Title: King of the Mutants
Publication date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Tantrum Books/Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Samantha Verant
Can one boy stop a nefarious plot to turn kids into super-mutants?
Maverick Mercury enjoys his life as the sideshow attraction known as “Gator Boy” at Grumbling’s Traveling Circus and Sideshow.
His freakish mutations are the result of some billionaire geneticist’s experiments gone awry. But life as a mutant is about to get worse, as Maverick uncovers a plot to kidnap kids, turns them into super-mutants, and sells their powers to the highest bidder.
Now, Maverick is on a mission to find the mad scientist who may have created him and destroy his sinister plans!
Samantha Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef. Over the years, she’s visited many different countries, lived in many places, and worked many jobs— always on the search for the one thing that truly excited her. Then, one day, she found everything she’s been looking for: a passion for the written word and true love. Writing not only enabled her to open her heart, it led her to southwestern France, where she’s now married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met over twenty years ago, a stepmom to two incredible kids, and the adoptive mother to one ridiculously expensive Bengal cat. When she’s not trekking from Provence to the Pyrénées, tasting wine in American-sized glasses, or embracing her inner Julia Child while deliberating what constitutes the perfect boeuf bourguignon, Samantha is making her best effort to relearn those dreaded conjugations.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I began writing in 2007, right after a move and while I was in the process of searching for a new job as a graphic designer. A bit down in the dumps, I was sitting outside with my black Labrador retriever, Ike, and a red cardinal perched itself above our heads, chirping wildly. The bird flew away. My dog eyed me and inspiration hit. I ran into the house, fired up my computer, and began writing my first book, SURVIVAL OF THE WEIRDEST, a middle grade about two kids who play a role in saving the earth’s creatures from extinction. (I’m a big-time animal lover!) Three weeks later, I had written 80k. Of course, this draft was terrible, but I still love the concept. I hope to get back to the manuscript one day. An avid reader since the age of three, I’m surprised the writing bug didn’t bite me sooner.
Do you have a specific writing style?
In high school, I was a theatre major at The Chicago Academy for Performing and visual Arts. I treat writing like acting. I put myself in the character’s shoes, take on a role, and envision the environment like a stage designer. That way I can really embrace the character’s voice and build their world!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I didn’t write King of the Mutants with the intention of spreading a message, but it does carry one: We are all unique individuals and we have to be happy with who we are. After all if we were all ‘normal,’ the world would be an awfully boring place.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Well, since we’re talking about King of the Mutants, I’ll stick to middle grade. The books that have stayed with me ever since I was a child are: James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and The Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The group of writers I met way back when in 2007 on AbsoluteWrite.com and Verla Kay’s blueboards! So many amazing authors have supported my writing since day one! And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Georgia McBride, my publisher from Month9/Tantrum books! I’m one lucky girl!
Do you see writing as a career?
I’d really like to have a career as a writer. Plus, I live in southwestern France, where aerospace is the main industry. I don’t see myself becoming a rocket scientist! (My husband has that job covered!) King of the Mutants may be my debut middle grade, but it’s my second published book. I’m hoping for many more!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope, I wouldn’t change a thing. I worked on King of the Mutants on and off for four years!
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I’m half plotter, half pantser. I don’t write an outline per se, but I do write down key plot points on Post-it notes and then arrange them in a chapter-like format. Then, I write, letting the rest of the story unfold as it comes to me. I suppose therre is a method to my madness. Mwa-ha-ha!
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Sometimes frustration sets in when I know something isn’t working, like a character, concept, or the plot. Suffice it to say, there are quite a few starts to manuscripts sitting in a folder on my computer. The good thing about writing is that you can turn the page and start something new or get back to a manuscript you believe in and fix things at a later point. Advice? Let things simmer.
While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
Of course, I’ve never been a sideshow attraction at a circus, nor a twelve-year-old boy, but, as mentioned above, I treat writing like acting. I put myself in the characters’ heads, asking myself questions like: how would I feel? What would I do in this situation? What am I seeing? Doing? I laugh, cry, and scream, right along with them! I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a schizophrenic! This process works for me!
Winner will be drawn November 21, 2014
Winner will be drawn November 21, 2014
· Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of King of the Mutants by Samantha Verant (INT)