Friday, September 20, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: H.B. Bolton (author of The Serpent's Ring)

Today, I am very excited to welcome H.B. Bolton, author of The Serpent's Ring, to
this week's edition of the All About Middle Grade Challenge. I hope y'all will give her a very warm welcome.

About the Author:
A magical part of H.B. Bolton’s childhood was being swept into worlds of enchanting characters, fantastical creatures and extraordinary powers—simply by picking up a book. As a mother and a teacher, she was compelled to create imaginary worlds of her own in order to share them, not just with her children, but with all children. H.B. Bolton lives in Florida with her supportive husband and two highly spirited children. Shh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young-adult fantasy story, she also writes spellbinding, heart pounding women's fiction. These particular books are written under the name Barbara Brooke, but that's another story, altogether.

You can haunt H.B. Bolton at-
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1.     So, why do you think Evan and Claire decided to follow the strange creature at the museum? Are they about to get more than they bargained for?

Evan first spotted the strange creature as it scampered under the eaves of a historic home. He had never before seen a creature with wide pointy ears, eyes the size of a hen’s eggs, and skin resembling a blue dart frog. Curiosity led him to the back porch, where he heard overgrown toenails scratching along a wooden floor. Evan couldn’t help himself — he had to figure out what had made that noise.
Claire knew her brother was up to no good and followed him inside the home, where she found him snooping around a secret lab.

2.     Could you tell us about the Serpent's Ring and what it is capable of?

The Serpent’s Ring is just one of the Relics that came from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Each Relic contains enough power to open a portal to Sagaas (Land of the Gods), and when touched, a mystical power is given. Evan and Claire come in contact with the Serpent’s Ring at the same time, and each sibling is given a mystical power. Evan learns he’s able to move objects with his mind, which comes in handy when flying an old Model T car through the sky. Claire discovers she can manipulate matter, and she does this for the first time after being asked to mold ordinary sand into a glass Viking ship.

3.     Why did you choose Norse mythology for The Serpent's Ring? Why that one over all others?

Through each book in the series, Evan and Claire will visit many different cultural myths and legends, but I decided on Norse mythology first because of my family’s heritage. In fact, my father’s name is Thor (short for Torval). The funny thing is that before writing my story, I knew very little about Norse mythology. I had heard of Odin, Thor and Loki, but I didn’t really know their story. The sea serpent, Jormundgand, surrounds Midgard (Earth) and bites his tail. If he were to let go, the entire planet would flood.
Anyway, it wasn’t long after doing my research before Evan and Claire were traveling — via the “rainbow bridge” — to Asgard.

4.     Everyone has at least one thing they love about their state, could you share with us the one thing you love most about the state you live in?

I enjoy taking my family to Disney’s Epcot. Where else can one visit eleven different countries, nibble delicious cuisine from foreign lands, listen to outdoor concerts, travel through time on Spaceship Earth, and ride through aquariums filled with sharks, sea turtles and dolphins — all in one day? 

5.     What was the last book you read that stayed in your head long after you finished reading it?

This summer was all about reading through my pile of books, and I finally dove into Catching Fire and Mockingjay (The second and third books in The Hunger Games trilogy). I found myself staying up late just so I could find out what happened next. Catching Fire has stayed with me more so than Mockingjay, and now, I can’t wait to see Katniss play the “game” again on the big screen this fall.

6.     I saw on Goodreads that you count J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien as two authors who have influenced you. Could you expand on why you chose them?

Both J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien twisted, molded and shaped the ordinary into something extraordinary. Their imaginary worlds are filled with mischievous creatures, magical trinkets and wacky foods. Both authors spun entire worlds complete with magic, mystery and unforgettable characters.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”
          ~J.K. Rowling

      “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

7.     As a young reader, what was one of your favorite book worlds to be swept into? Why?

I’ve always wished I could climb inside a wooden wardrobe, only to discover the snow-covered ground of Narnia.
The great C.S. Lewis once said, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” As a child, I would dive into fantasy stories such as Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and so many others. As an adult, I still feel the thrill and enchantment of such stories.

8.     The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day. Who do you choose?

Hmm, I believe Obi-Wan Kenobi — with a little help from his lightsaber and the Force — could annihilate an entire army of robots.      

9.     Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

My desk sits in my bedroom, next to a window. When the weather’s nice, I fill my room with fresh air, creating a tranquil place to fill blank pages of a new book. Oh, and I never forget to brew a fresh pot of coffee.

10.                         Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I’ve been busy researching Arthurian Legends for The Dragon’s Egg (Book Three). I wrote the first few pages yesterday, and I’m thrilled to be back in my imaginary world.

Illustrations from The Trickster’s Totem (Book Two).

Thanks so much for stopping by, Heidi. Ah, loved the quotes you included in your answers, especially the one from C.S. Lewis.

The Serpent's Ring (Relics of Mysticus, 1) by H.B. Bolton, July 2012.
Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum ... that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous fish and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

You can add The Serpent's Ring and Trickster's Totem to your Goodreads shelves. 


  1. I hope your readers enjoy the interview. Thanks for inviting me :)

  2. I love these books, that's awesome you featured her here today!


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