Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Writers Wednesday

Welcome! You're in for a treat if you enjoy middle grade fiction, are a fan of humor, or just love an entertaining story. Today's featured author is David Zeltser, author of LUG Dawn of the Ice Age and its sequel Lug Blast from the North

Can you tell us about how you came up with the idea for LUG?
When my daughter was born, I started to think about her future and the world she would inherit. I was also inspired to write something that would make my entire family laugh.

Why did you choose prehistoric times to set your story?
When I began to write about how cavemen might react to major climate change in their world, it put a smile on my face. I felt that the irony of the situation would not be lost on readers, and they would enjoy it. Children are drawn to that era, and by placing the story in prehistoric times, I had the freedom to explore important topics in an entertaining manner.

There is a lot of humor in this book. Where does that come from?
Funny books have always been my favorites. Before I wrote LUG, I wrote comic plays, screenplays, and humor pieces. Coming from humble beginnings, humor has been a constant in my own life. Kids, and their parents, can learn how to handle tough situations through humor. And LUG does exactly that.

The book also touches upon some modern day issues such as bullying and climate change. What key message(s) do you expect kids will take away from your book?
Lug is a small kid in a clan dominated by bullies. Rather than fighting them physically, his journey is to find a way to stand up for what he believes in and thus become a leader in his own right. While there is action in the book around a ferocious pride of saber-toothed tigers, I tried to avoid the typical macho approach when it came to the main conflict. Despite what kids see in movies, the important conflicts they’ll face won’t be resolved by physical violence. The powers that be in this story are defeated through all kinds of other interesting means. I wanted kids who don’t think of themselves as leaders to see what is possible when you really care about something important. It isn’t easy, but by believing in yourself and sticking to your beliefs, the rewards are great.

Who are your favorite characters in LUG?
The two main characters—Lug and Echo. If you think growing up was tough, you should try it as a short artistic boy in the Stone Age. Lug is surrounded by uber-macho cavemen who think the coming Ice Age is “just a little weather.”

Echo is a girl from the rival Boar Riders clan. She is also an animal-lover and the world’s first vegetarian. Both she and Lug have faced tough issues in their young lives, and I’ve tried to capture their determination, as individuals and as a team.

Can you give us an idea of what happens in the next book?
The sequel is called Lug: Blast from the North. All I can say is that there’s a hilarious new character called Blast, and something big, surprising and mysterious coming from the north. The book will be out in Fall 2016.

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