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Two Interviews for The Secret Sea

The Secret Sea coverTwo interviews have been posted for The Secret Sea, so I figured I’d point ’em out to you…

First up is SciFiChick.com, where I say stuff like:

It’s about family and friendship and what survives death and how far you’d be willing to go to save someone you love…and what could make you not save them.

Then we have the Teen Librarian Toolbox, where I say stuff like:

…their worst nightmare is a super-smart, fiercely independent 12-year-old girl!

Check ’em out!

SLJ on The Secret Sea

The Secret Sea coverJust in time for launch day, School Library Journal offers up its take on The Secret Sea! (Once again, I’ve redacted a bit for spoiler purposes. Emphasis mine.)

Terrifying visions of subway stations flooded by ocean water. A somnambulistic journey to the World Trade Center. Things are definitely getting weirder by the day for Zak Killian, and that’s before he uncovers the secret of [SPOILER]. That reveal leads Zak and his best friends Khalid and Moira into an alternate universe where Zak can [SPOILER]. Lyga creates a compelling and impressively fleshed out alternate universe; sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian elements feature throughout, from mysterious wild magic to the glowing electroleum power source. A subplot involving the brutal repression of women by means of a legal system very similar to our own slavery adds depth to the comparison of the two worlds. Though upper–middle grade through young adult readers will appreciate these elements, the narrative’s success ultimately relies on its compelling adventures and character development. However, it is somewhat disappointing that readers have to wait roughly about 100 pages to cross into the alternate universe proper. VERDICT Though it might start a little slow some for some, this work ultimately delivers the sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian goods and will draw in middle schoolers with its impressive world-building. A strong choice for many young adult and upper–middle grade collections.

The Secret Sea in PW

PW logoThe folks at Publishers Weekly have chimed in on The Secret Sea…and it seems like they dig it! Their review is below…sort of.

I say “sort of” because I’ve redacted a little bit of it for spoiler reasons. No offense meant to PW — I just feel strongly about that sort of thing. 🙂

Anyway, here it (mostly) is:

The Secret Sea cover

When 12-year-old Zak Killian starts dreaming of boats and having visions of flooded Manhattan subways that no one else can see, he begins to think that the voice he keeps hearing in his head might not be his imagination. In a thrilling standalone adventure from Lyga (I Hunt Killers), Zak learns that his longstanding heart condition is [SPOILER!] Now Zak [SPOILER!]and his best friends Khalid and Moira venture into a parallel universe. Lyga used the real-life mystery of a ship under Ground Zero as a spark for the story, and an endnote gives more information and context to the discovery. Readers will love the fast-paced action and terrifying details of the alternate timeline Zak and friends find themselves in, and the satisfying conclusion will leave them considering questions of identity and family.

The Secret Sea’s Cover Secrets!

This is the cover to The Secret Sea, complete with its swanky blurb from R.L. Stine…Secret Sea front cover

And here’s the back cover, complete with its sweet blurb from Gordon Korman…Secret Sea back cover

And here’s the inside front flap, with more artwork that I did not know would exist!

Secret Sea flap

I am so psyched because while I love main character Zak and his portrayal on the cover, his best pals Khalid and Moira are only slightly less “main” than he is. So it’s beyond awesome that they get some love, too. Better yet, the folks at Feiwel & Friends kept this little tidbit from me, so it was a nice surprise when my first author copy arrived the other day!

(Sorry, I Hunt Killers fans — nothing exotic on the case cover!)

Stories I Never Told: The Return of Superman

So, now this is happening.

Superman is being replaced…by the Superman of another reality.

Well, damn! I was gonna do that years ago!

See, when John Byrne rebooted Superman in 1986’s famous Man of Steel mini-series, I wasn’t a happy camper. I enjoyed Byrne’s seminal work on Fantastic Four, but I was also a big fan of what he referred to as “barnacles” on the legend of Superman — stuff like Krypto, the Bottle  City of Kandor, etc. To be sure, Byrne (and, of course, DC Comics) had good reasons for the revamp, but to a kid who loved those barnacles something fierce, 1986 was the year Superman went away and was replaced by someone who looked a lot like him.

Years later, I had a notion that if I got the chance, I would tell a story in which Byrne’s Superman is killed by a villain…and the original, pre-Crisis Superman returns from…somewhere to take up the mantle. Pretty simple on the face of it, I suppose.

With the news that DC is doing something similar (though in their case, replacing the New52 version with the Byrne version!), I dug up some old notes on that story idea. Here’s a bit of what I wrote up:

Outside Lois Lane’s apartment building, Clark Kent stood in a phone booth. “Lois? Just call me when you get in, okay?”

He hung up. Leaving the booth, he stood out on the street for a moment. Dressed in a blue double-breasted suit with a blue and red striped tie and horn-rimmed glasses, he was the very picture of the disinterested and uninteresting bystander. With a frown, he gazed up at the floor on which Lois lived. He watched for a moment or two, then, with a deeper frown, shook his head and walked away. He caught a bus on the corner and took it all the way to 344 Clinton Street.

The doorman blinked twice as he held the door open for Clark.

“Something wrong, Frank?” Kent asked. “Uh, no, Mister Kent.” The doorman scratched his head. “You feelin’ okay?”

“As well as I can, under the circumstances.” Kent cocked his head. “Why?”

Frank shrugged. “If you don’t mind my saying so… You look a little peaked. Like you haven’t been eating well.”

“Oh?” Clark thought for a moment. “Well, I haven’t really eaten since Superman died. We grew up together, you know.”

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

Clark grimaced. “Well, okay. Thanks, Frank. I’ll try to look out for myself.”

“Sure thing, Mister Kent.” Frank waved as Clark headed into the lobby. “Oh, and I like your new glasses!” the doorman called.

Clark hesitated, considered turning back, but then kept going to the elevator. Self-consciously, he raised one hand to his glasses. New?

Once back in the apartment, he took the time to do what he had been unable to do before due to time constraints — he searched. He examined the entire flat carefully, pulling open drawers, drawing back curtains, probing in closets. What he found disturbed and baffled him. He reclined in an easy chair in the living room, absently fiddling with his glasses. When he realized what he was doing, he removed them and put them on the end table. Then, feet propped up on the ottoman, tie loosened, fingers steepled at his lips, he settled into a reflective disposition.

Where had the football trophies come from? Surely he hadn’t been a football star in high school—that was impossible. And the clothing was far too flashy, trendy, and noticeable for a mild-mannered reporter. Furthermore, the press credentials listed only the Daily Planet, with no mention of WGBS and the broadcaster’s anchor position.

Most frightening of all, though, was the personal address book, which listed a “Pete and Lana Ross” in Smallville and “Ma and Pa.”

Pete married to Lana? His parents alive?

What was going on here?