Friday, November 30, 2018

Dan Elish Interview - The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons

Photo Content from Dan Elish

Dan Elish is the author of nine novels, including The School for the Insanely Gifted, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, and Born Too Short: Confessions of an 8th Grade Basket Case (Simon & Schuster), which was named a New York Public Library "Book for the Teenage" and a "Young Adult Choice for the International Reading Association.”

Dan co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical 13with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, which premiered on Broadway in 2008 and is slated to be a movie by CBS Films. Dan is also a TV writer who has worked on shows such as Cyberchase (PBS) and Jo-Jo’s Circus (Disney). Dan has received fellowships and scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences and is represented by Matt Bialer at Greenburger Associates. He lives in New York with his wife and children.

Age Range: 9 - 12 years
Grade Level: 4 - 7
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Vesuvian Books (August 7, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1944109544
ISBN-13: 978-1944109547


"…a fast-paced, entertaining story with appealing characters, a healthy dose of action, and a dash of humor." ―Publishers Weekly

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Opening a good book is one of life’s great pleasures. There is a sense of escape and of wonder when engrossed in a great story. I think it’s important for everyone to get out of their own head for a while every day and into someone else’s imagination.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
My happiest childhood memory was going to very rural summer camp in Vermont. I went for 9 seasons and learned how to ride horses, swim and generally run free. I fell asleep most nights watching a fire in the fireplace. Very cool. I recommend it for any kid.

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
My favorite subject was math, maybe because that’s what I was best at. My second favorite subject was most definitely English. I was a big reader as a kid. I still remember bringing home THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN and reading it in one sitting on my bed.

What made you decide to write books for children?
In a way it was a fluke. You see, I also write musicals. (I wrote the book for the Broadway musical “13”). After college, I moved to New York City, my hometown, to pursue that. But one day when I was twenty-four years old, I spied a copy of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY on my shelf. I picked it up and read it in an afternoon. By the time I was finished, I had decided that I wanted to try and write something like it. That led to my first book, THE WORLDWIDE DESSERT CONTEST, which was published in 1988.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first book is called THE WORLDWIDE DESSERT CONTEST and it’s still one of my favorites. When I started working on it I thought it would take about three months to write. I was wrong! It took close to two years. The plot kept changing on me and the characters grew in ways I never expected. It’s a fun story about John Applefeller’s burning desire to win the annual Worldwide Dessert Contest held every year in his hometown of Appleton. I started writing the book just before I turned twenty-five and it was published when I was twenty-seven.

What was the most memorable toy you played with from when you were little?
There were so many. I loved jigsaw puzzles. In a way, putting together the different pieces of a long story is like doing a big jigsaw puzzle, trying to get every scene and character to fit together perfectly.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The greatest thing I learned in school was the sense of confidence instilled in me by some of my teachers – a feeling that I could give anything a shot. That helped a lot (and still does) when I’m trying to write something new.

In your new book; THE ROYAL ORDER OF FIGHTING DRAGONS, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
THE ROYAL ORDER OF FIGHTING DRAGONS is a funny adventure story about a boy named Ike Hollingsberry who discovers that he (and his friends) are the leaders of the Royal Order of Fighting Dragons, a society that dates back to the days of King Arthur. Their assignment? Save New York City from a mad real-estate developer named Theodore Opal. I had a blast writing this one – as usual it took a LONG time – but I’m very pleased with the result. It’s a romp starring six quirky kids that has lots of humor and heart. Check it out!

For those who are unfamiliar with Ike Rupert Hollingsberry, how would you introduce him?
Ike is a good, solid kid who doesn’t realize just how heroic he can be. In the beginning of the book he lives in his famous dad’s shadow. By the end, he’s the courageous leader of the Royal Order of Fighting Dragons and has saved New York City from Theodore Opal (the bad guy) and a swarm of giant, killer locusts.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d like to introduce Ike Hollingsberry to Harry Potter. I think that together Ike and Harry could make quite a fighting team. The world could use them!

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Read a lot! If you want to write, too, go for it. Don’t be shy. Just remember that no good story is written on one draft. It takes lots of rewriting. Don’t be scared to show your work to teachers, parents and friends to get advice. Then, if you are inspired, rewrite the story to make it better.

  • CAPTAIN B. ROLLIE RAGOON FROM THE WORLDWIDE DESSERT CONTEST. He’s a genius dessert chef who speaks only in rhymes.
  • WHITNEY FROM JASON AND THE BASEBALL BEAR is a gentle polar bear who also happens to be a baseball expert.
  • SALLY FROM THE GREAT SQUIRREL UPRISING is a ten year old girl who is able to communicate with the squirrels and pigeons who have taken over Central Park in New York City.
  • JANICE CLAYTOOTH FROM THE ATTACK OF THE FROZEN WOODCHUCKS has built a detachable flying saucer in the top floor of her family’s brownstone.
  • HARKIN THUNKENREISER {KNOWN AS "THE THUNK") FROM THE SCHOOL FOR THE INSANELY GIFTED is a long-haired kid, mechanical genius who has built a flying car out of pieces of New York City subway cars, buses and taxi cabs.
  • JOHN APPLEFELLER FROM THE WORLDWIDE DESSERT CONTEST has come in last place every single year he has entered the contest – because his apple desserts always change into something else at the last second.
  • DAPHNA WHISPERS FROM THE SCHOOL FOR THE INSANELY GIFTED is a musical genius who is writing a symphony. She’s also a cool kid who’s trying to find out what happened to her mom when she disappeared.
  • SCRUFF THE IRASCIBLE SQUIRREL FROM THE GREAT SQUIRREL UPRISING is the angry rodent who starts the uprising by commanding other squirrels to block off roads into Central Park.
  • ELMIRA HAND FROM THE ROYAL ORDER OF FIGHTING DRAGONS is an expert in dragons. She has her own blog called “”
  • JIMMY WEATHERS IS FROM THE ATTACK OF THE FROZEN WOODCHUCKS. When Jimmy’s dad is kidnapped by a gang of giant alien frozen woodchucks, Jimmy vows to get him back!
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
In all seriousness, I think I’ll stick with my own – the 60’s and 70’s. Life wasn’t perfect but I did have Roald Dahl, skateboards, Schwinn bicycles, J.R.R. Tolkien, summer camp and the Beatles.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
If I’m working on something, I think about what comes next in the story. Sometimes a good night’s sleep can jog the brain and open up new possibilities.

What is your greatest adventure?
My greatest adventure is the next one. Or I could say that my greatest adventure is whatever story I’m going to write next.

What was your favorite childhood television program?
My favorite TV show was probably Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. Check it out on youtube. Funny, silly stuff!

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
My parents divorced when I was 13 which was obviously upsetting. I don’t know if it totally changed the way I think but it remains the most important dramatic moment in my young life.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?
I’m going to answer this way. My family moved to New York City when I was 10. There was a librarian on 79th Street who got to know me. Every week I’d go to the library and she would walk around the room, picking books for me. She never chose a bad one. I remember liking every one of them. After a week or two, I’d return the books and she would load me up again with a new pile. I wish I knew her name so I could thank her today. :)
Born to... Fight?

Ike Rupert Hollingsberry is haunted by the past because complete strangers won’t let him forget that his famous father died on the set of The Fighting Dragons, a cult favorite that still has people talking. But when he’s attacked by a large locust, like the one that killed his dad, Ike is helped by the geekiest nerd of all, Elmira Hand. Killing the giant locust is only the beginning of the surprises in store for Ike as he is whisked away from New York City to an isolated Florida compound to assume his role as the next in line to lead the Royal Order of Fighting Dragons—that are NOT supposed to exist—and learns his dad’s death was a cover-up for a far greater purpose…

This book was one of the best books I've ever read. All the characters had great personalities. I was surprised that Ike got to meet his fathers dragon. My favorite dragon was Detroit.

Detroit was very loyal to Ike and the order. Thank you Dan Elish for making one of the best books I've ever read. I can't wait to read more books from you. You're truly an amazing author! I loved this book a lot! I'm excited to read more books from you. This book was so good to read!

Here are Jordan's written reviews as he reads per chapter. Just click the picture to enlarge. ***WARNING** Review Contains SPOILERS. Do NOT click the pictures if you do not wish to be Spoiled.

The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish - Chapter one through five.

The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish - Chapter one through through thirteen.

The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish - Chapter fourteen through nineteen.

The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish - Chapter twenty through twenty-seven.

The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish - Chapter twenty-eight though thirty two.

You can purchase The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you DAN ELSISH for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Signed Copy of THE ROYAL ORDER OF FIGHTING DRAGONS by Dan Elish. 
Winner will receive a $25 Dollar PayPal/Amazon Gift Card.

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  1. My favourite thing to do on a Saturday night is the laundry and reading a new novel.

  2. We love to watch a movie with the kids.