Sunday, August 5, 2012


- Win a copy of THE ROCK OF IVANORE on Goodreads (Ends 8/25)
- Win a copy of THE CORPSE RAT KING by Lee Battersby (Ends 8/18)

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a weekly event hosted by author Shannon Messenger. For a list of other MMGM posts, click HERE.

Braden Bell
Sweetwater Books
304 pp.
Middle Grade

Loud shrieks sliced the air, followed by the smell of burning cloth. Conner looked over in time to see Geoffrey jumping up and down, yelling and shrieking. Smoke poured from the seat of his shorts while blue and yellow sparks snap-crackle-and-popped all around the heater.

All thirteen-year-old Connor Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. He didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire or make school lunches explode. But now that the strange powers inside him have been ignited, Connor’s normal teenage life is about to go up in flames!

Homework? Of course. Crushes? Sure. But who knew seventh grade included superpowers?

THE KINDLING just hit the shelves on July 10th. What better way to spend the summer than reading a story about a boy with strange superpowers? This book promises to become a favorite of middle school readers everywhere. The author Braden Bell stopped by for a visit and an interview. Yea! And he's providing a copy of his book as a GIVEAWAY. Details on how to win are at the end of this post.

1.  Describe THE KINDLING in one sentence.
A trio of 7th graders develop strange new powers and join a battle between Light and Dark. 

2.  What inspired you to write this story? 
One spring night, there was a terrible storm going on. My family was at church and when they got home, my son told me about a man they had driven past on their way home. He wore a black cape and was walking across people's lawns. My son wondered what he could possibly be doing--and that question sparked a story in my mind. I stayed up quite late that night, writing the fight scenes in the choir room and the cafeteria. Then, I took the next few months and filled in the rest.
3.  Your story is about a 13-year-old boy with unusual powers. How did you capture the teen voice for your characters?
I teach middle school--so I'm literally around this age group all day long. So, I sort of consider it my second language. Once I had an early draft written, I copied all the dialogue of each of the three main characters into separate documents and deleted everything but what that character said--so it was like a very long monologue. I went through and tried to make sure the way they spoke was internally consistent--then I pasted it back into the main manuscript. 

4.  What books did you enjoy reading when you were younger and how did they influence you?
As a young boy I read all of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, then went on to Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Then the Chronicles of Prydain and Narnia. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie were all beloved companions. I'm not sure on a conscious level exactly how they influenced me--I suppose that I love fantasy and colorful settings and characters--except that I loved them dearly, and still do.
5.  Tell us a little about your journey to publication.
Three years ago, I published a short religious book for a small niche market, but most of what I've read and written has been middle grade fantasy--which I wrote for years and years as an outlet during years of college and graduate school. I was happy that the same publisher took The Kindling and I hope to write more in the years to come. 

6.  What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm currently working on the sequel to The Kindling. The publisher wants it September 1st. I'm also working on a YA paranormal--which is shockingly original, I know.  


Author Braden Bell is providing a copy of THE KINDLING to one lucky reader! To enter the giveaway, just fill out the rafflecopter below. U.S. only, please.
The giveaway will end on August 21st.


  1. Probably something dorky, but maybe not. I was pretty idealistic then, I might have been a real hero.

  2. Sounds like a fun book. Loved hearing how Braden came up with the idea for the book and his road to publication.

  3. Thanks, Laurisa! That was really fun for me.

  4. Used them for good overall but a little here and there to get back at those who bullied me!

  5. The Kindling sounds like a fantastic adventure! I love the cover and the plot and characters sound so interesing. I would LOVE to win a copy because from what I have read it is right up my alley. If I had powers in middle school I would have used them to go places I had never been. I have always wanted the power to fly.

    I also loved in the interview how Braden said middle school is his second language. My co-author teaches 5th grade and she feels the same way (only 10-11 year old speak). :)

  6. I keep reading good reviews of The Kindling. Can't wait to read it for my self.

  7. It's always fun to hear what incident inpired a book or story. Thanks for posting this. The book sounds terrific.

  8. I love the name, the cover, and it sounds well written, There are so many books out there with the sudden transformation of teens to superheros that I really only read ones with great prose. Love the cover too.

  9. I'm not sure what I would have done, but probably not anything smart. I don't know that I would've been able to turn myself into a superhero. I think I might've cared about myself too much and been too selfish then :P

  10. Oh my...this sounds good! Great cover, too...another one of those hold it up at book club and kids will grab it based on that. Good stuff!

  11. At that age I might have squandered them. I would hope that I would have done something worthwhile, however.

  12. I would have left junior high. It was HORRIBLE. The only power I wanted was to be able to leave. So bad.

  13. My superpower would have been to be invisible. I was so painfully shy, no one really knew my name or really knew me till high school when I started coming out of my shell.