Saturday, August 2, 2014

I LOVE this new series! Perfect for middle-grade readers.

I recently got to read a preview copy of a new book by Mikey Brooks called Battle for Acropolis. It's one of six books in a new series called The Gates of Atlantis. I've read some of Mikey's books with my kids before and I was excited to see what this new series was all about. He did not disappoint.


Don't you hate it when you find a book you like and you have to WAIT for the sequels? (GASP!) Here's the catch with Battle for Acropolis: It is one book in a series of six...and they were ALL released on the same day! Isn't that a fun idea? No waiting!

Here's the blurb for Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis:

Thirteen-year-old Talon is in trouble...again. He didn't mean to burn down the school library. It just happened. Things like that always happen to Talon. His life is a mixture of the weird and bizarre. No one else he knows can shoot fire from their hands or cause an earthquake...but he can.

Every night the same dream haunts Talon: the destruction of an underwater city. He doesn't have a clue what it means but he feels like fate is trying to warn him. It's not until he runs away with his foster sister Hattie that he discovers his trouble-making powers and strange nightmare are connected. Together they are the key to saving saving Atlantis.

Doesn't that sound fun??? I read this book to my kids while we were traveling recently. I was completely hoarse from reading out loud for so long, but I didn't care. I had to know what would happen next. AND, it kept my kids completely enthralled all the way across west Texas and New Mexico. (If you've ever traveled in those areas, you know it's saying a lot to say we didn't get bored.)

I feel like most books have a part or two that you "just have to get through." Know what I mean? I didn't ever get that feeling from Battle for Acropolis. It really kept moving. 


I had the pleasure of interviewing Mikey so you can all get to know him and his writing. Here it goes:

TC: How long have you been writing?
MB: I have been a story teller as long as I can remember. I started putting words on paper when I was about 12, so a really long time.
TC: What books and projects have you previously released?
MB: I have a fantastic middle-grade series out called The Dream Keeper Chronicles. There are two volumes available in both book and audiobook. The final installment will be out this fall. My other middle-grade book is The Stone of Valhalla, which has been on Amazon’s bestselling list since it came out in April this year. I also have several picture books that I both wrote and illustrated including ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures which is also an Amazon bestseller.
TC: Each book in The Gates of Atlantis Series was written by a different author. Can you tell us about your part in it?
 MB: Yes. Each book is written by a different author and each has different main characters. If you fall in love with the characters from one book, don’t worry, they’ll make an appearance here and there in the others. The books do not have to read in any order, however, my book is best when saved for last. I had the opportunity to write the conclusion to the series arc. I guess you could say mine is the last book. I also was fortunate enough to illustrate the covers and do all the other art you’ll see through the books.
TC: Is the series complete, or will there be more to come?
MB: The series does end with Battle for Acropolis, however, I know several of the Atlantis authors, myself included, that have thought about more adventures for our characters to go on. I know for sure I have at least one other book in me featuring Talon as the main character.
TC:  You are an illustrator and a writer. Do you find yourself wishing you could spend more time on one or the other?
MB: I do get rather busy doing other authors’ books and wish I could focus more time on my own projects, but I’ve got bills to pay. If you want to know the truth: I absolutely LOVE what I do. There’s a saying if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, that’s me. I really don’t feel like its work. Whether I am writing or drawing I am doing what I love.
TC: The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis is a fantasy novel. How does it feel to create a "new reality"? Have you always been imaginative?
MB: I love the idea of a “new reality”. These fantastic hidden worlds like Harry Potter’s Wizarding World or Percy Jackson’s Olympians—they bring magic so close to home. I think readers will get the same sensations from the Atlantis books. They make you think that it “could” be real. And that’s what I love about them.
Yes, I have always been living in a daydream. I like to find magic in the mundane. It’s my own personal way of not getting bored. I am currently teaching my imagination ideology to my kids: Never settle for a life that is boring when you can dream it so much better.
 TC:  Who is your favorite author and what is it you like about their work?
MB: Oh gosh, I don’t know if I can answer with just one. There are so many authors that have influenced me in many ways. Two authors who really opened doorways for me are: L. Frank Baum and J.K. Rowling. I am the world’s biggest Oz and Harry Potter fan. My office is dripping with magical memorabilia from those books. It helps inspire me and keep me floating high above the clouds. You’ve already touched on what they do for me: they write in a way that straddles both the real and the fantastic. Other authors I adore include: C.S. Lewis, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Rick Riordan, J. Scott Savage, Brandon Mull, Eoin Colfer, and many more. Notice how those I just listed are also writers that open doorways to the “new reality”.
TC:  When not writing (or illustrating) where would you most like to be or what would you most like to be doing?
MB: I am a family man. I love to spend time with my girls. We can do just about anything together but I like it best when they are having as much fun as me. When the girlies are in bed, I like to snuggle up with “my girl” and watch a movie (75% of the time a chick flick).
TC: What book are you currently reading or which book is next on your list to read?
MB: I am a HUGE middle-grade book reader. It’s pretty much all I read. I just finished up the last book in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy (it was amazing). I highly recommend the first book: The False Prince. It will hook you! Before that was Alan Tucker’s A Measure of Disorder. (Totally excellent). Next on my list is the first Seven Wonders book by Peter Lerangis. I have heard nothing but good things. I am a BIG TIME audiobook fan. If a book is in audio I will give it a go. I listen to about 3 books a week as I illustrate.
TC:  Do you have any other projects in the work that you want to give us a sneak peek at? 
MB: I am currently finishing up on The Dream Makers, which is the last book in The Dream Keeper Chronicles, which is slotted for release in early fall. It’s going to be a spectacular ending so I don’t want to give anything away yet. I do have a book I am shopping to agents right now which just won 1st place in my chapters’ League of Utah Writers Writing Competition for Middle-grade and YA. It’s called The Witches of Roosevelt Elementary. It’s about two kids that find out their parents are keeping a huge secret from them: they’re witch hunters. When their parents mysteriously disappear, witches invade their school disguised as glamorous lunch ladies. I hope I find an agent soon because I have kids asking about it. I hate to keep them waiting.
Thanks, Mikey!

Here's a glimpse at the other five books in the series.

Written by Wendy Knight
Written by Jaclyn Weist
Written by Juli Caldwell
Written by J. R. Simmons
Written by Laura D. Bastian
(I really enjoyed her Eye on Orion!)



You can purchase any of the books on Amazon!  Happy reading!  (Now I'm going to leave so I can go read one of the other books in the series.)

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