Next up on Fearless Fifteeners’ Wednesday Q&As is MG author, Ronald L. Smith, whose debut, HOODOO, is out in September this year. We’ve got a bio and book blurb at the end of the post but right now we’re skipping straight to ogres. Fearless or what?!
1. You wake up to find a massive ogre in your bedroom. If you had to choose one MG character to fight him off who would you choose and why?
I would choose Lyra Belacqua from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. She has pluck, that girl. Plus, her daemon—the essence of her soul— can take on the shape of any animal.
She could shift into an eagle and scratch the ogre’s eyes out. But then I’d feel sorry for the ogre. And then I guess we’d have tea.
2. Having defeated the ogre, you find that your car doesn’t start. Bummer. Would you rather ride a dragon or a unicorn to work? Why?
Unicorn. They’re a bit more elegant. Dragons are unbridled machismo. Even female dragons have machismo.
3. After arriving at work late, your boss asks you what your most embarrassing childhood memory was. You have to tell him.
It is a well-known fact in my family that I don’t remember my childhood. I think I was abducted by aliens and had my memory erased. I think it lies in the trauma of moving every two years growing up in a military family.
But there was that one time when I peed my pants in school, and I had to…
4. You’re pretty fed up now so when a time machine appears offering to take you to any historical event, you agree. Where do you go and why?
Ancient Egypt. I want to see once and for all how those pyramids were built. Plus, the Egyptians were totally stylish. Bejeweled. Kohl-rimmed eyes. Breezy fashions. All that.
5. There is light at the end of the tunnel. As a Fearless Fifteener, your debut is out this year. Tell us about your book in 15 words or less.
My name is Hoodoo. The Stranger’s looking for me. He’s a demon. That ain’t right.
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell.
When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.
Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.
Ronald L. Smith is the author of HOODOO (Clarion Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). He is a recovering advertising writer and now writes fiction full-time. He longs for the days when writers lived in hotels and got dressed up for dinner.