Sunday, April 5, 2020

~ MMGM HISTORICAL ADVENTURE MISADVENTURES MAGICIAN'S SON ~


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~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY HISTORICAL 
ADVENTURE FEATURE ~
--  'MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN'S SON'  --
AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR:
LAURIE SMOLLETT KUTSCERA
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author 
Bio, Excerpt, Unique Author Guest Post, 
Illustrations & Giveaway~



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ABOUT THE BOOK:

Twelve-year-old Alex was taught illusion by the best.

MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON is the story of Alexander Finn’s personal journey dealing with the death of his father, a celebrated magician, and the extraordinary gift he left behind.

Uprooted from his childhood home for the seemingly hokey town of Orchard, Maine, Alex refuses to unpack and wants nothing to do with his new surroundings. But when he discovers an unusual deck of animated cards tucked in the back of his father’s old desk, things begin to unravel and Alex’s true adventure begins.



EXCERPT:
It was, at most, a forty-minute walk along the main road to the steps of the schoolhouse. But Alex, curious to see beyond the limits of Orchard, decided on a different route that morning. He wound his way through the backstreets of ivy-covered stone walls and red clapboard cottages. He walked by the docks where fishermen dressed in rubbery yellow overalls unloaded their lobster traps. He climbed the steps of the narrow railroad overpass and waited for the trains to rush beneath him. Standing there, the wind whipping through his hair high above the ochre and crimson treetops, he imagined he was soaring—back to Ridge Park, back to his friends, back to the life he knew.


Buy Links:
BARNES & NOBLE
AMAZON 
INDIE BOUND  
BOOKSHOP

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Laurie Smollett Kutscera was born in Greenwich Village and grew up in Queens, NY. Raised in an eclectic environment, (her mother, originally a vocalist in a big band, became an artist and photographer), Laurie turned to art, studying fine art and children’s book illustration at Queens College, CUNY with Caldecott medalist Marvin Bileck.

She became an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator in the field of publishing and the performing arts, and took great pleasure in designing an unusual array of critters for the toy industry.

Prior to writing and illustrating MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON, Laurie illustrated RAVITA AND THE LAND OF UNKNOWN SHADOWS, for Rizzoli Books in NY.

An adventurer at heart, Laurie has cruised the eastern seaboard from Nantucket to the Virgin Islands in an 85ft. classic wooden boat. It was then that her passion for writing began as a way to chronicle the ever-changing landscape. She continues to write and illustrate and is currently working on several contemporary picture books and middle-grade novels.

Laurie lives on the north shore of Long Island with her husband, Nick, and rescue doggie, Cody.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
WEBSITE
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM



One of the things I love most about Alexander Finn is that he is both vulnerable yet fiercely determined. Not only must he come to terms with the death of his father, and what that kind of loss means, but he must dig deep within in order to survive. Middle grade is all about self-discovery, and while much of his journey is filled with turmoil and adventure, he must find a way to push his limitations, in order to succeed.


~Ten Behind the Scenes Facts about Misadventures of a Magician’s Son~

1. The story behind Alexander Finn, while filled with magic and adventure, also has its roots in my childhood growing up in Queens, NY. We moved from a garden apartment where there was always an abundance of kids to play with, to a quiet street on the other side of town. It was not only a different world but a difficult one in which to make friends. Making matters worse, I had to transition from a school bus that picked me up right outside my apartment door, to now having to walk to school. This in itself created a challenge as I was on my own, and more interested in exploring the lay of the land and searching for secret passageways rather than showing up to class on time.

2. Just like Alex’s Mr. Schnitzer, my 4th grade teacher scolded me relentlessly in front of the students whenever I came to class late.

3. As a child, I was not a great reader. Instead, I would get lost in the illustrations. (I’m sure that had a lot to do with me starting out as an illustrator.)


4. The idea for MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON came to me when I was sitting in a movie theater. As the opening credits appeared, these large playing cards jumped on the screen. I was totally mesmerized—there was something very appealing about their graphic nature. I asked myself, what if they were real people? What kind of personalities would they have? What type of adventures might they have encountered? That’s where it all started. The next morning, I jumped out of bed and began writing about a cast of unusual characters that would find their way into Alexander Finn’s heart!


5. The first draft of Misadventures was written as a picture book.

6. Because of my seasonal business, the book took 10 years to complete.

7. Two of our first mates posed as Theo and Mr. Raymond.

8. Joker's snarky character was based on a very self-centered chef I worked with.

9. The model I used for Joker is a very dear friend who was born in England and lives up in the Adirondacks. Unlike Joker, Chris is charming and brilliant and was unbelievably patient as I took photo after photo of him.

10. I keep in touch with all my characters. ;-)

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Laurie has graciously shared some of her interior illustrations with us:



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Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.

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19 comments:

  1. I agree with Laurie that pieces of an author's past often appear in the stories they write. Thanks for sharing some of the secrets behind your book. I'll be featuring a review next Monday!

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    1. Hi Greg,
      Thanks so much. I hope you enjoy Alex's adventure!

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  2. I enjoyed how this author got her idea for the book--it always amazes me where and when muses strike.

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    1. Hi Danielle, I'm so glad you enjoyed the inspiration behind Misadventures of a Magician's Son. It always amazes me too when and where muses strike!

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  3. This was once a picture book, definitely my favorite fact. My, how your story has grown!

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  4. So interesting how Laurie can up with the idea for the story. And I love the idea of magical cards. Congrats on your book!

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  5. The magical cards sound really intriguing, but it sounds like it has a lot of depth with the father's death. Loved the expert! Beautiful writing!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  6. What a neat-sounding book! It's great to hear about the background of the book as told by the author, and the illustrations are wonderful as well! Thanks for the great post!

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  7. I am always amazed at how an idea comes to an author and what they do to pursue the idea. A lot of kids will identify with this story and I love how it is based on happenings in her own life -- and real people. I can identify with a teacher scolding me publicly and throwing an eraser at me when I got a math problem wrong. It has a lasting effect. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Patricia. Yes, those memories can have a scarring effect, can't they?

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  8. I always enjoy reading about authors journey of writing a book. Thanks for the interesting post. I will pass on the giveaway. I am simply buried in books.

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    1. Hi Rosi, Im glad you enjoyed it. You must have some library!

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  9. One day I must visit Maine. It always sounds like such a beautiful and magical place when I read about it in a story and this one sounds like such a fun book that I know kids will enjoy.

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  10. Joker's snarky character was based on a very self-centered chef I worked with.

    This made me chuckle lol

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  11. Thanks for the giveaway! I loved learning that the first version of this book was a picture book. My MG series started out as a picture book too. It is interesting to see what changes books go through.

    Best of luck!
    ~Jess

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