Group Interview with Patrick Samphire and Monica Tesler

What is the title of your debut book?
Patrick: SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB.
Monica: The title of my debut book is BOUNDERS.
Patrick: It’s an adventure set on Mars during the time of the Regency (that’s Jane Austen’s time period, for anyone who’s not familiar with it), 1816 in particular. Mars is a world of strange technology and even stranger creatures. My hero, Edward, is the son of an inventor, and all he really wants is to be left alone to read his Thrilling Martian Tales magazine, but he’s far too busy keeping his eccentric family from disaster. All of that is about to change. In the north, great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology, and the villainous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane is determined to loot one.
When Sir Titus kidnaps Edward’s parents and oldest sister, Edward, his two other sisters, and their mysterious cousin set off in pursuit across the Martian wilderness. Together they must battle Sir Titus’s minions, dodge hungry pterodactyls, and escape fearsome Martian hunting machines in order to rescue Edward’s parents and uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb.

Monica: BOUNDERS, a middle grade science fiction adventure series, is the story of the first class of cadets at the EarthBound Academy for quantum space travel. When the cadets arrive at the space station for training, they soon realize that Earth Force’s plans for them are far different than what they’ve been told. These kids always felt different, but they never suspected they held the key to saving Earth from an alien threat.

Is it a standalone or part of a series?

Patrick: It’s the beginning of a series.
Monica: BOUNDERS is the first book in at least a three book series.
What was your inspiration for your book?
Patrick: I’ve always loved adventure books, the kind of books that are fun, fast-moving, funny, and full of imagination and action. That’s the kind of book I always wanted to write, and I wanted to throw everything awesome I could think of into it: daring adventures, thrilling action, weird alien creatures, and, of course, dragons (who wouldn’t want dragons!!!) Then one day I was reading a book — I don’t remember what it was — and I saw a picture from the time of the Napoleonic wars. It showed Napoleon’s army invading England using hot air balloons. Obviously, that never happened, but it brought everything together in my head. Instead of Napoleon invading England, I decided to have him trying to invade Mars, and the whole story grew out of that.
Monica: I wrote BOUNDERS for my oldest son, Nathan. He had just fallen in love with reading and was devouring fantasy and speculative fiction series. In BOUNDERS, I set out to create a world in which he could see himself as a hero.
If your book were being made into a movie who would you cast as the lead?
Patrick: Oh, man, I have absolutely no idea. My hero is 12 years old, and I am so out of touch with actors of the right age. Someone awesome. 😉
Monica: I think I’d cast an unknown actor to play Jasper, the point-of-view character in BOUNDERS.
Are you currently working on your next book?
Patrick: The first draft of the second book in the series (called THE EMPEROR OF MARS) is done and sitting on my editor’s desk. It’ll go through a few rewrites before it’s completely done, though. Right now I’m outlining a possible third book in the series. I’m also part way through a completely different middle grade book, which I shouldn’t say too much about yet because I have no idea how it’ll turn out.
Monica: I recently submitted the second book in the BOUNDERS series to my editor, Michael Strother at Simon and Schuster/Aladdin. After the excitement dies down from the book launch, I’ll get back to work writing the third book in the series. There are a lot more stories to tell about Jasper and his friends at the EarthBound Academy.
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