October 11, 2011

Interview: The Familars' Authors Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

A little while back I was contacted and asked it I would like to interview the authors of The Familiar Series.  I jumped at the chance.  I've heard such great things about this series, that I'd so love to hear what answers they'd have for my questions.

Well welcome Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson to The O.W.L.!!!

First let's start with the serious questions about the books and how your write.  

For The Secrets of the Crown - what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?We're especially excited about readers taking a journey on the glowing paw print path with Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert. Not only does it lead our heroes on great adventures, but it reveals illuminating emotional discoveries as well.

Tell about your writing process. How long did it take you to write Secrets of the Crown from idea to finish? Please tell about revision is you can!
Since Secrets of the Crown was the sequel to a first book a lot of the process was not only carrying the overall plot that had already been set up but adding new layers to the characters readers were already familiar with. We wanted to change the dynamics among our three heroes and continue to have surprises for readers. The second book took about six months to write but many of the ideas had already been developed while writing the first book. We go through a process of self-editing that takes a few months and then we do revisions for our editor at Harper Collins which takes an additional few months.

Is the story and/or characters based on anything/anyone in your real life?Aldwyn was inspired by an alley cat with a bite taken out of his ear who used to stray into Adam's backyard. Adam and his wife named him Ben.

How much say did you have in the cover of this book? What is the process for creating the cover (my students are always curious about this!)
We always give suggestions for cover ideas and certainly knew that we wanted Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert prominently displayed. But the publisher has an art department that hires the cover artist and illustrator to do all the pictures. We just don't draw that well!

When you were in middle school kind of student were you? Did you write then?Adam was the class clown. He was always cracking jokes in the back of his social studies' class. He started writing in 7th grade after an English teacher inspired him to start coming up with stories.
Andrew was a bit of a teacher's pet. He was voted most likely to succeed in his 6th grade class poll. He started writing stories about his GI Joe figures back when he was just a 2nd grader.

And because it's the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing?
JK Rowling, for introducing fantasy to so many children and adults across the globe!

Now for the fun questions - the ones we're all wanting to know! The ones my 7th graders would be curious about!

Do you chew gum? Yes or No If yes what's your favorite kind?
Adam: Very rarely. If so, I always like Juicy Fruit. I only chew for about a minute before spitting out.
Andrew: Only on airplanes. Always something sugar free.

Did you pass notes in school? Ever get caught?
Adam: I did pass notes in school, all the time. But I guess my stealth ninja passing skills were too stealth because I never got caught.
Andrew: My note passing was limited.

Do you text?Adam: lol. of course. thx for asking.
Andrew: Only while driving. Just kidding. Kids, NEVER text and drive.

Was school lunch just as yucky then as it is now?!
Adam: Absolutely. That's why I brown-bagged it every day.
Andrew: I was lucky enough to live just a few blocks away from my school so I walked home for lunch every day and watched Days of Our Lives with my mom.

Ok Days of Our Lives rocks! And I'm with Adam - I can only chew gum for about a minute too!  Thanks so much guys for visiting The O.W.L. today!

A bit about each book:

The Familiars: Is the kingdom's fate in the hands of an orphan cat? 

Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn's always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so and Aldwyn is happy to play along.

He just has to convince the other familiars the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert that he's the powerful cat he claims to be.

Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia.

On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship.

Secrets of the Crown: A curse befalls Vastia, eliminating human magic. Only animals are able to cast spells, and it is up to Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert to save the queendom from the evil threatening it. In addition, Aldwyn discovers the truth about his past, embarking on a journey that brings him closer to the father he never knew.


  1. Great interview. I loved Secrets of the Crown. It's so fun to learn where the inspiration for Aldwyn came from and how Adam and Andrew were in middle school.

  2. It was interesting to learn how long it took to write the book. Love the interview and I love this series.

  3. Wonderful interview, it's such an inspiration that they are passionate about their stories and children reading. I'm an aspiring writer myself, and I hope to have as successful a series as they do. ^_^

  4. We're reading Secrets right now! I'm hopping over from Literary Rambles - I love that you review MG as well as YA (and not just because I write both). I'm a #MGlitLover ;)