Rockstar Book Tours Blog Tour, Interview & Giveaway: The Truth About Martians (Melissa Savage)
A boy and his best friends set out to discover the aliens who crash-landed next to their Roswell, New Mexico, farm in this charming novel packed with adventure and heart, perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin's The Thing About Jellyfish and Jennifer L. Holm's The Fourteenth Goldfish.
Mylo never really believed in Martians, unless they had a starring role in one of his comic books. But then a flying saucer crash-lands next to his Roswell, New Mexico, ranch, and he starts to hear voices--like someone is asking for his help.
With his best friend Dibs and crush Gracie by his side, and his Cracker Jack superhero membership card, a slingshot, and a small American flag--for peace--in tow, Mylo sets out on an epic adventure to investigate the crash and find the Martians. But he and his friends end up discovering more about the universe than they ever could have imagined.
Melissa D. Savage’s first book, The Lost Pony, premiered in her second grade classroom, winning high praise from critics such as her mom. Although the book was hand written and self-illustrated in Crayola Crayons, it was this experience that began her love of writing and to this day she still believes was one of her best works. Melissa continued to create stories growing up, writing different adventures for friends to read and later completed a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University in Minnesota. She was privileged to be able to receive guidance from amazing authors, educators, and fellow writers who shared their wisdom, experience, and support. Most recently, Melissa’s debut book, Lemons has been recognized by the American Booksellers Association on their Independent Booksellers’ debut picks of the season list, Indies Introduce Winter/Spring 2017. Additionally, Bigfoot, Tobin & Me (The UK/Commonwealth version of Lemons published by Chicken House Books) has been recognized as Children’s Book of the Month with WHSmith.
Melissa is a writer and a child and family therapist. She has worked with families struggling with issues of abuse, trauma and loss/bereavement. She believes that expressing oneself through writing can be a very healing process when struggling with difficulties in life. In addition it can be a vehicle in which to honor, celebrate and continue to share the spirits of the special people who have left us too soon. Melissa lives in Minneapolis with her family. You can follow her on Twitter at @melissadsavage.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I have always been fascinated by UFO stories, especially the story of the crash in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. I find it very intriguing to think that whatever crashed out in the desert might have had an extraterrestrial origin. I think we are still talking about this particular incident today because it was the first and only time in America that the military announced we had captured a flying disk, even though they retracted the claim a day later. This story continues to intrigue many of us even after all this time. As a writer for children, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would look like if a group of young friends learned that something like that happened in their town. And what if it truly was from another world?
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I would say that I can definitely relate most to the main character, Mylo. He is on a journey to find the courage he thinks he has lost after the death of his older brother, Obie. I think this is something that many of us can relate to. It can be hard to find our strength again when experiencing something difficult in life. However, our courage is there even when we don’t feel it or see it or know it to be true. And like Mylo, I continue to strive to find my courage no matter what struggles I face.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel definitely came first. One thing about becoming an author that I have learned along the way is that you are fortunate to become a part of an amazing team. I have the benefit of working with editors, illustrators and marketing professionals who have all helped to shape this book to be the best it can be. Sometimes that means, changing the original title idea. Initially, this story was called something different and the team came to a decision to change the title. A list was made of all the ideas generated and The Truth About Martians was chosen. It is a particular phrase used by the main character within the story and was thought to be a good phrase to describe the book at first glance.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I don’t know if there is a scene I am most proud of, however there is a scene that I took out of my very own life that I was compelled to share with others. The chapter in which Mylo and Dibs are in the cemetery visiting Obie’s grave and they are talking about Heaven and death. Dibs shares with Mylo that Obie is the very first person he hopes to meet when he makes it to Heaven and that was something a very good friend of mine shared when I lost someone very special to me. I thought it was such an honest, kind and loving moment between friends when it happened in my life and I still cry when I read that scene because it has so much meaning for me.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I think as writer’s we can strive too hard for perfection and never want to let a manuscript go. I know this about myself and always have. I try now to let go and know that it will never be flawless. I still find myself continuing to edit in my head when I read aloud at school visits or book store events and have to remind myself that it’s already in print! I have definitely learned that the book will never be perfect - I just have to keep reminding myself of that fact.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The cover art for The Truth About Martians is done by the amazing Lydia Nichols. I have been so fortunate to have her design the artwork for both Lemons and The Truth About Martians. I especially love her bright and vibrant design choices.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2019?
There are so many to choose from, however two have really caught my eye, Super Jake & the King of Chaos by Naomi Miller and The Light in the Lake, a debut by Sarah Baughman.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
I recently read a wonderful story written by a fellow Fuse Literary author. Elektra’s Adventures in Tragedy is a YA novel written by Douglas Rees. I was fortunate enough to receive the ARC for that one and I loved it. I am also a huge fan of middle grade author, Kate DiCamillo and was thrilled to read her newest book, Louisiana’s Way which came out this Fall as well. She never disappoints!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’ve finished my next middle grade story and I am currently working with my team at Penguin Random House to edit the book for release next year. This is another cryptid mystery following Ada Rue, Hammish Bean and Dax as they search for the elusive Loch Ness Monster in Fort Augustus, Scotland, using various methods of detection, including echo location to find the aquatic beast.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
I am incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to write for children. One of my absolutely favorite things is meeting the kids. I love doing school events and I’m so grateful to the teachers who share my stories with their class. I have received amazing art work and letters from students that I truly treasure and I have created a wall of art in my office at home of some of the wonderful work that students have sent to me.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Definitely the chapter which details Mylo’s last day with his brother, Obie. Loss is such a difficult thing to navigate in life for all of us, regardless of age, and this chapter depicts the sadness and confusion of losing someone you aren’t supposed to lose. There are so many other emotions besides sadness that are equated with grief and loss and this scene touches on some of those feelings.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Creating a character from another world definitely posed more of a challenge because there is so much world building equated with someone who is not from Earth. Additionally, because the story is written in first person and therefore being told from Mylo’s eleven-year-old perspective, there seemed to be some very important questions that needed to be posed to a being from the stars. Questions like, do you have superpowers like Superman? Do you eat ice cream? Do you know God? How come you never seem to have to go to the bathroom?
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revision is my absolute favorite part of writing. For me, getting the first draft down is the most difficult process - there are so many decisions to be made for each character, scene and story. I feel like revision is where the best writing happens. It’s where the characters personalities really pop and details can be added. More ideas come to me during the revision process because the character’s individual identities and the story itself really begin to take shape.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
The main character Mylo and his best friend Dibs are huge Superman fans and wish to emulate his super powers in any way possible. Although the boys are not officially from a planet of super men and women, they do learn they are special in many other ways, including the way they love and take care of one another and how they show kindness in their world and beyond. I would say I strive to have superpowers like Mylo and Dibs, to show kindness first and foremost wherever I can.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Absolutely. Children’s Palliative Care and Hospice remain very close to my heart. I’ve started the process of developing my own nonprofit foundation working with medically fragile children at bedside doing narrative work to help them share their own unique stories of strength and courage. It has taken longer than I had planned, however, I hope to launch the project in 2019. I believe it’s important for all of us to be a part of positive change in whatever way speaks loudest to our hearts.
The Truth About Martians
Author: Melissa Savage
Publisher: Crown BYR
Release Date: October 2nd 2018
Three winners will recieve a copy of The Truth About Martians (Melissa Savage) ~ US Only
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The book looks great and middle schoolers will love the story. Good luck with the book. I can't wait to read it and pass it on to my beloved middle school.