It was a surprise when I opened the box that the mailman had left on the doorstep that day. I knew the books were coming, but I hadn’t known when exactly.
A while back, I was asked to contribute to a series of middle grade books. The series would be called Michael Dahl presents Screams in Space. It was a sci-fi horror series for kids aged 8 and up. I jumped at the chance to be a part of this series. I love sci-fi, but horror? I’ve never written horror. Or read it, to be honest. And these are for kids?
Ideas began to flow quickly, and I pitched a few to Abby, the editor in charge of the project. She helped me figure out which ones would work and Michael had a say in that too. I really enjoyed working with Abby. She was enthusiastic and encouraging. And she gave great revision notes too.
So, here they are — the two books in the series written by me: Haunted Planet and Alien Lockdown. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I loved writing them. They’re published by Capstone, (Stone Arch Books) and you can find them in your library (or you can ask you librarian to order them 🙂 ). These books also come in a special interactive ebook version that Capstone calls 4D. There’s even an interview with the author (that’s me :)) online. What I’m most proud of is that the main characters in these books look a bit like me when I was a kid, in that they’re multiracial. This is what I’m most passionate about when writing for kids, that every child gets to see themselves reflected in a book. Or two.
Here’s what they’re about:
After years of traveling through space, a crew of humans has finally found an uninhabited world to colonize. Almost twelve-year-old twins Evie and Emery Linn decide to sneak out and explore their new home. But on the surface, Evie starts noticing troubling signs. Plants curl tightly around her finger, as if they were alive. Strange tracks lead off into a dark cavern. Evie can’t help but wonder–are they truly alone on this planet?
Yin Nova is excited to go on a field trip to the third International Space Station Museum. Her class will see the newest exhibit-the first alien plant ever discovered. But when they arrive, something is very, very wrong. The station is on lockdown. Eerie growls echo through the corridors. There’s no sign of the crew. When Yin decides to investigate, can she and her friends survive long enough to discover what’s on the loose?
I love the cover art, and all the illustrations, beautifully created by Juan Calle. They really add to the ‘scariness’ of the book. But honestly, they’re more mystery thriller than real horror. They’re for kids, after all. And when it comes to horror, I’m probably the biggest hide-under-the-cover-and-close-my-eyes kind of reader.
I have a third book, coming out soon, in this series. That one is called Vampire Invasion. I based the vampires on an actual creature on Earth. No spoilers — you’ll have to wait and see what it is when it comes out sometime this year. I’m always fascinated by what strange creatures lurk in the corners of our world. Fact is so often stranger than fiction. That’s what makes this so much fun. The other books in the series, written by other writers, look just as much fun to read. I think I’ll make a request to my local library to stock up on those too.