Monday, April 23, 2018

MMGM~DRATS! Foiled Again! by K.L. Lantz & Giveaway!

Hi Everyone! It's been a while since I've participating in MMGM, but here I am. And wait 'til you see the awesome middle grade read I have for you. *Make sure you scroll to the bottom of this post to enter for your chance to win one of 2 ARC copies of DRATS. FOILED AGAIN! + a snazzy keychain or a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

by K.L. Lantz

Description: Robert Gilbrinkle is blind in one eye, which makes dodging punches in his Anti-Hero Maneuvers class especially difficult, but his lack of depth perception is the least of his troubles. Nox Academy’s senior project deadline is fast approaching, he's failing three classes, and, naturally, his evil twin Rupert keeps trying to kill him every chance he gets. 

But the real trouble begins when Robert’s pathetic superpower--a very unwicked superwink that fixes anything broken--starts to evolve. The kids at Nox used to laugh and call him "Rob Repairman" but nobody is laughing now. His wink threatens anyone who threatens him. 

Robert has always known where he stands - on the other side of the hall from Rupert. What haunts him the most is the revelation that maybe he and Rupert aren't as different as he thought. Battling a common enemy brings them closer than either twin can handle, but the lives of their friends are at stake and the thirst for revenge is strong. Maybe even stronger than their disdain for each other.

With the playful cartoonish style and broad crossover appeal of Disney’s SKY HIGH, and the coming of age heroic drama of Matthew Cody’s POWERLESS, Robert’s story will resonate with kids from 8 to 14 who love to escape to that comic book world of good vs. evil and often wonder where in the midst of that universe they fit in.
Now, let's meet the author.

Hi Katrina! I'm thrilled to have you share your thoughts in the Alleyway. Tell us, were you a reader as a child or did you have someone special read to you? Did you have a favorite book or story?
Yes, reading was my escape from the meanness of the bullies around me, a lot like Robert in the story. I read the whole school library in junior high, and while I don't remember most of the titles, I will never forget the life lessons they taught me. My mom gave me Anne of Green Gables when I was in fourth grade, and my reading teacher gave me The Girl With the Silver Eyes. I still love both those books!

Anne of Green of my favorites! Where did this idea come from and how did you develop it?
 I don't know if other writers experience this, but I'm often inspired by movies, particular the kind with lots of action! It was six or seven years ago that I watched Disney's Sky High, and immediately started trying to imagine a school for villains. Instead of having the kids go away to a boarding school, I played with the idea of them living in a villain community hidden deep in the forests of Florida. What kinds of jobs would their parents have? What would that home life look like? And what if you plopped a normal person like Robert right in the middle of that environment? Drats, Foiled Again! was born. Robert is a twin, but rather than a baseline of Good that gives us the idea of an "evil twin," Robert is the odd one--the good twin. After writing Drats, Foiled Again! from his point of view, I knew I had to write the twin book, Bombs Away! from Rupert's point of view. So that is coming this summer.

What two super heroes adequately describe your main character? What two villains adequately describe your main antagonist?
Robert's got the penchant for reading of Peter Parker and the survival instinct of Bruce Banner. Rupert is a Lex Luthor-like supergenius, but with great hair. He's also obsessed with technology like the Big Hero 6 villain, Robert Callaghan.

What do you think readers will learn from this story?
Drats, Foiled Again! deals with the inner struggle between good and evil, so I've included Family Discussion Questions in the back of the book to encourage dialogue especially between parents and kids. I feel parents are vital to helping kids find their identity on the spectrum of good vs. evil, and have a special interest in helping them to navigate what constitutes "good" and what constitutes "evil."

That's awesome. Those family questions are a great way to get the entire family engaged in the reading. 

 Any thoughts about author platforms or the ever-changing publishing world you'd like to share?
Actually I want to talk about Impostor Syndrome. Amy Cuddy in her book, Presence, made me aware of its role in my writer life. Impostor Syndrome is the feeling that, even after multiple proofs of your goodness and capabilities in the form of success, you're just a fake and you don't belong up here with the other successful people. Amy Cuddy demonstrated in her book that Impostor Syndrome is rampant in our professional and academic worlds, but I think it especially applies to authors. Think about the distinction between calling yourself a writer or an author, and how many people in our field hesitate to say, "I'm a writer," or, "I'm an author," even after they've written an entire book. Or the conferences where even the nametag ribbons feed our inferiority complexes. You can choose one that reads, "author" or one that reads, "writer." 

Many published authors still feel pretentious putting on that "author" ribbon if they haven't been published through a big press or won an award or been featured on a big, important list. After years of observing and blogging about the writing/publishing industry, I realized I had Impostor Syndrome bad! The need for validation is real, but what I've learned is that the most powerful and lasting validation comes from within. So, to other writers and authors, however you see yourself, I want to say this: believe in yourself. Believe that, if you feel compelled to write, what you have to say is worth saying. You are not a fake, not an impostor. Whether you haven't published yet, have self-published, or published with a small press, none of that defines you or your talent. We write because there is something inside banging on the outside walls for release. We are writers. We are authors. To borrow a line from The Greatest Showman, "We are glorious!"

Can you leave us with one valuable piece of writerly advice you want to offer to aspiring writers.
You are already a writer. Aspire, but don't think of yourself as an aspiring writer. You're already there. You write, therefore you are. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! Wishing you loads of success with this book.

K.L. Lantz was born in Mesa, Arizona. She's a desert girl who finally found her home in Southern Utah after quite a bit of wandering about. She's a student at BYU with a passion for neuroscience and literature. She writes books, paints, dances classical ballet, and homeschool her five boys, all of whom love superheroes. 

For more MMGM, participants, and great middle
grade reads, visit Greg Pattridge on Always In The Middle.

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So readers, if you were a villain what villain would you be? 

ME: I'd be Maleficent


  1. Great interview and advice from K.L. I also loved the plot for her book. It should attract a lot of readers. And...I'm more of a Riddler type of villain.

    1. Haha! Love the Riddler. I'm sure you'd be good at it. BTW - I changed the link to MMGM to your site. I forgot to do that last night.

  2. My daughter would love this book. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  3. The good and evil struggle is perfect. Who hasn't had that to deal with?

    Anne of Green Gables was a book I carried around one summer, reading it and loving it. It was a book I remember falling in love with.

    1. That is one of my favorite books, too! I've been thinking about re-reading it this summer. :)

  4. I enjoyed the interview very much! I have a great granddaughter who would absolutely love this book! Great title and plot. And, I like the idea of discussion questions at the end.

    1. Oh, I'm so glad, Patricia! I love MG books with little activities or discussion sections at the end. Makes for easy engaging with the kiddos. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. This sounds like a terrific book. I love the "what if" of finding this story. I will be looking for this one. Thanks for the review and the interesting interview.

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by! I think the 'what if' of the story is a total draw, too.

  6. What a fun sounding book. Congratulations, K. L. Great interview. Kids should really enjoy it. Adults too, those of us still lost in those middle grade years.

    1. It does sound like tons of fun, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by, Beverly!

  7. This sounds like a super fun book, and I love K.L.'s advice on Imposter Syndrome! Thanks so much for the interview, and happy reading and writing!

  8. Oh boy, so many villains to choose about Professor Umbridge. I could stand to be her I think. She seemed to like cats.

  9. Sounds like a fun book! Who doesn't like good vs. evil stories? What villain would I be? The Snow Queen. Mostly because I'm cold all the time. :)

    1. Haha! That's a great reason to be that villain.


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