Today we're excited to chat with Ted Staunton,
author of The Seven Series!
Below you'll find more about Ted, his books, plus a giveaway!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
When you trace “inspirations” for a book you always come up with an odd mix of seemingly unrelated junk that somehow got cobbled together. For Speed, I had the main family characters already, because the story is a “prequel”, so I was interested in showing how Spencer might have found his love for movies that is so much a part of the other books in the series. The War of 1812 stuff came partly from reading a book about oddball Civil War reenactors and partly because when I was a kid my family was involved, through my grandpa with Toronto’s Old Fort York. Having Spencer and his brother Bunny involved in parallel adventures in the exact same place and time was a choice Richard Scrimger and I made because it was a fun technical challenge: can the guys have separate but related stories and just keep missing each other by a second or two? Can we write the stories and not give away each other’s endings? That way you can read either Richard’s book (Weerdest Day Ever) or mine, still have lots of fun and a complete story, but if you read both you get bonus story. Things that seemed like meaningless details in one book turn out to be important in the other.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character would be Spencer. Other characters underestimate Spencer and maybe because of that he underestimates himself, so it’s a surprise (I hope) when he rises to a challenge. Like many people who feel like a bit of an outsider, he has a slightly mocking view of the world and I can relate strongly to that. Plus, like Spencer, I was a super skinny kid and I hated it when my mom made me wear shorts.
Second fave character would be Luther, the bad guy with the sideburns. The bad guys, or obsessive characters of any kind are always fun to write.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
It varies from book to book, but in this case the story came before the title. At various times it had a couple of other titles that I now can’t remember and I can’t seem to find in my files. Clearly they weren’t that memorable.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I don’t know that there is one scene I’m most proud of. My favorite scenes are practically always ones where Spencer and another character are confusing each other. I like his first talk with Irene Steele, his dinner with Luther, and his final confrontation with him. Another scene I liked writing was Spencer having a snack with Grandpa while they sit in the Jeep. I’m a dad, so it’s nice to write about fathers and sons or even grandfathers and sons.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Patience. I still have trouble being patient, but I know now that I’m practically never going to get it right the first time, that solutions will come to me, that the plot twist I need might be in a quirky story in tomorrow’s news.
Also, that shaping and writing a book is rarely a solo activity. Lots of people contribute in lots of ways and I’m grateful for anything that helps make my work better. It’s not quite a team sport, but not far off.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like that you can’t see Spencer’s face clearly. Every reader should always have the freedom to imagine the main character any way they want.. I also like how the camera is pointed like a weapon because it’s a nifty connection to part of the story.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have way more projects on the go than it’s healthy to have, but all of them are fun. They include another short novel about Spencer making a music video, a picture book, and a middle grade mystery novel - all to be published next spring - a graphic novel, and a new series of comic novels with some writing buddies. And then I have two ideas for dark teen mysteries. Plus…
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Writing all the Spencer books in the SEVEN series has been tons of fun. It’s great to see all the different approaches, find ways to link stories and still have lots of creative freedom. I know Richard Scrimger and I still have ideas for more about Spencer and his brother Bunny.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
It’s a tough call, but I’m going to go with revising. Remember I mentioned learning patience in an earlier answer? Figuring out the twists and turns of character and plot still makes me impatient and anxious sometimes. Once I’ve got the basics in place I can enjoy going back in and sharpening everything up.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Coming up with coherent answers to interview questions and handing them in on time.
Meet The Seven Prequels!!
The seven grandsons from the bestselling Seven (the series) and The Seven Sequels return in the Seven Prequels, along with their daredevil grandfather, David McLean. Eric Walters, John Wilson, Ted Staunton, Richard Scrimger, Norah McClintock, Sigmund Brouwer and Shane Peacock bring their signature writing styles to a series of adventures that take readers from the jungles of Central America to the mysterious streets of Stockholm.
Meet the Authors!!
Eric Walters began writing in 1993 as a way to entice his grade five students into becoming more interested in reading and writing. At the end of the year, one student suggested that he try to have his story published. Since that first creation, Eric has published over eighty novels and picture books. Many of his works have become bestsellers and he has won over one hundred awards. Often his stories incorporate themes that reflect his background in education and social work and his commitment to humanitarian and social-justice issues. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to over 70,000 students per year in schools throughout North America.
John Wilson grew up on the Isle of Skye and outside Glasgow in Scotland without the slightest idea that he would ever write books. After a degree in Geology from St. Andrews University, he worked in Zimbabwe and Alberta before taking up writing full-time and moving out to Lantzville on Vancouver Island in 1991. John is addicted to history and firmly believes that the past must have been just as exciting, confusing and complex to those who lived through it as our world is to us. John has written over forty books of fiction and nonfiction, and has won or been shortlisted for many awards, including the GGs, Geoffrey Bilson, Red Maple, and White Pine awards.
Ted Staunton divides his time between writing and a busy schedule as a speaker, workshop leader, storyteller and musical performer for children and adults. Ted is the author of numerous books for young readers of all ages, including Puddleman, the Morgan series, and the acclaimed Hope Springs a Leak, which was shortlisted for both a Silver Birch Award and a Hackmatack Award. His most recent novel is the YA mystery thriller, Who I’m Not.
Richard Scrimger is the award-winning author of twenty books for children and adults, a couple of screenplays and some print journalism. His middle-school novel, The Nose from Jupiter, won the Mr.Christie Award and his books have appeared on ALA’s Kid’s Pick of the List, and The Globe & Mail and ALA’s Notable Book lists. His books have been translated into almost a dozen languages (actually eleven).
Norah McClintock writes mystery and crime fiction for young adult readers. She is the author of the Chloe & Levesque, Mike & Reil, Robyn Hunter, and Ryan Dooley series, as well as many stand-alone novels. Norah grew up in Montreal, Quebec, is a graduate of McGill University (in history, of all things) and lives in Toronto, Ontario. She is a five-time winner of the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arther Ellis Award for Best Juvenile Crime Novel. Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages.
Sigmund Brouwer is the bestselling author of nineteen novels and several series of childrens’ titles, with over 3 million books in print in seven languages - including titles in the Orca Echoes, Currents, and Sports series. His recent novel, Devil’s Pass, was a finalist for one of Canada’s major literary awards for children, the John Spray Mystery Award; it is also a Red Maple nominee and Kirkus Reviews Critic’s Pick. He speaks to over 80,000 students a year, all across North America. Sigmund and his family divide their time between Red Deer, Alberta and Nashville, Tennessee, where his Grammy-nominated wife is a singer and songwriter.
Shane Peacock is a biographer, journalist, screenwriter and the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including the Boy Sherlock Holmes series. His work has won many donors, including the Geoffrey Bilson Award, the Libris Award and two Arthur Ellis Awards for Crime Fiction. His novel, Becoming Holmes, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Because Shane ofter writes about unusual subjects, his research methods have, at times, been out of the ordinary too; he has learned the arts of tight-rope walking, silent killing, trapeze flying and sumo eating, all in the service of his art.
The Seven Prequels Boxset
By: Numerous Authors
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers