I'm back with another author interview! And today, I welcome the fab Ben Gartner whose second book is out in just over one week on February 2!
CHECK IT OUT!
Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up.
Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.
An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!
Did you always dream of being a writer/illustrator?
Yes, from a young age. However, as I grew older I pursued other goals (namely, financial ones) and writing took a back seat. Then, in my mid-life and with kids in the middle grade age bracket, I revisited my passion in collaboration with them for the pure fun of it. The result has been a wonderful ride I never knew would be so perfect for me.
What's been the hardest part of publishing a book so far?
Multi-tasking. I really enjoy the writing part of being an author, but the “marketing” less so. I really like hearing from readers, but the self-promotion thing sometimes feels awkward. I mean, I love to celebrate the wins because why not?! At the same time, I want to celebrate everyone else’s wins too and be sensitive to the community of which I’m a part. Finding the time to balance all of those things, plus family and work and life, can be challenging!
And the easiest, or most enjoyable?
Writing. Sitting down and letting the real world slip away and letting my imagination tug me along the story of my own invention. That is a transporting power of which I’ll never tire. I love to read and watch movies too for a similar effect, but there’s something extra thrilling about creating the world yourself. I love it.
What's next for you?
Book 2, Sol Invictus, comes out February 2, 2021, so I’m certainly excited about that! I’m also working on book 3 of The Eye of Ra series, which reveals even more about John and Sarah and why they’re traveling through time.
We also just put out a Teacher Guide for The Eye of Ra (available on my website or Teachers Pay Teachers for free) and are starting work on one for Sol Invictus. [link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Guide-for-The-Eye-of-Ra-by-Ben-Gartner-6465704]
What's one piece of advice you'd give to writers who just started their pursuit of publication?
Never forget why you’re writing. For me, it’s for FUN. If I sell a few copies, bonus. But, if the journey is not enjoyable then what’s the point? That also includes going easy on yourself. You don’t have to be a Newbery winner or Stephen King. If what you’re doing excites you, then do it. Simple. Doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult or take hard work, but those are the wins you earn.
Last book you just read?
The Miraculous by Jess Redman. Beautiful, wonderful, fun story.
What book are you reading now?
A few! I am reading an ARC of The Gatekeeper of Pericael by Hayley Reese Chow (fun adventure portal fantasy). With my 13-year-old, we’re laughing out loud with an ARC of The Thieving Collectors of Fine Children’s Books by Adam Perry (out March 2, 2021). And with my 10-year-old, we’re almost done with an ARC of The Verdigris Pawn by Alysa Wishingrad, which is a great adventure fantasy thriller. Winners all!
Best moment of your writing life?
I can think of many, and here’s a good one: A school visit to my son’s third grade class. It was immensely exciting to read to them and hear their reactions — the oohs and giggles and their questions and guesses. And my son there to share it with, all proud of his dad. He helped me be brave. :)
Name of your newest WIP?
The working title is People of the Sun, book 3 in The Eye of Ra series.
If not an author, what would be your dream job?
I worked at a bookstore in college and that was pretty great. I’d do that again in a heartbeat, if it paid the mortgage...
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys. Visit Ben's website here!
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