Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blog Tour: The Explorers: The Door in the Alley

Middle Grade Minded is thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Adrienne Kress' wonderful MG book,


The description:

Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a new series for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secretand The Mysterious Benedict Society. Knock once if you can find it—but only members are allowed inside. 

   This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.) 
   This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer.
   The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone.

My take:

A rollicking, loud-out-loud adventure starring the most lovable characters in the most delightful places. You will jump in with both feet with Sebastian and Evie and wonder where the ride is going to take you - some place wonderful and with some thrills along the way. 

Adrienne Kress is hysterical. Kids - and grown ups like me -  are going to love this! A real winner!

A few questions for the author:

Adrienne, this book is hysterically funny! I can t tell you how many times I had to stop to wipe my eyes reading them! I m curious: did you ever have to tone it down or was it full steam ahead?
Thank you so much, I am very happy to hear that! That’s totally the ultimate compliment.

And for me it’s always full steam ahead! But the way I write isn't just about being funny. It’s weird, but I’m not actually focused on “being funny” as I go. I'm more focused on telling a story and making it compelling. The comedy just finds its own way to seep out through the cracks. I think that I generally just find the world so absurd I can’t help but highlight that in my writing. But I do also aim for pathos and complicated other feelings as well. I think for that reason it's rare I'm asked to tone things down because "funny" isn't the goal, it's part of a larger whole. 

What inspired you to write the book?

The concept of the Explorers Society itself. There are actually clubs for explorers out there in real life which I just think is so neat. I just loved this idea of a very cool place, filled with very cool objects from very cool adventures, where very cool explorers got to hang out. Of course, once I had the setting, I realized that maybe I’d also need, you know, characters and a plot. But honestly I love the society so much. I really just want to hang out at their headquarters and have tea up in the tree house. 

Our readers are interested in the writing process. Can you share how long it took you to write The Explorers: The Door in the Alley and how many drafts were involved?

I can't quite remember to be honest. I think it took around 3 months to write the book, but there was a very long break between writing the first half and the second. I had all these other projects to finish first, but my agent kept asking if I was done THE EXPLORERS yet and I'm very glad she kept on me because I finally sat down and got the second half out in around a month. After that I did an edit based on her notes, and, after it sold, probably around two to three more edits with my editor. 

Although I love Sebastian and Evie and can t wait for more adventures, I have to ask: what inspired the pig in the tiny hat and promise me that we will see more of the pig in book two!!

Ha! Yes, he is rather popular and I am very okay with that. You know, it's interesting, I had so many things planned out before I began the book: my characters, the story, the general arc of the series. But when I sat down to start writing, the first thing I wrote was the first line of the book (it hasn't changed). And I stared at it. And blinked a few times. And I asked myself, "Where on earth did that pig in a teeny hat come from??" 

So the answer is: no idea. I have no clue where he came from, but clearly he wanted his story told.  And I was more than happy to oblige.

As for book two, he definitely is in there at the beginning, but alas both Sebastian and Evie go on adventures that send them across the globe and one simply cannot take a pig in a teeny hat along for all of that. I can reassure you though it won't be the last you see of him. 

Thanks Adrienne!

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