Book Nerd Guest Post
Jordan’s research and travel opportunities have taken him to almost fifty countries— from Cambodia’s ancient palaces, to Tunisia’s Roman citadels, to Guatemala’s Mayan heartland and the voodoo villages of Benin.
Jordan now works as Senior Specialist at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Helives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.
“What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on THE WINTER OF THE WARRIOR QUEEN?
As a kid, my chief hobby was reading. When I wasn’t at school or sports practice, or at a movie with friends, I was stretched out on the floor of my bedroom, a book propped up in front of me.
I read a fair amount of non-fiction: books on history held my attention, or “non-fiction” books on ghosts. But mostly it was a novel that would keep me awake deep into the nights, or had me linger at the breakfast table, making me rush for school.
Now that I write for kids, I’ve thought a lot about which of those books have come to influence me as a writer. The following authors, especially, come to mind:
The Tintin books are pure adventure: each of them colorful, thrilling, and well-plotted. While some are problematic from a modern point of view (especially in terms of race), they are set all over the world, and do introduce readers to cultures that they might not have been familiar with. I hope to do the same with the Samantha Sutton books, though--I hope--with much more sensitivity and nuance.
My favorite of Bellairs’ works starred the preteen, bookish Jonny Dixon and his eccentric professor neighbor, battling some terrible supernatural force. Bellairs did not invent this set-up, but he nailed it. Some of Samantha’s relationship with her professor uncle may have been influenced by him.
Sleator wrote smart, smart books, aimed at kids. His mind-bending, creepy, and hilarious books were the perfect introduction to science fiction, and never underestimated his readers. I try to do the same: avoiding talking down to my mostly younger audience and giving them the credit they deserve.
"Suspenseful."--Time for Kids
A secret society, a lost fortress, a precious artifact only Samantha Sutton can protect.
Twelve-year-old Samantha Sutton isn't sure she wants to go to England with her Uncle Jay, a brilliant, risk-taking archeologist. But the trip seems safe enough--a routine excavation in Cambridge--and Samantha has always had a love for the past.
At first the project seems unremarkable--just a survey to clear the way for a massive theme park. But everything changes when Sam uncovers something extraordinary. Are the local legends true? Is this the site of the ancient fortress belonging to Queen Boudica, the warrior queen? What treasures might be found?
When others begin to learn of her findings, Samantha senses she is in danger. Can any of her friends be trusted? Samantha will need to solve the mystery of the site in order to protect herself and let the world know of her remarkable discovery.