– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with David Ross, one of the authors of ‘The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball’, to promote this book.
About the Authors :
Scott Lauder has always been fascinated by other cultures, which inspired his choice to live in myriad countries including Greece, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Japan, throughout his life. Born in Ayrshire, Scotland Scott now lives with his wife in Sharjah. History is another of Scott’s passions; both of his graded readers for Oxford University Press were set in the past, one in Ancient Egypt, the other in Ancient Rome. He cites researching the periods for those books and the Three Hares series as “great fun,” a passion that emanates throughout the novel.
David Ross has taught English since 1987, when he began working in Japan. There, he met his co-author, Scott Lauder, when they both taught at the same English school. While in Japan, David performed with a rock band for a couple of years and produced an album (Los Turbines). His decade of teaching in Japan provided with the opportunity to travel in Asia, Africa, and Europe. After returning to his home country of the United States of America, David taught at Loyola University in New Orleans, before moving to New York in 2004, where he taught elementary school – and where he still lives with his wife and two sons. In 2010, David received his doctorate in Educational Studies from McGill University in Montreal. He has spent four summers of the last decade, two in China and two in Indonesia, teaching at universities.
About the Publisher :
Neem Tree Press is a traditional, independent publishing house that aims to broaden perspectives. They are global in scope, with books under contract from Germany, the Middle East, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom to date. Their 2019-2020 portfolio includes non-fiction unveiling the Modest Fashion industry to this middle-grade historical fantasy fiction based in China, written collaboratively by two authors – one in Dubai, the other in New York. The common theme for Neem Tree Press’ books is to provoke both thoughtful discussion on sensitive issues and a thirst in the reader to explore further the ideas or cultures they encounter in our books.
Title: The Three Hares – The Jade Dragonball
Authors: Scott Lauder & David Ross
Genre: Middle Grade/Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Historical
Publisher: Neem Tree Press
Paperback publication date: September 5, 2019
Availability: Paperback, eBook
Number of pages: 245
An exciting, new, middle grade, historical, fantasy fiction series written collaboratively by two teachers and authors – one in the UAE and the other in NYC – The Three Hares series will educate as well as entertain. With both female and male protagonists, historical and cultural and a plot that promotes values such as grit, inner strength, resilience, empathy and confidence, this is sure to be a huge hit in and out of the classroom.
Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her one thousand years into China’s past.
With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara relies on her wits (and her Granny Tang’s stories) to survive. As dark forces gather, she must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I had no idea that my early love of language would wind up providing so much direction in my life. Shortly after getting my bachelors degress in linguistics, I traveled to Japan, where I lived and taught English conversation and grammar for ten years. I have been teaching English as a New Language ever since, in China, Indonesia, and the US. Studying other languages, figuring out ways to communicate clearly and make sense of the world through different mindsets, these experiences helped me appreciate aspects of speaking I’d taken for granted and drew me back into writing. It was really difficult at first – I couldn’t get past the 17-syllable haiku! After a while, I found I had more to say.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I’ve found that I like to tackle a topic or form and chew on if for a while. So I went from comic books to fantasy to science fiction to science fact to history to … and so on. Some years ago, I realized that I didn’t now anything about drama so I read a play a night for a year and half. Lately, I’ve been interested in neuroscience.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
That’s a great question, one that I’m not sure I can answer. Advice is tricky. I often read books on how to write, not only because they might shape my own writing but also to help me teach writing to my students. It’s so hard know how to take and use advice, to get “you, the writer” to sound like you! That said, I would love to have Michael Chabon speak with me about my work – or better, his. Were Kurt Vonnegut still around, I’d love to chat with him.
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
If I could spend some time with a character from our own books, I’d want to take a few long walks with Tian Lan. I’m sure he’d have some wise things to say that I could learn from.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I am pretty particular. While ideas can hit me anywhere, I need to go to a coffee shop to write. I tried to rearrange my room to make it as user-friendly as possible, but the waist-high table and chairs in the coffee shop I go to are much more comfortable – so I get most of my writing done there. Their bottomless cup could have something to do with it as well.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I realized that I have my best ideas when I’ve had a bath so hot that my brain melts. I went ahead and got a sauna to help me along. Fortunately, its good for lots of other health issues as well because I spend so much time in there! So my problem doesn’t seem to be with coming up with ideas. I do have problems seeing them though, but that might be because I’m in the sauna. My family has grown weary of hearing about the ones that never get finished.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Funny thing – I’m a musician and my doctoral thesis was on improvisation in education. You’d think I was an out-and-out pantser, but no. Almost never. I like to brainstorm and then work up a pretty detailed outline, one that stays fluid, but somethign that gives me a direction to write toward. I find that this works for me because I can better seed ideas early in the text that readers see bloom later.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
The single most liberating understanding I have about writing is that there are no ideas that are too small. If you only have a word that has caught your attention, write it down – maybe it is a title. A snippet of dialogue – write it down, it might wind up in a very different character’s mouth, maybe even in a different book. Write every idea down – memory is unreliable, especially over long periods of time, and your ideas may only have a chance of recombining when they sit next to other ideas that initially seem unrelated.
What are your futureplans as an author?
I have about twenty other books that are half done. Wouldn’t it be great if I could finish them?
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
I like this scene in which the shaman Shan Wu is being called upon to make use of his powers.
The next evening, there was a light tapping on his door. Shan Wu opened it and found the owner of the caravanserai, Mizben, waiting there.
Mizben bowed deeply. ‘Forgive me for disturbing you, but there is someone here to see you.’
Shan Wu’s heart leaped. ‘Is it a beggar?’
Mizben’s expression asked why he had been asked such a strange question, though his lips did not.
Shan Wu’s shoulders crumpled. ‘Send him away! I do not wish to speak to anyone at present.’
‘Yes, sir,’ Mizben said and left. But a few moments later, he was back again. ‘The gentleman is very insistent, sir. He wants very much to speak with you and has asked me to tell you he has a map that may interest you greatly.’
‘I see,’ Shan Wu said. ‘Very well, send him in.’
The man who entered the room had a smile that spread across his very round face and stuck out from under a giant moustache. He had a black beard that reached down to his belt. He was dressed in fine indigo silks and wore gold hoops around his wrists and expansive waist. A gold ring with a gemstone adorned each of his fingers. He was followed by a man who barely fit through the door. He wore a large tunic of black satin embroidered with gold thread.
‘My name is Ochlik,’ he said. ‘And this is my servant, Mem.’
Mem gave the slightest of nods. Shan Wu noted Mem’s powerful neck and broad shoulders.
Ochlik and Shan Wu bowed to one another. Shan Wu offered him a seat and sat down opposite. Mem, more than a head taller than Shan Wu, stood off to the side, his huge arms folded across his chest.
‘What can I do for you, sir?’ Shan Wu asked. This man, Ochlik, was different to the others who had sought Shan Wu’s help since he had arrived in Khotan. The others had mostly been Sogdian traders wishing to know who would pay the most for their goods, or what their prospects were for a safe passage to their destination. And most of them had been poor. But Ochlik oozed wealth from every pore of his body. That wasn’t all. The biggest difference was that he, Shan Wu, could not read Ochlik’s thoughts. Every time he tried, and he had tried repeatedly, a blinding wall of white light forced him to retreat.
‘What can you do for me…’ he said, almost to himself. His piercing hazel eyes fixed themselves on Shan Wu’s face. ‘I have had men watching you, Shan Wu, ever since I was alerted to your presence in the bazaar. You have not been here long… four, five weeks, I believe?’
Shan Wu nodded. ‘About that.’
‘And already your name reaches across the city to me.’ Ochlik’s eyes continued to size up Shan Wu. ‘All the same, I was expecting someone more… imposing.’
Shan Wu gave a thin smile. ‘You should speak to Ahmed. He deals with any requests for my help.’
‘Ah yes. Ahmed. Quite a – what shall I say?– meddlesome little man. He made some demands that I thought rather unrealistic.’
And after this things really get started …
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, David Ross.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!