What was the inspiration behind this series?
I’m fascinated by the history of theatre and I thought it would be interesting to base a story around a troupe of strolling players in a medieval setting. I was also inspired by the legend of Robin Hood. My hero would stand up and fight for the downtrodden people in an unjust society, and no matter how bad the situation became, he would never admit defeat. The final strand was that I wanted a hero who would be fun to write. I made my hero, Keth, a boy who was an energetic, impulsive risk-taker with a sharp wit and a flair for getting into trouble.Can they be read out of order or as stand-alones?
Although the books can be read as stand-alones, I think it is more enjoyable to read them in order. The characters and their relationships between each other grow and develop over the series of books and it is fun to take that journey with them.Which character has spoken to you the most?
The books are written in the first person and I feel a strong connection with my hero, Keth. I tend to be thoughtful and cautious whereas Keth is an impulsive risk-taker, and I find it exhilarating to experience the world through his eyes. I admire his resilience. He makes mistakes and he has setbacks, but he never gives in.What is one of your favorite scenes?
I can’t tell you my favorite scene in Dragon’s Fool because it would give away a big chunk of the story in advance. My favorite scene in the quartet happens early in Apprentice Fool, book one of the series, when Keth hides from the Prince’s guards in a costume hamper and is discovered on stage by Ma’s troupe of traveling players. The scene is funny but with an edge of danger, and it develops in an unexpected way.What is so appealing about writing fantasy for middle grade readers?
Writing fantasy lets me give free-rein to my imagination. The stories can be inventive, humorous and playful, while at the same time they can tackle big, important issues. Children at middle grade age are full of potential, and it’s exciting to write stories about characters that are discovering who they are in the world.Why do middle grade readers gravitate to this genre?
It’s a wonderful feeling having vivid new worlds open up inside your head. Also, the challenges that characters face of taking responsibility, making difficult choices and understanding their world are played out in dramatic life and death situations, but they mirror those challenges that the reader faces in their own lifeWhat were some of your favorite books in the middle grade years?
My favorite books were Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit and ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The feeling of having such a richly imagined new world open up inside my head was exhilarating. I loved all of Roald Dahl’s children’s books, especially ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. My favorite series was the ‘Just William’ books by Richmal Crompton. I liked the way that William, with the best intentions in the world, always managed to get himself into trouble, and I think a little of that has rubbed off onto my hero Keth.On what projects are you currently working?
I’ve begun writing a series of scary books set in our contemporary world. One challenge with a scary story is choosing the right level of terror. Where should my story sit on a scale of ‘mild tingle of fear while reading’ to ‘I’m not going to switch off my bedroom light for the next three years’?What advice do you have for young, aspiring writers?
Write because you love it. The act of writing should be its own reward. Don’t get too hung up about sales and critical recognition.While you should work hard to improve your writing skills, you should take at least ten minutes every day to write for pleasure, keeping your pen moving or your fingers tapping, and not judging the quality of what you write.
I’m writing a series of posts on my website entitled ‘Writing for Fun’ where I explore these ideas.What can we find you doing when not writing?
I enjoy watching plays and movies; any form of storytelling draws me in. I like to travel, especially long distance train journeys. The planning is almost as much fun as the trip.What may readers be surprised to learn about you?
My first love was numbers rather than words and I have a degree in mathematics. In the back of my mind I have an idea for a middle-grade book that weaves mathematical concepts into the story.Is there anything else you would like to add?
Apprentice Fool, the first book in the series, is available free and is a great way to get into the series.Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you for inviting me, Andi.
by Aldred Chase
Keth has become the most powerful person in the city of Russett. He is both Prince Dawyn's fool and his most trusted adviser. The secret of Keth's success is listening to the tart, sour comments that the turnip on the end of his fool's stick pours into his mind, which no one else can hear.
When an earthquake strikes Russett, it is only the first in a series of disasters to devastate the city. Superstitious folk say that these are signs that a dragon is coming and only the golden prince of legend can save them. Keth's turnip tells him that these are only natural events and dragons don't exist, but he can use peoples' fears to his own advantage.
In the ruined city, Keth has to decide who he will trust and what he will believe. The fate of his friends and the survival of the land depend on the choices he makes.
Dragon's Fool is book four in the Nobody's Fool Quartet, the gripping climax to a tale of comedy and adventure.
Read an excerpt:
The roar of the water was now deafening. It had wiped out all the other sounds. Urchin and Grub had got hold of Wilbert’s arms and Smiley and Bead were clinging to them to stop them toppling over, but Wilbert was too heavy for them to drag up. Wilbert’s foot pushed down against my shoulder but he didn’t have the strength to boost himself up. My last view before the water engulfed me was going to be of Wilbert’s bum.
I had an idea. I raised my turnip stick. I wedged the turnip head against Wilbert’s backside. I shoved hard. Wilbert shot up. The others hauled him on to the roof tiles. I climbed up after him.
“I hate you,” Turnip said inside my head. “I’m glad you’re going to drown.”
I scrambled onto the corner of the roof. Urchin, Grub and Smiley were crawling up to the ridge of the roof. Wilbert was lying, gasping like a stranded fish and clutching his bum. Bead was kneeling over him, checking he was okay.
From up here, I had a much better view of the wave than I wanted. A great wall of water swept towards us with terrible purpose. It ripped up the wooden pier beyond the stone quay and tossed the timbers high in the air. It blasted over the top of the city wall and collapsed the buildings on the other side as though they were made of paper.
For readers who would like to begin the series from the beginning, Apprentice Fool, book one of the Nobody’s Fool Quartet, is available free at Amazon in the USA, Canada, and UK, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo and Barnes and Noble.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Aldred Chase’s first experience of fantasy fiction was reading ‘The Hobbit’ at school, and he has been hooked on the genre ever since. His favorite places for writing are cafes and park benches, but he does most of his work sitting at his desk. His best ideas come to him when he is travelling by train or walking by the sea. Aldred has just released Dragon’s Fool, the final installment of the Nobody’s Fool Quartet, a tale of adventure and comedy with some scary bits, aimed at children age 9 to 12. He vacated his desk to give his brain and keyboard a rest, but during a recent train ride the idea for his next novel arrived, and the desk is calling him back.
Aldred’s website: http://www.aldredchase.com
Aldred on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aldred.chase
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