Friday, March 15, 2013

Author Interview with Kevin Emerson

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Kevin Emerson, author of the middle grade novel The Fellowship for Alien Detection. Fairday was abducted by this stellar 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, Kevin! 

What inspired you to write The Fellowship for Alien Detection?

My initial inspiration was a deep love of The X-Files, combined with a cross country road trip where we went to Roswell, White Sands, and Area 51. Not to mention Graceland. The second thing was thinking about achievement and how some teens today get so completely overscheduled (that’s where the idea of a wacky summer scholarship came from). Once I had these ideas, I thought about being on road trips with your family, something I spent a lot of time doing as a kid and teen. 

How long did it take you to write The Fellowship for Alien Detection?

The problem with everything I wrote above about inspiration was that I then needed a plot. I had three ideas from the start: Suza in her missing town, Haley and her clocks, and Dodger and his radio. But despite all that, it took me 7 YEARS to write this book. Part of that was weird circumstance: my agent found an interested editor right off the bat, but he wanted me to remove the parents from the book, and make the kids older and on the road on their own. Which would have essentially ruined the story. Then, it sat on the shelf while I wrote my first books. Other editors read it, but were never that interested. My agent and I kept believing in it, and I finally met an editor, Jordan Brown at Walden Pond Press, who felt the same. And then, after all those years, I rewrote the entire thing! But those basic ideas and characters were still there.

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

When I was a kid, I loved a series called The Three Investigators, which was a Hardy Boys knock off. I also really liked Encyclopedia Brown, and Spider-Man comic books and Choose Your Own Adventure anything. As a teacher, some of the books that inspired me to write for kids were The Golden Compass, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Holes, Catalyst, Harry Potter, Maniac McGee.

How did you come up with the characters Haley and Dodger?

Both were inspired by students I’d had. Haley by the neurotic overachievers, Dodger by the inward, awkward boys. They both got a bit of my anxiety: Haley the compulsion to DO THINGS because she feels like she’s on-the-clock. Dodger got the paralysis that comes with feeling like you don’t fit in as part of a vast universe, and the feeling that you’re alone and different. In a way, the two characters are halves of a whole.

If you could befriend any character from a book, who would you befriend? Why?

Probably Lyra from the Golden Compass. I could have used a girl like that in my life in middle school, both to have adventures with, and to set me straight.

Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music while you are writing?

I either write in my office at home, or in a coffee shop. I listen to music sometimes, but other times I need to hear the rhythm of the words and the character voices. I also get lots of writing done on airplanes. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

There are so many places. The South Pacific? At least for awhile. I’d like to feel that remote. Also, London. Man, I love London. Or in a ski town like Telluride.

Have you ever met an alien? If so, can you tell us about it?

That’s classified.

Where can we purchase your book?

F.A.D. is in all the places that have the books. The best spot is always an independent bookstore near you. 

Amazon ☞ Barnes and Noble 

Connect with this author:
Author Website  Facebook ☞ Twitter

Read the reviews!

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of The Fellowship for Alien Detectionplus a signed bookplate!         

Giveaway ends Sunday, March 17th! 
Open to US and International : )  


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Kelly,
      It was a great read! Thanks for popping by to check it out : ) ~ F

  2. I wish I had road trips when I was a kid :P
    My brother is the X-Files guy. I say I don't like it because they speak in a very... I don't know weird monotone way to me but when I do catch my brother watching it I can't help but stop.
    I was about to say when he said he took 7 years to write the book... how did he have money to EAT!? lol. I wonder what else he wrote about.
    I haven't heard anyone like Choose Your Own Adventure since a friend told me about it a while ago. Love that he loves Maniac Magee.
    Liked the interview. Haley and Dodger seem both like likable characters (:

    1. Hi Adriana, The X-Files was an interesting show. Maniac Magee is such a great story. Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts with us! It's always lovely to hear from you : ) ~ F

  3. A great review! I admire Kevin's tenacity to write and publish the book his way even though it took so long. It sounds like it was well worth the wait.

    1. Hi Anna Maria, It is a gripping adventure- we hope that you check it out! Thanks for stopping by : ) ~ F

  4. I can definitely relate to Dodger (though I'm female). It was awesome Kevin stood by his ideas of how his characters should be. THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION sounds like a great story!

    1. Hi Claudine, It's an excellent adventure! Thanks so much for stopping by to share your thoughts with us : ) ~ F


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