The Dungeoneers - Happy Book Birthday!

It's a glorious day for a party!

Well, actually, it's a bit yucky and muggy at my house this morning. Still, that makes it the PERFECT day to celebrate a book birthday. Bookstores are generally air conditioned, you know?

John David Anderson is the kind of author I love, my students love, and my sons love.

He writes about superheroes - Sidekicked.
He writes about villains (or are they?) - Minion.

His latest outing will appeal to the dungeon crawlers among us. Are your students are interested in tabletop or video games where you can "pick a class"? Do you sometimes hear them chatting about "whacking" things or "picking locks"? Harness that energy and hand them this book.

To celebrate this book birthday, I bring you this cute little Q&A that Anderson did for my fifth grade son. Check out his official Blog Tour stop at the Melange as well, if you are interested in hearing what rogues need and getting a little glimpse at the plot of this adventurous tale..

What was your favorite memory from early childhood?

One thing I remember is my mother taking me to the Target or Kmart on pay day--twice a month--to pick out a Star Wars figure. I would dream about it the night before, imagining the rows upon rows of notoriously inflexible guys, some with lightsabers literally implanted in their arms. Of course we could only afford to get one, a decision I agonized over, holding several in hand, debating the pros and cons of a Greedo versus a Lando, Hoth Han or Bespin. Of course all the ones I didn't get that day were stashed elsewhere in the store, hidden behind bars of soap or packages of underwear so other kids couldn't buy them--hoping to return in two weeks to find my buried stash. It never worked. Turns out people buy underwear and soap too.

How do you get ideas for books?

Ideas for books are everywhere. My mother's a good place to start. She's wonderfully kooky. And books. And movies. And childhood memories. And mythology. And something random you see on the Internet. Ideas are not the problem. The problem is execution--taking an idea and crafting it into a story, discovering the characters, encountering the themes, and--on a good day--maybe even coming up with a plot.

So, really, do you like chocolate? What's your favorite kind of chocolate?

Love it, in fact. I used to be a salty guy--potato chips were the initial cause of my love handles. But in the past decade I have developed an unfortunate sweet tooth. And unfortunately, the more expensive the chocolate, usually the better (personal recommendation: Trader's Joe's Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Caramels). Thankfully a Dove or some Peanut M&Ms can cure a craving pretty fast too.

Who is your favorite superhero?

I like superheroes who are flawed--I find the closer they get to general human depravity, the easier it is for me to relate to them. For that reason, I like The Tick best. Nigh invulnerable, yes. Super strong. Infallible sense of right and wrong. But also goofy. And clumsy. And a little daft sometimes. Like me.

How do you plan out your stories? Do you know what's going to happen before you write?

Actually, no. I'm kind of an organic writer--plant the seed and watch it grow. Writing for me is an act of everyday discovery, solving the mystery. It wouldn't be satisfying for me otherwise. I want to be surprised by my own characters. I want to put the pieces of the puzzle together in the moment and then step back and see what the picture looks like at the end (and then go back and completely rearrange the puzzle anyway). Plus I'm way too lazy to plan anything out and outlines scare me. Roman numerals? Seriously?

What kinds of games do you like?

I'm a bit of a board game aficionado. Our game closet has over a hundred games in it, but my personal favorites are Settlers of Catan, Carcasonne, and Dominion. I try to avoid games that rely too heavily on luck--I'm lucky enough to be able to do what I do for a living. I don't play many video games, though I do like to let my son cream me at Mario Kart from time to time. Stupid red turtle shells.

Thanks again for the fun answers, and best of luck as this latest title hits the shelves!

Author Info 
John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked and Minion. A dedicated root beer connoisseur in his spare time, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis. You can visit him online at

Links for John David Anderson: 
Links for Walden Pond Press:


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