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For a bit of fun, here are answers to questions about Sean Yeager Adventures raised by readers over the past year:
Q: Why do you write the Sean Yeager stories from multiple perspectives?
– To keep things interesting. To keep the stories fast moving and show more of the characters. From the readers’ feedback we’ve received, most readers enjoy seeing the bad guys and the good guys in action. We also seek to write movies on the page, because it keeps things fresh and different. The monomyth / hero’s journey has been done so many times, we decided on a fresh approach.
Q: Is Brigadier Cuthbertson a reference to Dr Who and are you influenced by the Dr Who series?
– Not really, no. The Brigadier is an affectionate nod to Dr Who which we have watched over the years. It is also a well established military rank in the UK. However, the Brigadier is far from the focus of the stories as becomes clear from book one. Sean Yeager is an original story and we’ve yet to come across a similar series. Much as we enjoy Dr Who, SYA does not feature time travel or daleks.
Q: Why don’t we find out more about Sean Yeager in the first book?
– We’ve taken on board that some readers wanted to know more about Sean (and other characters) so we’ve added a little more about them in the enhanced, reissued books now on sale. Having said that, the idea of the SYA books is that you discover more about Sean and Emily as they discover more about themselves and their place in the world. We realise that some readers prefer character focused books, which are themselves a genre. However, SYAs are action books and progress at pace. As the series develops, more details about the main characters are revealed – just as in real life when you get to know someone over time.
Q: Why do the bad guys steal Sean Yeager’s DNA in book one?
– Without giving away too much – because of who Sean Yeager is. The series reveals answers to all the key puzzles and mysteries as the stories progress. Imagine someone wanted to clone you – why would they do that? And how would you feel about it? Remember, to begin with Sean just wants his stolen belongings back.
Q: Why is Deveraux so evil?
– Darius Deveraux’s character has been shaped by his ambitions and his master. As you read the series it will become clear why he behaves the way he does. Without giving away too much from later books, let’s just say – he’s not evil just for the sake of it.
Q: Why are Sean and Emily’s families living together at Kimbleton Hall?
– Because they have a lot in common, including their guardian. As the series progresses it becomes clear why Sean and Emily are looked after by the Foundation.
Q: What is the Foundation and what are they doing?
– The Foundation for International Technology is run by the Founder – Cassius Olandis – and others. As the series progresses their origins and mission are explained. They have been around for quite a long time.
Q: What do other readers think about the books?
– It’s always a thrill to hear about readers enjoying the characters and stories in SYAs and we’re often asked when the next one is coming out. Most encouraging of all, SYA books have been favourably compared by readers with highly successful series such as Percy Jackson, Alex Rider, and Artemis Fowl. Of course, some readers prefer more grown up books, which is fine with us, especially when those readers are adults and older teens (LOL). Side note – SYA’s are written for ages 8 to 14. If you are an adult, please buy a SYA book for a young reader. If you want a Young Adult book, please buy one. SYA’s are substantial stories for younger readers.
Q: Did you work out the back story and answers to the SYA mysteries before you wrote the books? And does the reader find out answers about everything that’s going on?
– Yes, pretty much. We worked out a lot of back story before starting each book and in fact before even starting the series. Rather than ‘telling’ everything up front, we invite the reader to figure things out for themselves, to guess what is happening and discover answers as the series progresses. All the big questions are answered in the series, that is a promise! However, all is not as it seems, even in book one. As a writing team, we dislike exposition – which is having a character or narrator explain the whole plot – like in James Bond films. Also the plot line running through the series is pretty deep, for each character and the various factions. So instead, we drip feed the bigger story book by book. There is a large back story and ‘expanded universe’ yet to be written in bookform, which informs the series.
Q: Who is your favourite character to write?
We like different characters for different reasons. We like the bravery and inventiveness of Sean and Emily. We enjoy Dr Vex and his blunt approach to problem solving. The cat was an early favourite, because it has no filter and says what it likes. Deveraux is always fun, so utterly cruel and remorseless, but not someone you’d want to meet. The Brigadier bumbles through situations and doesn’t do a great job as a boss, but is still brave, which we enjoy writing. The Founder is fun in his sage-like and mysterious way. We have a lot of fun with Seventy-one and the limitations of artificial intelligence understanding humans. Major Clavity was also fun to write as an older character whose heart is in the right place, even though he makes mistakes. Mrs Yeager is amusing and drawn from several sources – the ultra-hyper mum who wants the best for her son. And Agent Stafford has become a recent favourite due to his interests and his unique take on being a real James Bond. Look out for KB and the Wanderer in the next book (Mortal Thread) who are a lot of fun to spend time with. Overall, KB and Dr Vex have been the most fun to create and write so far. You could say Dr Vex has a few issues to work out, given his extensive past lives. Meanwhile, KB has been busy making ‘minor modifications’ to all kinds of gizmos and devices.
Q: Why do Sean Yeager books have relatively few reviews compared to best sellers?
– We have genuine reviews and do our best to spread the word to encourage parents to buy a great book for their child. Keep in mind that best sellers have the backing of large publishers who effectively buy reviews with advance review copies and paid reviewers (yes, really), and when their books sell in stores in higher numbers they naturally generate more reviews – that’s simple mathematics. It’s the rule of the jungle – the bigger publishers have more reach and more power.
Please support us as an independent publisher by posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads if you or your child reads and enjoys a Sean Yeager book. All reviews are appreciated and they help to spread the word to other readers (and parents). And yes, we do read reviews to go back and improve earlier books – DNA Thief and Hunters Hunted have both been updated extensively based on feedback from readers. They are now improved versions – which you will not find with major published books.
Q: Are the books too old for age 7, or too young for 14 year olds?
– It depends on the reader and their tastes. Some readers advance to adult books by 14, or earlier, and prefer them, while others enjoy lighter reads. In a young book market dominated by light, comical reads, we suggest you will find more depth in SYA books. All SYA books are age appropriate from age 8 upwards. We’ve had adults tell us they have enjoyed SYA books because they are light, tongue-in-cheek and easy to read. We realise everyone has their preferences, which is fine by us. We do try to make sure that the books are easy reads from age 8 upwards. And each book is aimed at a slightly older reader (as with the Harry Potter series). Having said that, we know there are younger and older readers who also enjoy SYAs.
Q: Who is your favourite writer and why?
– We have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Jonathan Stroud’s series – the Bartimaeus quadrilogy and Lockwood and Co. We find that Stroud’s plots, characters, worlds, humour and use of language are a cut above the average book. While we have also enjoyed Harry Potter, Stroud is quite simply a better writer in our opinion. Most importantly, both series by Stroud are great fun to read and you can become absorbed in them. We do also enjoy Harry Potter, which is fun in a different way. (And we’ve visited the parks and movie sets).
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing Sean Yeager books?
– The best part for us is hearing about readers’ favourite characters and incidents, that really brings everything to life. We enjoy plotting and writing, but hearing about what works in the books is the biggest reward. The writing team also enjoy discussing what-ifs for the characters and the backstory (and the expanded Aenaid universe, as yet unwritten in book form), which sits behind the books.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
– Yes, we do. Our advice is to believe in yourself and to learn your craft. Find writers you admire and study how their work flows. Work out your own story ideas, make sure you are inspired by them, and create your own writing style. It is a tough job, so believing in the value of what you do is very important. Also, accept that you will need to improve the work on the page many times over before it is ‘done’. You will face a lot of rejection unless you are very lucky. Learn to be resilient and to go around the rejecters. Most of them know no more than you do. Your readers are the most important judges of your work. Be open to fresh approaches and accept that practice will improve your writing, though not all ideas are good ideas. You will need to learn to separate the good from the poor writing. When it is good, you will know and sometimes it will feel as if you are reading another author’s work after all the hard work is done.
Q: What are you currently working on? And how do you go about writing?
– At the time of writing this blog entry, we are part way through Sean Yeager Mortal Thread. The writing team is very keen on plotting and outlining. We find it works best to know what is going to happen, so we can focus on character interactions and action within a chapter. When writing, we still deviate and discover new ideas as the books progress, but most of the story is already plotted out. We do this to ensure the plot is worth writing before even starting. We also review the books from many angles to tighten everything up. Editing follows for quite a while after the first draft and even after publishing the first edition. DNA Thief in particular has evolved considerably from the early drafts.
Q: When is the next Sean Yeager book coming out?
– The plan is to publish Mortal Thread in 2021. It is currently in progress and looking good so far. There is a lot more work to do at the time of writing. It is challenging to write stories from 4 overlapping perspectives – more difficult than writing from one in fact (what were we thinking? LOL).
Stay safe and well,
D.M. Jarrett & the Architect