Blurb for Extraordinary Sam and the Adventurers’ Guild:
This box may seem empty,
But there’s more than meets the eye…”
Sam Miller seems like an ordinary 12-year-old boy, until he discovers a mysterious box. Suddenly, he lands in a magical world in which he must battle deadly pirates, savage warriors, giant man-eating spiders, and a fire-wielding tyrant. To survive, Sam must overcome his fears, solve riddles, and most of all, be extraordinary.
About the Author:
Kevin A. Springer grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers’ Guild (March 2015, Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery.
Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia blog.
Find me online:
The story started as a bedtime story I told my oldest son when he was four. It was a simple story about a kid who had a magic hatbox and could be a cowboy, pirate, or anybody who wears a hat. Those stories lasted a couple weeks and then were replaced by some other adventure. About two years later, he asked for a magic hatbox story – those stories had stayed in the back of his mind all that time. That got me thinking maybe I could make something more out of this boy an his box. Extraordinary Sam was born. I sat down a couple days later and fleshed out an outline for a possible story and I was beginning to understand who this kid is, what he wants, and what stands in his way.
I never considered myself to be a writer, but have always had a vivid imagination. My wife saw there was an online creative writing course for aspiring children’s book authors. I was surprised in the beginning by how easily the story flowed. That all changed when Sam had his first obstacle and things came to a screeching halt. I spent days writing and deleting. Nothing seemed to fit. Life started getting in the way and the book sat untouched for eleven months until a friend asked how the book was coming and I knew it was time to get back to writing.
The story continued to take shape, but not as quickly. I thought it would be a good idea to join SCBWI and attend a conference. I felt good about my manuscript (2/3 the way complete at that point) and decided to get a formal critique from an agent. My story received a very mixed review and I realized I had a lot to learn.
I joined a critique group and began to fine tune my story. Six months later, I decided to take my much improved manuscript to another conference and have it critiqued once again. The review this time was much better, but it still wasn’t ready. Inspiration hit me and new wrinkles in the story came to light. The rest of the story couldn’t get out of my head and onto the computer fast enough. A few months later, it was ready to submit to agents and editors.
So, in total, the story took over three years to complete.
I read about how other authors are dedicated to writing 1000 words or two pages per day. Unfortunately, my brain isn’t wired for such goals (maybe it’s my ADD). Much of my “work” happens in my head and much of the time, as I’m trying to fall asleep. I can go three days without typing a word, then spend six hours at my local Starbucks and write fifteen pages. I ride the inspiration waves and feel I have a much more organic story that wouldn’t be possible if I forced myself to meet a daily goal.
I have begun work on the second book in the Extraordinary Sam story and that has been a lot of fun. There are two other books I have plotted out and written a few chapters, but they will have to wait.
Outside of my writing, I run a blog (along with five other writers) called Middle Grade Mafia. On the site, we review middle grade books, share writing tips, and interview middle grade authors, agents, and editors. We try to balance established, well known authors with newer writers just breaking into the business. We have been lucky enough to interview some amazing authors on our site: Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan), and Tom Angleberger (the Origami Yoda series) to name a few. It has been a blast!
I hope I don’t shock people too much when I tell you that I hated reading when I was younger, but I blame that on undiagnosed ADD. Having to focus on a page was such a struggle. As an adult, especially with children of my own, I have fallen in love with middle grade fiction.
There are a number of authors who do such an amazing job, it is hard to pick just a few. One series I absolutely love is Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide (Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is the first book).. Healy has a gift of blending adventure and humor. If you haven’t read his books, you are missing out. Another book that I loved is Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Leisl Shurtliff. Shurtliff’s ability to recreate the character of Rumelstiltskin into a good-natured, tender boy looking to discover his full name, and his destiny, is amazing. The blend of action, humor and emotion makes for a great read.