Author Interview with the awesome Christian Page


Hi Christian! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Sure thing! The Monster Squad is a YA/late Middle-Grade book that follows a group of small-town friends who discover they are heirs to frightening and mysterious powers. There’s quiet and shy Blaine Davis who is the invisible woman reborn; the jock, Daschle Gaunt, who has the strength and speed of the wolf man; the mystery man, Drake Harker, who has the mind control powers of the vampire; and the brain, Shelley Merry, who is the heir to a terrible and fierce monster. The kids must learn to master their powers while grappling with a group of nasties led by the nefarious Victor von Frankenstein who threaten their town, families and themselves in a race against time. The book combines the action and adventure of a popcorn sci-fi movie, introduces readers to the rich cannon of sci-fi, gothic and horror movie characters with a new and fresh modern spin, and breaks up the action with a ton of fun pop culture references and one liners to make sure readers of all ages get a breather and not take the action too seriously.
We have a trailer posted on You Tube that gives a quick 60 second run thru of the high points of the story. You can check it out here.
You can also read a “look inside” preview on Amazon by clicking here

What inspired you to write it?

My kids, 7 and 9, love to read and we have kept the tradition of bed time stories going since they were babies. Both of them love good Middle Grade and YA books like Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowle, His Dark Materials and Harry Potter and after reading several with them I thought it would be fun to make up my own story. I wanted to write something my younger son would find fun and fast paced with the strong female characters my older daughter could relate to… The Monster Squad was the result of that inspiration!

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
The cover is inspired by one of the signature scenes in the book where the kids have their first major battle with Dr. Victor von Frankenstein and his terrible Monster. It’s a cool scene that takes place on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere. All hope seems lost as the unstoppable Monster bears down on them when suddenly a mysterious fog appears. I would tell you more but there are too many spoilers ☺

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Ooo… I am not super savvy on the young actor scene so that is tough for me. I think Dash could be played by a young River Phoenix-type. Drake is a bit more dark and mysterious – Skandar Keynes looks like the right look (I found that on Bing!). Zendaya Coleman for Shelley is a good match. Maybe Hailee Steinfeld for Blaine (she was fantastic in True Grit and has that good combination of iron and accessibility). Angelina Jolie for Mina would be a great match – dark, mysterious, beautiful, strong. Frankenstein? I think Christopher Walken is awesome and would capture the right mix of creepy and off-kilter.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

I wanted to write something that would appeal to my kids. Both are voracious readers and love books from folks like Shannon Hale, Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, and, of course, JK Rowling so those were my aspirational targets. While the series is geared toward 5th thru 8th grade reading levels I also wanted to inject it with plenty of humor and references that adults reading it to their kids (or for their own enjoyment) would get a kick out of. So if you are fans of Spielberg, Kripke, Zemeckis, Abrams or Reitmann hopefully you will see a little of their influences in the humor and action sequences as well.

What made you want to become an author?
I’ve wanted to be an author all my life. I first started to write back when I was a kid – choose your own adventure, D&D style stuff. I wrote manuscripts for a couple books (my favorite: The Adventures of Maury Slovack) but didn’t take anything to the finish line. End of the day, I get a kick out of dreaming up a world and cast of characters and telling stories. Being an author allows you to get those stories out of your head and share with a broader audience that, if you are fortunate, enjoys it and tells their friends about it.

How do you come up with character names?
Most of the names fall into one of two camps: 1) names that were inspired by Gothic literature or the Horror Movie cannon (Mina Harker, Shelley Merry, Ian van Helsing, Edgewick Stoker, Lon Cheney); or 2) names that I like that my wife wouldn’t let us name our kids (Dash, in particular!).

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
I really liked Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I don’t think it was the best written of her books and was a little loose in the outline, but JK Rowling pivoted genres in that one from a Middle-Grade, safer paced story to a harder YA writing that was more gripping and aged-up. That journey she took her characters on was amazing and the Goblet of Fire really thru gas on the fire of a great story.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Wow, lots. I love great story tellers and aspire to tell stories as well as they do. I wrote about several in some of the prior questions but I think Terry Brooks, JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Brad Sanderson - - - all of them tell awesome stories that really grip their readers and bring their characters to life. Movie and Television artists also inspire me – particularly in dialogue and pacing. Spielberg, Abrams, Kripke, Zemeckis, even Jerry Bruckheimer… they all do such a fantastic job with pacing and accessibility.

Where is your favourite place to write?
My kitchen – it’s nice to just hang out and listen to music and take in my home. My day job keeps me very busy with travel and long hours so it is nice to just be home and have life happen around me for a few hours while I write. I also can share fun lines or scenes as I go with my wife and kids which when you are in the creative moment is fun to get some real time feedback and sharing going.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Not a book but a play… A Few Good Men was such a great movie – Aaron Sorkin is amazing at character dialogue and drawing outstanding performances from the actors who deliver them. “I want the truth… You can’t handle the truth!” “Walk softly and carry an armored tank division, I always say” “I'm sorry, I keep forgetting. You were sick the day they taught law at law school!” Wow! There are literally two dozen lines in that single movie that are classics.

Name two of your favourite authors.Named quite a few already ☺ Terry Brooks, because he got me into reading. Rick Riordan, because reading his books to my son and daughter inspired me to write some of my own.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
I’d take the attendees from the Council of Nicea back in the 400’s and get their take on what was chosen to be kept and what was chosen to not be included in the final, modern version of the New Testament. That would be fascinating to understand the inside story on how that went down for the most read book in the known universe. I’d also love to have a dinner party with William Shakespeare and see how many different authors actually show up (since the rumors are he was a pen name for one or more authors from the time).

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
My pen name is based on my mother’s maiden name.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
photo credit: gdcgraphics via photopin cc
Ray Liotta – he looks (a little) like me and I think he conveys a similar attitude that I do in real life (a guy you could have a beer with but with a deeper story inside / publicly accessible with a deep private interior).

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
Seattle is the most literate city in the United States. It has more book stores and libraries per capita than anywhere in the country along with the most library card-holders of any city.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?

A future book I’m writing is called The Unseen… it is still in the early concept and outlining stage but I can already tell it will be darker and aged up vs. The Monster Squad – it will be truly YA whereas the Monster Squad is more a bridge audience for tweens and early teens. It will still feature humor and action but the writing will have an older appeal to it - - - closer to Buffy The Vampire Slayer than the Monster Squad which is probably a bit more Goonies. The story is about a 17 year old girl, Willow Freeman, who the reader discovers has died on page 1 but her story and that of the twin sister she never knew is just beginning. While I really like the characters, world and story of the Monster Squad (especially Kevin Wallis, my favorite side kick in the book), I think getting a bit darker will be fun and The Unseen will have a definite spooky vibe and older edge to it.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.I want to visit every continent, sub-continent and region on Earth. So far I have knocked off North America, South America, Europe, Asia, China, South East Asia, Australia, Japan, Middle East… I had to fill out a custom’s form a few weeks ago and think I have visited somewhere around 25-30 countries in the last 5 years alone and maybe 30-40 total in my life. I’m still working on Africa and Antarctica, though!

Favourite myth / fairytale?
I love the Santa Claus story. I maybe have another year or two where my kids will be believers (as it is I think they are just playing along to get more gifts for Christmas!). But I love the fact our entire culture bends itself to help kids believe in magic one time per year. That is really a special, special thing. That said, I loathe the Easter Bunny – it has nothing to do with the holiday (Easter is actually a very sober, important holiday) and the whole concept of a magic bunny that leaves chocolate eggs hidden in your house is a tough one to credibly explain to an 8 year old. It’s the weak link on Santa! Because once the kids figure out the Bunny (or his evil cohort in crime the equally dodgy Tooth Fairy) than it is just a matter of time before the dominoes fall on friendly, old Saint Nick…

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A scientist. I wanted to build things, explore and invent. I thought scientists were the bomb! And then my jerk, older brother told me most scientists didn’t make a lot of money… so I switched to wanting to be a doctor (a scientist who delivers the benjamins…). In my real job, I run an engineering team so I ended up pretty close to my dream.

Thanks so much for giving me the chance to meet your readers and ramble on about my story! I hope you all consider it. If you are interested in learning more or picking it up, the book is available on, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and soon Apple iBooks and should be available in local bookstores soon. Its early days so I need as many early, passionate and dedicated readers as possible. If you do get a chance to look at it or buy it, thank you so much! If you get a chance, please leave your feedback on one of the sites above. I check them out religiously for reviews and would love to see what you think. So far, it’s mostly been friends and family leaving warm thoughts but we have about 40-50 professional and enthusiast reviews in the pipeline for the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well!
Thanks for being here, Chris! It's been a pleasure having you on my blog.

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