Friday, February 7, 2014

All About Middle Grade Interview: D.X. Dunn (Author of An Unexpected Adventure)

This week, I am excited to welcome D.X. Dunn, author of An Unexpected Adventure, to the blog. I hope y'all will give her a warm welcome.

About the author:
D.X. Dunn lives in Western New York with a teenaged son and a not quite teenaged daughter. The Distania Chronicles were originally started to give her son, an early and avid reader, more to read. Years passed and that son got older and the Chronicles were largely forgotten. She recently dug them out for her daughter's amusement and was persuaded to try publishing them on Kindle Direct. She really hopes you enjoy them!

You can haunt D.X. Dunn at-
Goodreads | Twitter | Website |


Interview

1. In seven words, tell us why readers will enjoy reading about Christopher and his adventures?
Action, adventure, magic, best friends and dragons!
2. Could you tell us about Distania and a couple things that boys will encounter while there? 
Distania is an island that is part of the "Distant Lands," where the magicians and magical beings of the past moved to protect themselves as people stopped believing in them and their magic.  The creatures of magic and legend live there, safely shielded from discovery by the modern world.  Chris and Alex encounter dragons in the first book and a unicorn in the second.  Book four introduces readers (and Chris and Alex) to a special mermaid.
3.What was your inspiration for writing An Unexpected Adventure?
I had a young son who read very early and very well.  His reading level was well above his grade/age level and that made book selection difficult.  He also read very very quickly, which made book buying very expensive.  I started the Distania Chronicles for him; to give him interesting adventure stories that were age appropriate with strong male characters.  The books were written to allow for his still developing reading stamina.   The series has now evolved significantly.  The first book is almost exactly what was written for him many years ago, but the later books have been almost completely rewritten.  Books three and four are longer and more involved and, because my son now has a little sister, a number of very strong female characters have been added.  The series is still primarily about two best friends who find themselves experiencing a series of amazing adventures and I hope that it appeals to both boys and girls of all ages.  (I have heard from some readers who enjoy reading the stories to their younger children a chapter at a time for bedtime stories and I have a fan in California who is 67.  She bought the books for her granddaughter, but reads them herself as well!)
4. If your book, An Unexpected Adventure, had a playlist what three songs would best fit the story and characters? What is about those songs that makes you think that be a good fit for the book?
The books are all about friendship, so maybe Randy Newman's "You've got a friend in me," and the Beatles "With a Little Help from my Friends" would be good.  My husband suggested "Puff the Magic Dragon" to pull the dragons into the playlist.  I still remembering singing that song in a show in elementary school and it is still a favorite.
5. Time for a little fill-in-the-blank fun. "When I was twelve, one of my favorite books was _________? I enjoyed it because____?"
Little Women.  Growing up with a sister who was close to my age, it was easy to identify with the characters and their sisterly relationship.  I also enjoyed the historical elements of the story and as I got older, the love stories within the book gave me all sorts of romantic notions about relationships between men and women.
6. Scariest thing that has happened to you?
Has to be when my kids and/or my husband have been really ill.  (Hubby had an emergency appendectomy when our youngest was about 18 months old, that was really scary.)
7. Your top three favorite middle grade reads from 2013 and why you enjoyed them?
Not sure that they were all published in 2013, but I read these in 2013:

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George.  I bought this for my daughter to read and picked it up one day when I found it lying around.  Once I started it, I had to finish it.  It was fun reading someone else's very different take on dragons.  My daughter still hasn't read it, in spite of my nagging!  

Rules by Cynthia Lord.  Another book purchased for my daughter, I read it first to make sure it was age appropriate.  A great story about living with autism and about disability.  My daughter loved it as well.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which is a wonderful story about one child's struggle to fit in when he is very different from his peers.  My daughter, my mother and I all read this, one right after another, and it led to some very powerful multi-generational discussions!
8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Doctor Who (After living in Britain for 11 years, I'm convinced "The Doctor" can do anything!)
9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
I couldn't possibly send a picture without spending hours cleaning it up first, and then I would never find anything in it again!  We have a spare bedroom in our home that has a plain wooden table in it.  On that table is my iMac and a printer and about six hundred pieces of paper in every size possible, including sticky notes, pages from a desk calendar, old receipts for things I bought years ago, etc.  Every piece has a note about something written on it.  I have notes about characters, plot development, blogs I've contacted, blogs I've read, upcoming promotions, past promotions, sales figures for any given month, etc.  I also have a ton of notes about stuff that isn't book related like things for the kids or bills to pay, which are far less interesting, but might be more important.  I know there must be at least a dozen pens and pencils in the mess somewhere, but I can never find one when I need it.  Somewhere in the chaos is an outline for the first nine books of the Distania Chronicles (of which four are now finished) and the next time I find it, I'm going to start working on book five!
10. Any upcoming projects that you can sure with us?   
Book one (An Unexpected Adventure) is going on promotion and will be FREE for the Kindle and Kindle apps from the 27th of February to the 3rd of March.  This is a belated celebration for the release of book four which came out in early January.  I'm hoping to have book five out before the summer is finished.  (My daughter will be nagging all summer break if I don't get it done!)  The first three books are available in both Kindle editions and paperback editions, and I'm hoping to get book four into paperback before too much longer.  (Formatting is not my favorite thing to do.)

(I write three different series under three different pen names, so I can't devote all my time to Distania, although sometimes I wish I could.)

Thank you so much for stopping to talk about Distania. I cannot believe that you are the only person to answer question 9 with Doctor Who (who I agree would be an excellent choice for saving the day).


An Unexpected Adventure (Distania,1) by D.X. Dunn, April 22, 2013.
When ten-year old Christopher Knight gets an email from his best friend, now living two hundred miles away, he has no idea that it holds the key to another world. The two friends unexpectedly find themselves in the magical kingdom of Distania. There they must face a raging river, dragons, a mysterious prince and an angry king; and they need to get home in time for dinner!

You can add An Unexpected Adventure to your Goodreads shelf.

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