Today we are chatting with Shawn Peters, author of
The Unforgettable Logan Foster!
Read on for more about Shawn and his book!
Meet Shawn Peters!
Shawn Peters has spent more than two decades writing professionally for television and advertising. Married and a father of two kids, Shawn is by his own description a suburban-dad trope-fest. He enjoys coaching his kid’s teams, playing old-dude softball, and comparing IPAs with other dads. In his spare time, Shawn makes ultra-nerdy Dungeons and Dragons puns on Twitter under the handle @DnDadJokes.
Meet The Unforgettable Logan Foster!
Packed with superheroes, supervillains, and epic showdowns between good and evil, The Unforgettable Logan Foster from debut author Shawn Peter shows that sometimes being a hero is just about being yourself.
Logan Foster has pretty much given up on the idea of ever being adopted. It could have something to with his awkward manner, his photographic memory, or his affection for reciting curious facts, but whatever the cause, Logan and his “PP’s” (prospective parents) have never clicked.
Then everything changes when Gil and Margie arrive. Although they aren’t exactly perfect themselves–Gil has the punniest sense of humor and Margie’s cooking would have anyone running for the hills–they genuinely seem to care.
But it doesn’t take Logan long to notice some very odd things about them. They are out at all hours, they never seem to eat, and there’s a part of the house that is protected by some pretty elaborate security.
No matter what Logan could have imagined, nothing prepared him for the truth: His PP’s are actually superheroes, and they’re being hunted down by dastardly forces. Logan’s found himself caught in the middle in a massive battle and the very fate of the world may hang in the balance. Will Logan be able to find a way to save the day and his new family?
~ Author Chat ~
What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My two children are 5 years apart, which means that I had almost a decade where I was reading MG books to them, or with them, every night. It made me fall back in love with the books I grew up with, and the new ones I was reading. Especially Rick Riordan, who did something that blew me away in the first Percy Jackson book; he turned ADHD and Dyslexia into Demigod traits. I thought about how that must’ve felt for kids reading those words and I realized that I wanted to tell a story about a kid whose perceived shortcomings were actually what became his greatest strengths. At the time, I was coaching youth sports which included a fair number of neurodivergent kids. I was also spending a lot of time with my best friend, whose son is on the autism spectrum. I found myself fascinated by how their young minds worked. Also, thanks to Marvel, I was also watching a ton of superhero movies (I mean, who wasn’t), and it just rekindled my boyhood fandom of comic books. Somewhere in the nexus of those three things, I found a story I wanted to tell about a neurodivergent orphan with a photographic memory who gets adopted by superheroes and suddenly is the “normal” one in his family. It just grew from there.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character to write is Logan because he has such a specific voice, and just by listening to what others say or taking in what’s around him, he leads me (and the reader) down rabbit holes of information and facts. He’s so cerebral, but he’s also got plenty of emotions that he’s still learning to identify and cope with. Plus, he’s evidence-based, so when people do kind things for him or stick up for him, he doesn’t take it for granted, which I admire about him. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Elena Arguello—Logan’s older, cooler, tougher next-door neighbor—is the coolest character in the book. She’s just this 15-year-old powerhouse who is coming into her own and she accepts Logan for exactly who he is from the second they meet. I wanted that kind of friend and ally for him so badly as I was creating the character, and now, I am actually excited when I go back and read her scenes.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
Am I allowed to say, “The outline?” I had the idea, and then wrote a synopsis which later I fleshed out into a 13-page outline. But at that stage, I was looking for a name for the main character and I asked my daughter what would be a good first name and she said, “Logan.” As soon as she said it, I loved it and it reminded me that Wolverine’s first name is actually Logan, so it had roots in the superhero world. And then when I was dreaming up last names, the idea of his last name being Foster, and him being a foster child seemed so mean… that I had to do it. Middle Grade authors are, by our nature, cruel to our main characters. So, once I had his name, I knew that many of the biggest MG books and series used the main character’s name in the title (Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson, etc), and the descriptor for Logan was so clear. From then on, the book was “The Unforgettable Logan Foster” … or “ULF” when I was trying to save keystrokes.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
It’s a lesson I learned in my writing and in the rest of my life, and it was about the value of seeking out feedback versus fearing it. When I was young and growing up in LA, I wanted to be an actor and I went on hundreds of auditions between ages 12 and 17. That got me good at handling rejection, but I never got feedback from all those cattle calls. So how was I supposed to get better? Fast forward a few decades, and when I was writing this book, I was also in corporate training about thinking of feedback as a gift; it’s someone else investing their time or expertise or perspective in helping you succeed. I know corporate trainings are famously ridiculed, but there was something to this. I started seeking out people whose opinions I trusted and who I knew had positive intent. I shared my book with more than a hundred 5th graders in my wife’s classroom and WOW! Putting your work in the hands of the actual audience? When they told me they loved something, that was fuel. When they told me something wasn’t working or was confusing, I knew I had to fix it. All that mindset shifting was key to me working well with my agent, Rick Richter – who has amazing editorial chops—and eventually my editor, David Linker. I knew they were both so invested in making the book great, I was able to get my ego out of the way and really use their input.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love everything about Logan on this cover. Petur Antonsson is brilliant at bringing subtle emotion to young characters and putting them at the center of impending action. We worked so hard together to get Logan’s look right, from his slowly suspicious and concerned expression to the way the projector light highlights his curly, wispy hair. I’m sure I was a pain along the way. But when I heard that he was also signed on to do about a dozen spot illustrations throughout the book, I took a victory lap around my house. I knew it would just make the entire novel feel more cinematic and immersive.
What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2022?
Just one? Can’t do it. But I’ll divide it into two categories.
In terms of my fellow #22Debuts authors, I’ve been lucky enough to read several of their ARCs. So, I know that SIR FIG NEWTON AND THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE by Sonja Thomas is going to warm a ton of hearts with inexhaustible STEM-girl power. I also think that KELCIE MURPHY AND THE ACADEMY FOR THE UNBREAKABLE ARTS is going to fill a lightning-shaped hole in young readers’ shelves. But the one I’m looking forward to the most? I’m stuck between SIR CALLIE AND THE CHAMPIONS OF HELSTON by Esme Symes-Smith and SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA by George Jreije. They both have me waiting impatiently for all that fantasy goodness.
In terms of non-debuts, I simply cannot wait for CECE RIOS AND THE KING OF FEARS, Kaela Rivera’s sequel to CECE RIOS AND THE DESERT OF SOULS. I adore the world she’s created out of her heritage and her imagination, and I’m a sucker for stories about fighting hatred with empathy. I knew nothing about her debut before picking it up, and I plowed through the book in a day and a half.
What’s up next for you?
I am wrapping up revisions for the sequel to THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER, which is currently due out in early 2023. So those early readers and reviewers who have noticed hints of more to come are very correct, and I couldn’t be happier. I do believe that book two will deliver for fans of this first book who want to see Logan seeking out who his birth family might be and how he was orphaned. Also, I’ve got a non-Logan middle grade book that I’ve been working on with my agent and some beta readers that’s about a middle school boy who is having the roughest first day of school ever when he ends up with a cursed phone that may be the cause of (or solution to) all of his problems. You’re only as good as your latest idea in publishing, but I hope this one finds a home too.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Just that the character of Logan is built, in many ways, from parts of several different people. His voice was definitely inspired by hours of conversation with someone whose insistence on facts and constant curiosity made me reconsider things I had assumed were givens. Logan’s photographic memory is a superpower, but when I was young, I had flashes of it. Sometimes, the teacher would ask a question in class and not only did I know the answer, I could remember where on the page it was written. Logan’s appearance includes elements of kids I coached in youth basketball, baseball and football, plus Malcolm Gladwell, whose work I worship on any platform. Because of all these specific references, I’m sure not every neurodivergent reader will see themselves in him. But I do hope they’ll see that everyone is — and deserves to be– the hero of their own story.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I love drafting because, in many ways, it’s the written equivalent of my old improv days. I have an outline for the entire story and each scene, but what the characters say and how they say it comes from being inside their heads and hearts. So, when I’m drafting, I often surprise myself by writing a piece of dialogue or an internal metaphor that I never intended, just by reading the previous line and wondering “How would they respond?” Sure, I go and improve it later, but nothing beats that spark of creating something that didn’t exist a moment before.
What would you say is your superpower?
I think others would say that I can make a pun out of anything, but that’s a superpower no one actually wants. Of course that hasn’t stopped me from making a bunch of superhero Dad Jokes on TikTok on my account, @WrittenByShawnPeters and nerdy Dungeons & Dragons puns on Twitter at @DnD_DadJokes . But I think my superpower is empathy, because like I said earlier– I get that everyone is the hero of their own story. So, if I’m not seeing eye-to-eye with someone, it just means I haven’t figured out what that story is yet, and that’s work I can do.
The Unforgettable Logan Foster
Author: Shawn Peters
Publish Date: January 4th, 2022