Christian Page loves stories that combine fun, action and adventure. A father of two, he lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with his wife, son, daughter, overly plump cat, and under-behaved dog.
Monster Squad: The Iron Golem is a mash-up of old-school monsters that parents will be familiar with and technology that is new. The book is reminiscent of 50’s radio shows, but only in the feel, the story itself is very current.
The beginning of the story is a prelude, you find out who the original monster squad was. Then, as the story progresses, you meet the rest of the new monster squad and what they must do to stop an evil scientist from taking over the world (Didn’t I tell you it would have a 50’s feel?). You will get into this story from the very first chapter, it is funny, smart, and fast-paced. Some action stories are light on the plot, you won’t find that in this case, it’s one of those stories where it is both full of adventure and thought.
My daughters beg for extra chapters every night and have already started fighting over who is going to get to read it first after we are done reading it aloud. I have caught my husband on two occasions reading ahead to see what happens next.
Monster Squad: The Iron Golem can be purchased from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Amazon.
Thank you, Chris, for writing with me today, I have a few questions to help my readers get to know you a bit better.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing the Monster Squad about a year ago. I had been noodling ideas for a novel for years and reading ever more sophisticated books to my kids (7 & 9) inspired me to put words to paper on a fun story we all three could enjoy. I wanted to do something fast paced and funny with characters both could relate to, especially my daughter – strong female leads who have a realistic voice and are as much the hero as their male counterparts in the story. I also wanted to do something distinctive but still relatable. Wizards had been done. Mythic heroes and gods – check. Hunky vampires – overdone. Then I started to think about all the other cool monsters from the literary and movie cannons – the Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde, Dorian Grey, The Invisible Man, The Blob, The Headless Horseman, The Boogie Man… and the world of the Monster Squad started to come together. 6 months of writing, 3 months of pitching the book and another good 3-4 months of editing and here we are!
How did you choose the genre you wrote in?
Oh, that was pretty easy. I wanted to write something that would appeal to my kids. Both are voracious readers and love books from folks like Shannon Hale, Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, and, of course, JK Rowling so those were my aspirational targets. While the series is geared toward 5th thru 8th grade reading levels I also wanted to inject it with plenty of humor and references that adults reading it to their kids (or for their own enjoyment) would get a kick out of. So if you are fans of Spielberg, Kripke, Zemeckis, Abrams or Reitmann hopefully you will see a little of their influences in the humor and action sequences as well.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
To my daughter’s chagrin, much of the household experience of Blaine is very close to our own home. She has a giant dollhouse bunk-bed in her room that she loved when she was 5 but now despises as a 9 year old. We also have a very over-weight cat that we call Fat Girlfriend who was the inspiration for Blaine’s kitty. The town the kids live in, Autumn’s Hallow, is based on some of our favorite spots on the Oregon Coast as well, particularly Cannon Beach.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
My biggest piece of advice is keep plugging away. It’s hard as a first time writer. I pitched probably 60 or 70 agents and felt good getting a 5% positive response rate on the work… but rejection can be tough. But end of the day, if you keep a good attitude, keep plugging away and be open about feedback on your work it will only net in a better story… from where I “thought” I was done with the manuscript to where it ended up is probably a minimum of 50% different… but it is also much better (at least that’s my opinion!). The process is tough, but it will make your story better and you can only learn from it for the future.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Wow, the biggest thing I would say is THANK YOU! I can’t tell you how much of a thrill it is to have people reading something that I dreamed up. Please let me know what you think of the work. I go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Good Reads religiously to check for feedback. So far, most of the reviews online are from friends and family but we probably have around 50 professional or enthusiast reviews in process so I’m looking forward to the broader feedback. I can’t wait to hear what others have to say as well.
Tell me about your 2014 Children’s book prize?
New Generation Publishing is a regional self-publisher in the UK who liked the book early in the pitch cycle. They offered the book prize I think to both show their appreciation of the work and to get me to sign on since it is definitely a nice marketing claim for the book. They produce a lot of children’s works and according to my agent they only give one of these out per year so I was psyched they liked mine enough to offer it. After weighing the options at the end of the pitch cycle, the NGP package with the book prize and their distribution and sales support looked really solid especially for a first time author so we went that direction. I’ve also submitted the book to another 4 or 5 book awards so hopefully we’ll have others to add to the list!
I have a few questions now for the characters in Monster Squad. (if you haven’t read the book, you may want to stop here) SPOILER ALERT
Would you want to hang out at Chris’ house? Is he fun to be around?
Shelley: Yes, he has a lot of gadgets around his house and his big brown Newfoundland seems like such a sweet dog! I think it would be fun to get to know him and get inside his head like he has ours.
Vickie: Ooo-oooo… Like, if I want to hang out with old people. I think I’ll ask Drake to go to Denny’s so we can get the AARP discount.
Drake: Vickie, I’m physically still 13… I can’t help it that I was born in World War II.
Vickie: Whatever, Herbert Hoover Dam…
Drake (whispering to Shelley): Does she know his real name is Herbert Hoover?
Shelley (whispering): I don’t think so…
A question for Blaine, At any point in the writing of Iron Golem, did you get mad at the way the story was going?
Blaine: I wasn’t a big fan of my hand disappearing…
Kevin (eagerly): Can you do it right now for everyone reading this?
Blaine: It’s an article, Kevin, they couldn’t see it even if I did…
Kevin: Oh… Well, just do it and say you did! It’s so cool.
Blaine: [annoyed pause]… Fine, I did it. Satisfied?
Blaine: [another annoyed pause] I take it back. I was annoyed in every scene Kevin and I shared.
Kevin: Well, Ms. Manners, suddenly your Charisma score went down -5 points…
Alright, we’ll let those two argue it out. Dash, you play the tough guy role in this novel, did you enjoy this? Do you have a favorite action scene?
Dash: Tough guy, really? Like those old movies with that grumpy guy my Granny likes to watch? Dirty… Harvey, right? [grins parroting a bad German accent] “I’ll be back!”
Shelley: I don’t think that’s it… didn’t it have something to do with “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…”
Vickie: Ooo… I liked that one! That’s the one where the guy with the whip runs away from the giant boulder and meets James Bond from the 1800’s, isn’t it?
Kevin: [loud sigh] You all are hopeless…
Kevin, being the geek is hard, but lots of kids will relate to your character, does that make it a little easier to handle?
Kevin: Geek? Moi? Do geeks barrel over terminator zombies with dumpsters? Do geeks battle evil minions in dark and creepy forests? Do geeks ultimately come up with the plan that saves the day for all of our family and friends?
Dash: In this book, yes, Kevin. They definitely do.
Drake: He’s got you there, Kev.
Kevin: [smiles sheepishly] Ok, guilty as charged.
Shelley, your character is so level-headed, is there anything that makes you lose your cool?
Shelley: Well, my dad has a knack for getting under my skin. He has ever since I was little. I suppose it’s because my mom travels so much and we know each other so well. I just wish he would treat me more like an adult sometimes… but I understand. I’m still, and probably always will be, his little girl.
Dash: Your dad seems pretty cool to me, Shell.
Shelley: You should have seen how he was after you dropped me off at my house after our run-in with the Monster.
Dash: Oh you mean back in the woods? Why, did he freak out because a 10 foot tall, two-ton robot from outer space was stalking you in your backyard?
Shelley: No… he was more concerned about the 5’ 10” 150 lb boy walking with his daughter…
Dash: [pause] I don’t get it.
Shelley: Let’s just say my dad can be… a challenge.
Thank you all again for joining me, if you have enjoyed reading about the Iron Golem here (and you’ll have to read the book to find out just who he is), you will enjoy reading the whole book even more.