A quick reminder (as we will do all week) that we have the fab giveaway going on right now, as part of Children's Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop. Click the picture for the full post with all of the details or click here to go directly to the Rafflecopter form to enter. Please share this with friends/family/co-workers who would love this prize.
Okay, now for today's excitement... we are proud to be a stop on the Four Fiends Blog Tour. Yippee, it has a $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.
About the BookTitle: Four Fiends (The Countdown), 2nd Edition
Author: Nikki Bennett
Publication Date: February 16, 2014 (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Independent: Firedrake Books LLC
Recommended Ages: 8+
Summary: The Four Guardians of the world have gone missing. They’ve been kidnapped by some of the most diabolical fiends that ever existed. Now, four misfit kids from different parts of the world must band together to save the Guardians. Along the way, they learn to work together, as they confront and conquer their deepest fears.
Interview with Author, Nikki BennettHi, Ms. Bennett. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for our visitors. We are big fans of your book, Four Fiends, which Cool Mom reviewed over a year ago, and we are thrilled to be participating in your book tour.
S&K: What is your name, where do you currently reside, and where did you grow-up?
Hi everyone! My name is Nikki Bennett, I live in the beautiful country of Japan, but I am originally from Virginia, United States. Also a beautiful place.
S&K: Summarize Four Fiends for us in 20 words or less.
Four kids join forces to save the Four Guardians of the World from a horrible fate.
S&K: Did you always want to be an author?
I always wrote as a kid. When I was five, I wrote chapter books (in pencil, on those big pads they make for little kids, but still--chapters!) But somewhere in my teens, I put the pen down, and rarely went back to it. Then, a few years ago, I got the writing bug and started writing again. Just in the past two years, I’ve completed first drafts on at least seven different manuscripts, and can’t seem to stop writing!
S&K: Seven? Wow! Even though we are pets, we know that the best writers read often. Do you have a favorite author?
I’m not a horror fan, but my favorite author is Stephen King. He writes the way I want to write. I also like Neil Gaiman’s style. My biggest childhood influence was C.S. Lewis.
S&K: What book are you reading now?
At this moment, I’m busy reading submissions for my new publishing company, Firedrake Books. So I’m not reading a published book, but I’m about to start on a Young Adult book called Chasing Xaris by a wonderful indie author named Samantha Bennett (no relation!)
S&K: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’ll plagiarize Stephen King’s advice here. To be a successful writer, you must write every day AND read every day.
S&K: How much time do you typically spend on editing?
Lots! I generally finish my first draft manuscript for a book in about a month, but it is a very rough draft. I spend almost more time in the editing process than I do on the original writing.
S&K: We are the same way. Our second book is about to go through editing. Hmm... do you have any editing tips?
I do, and you can read about some of them on the Firedrake Books Blog (www.firedrakebooks.com/firedup) under the “Writing and Publishing Tips” section. But the best advice I can give is for authors to work with a professional editor, no matter how much you go over your own story you aren’t going to catch everything. If you can’t afford an editor, at least get some good beta readers. It’s amazing what other people pick on that you’d never notice yourself.
S&K: We have read on your website that you love to travel. How many countries have you visited and do you have a favorite location to visit?
So far, including the US, I have visited 20 countries. Lots more to go! The most remote, exotic country I’ve been to is the Kingdom of Bhutan, up in the Himalayas (flying past Mt. Everest was really cool!) but if I’m being honest--my absolute favorite spot on the planet is still the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Too many good memories there :D
S&K: In Four Fiends you have four children from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and the U.S. What made you chose these four locations?
The book idea first came to me when I visited Hong Kong. My husband and I got lost and stumbled into this garden with a huge storm water tunnel--Jinjing’s Cave in the book. I just stared at that tunnel and thought--there’s a book idea in there somewhere!
The character of Saburo (Japanese for third-born) lives in Japan, because I live in Japan, and I wanted to capture some flavor from this beautiful country in the book. In fact, the sequel to Four Fiends--called Three Treasures (which will be out this fall)--is set mostly in Japan.
My father comes from Italy, and the Italian kid in Four Fiends, Pietro, lives on the Adriatic Sea, where my father’s cousins still live. The ancient church where Pietro finds his magical creature is based on one I’ve seen along the cliffs on that coast.
And I had to get an American in there, since America is where I’m from. So Kate lives in New Jersey, a state I haven’t explored much, but would like to, someday.
S&K: What was your favorite moment in elementary school?
Wow, that goes back! Let’s see--I was horrible at gym. Couldn’t run well so I was picked last for almost every sport team--except volleyball. I could serve like no tomorrow. And in elementary school, little kids can’t volley the ball back at all, so if you could serve well, you could win games. I remember one day I served eleven perfect shots in a row and my team surrounded me and sang “We are the Champions” to me as we left the volleyball court in triumph. That was probably my most memorable experience. :D
Katrina: That sounds lovely. Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?
The chocolatier the better.
Katrina: Our human friends say that too, but Stanley and I can't eat chocolate. Do you have a favorite beverage?
Lots and lots of coffee :D
Stanley: Ugh. Katrina had coffee once - it wasn't pretty. Okay, pretend that you just received news that your book hit the NY Times Best Sellers list! How do you celebrate?
Well, knowing me and my penchant for travel, I’d celebrate by taking a trip somewhere I’ve never been before. Probably Cambodia. That’s next on my bucket list.
S&K: What else would you like us to know about you?
I love horses and the outdoors. Camping, caving, hiking, exploring, love all that stuff. I dream of living in an RV someday and spending all my time traveling and exploring, and writing stories.
S&K: Finally, and most importantly, are you a dog or a cat person?
I am in the Dog Club :D But I have owned a few cats too. Right now, living in a small apartment in Japan, I have neither. But when I can move to some place with more space, I can’t wait to bring a new dog into our family.
Stanley: Katrina has left the room. Thank you, Ms. Bennett.
Stanley: Katrina has left the room. Thank you, Ms. Bennett.
Is @NikkiBennett12 a dog or cat person? Find out that and more in this fun #authorinterview w/ #giveaway ☛ http://t.co/UDbQyeJnMV
— Stanley & Katrina (@StanleyNKatrina) May 14, 2014
"This was one of the most entertaining reads for the whole family we have found in a long time. The characters are very believable, and I am always a sucker for heroes that have to find their way. The reading is very fluid and easily understood by the little kids when read aloud (sounds silly but anyone trying to do this will tell you it's not as easy a thing to achieve as it sounds) and the kids all seem to enjoy the story. The history is easily accessible even without a lot of research or background knowledge. The kids are very motivated to research and learn more on their own because this story has captured their interest. I already have many home learning lessons in mind using this book and have begun developing them with my kids. I think this is a book that will be found in classrooms very soon! Great job! I'm looking forward to more soon!!!" ~ 5 Star Review, Mariah W., Amazon
"Excellent read in and of itself, and provides excellent, character-building source material for reading to youngsters. The characters are well written and realistic, and the storyline is cleverly written and intelligent." ~ 5 Star Review, Alia K., Amazon
"Fantastic read. I loved the characters in this book so much that I re-read to my 9 year old after finishing it. I highly recommend this book for anyone that likes stories about adventure and believing in yourself." ~ 5 Star Review, Keith, Amazon
About the Author: Nikki Bennett
Nikki Bennett is an author and world traveler currently living in Japan. She loves traveling, and incorporates all the culture and folklore she can from the countries she visits into her stories. Nikki has two books out right now. Her first book, FOUR FIENDS is a MG fantasy adventure and her newest book, MUKADE ISLAND is a YA adventure/fantasy (think Lord of the Flies meets LOST, it it was set on a different world!) Find out all about Nikki's books at www.worldofnikki.com
Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Four Fiends Blog Tour Schedule (2014)May 1
Stanley & Katrina (Author Interview)