February 7, 2012

The Cheesemonster Cometh!

        My new book is out!  Kate and Sam and the Cheesemonster is the final installment in the Kate and Sam Adventure trilogy, and it's been a long time coming for such a little book.  My own Kate and Sam adventure began three and a half years ago, when I asked P and T (then just turned 6) if they'd like me to write a book for them.  They enthusiastically began offering suggestions for what the book should include, and when it was written they helped me illustrate the story.  When it was finished they loved Kate and Sam to the Rescue, obviously, and requested a sequel.  I began work on Kate and Sam and the Chipmunks of Doom.
        Meanwhile, proud P and T had shared the first book at school, and in the spring I was invited to visit their classes to talk about it.  T's teacher read Kate and Sam to the Rescue to the whole class as a read-aloud, and it went over very well with the first graders.  They all asked whether I would write any more books.  I told them I was working on Chipmunks of Doom, but I also happened to mention, just as a throwaway line, that T, P, and I had joked about the title Kate and Sam and the Cheesemonster.  (We sometimes said our cat Nightshade was a cheese monster, because cheese was the only people food she ever wanted, but she wanted it really badly…)  After my classroom visit I got a whole sheaf of adorable letters and pictures from all the first graders, and to my astonishment, quite a few of the letters urged me enthusiastically to write about a cheese monster.
        So, after the second book was finished I dutifully tried to come up with a cheese monster plot.  I had a few ideas, and I got D to help me work out some more.  But I soon stalled out.  Kate and Sam and the Cheesemonster was not a book I was enjoying working on.  I didn't really want to write it…  So the Cheesemonster languished while I wrote Ruin of Ancient Powers instead.  But all that time, whenever I showed my face at school to run a table at the art festival, to volunteer at the library, to attend a concert, one of those kids was always sure to ask me whether I was working on Kate and Sam and the Cheesemonster yet.  I began to feel (if I can be so pretentious) like Conan Doyle with Holmes!  But this bunch of kids at P and T's school have been Kate and Sam's most loyal fans, and they deserved that I make an effort.  Last spring I sat down with the Cheesemonster once again.
        And finally something began to come together.  Indeed, I even began to be excited about it.  It stopped being a chore and started being a story to be told.  And so the Kate and Sam trilogy was finally finished, and illustrated with the help of T and P, and the copy to be donated to the school library is sitting ready to go.  Oh, I'm definitely finished with the series now - P and T and their classmates will soon outgrow it, and I'm ready for other things, too.  But I've gratefully dedicated this book to those students and their belief in me as an author!

        As for Kate and Sam and the Cheesemonster, here's the blurb:
        When the cows are stolen from a nearby farm, Sam and Kate think it’s a job for the police… until they realize that solving this strange crime will require help from the neighborhood birds and beasts.  That means it’s another adventure for Kate and Sam, the only humans who can speak animal language and know the secret of the magical creatures.
        But why does the strange thief steal a cow-spotted mailbox?  How many thieves
are there anyway?  And most mysterious of all, what kind of monster is leaving huge, round footprints that smell like cheese?  It’s a good thing Kate and Sam get help from animals large and small as they struggle to solve these puzzles and rescue all the prisoners of the Cheesemonster.  There will be beetles and robots, dragons and fairies, monsters and clues and disguises.  But never fear!  Through darkest night and deepest swamp Sam, Kate, and their friends old and new will use all their creativity, courage, and common sense to save the day once again.
        The third adventure in the Kate and Sam trilogy joins the others as a perfect read-aloud to be enjoyed with children of many ages.  Emphasizing the power of kindness, creativity and courage, these books are gentle enough for pre-schoolers at bedtime, but complex, humorous, and engaging enough not only for older elementary children, but even for adults reading to them.

        So, if you've enjoyed Kate and Sam's previous adventures, please join them again!  And if you've never read any but would like to start now, sign up for my Goodreads giveaway of the first book in the series.  (And don't forget to post reviews on amazon and Goodreads!)

[Pictures: front cover of Kate and Sam and the Cheesemonster, with illustration by AEGN;
The Fairy Godmother and Beccan, pencil and watercolor by TPN, 2011;
Making a hat-unscrewing machine, pencil by PGN (photoshop background by AEGN), 2012;
back cover, with illustrations by AEGN (middle), TPN (top), and PGN (bottom).]

3 comments:

  1. Oh, the very very best of luck with this. It sounds delightful.

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  2. Hooray! Hooray! I can hardly wait to get my copy. Thanks for letting us know it's out at last.

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