Friday, September 28, 2012

Author Interview with V.L. Burgess

The DMS was lucky enough to interview V.L. Burgess, author of the middle grade novel The Mapmaker's Sons. Fairday recently reviewed this swashbuckling, new story, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind the story. So, without further ado... take it away, V.L. ! 



Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog. I’m delighted to be here today!

What inspired you to write The Mapmaker’s Sons?

The spark for the book originated with an article I read in National Geographic about the Hero Twins, which is actually an ancient Mayan myth about two brothers who battle the lords of the underworld and play a lot of baseball (Yes, baseball! Or at least the Mayan version of the sport.)  

The actual myth is rather long and cumbersome, but I found the premise of two brothers who must come together to battle evil so intriguing. What great place from which to launch an adventure! I began the book with Tom and Porter, then layered on the elements necessary to bring their story to life: a secret past, savage monsters, a cruel tyrant, and a map that leads to a dangerous new world. Woven within the story are classic themes of good and evil, family bonds, friendship, and sacrifice.

How long did it take you to write The Mapmaker’s Sons?

The writing process itself was probably about six months. After that I spent another month or so editing and shaping the story.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

My all-time favorite growing up was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It was an assigned reading book for my daughter’s sixth grade class, and was just as powerful for her and her classmates. It’s amazing that Hinton was able to create something that still captures kids’ hearts and minds. Interestingly enough, that’s another story about brothers and friendships. Hmmm…I’m sensing a pattern here!

Where did you come up with the character Tom?

Tom Hawkins is an average 13-year-old boy who is thrown in a situation that's completely out of his element. He’s a classic reluctant hero. While I did give him the magical ability to make maps come alive, that’s his only edge. I love to watch him dig deep and discover he has the skills within himself to survive the strange new world he’s crossed into. I like to believe we all have untapped powers within us, just waiting for the right opportunity for us to discover them.

If you could befriend a character from your story, who would you choose?

That’s a tough one, but I think it would have to be the pirate Umbrey. I love his free-wheeling sense of adventure, his sly humor, his utter certainty that he can handle whatever life throws at him. He’s absolutely fearless, knows more than he lets on, and always has something up his sleeve.

Do you have any writing rituals? Do you listen to music while you write?

I really envy writers who can carry on with single-minded focus in the midst of chaos, but I’m not one of them. I need to visualize the scenes I’m working on, so I turn off all outside distractions. 

I begin with an overall story arc, then push myself to make a sloppy mess of the first draft. I write scenes in the order they come, jot down random dialogue as it pops into my head, let the descriptive phrases fly. That loosens me up and I get a lot closer to the heart of the characters. Then, once the story is fleshed out, the editing, snipping and pasting begins.  


If you could live in one of the five kingdoms, which would you choose?

I would want to live in the chain of island nations that make up the kingdom of Aquat. It’s a lovely place, really, except that its shores are infested with slave shippers!

Where can we purchase your books?

The Mapmaker’s Sons can be purchased at your local bookstore—look for it in the children’s middle grade section. It can also be ordered online.

Pre-order this title: Amazon Barnes and Noble ☟

Hitting shelves in October 2012!

*Win an advance copy of The Mapmaker's Sons by V.L. Burgess! Enter the rafflecopter giveaway form below for your chance to get a sneak peak at this exciting, new adventure! 

Giveaway open to US and International : ) 



We will announce the two lucky winners on Sunday, September 30th!  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

31 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous looking book! Best of luck V.L.! :-)

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    1. Hi E.J., It is a great adventure! Thanks so much for stopping by : ) ~ F

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  2. Sounds like a great book - I'm always on the lookout for stories like these to tempt my son to read more. (I entered your giveaway even though I wasn't sure if it was limited to the USA only as they sometimes are.)

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    1. Thanks for confirming that it is open to everyone! I realised I forget to say where I wanted to live - when I was growing up in Africa I longed to visit the mystical fairy world of Ireland - it seemed an impossible dream at the time but now I live in the misty mountains of Wicklow so in my case it actually happened!

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    2. Hi Sharon, No problem! We love sharing it with the world : ) Great to heart from you! Thanks so much for stopping by! ~ F

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  3. I've always wanted to visit New Zealand. I'm not sure if I would want to live there though. I'd need to visit it first. :)

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    1. Hi Heidi, New Zealand seems like such a magical place! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us : ) ~ F

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  4. This sound fantastic! I especially love that he's just like a regular boy except for his ultra-cool power of making maps come alive. What a great idea!

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    1. Hi Caryn, We thought it was a very unique concept as well, leaving the door open for worlds to discover! Great to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  5. Cool. I like the cover. It makes me think of adventures.

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    1. Anyplace I'd probably live still in Florida because it's nice and hot and likes to stay hot!

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    2. Hi Adriana, It is a fun adventure to check out! Florida is a beautiful state : ) Always a pleasure hearing from you! ~ F

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  6. Loving those illustrations, this sounds like a great read and one that will appeal to boys which I think is great as there seems to be a bit of a gap in this market at present.

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    1. Hi Petty, I really enjoyed the illustrations as well, and it was an exciting book to get caught up in- thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us! ~ F

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  7. Thank you^^
    I followed through GFC. If i ever had the chance to choose where to live, I would select South Korea^^
    Thank you for your great giveaway and please keep on your awesome work!!

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    1. Hi Roiya Souissi, Thanks so much for stopping by, and welcome! We look forward to hearing from you : ) ~ F

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  8. Thank you for your astonishing giveaway^^

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  9. Wow a great interview and a giveaway! I think this sounds delightful. I was interested to hear that The Outsiders was still as powerful now as it was back then, That is when you know you have a classic when it can stand the test of time!

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    1. Hi Heidi, That is a great word for it- I've been referring to the swashbuckling aspect- but I love the word delightful as a description for this story. So true about a classic! Lovely to hear from you : ) ~ F

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  10. I love these interviews...it is awesome that you can do them!

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    1. Hi Patty, Thanks so much! We love sharing them with all of you : ) ~ F

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  11. Well, I have to read this one for two reasons: I love how the idea came and the author is a S.E. Hinton fan. Well, then there's the cover, too. So I'm up to three reasons--more than sufficient.

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    1. Hi cleemckenzie, You will enjoy this book, I'm sure- we'd love to hear your thoughts about it! Great to hear from you- thanks so much for stopping by : ) ~ F

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  12. I'm always following you guys. Great interview! This sounds like a really cool book! I would live to live is a big tree house in the middle of a forest in Maine. My tree house would be made of wood, have all modern amenities and run on solar power.

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    1. Hi Greg, It's a really fun story, and easy to visualize- if you're up for an adventure, that is! The tree house sounds fabulous! Thanks so much for popping over to share your thoughts with us : ) ~ F

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  13. I'm so intrigued! This book sounds great.

    I love the idea of thinking about which character an author would befriend in her book. What a cool question.

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    1. Barbara- It is a fabulous book! So glad you like the question about the character the author would befriend. I always think about who I would be friends with in the books I read. :)~F

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  14. What an interesting interview!
    I'm definitely entering your giveaway, and hope you can enter mine too!

    Andreia @ www.tyrony.com

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    1. Andreia- Thanks for letting us know about your giveaway. Glad you enjoyed the interview. ~F

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  15. How fun! I'd love to be in a swashbuckling adventure. This is so creative, with 5 kingdoms!

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    1. Donna- It is a fabulous story that will take you on adventure you won't forget! Happy reading! ~L

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Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We love to hear your thoughts! Fairday's Blog is no longer accepting awards. We appreciate all the nominations that we have received and are honored to have been mentioned! Happy Reading!

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