scourge with a dedication page, addressed to the purchaser, that is signed by me. I will also substitute the name of one of the minor characters in the book with the name of the purchaser. It makes for a unique version of the book for those that want it.
The link is here: http://davidhburton.com/?page_id=4113
Candace: And last, but not least, what are you giving away?
David: I'm giving away exactly what I'm offering at my site - the personalized, custom version of Scourge with the character substituted! I don't think I've seen anyone doing this before and I'm hoping kids will get a kick out of it. That's the beauty of the ebook version - it offers more flexibility to do this kind of thing.
Candace: Anything else you want to tell people?
David: As of (official release day), only the ebook version is available. If anyone is interested in the print version, that will be following in the next two weeks. :)
Candace: Thanks so much for stopping by and doing the interview!
David: Thank you so very much for having me here!! I really appreciate it!
Now I think this would be perfect for gift for a boy or girl that may be a reluctant reader. Not only would they see their own name in the book and want to see what happens, but this is an action packed ride that most any middle grader would love. Well, I'm an adult and I liked it, so I'm sure about anyone would!
Here's the book trailer to maybe push you a little more towards getting it ;)
The Giveaway: *CLOSED*
In David's words "I'm offering an electronic version (ebook) of Scourge with a dedication page, addressed to the purchaser, that is signed by me. I will also substitute the name of one of the minor characters in the book with the name of the purchaser." He's now giving away
Since this is an ebook the contest is open world wide.
Contest Ends December 15th
Leave a quality comment about the interview or steampunk, or even just middle grade fiction and your contact information.