Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Geoff Rodkey Interview, by Mike Winchell

Tomorrow's the day! That's right. The second book in the CHRONICLES OF EGG series, NEW LANDS, comes out tomorrow, 5/2. This book follows the successful debut of the series, DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE, which I will review on Friday, 5/3. But first, I had a chance to interview Geoff Rodkey, the author, and I wanted to share it with you. 

Before the interview, let's learn a bit about first two books in the series (cover and synopsis below):
It's tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody's trying to kill you.

Not that Egg's life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts. 

But when Egg's father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the  mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect. Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff. 

Suddenly, Egg's running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he's been  marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy. 

Come along for the ride. You'll be glad you did.

BOOK 2: NEW LANDS (releases tomorrow, 5/2!)
After a narrow escape from Deadweather Island, Egg and his slightly deranged partner Guts head for the remote New Lands. They’re in search of the lost Okalu tribe, who hold the key to the mysterious treasure map that Egg can't decipher. But the ruthless Roger Pembroke is hard on Egg's trail, and the New Lands are full of new enemies—against which our heroes' only weapons are their brains, their courage...and the two dozen swear words Guts just memorized in the local tongue.
They're going to need help. But who can they trust? Is Kira, the beautiful and heavily armed Okalu refugee, their ally…or their enemy? Is Pembroke's daughter Millicent on Egg's side…or her father's? Why on earth is the notorious pirate Burn Healy being so nice to them? And the biggest question of all: what shocking secret is Egg about to discover in the shadow of an ancient Okalu temple?
Make sure to tune in Friday for my review of DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE. 
Okay, here's the interview with the author, Geoff Rodkey: 
Mike: First, tell us who Geoff Rodkey is? Don’t go all Navin Johnson on us and 3rd-person your response (obscure reference to Steve Martin in The Jerk—not that I’m calling you a jerk). But please do tell us a bit about who you are as a person, and as a writer. 
Geoff: For most of my career, I’ve been a comedy writer: my first paying job was a Beavis and Butt-head episode in 1994; I spent a few years after that writing jokes for a comedian, then drifted into writing movies like Daddy Day Care and RV. The Chronicles of Egg books are the first projects I’ve worked on that aren’t primarily comedies—they’re more adventure-comedy-mystery-coming-of-age stories. If that makes any sense. 
As a person, I’m a Midwesterner transplanted to New York City who’s trying (along with my wife) to raise three sons in a four-room Manhattan apartment without any of us either losing our minds or committing homicide. The jury’s still out on whether we’ll pull it off. 
Mike: So what inspired you to write DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE, and the second book NEW LANDS? 
Geoff: I wanted to write the kind of story I would have loved to read as a kid (or, for that mater, an adult)—a big, fun, sprawling story like The Princess Bride, set in an invented but still realistic world, with equal parts adventure, comedy, mystery, and heart.
Mike: Is there a third book in Egg’s future? If so, title and release date, please? 
Geoff: Yes. Blue Sea Burning, which wraps up all the loose ends in the trilogy, will be out by May 2014. (Hopefully sooner, if I can convince the publisher to move up the release date.) 
Mike: DEADWEATHER AND SUNRISE is a pirate book through and through. I personally love the way you manipulate the dialect and utilize classic pirate vocabulary to phonetically write dialogue. Tell us how you went about maintaining this consistently throughout the book. * Did you go all “method actor” (or writer) on us and only speak and write like a pirate while writing the books? 
Geoff: I have no idea. I’m not trying to be flippant: I honestly don’t know. I just wrote the characters the way they sounded in my head. But I’m thrilled that you liked it! 
Mike: What were your favorite books as a wee lad (when you were Egbert’s age), and why? 
Geoff: As a younger kid, I loved The Pushcart War, The Westing Game, the McGurk mysteries, and just about anything by Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, T. Ernesto Betancourt, Lloyd Alexander, or S.E. Hinton… By the time I was Egg’s age, I was going through a comic strip anthology phase—Bloom County,The Far Side, and especially Doonesbury. I learned an enormous amount about the political and cultural history of the 1970s from reading old Doonesbury collections. 
Mike: Every writer has a different part of the storytelling process that’s his or her bugaboo. That part that’s the toughest to get through. Could be the opening pages, or nailing the end, or perhaps the initial conception of the idea, or the pacing, or maybe characterization is a weakness, or…I think you get my point. So fess up. What’s your weakest link in the storytelling process? 
Geoff: Plot. Coming up with a compelling story that keeps a reader turning the pages and wondering what happens next is far and away the toughest part of the process for me. I’ve had to throw out a lot of promising beginnings to stories because I couldn’t figure out how to make equally good middles and endings out of them. 
Mike: Last question. Most kids have an unrealistic dream of what they want to be when they get older. For example, I wanted to be a fire truck when I grew up (hey, it seemed possible at the time). What unrealistic notion did you hold as a wee lad that might seem silly now, but was an honest-to-goodness dream you held as a kid? 
Geoff: I wanted to play guitar in Ozzy Osbourne’s band. This might have been less unrealistic if I’d ever owned a guitar. I had a tennis racket I could pretend was a Gibson SG, but that was as far as it got.


  1. My unrealistic dream: I literally wanted to be a wizard...mainly so I didn't have to actually clean my room! :) Awesome interview! Congrats, Geoff and good luck!


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