Series: Sacred Books #1
Published by illusio & baqer on 5-28-2015
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Before there were books, there were Words of Power, and those who spoke them could rule the world…
Dexter and Daphna Wax don’t quite fit in, even with each other. She loves reading and he loathes it, but neither is pleased by their “special” thirteenth birthday gift, a ruined old book full of nonsense.
But the moment it enters the twins’ lives, bizarre things begin to happen. Why is their father, who found the book, suddenly so distant? Is the old man who took it from him some kind of hypnotist? Why is a giant, red-eyed boy stalking them?
Now Dex and Daphna have to work together to stop the old man from ruining their lives. But as they unravel the secrets of The Book of Nonsense, they will discover the truth about their own extraordinary destiny.
Interview With David Michael Slater
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
The book is about a pair of twins on the cusp of their thirteenth birthday who come into possession of an ancient book that appears to be full of nonsense. But when their lives turn upside down and everyone seems to be after the book, they begin to suspect that inside all the nonsense is something extremely valuable–even magical. Despite not getting along, they have to work together to discover the truth about what the Book of Nonsense really is.
What makes your book unique?
I’ve been told it’s a unique combination of magic, adventure, and thought-provoking plot-developments.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
One of the short stories in my collection for adults, Dictionaries Out of Order, was written many years ago, before I began the Forbidden Books Series. It’s about a book that has pages with words that randomly change, producing mostly nonsense, but with the potential of revealing the most well guarded secrets and profoundest truths. The collection was inspired by the work of the Argentine short story writer, Jorge Luis Borges.
When I was finished with the story, I felt the idea deserved more room. At that time, I hadn’t considered writing for children or teens, but I had recently read the first Harry Potter book, and it was all the rage. I’d also just read The Golden Compass and was amazed and impressed that authors were taking on such weighty subjects for teen audiences. So…it all came together. I was inspired to take my changing book and develop a much longer story around it for teens. I hoped to infuse it with adventure, magic, and thought-provoking plot developments.
I’m thrilled to have read comparisons to Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, but also to The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones. Toss in Borges and you have the ingredients for Forbidden Books!
Is there any message you want readers to get from reading the book?
I try to avoid sending overt “messages,” but on one level the book is about the incredible power of words, so I hope that comes across.
How long did it take to write the book?
The original manuscript took about a year, but it was revised over another year as I began writing the (seven) sequels–which are all done.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
I don’t think I have one, but I am greatly attached to both of the twins (I’m a twin myself!). They are all fun to write.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I do not outline. I write in a circular fashion, sallying forth until I hit a dead end. Then I start back at the beginning and revise my way forward, hoping to get a bit further until I hit another dead end. Then I repeat the process over and over until I reach the end. My favorite part of being a writer is reaching a destination I never could have predicted from the start.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
Nothing, because with the rebooting of the series, I’ve had the chance to re-edit the books.
How did you come up with the cover?
I suggested something very bookish, something that could suggest that the action was even happening inside a book–and the brilliant artist ran with it.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
In graduate school, when I finished reading the short story, The Circular Ruins, by Jorge Luis Borges.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
It was a flash fiction piece called Tsu Yun published in the Lewis & Clark journal (and now included my collection of short stories for adults, Dictionaries Out of Order). But the first real piece of writing I did was play called Gods & Cats that received several productions.
What is your favorite genre, and why?
I love any good book, but I’m a sucker if it’s described on the cover as a “book of ideas,” or even better, a “book about books.”
Are there any books you are absolutely inspired by?
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges got me started, but a close second at that time was The Things They Carried by Tim O’brien.
What are you working on next?
The same publisher that is releasing Forbidden Books has acquired a six-book early chapter book series of mine called Mysterious Monsters. That was my first attempt to write for that age (7-10) and I had a lot of fun with it, so I am starting another series, though I’ll only be writing one book to start with.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
That persistence is every bit as important as talent if you hope to be published.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
It is incredibly difficult (I’m a full time teacher). But know that even if you only get 15 minutes many days, it adds up.