Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Book Series: HAUNTED by Chris Eboch
I'm pleased to introduce Chris Eboch, author of a new novel series for middle grade readers, HAUNTED.
Congratulations on the publication of your novel series, HAUNTED. Can you tell us a bit about the series and what inspired it?
HAUNTED follows a brother and sister who travel with their parents’ ghost hunter TV show. In each book, the TV show researches a new ghost at a new location. The kids try to help the ghosts, while keeping their activities secret from meddling grownups. The series, for ages 8-12, will feature three books per year. I started the first book over 10 years ago -- I can't even remember how I got the idea. But paranormal is popular right now, so the market finally caught up with my idea!
What are the two books and how are they alike and different?
The first two books are THE GHOST ON THE STAIRS and THE RIVERBOAT PHANTOM. In THE GHOST ON THE STAIRS, we meet 13-year-old Jon, our narrator, and his 11-year-old sister, Tania. Their mother has married a man who hosts a ghost hunter TV show, and they travel with the show to a Colorado hotel. Jon is a skeptic, so he doesn't believe in the ghost bride who supposedly haunts the hotel, mourning for her lost husband. When Tania claims that she can see the ghost, Jon has to decide if he believes her -- and what to do about it.
In THE RIVERBOAT PHANTOM, the show is traveling on a Mississippi steamboat. The ghost is a steamboat pilot who caused a crash a century ago, and is still trying to make things right. Tania has decided her mission in life is helping ghosts, and she drags Jon into all sorts of trouble in the process. As an added complication, a fake psychic figures out Tania's gift and tries to exploit it.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
My first book, a middle grade historical adventure, came out in 1999. THE WELL OF SACRIFICE is used in many schools when they teach about the Maya. I've also done work for hire, including two books in Simon & Schuster's Childhood of Famous Americans series. JESSE OWENS: YOUNG RECORD BREAKER and MILTON HERSHEY: YOUNG CHOCOLATIER are inspirational, fictionalized biographies, with lots of action and dialogue. I wrote them under the name M.M. Eboch to separate my work for hire from my original novels. I've also written a bunch of unpublished novels, but we don't need to go into detail about those.
Can you describe your path to the publication of HAUNTED?
It took me a long time to get the concept right, with enough backstory to sustain an entire series. I also needed to develop my writing skills -- the work for hire jobs helped a lot with that. When I was confident in the story, I sent it to an editor I knew at Aladdin. He said he loved the manuscript, but it needed to be twice as long to fit their series standards. I made sure I added plot twists and complications, to keep the fast pace. Aladdin offered me a three book contract, based on a series proposal, the manuscript for book 1, and outlines for the next two books.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Take your time and work on your education. Plan to spend 1,000 hours learning about writing and children's book publishing, and developing your craft, before you even try to submit your work. That way you won't be disappointed by early rejections, and bog down the system by sending work that isn't ready. It takes time and hard work to start any new career -- writing for children is no exception.
Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I love what I do, so I want to keep doing it! I hope the Haunted series has a long life, but I also have a couple of other series ideas, plus a mystery novel I want to write. I'm giving a lot of writing workshops in the next year, something I enjoy -- which I never would have expected when I was younger. I think it's important to keep pushing yourself and trying new things, as a writer and as a person. I got scuba certified this year, which was horribly hard and scary, but I'm glad I stuck with it until it got to the point where it can be fun. Learning to skateboard is also on my "to do" list, though not until I get all the proper protective padding.
Do you have a website where readers can learn more about HAUNTED?
Yes, readers can learn more, and read the first chapter online, at http://www.chriseboch.com
They can also see the YouTube video, which I produced locally with the help of friends, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfcdY7tNH1k