Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blog Tour: Alison Dare (Torres and Bone) and Give Away

Title: Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventure and Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden
Author: J. Torres
Illustrator: Jason Bone
Genre: Graphic novels (children)
FTC Disclosure: I received both of these books from the publisher when they asked me to be part of the blog tour
Summary (from the back of the book): She's not your typical 12-year old girl. She's the daughter of world-renowned archaeologist Dr. Alice Dare and the masked superhero Blue Scarab, not to mention the niece of international spy and master of disguise Johnny Dare. Action, adventure, and awesomeness are in her blood. Follow Alison around the world and back, revealing some of the closely guarded secrets of the dynamic Dare family and thrilling to adventure all the while. On the way, you'll meet a genie, a mummy, an evil baron, and you'll discover senses-shattering answers to some mighty big mysteries. Alison Dare was nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award in the Best Title for a Younger Audience category.

I am pleased to participate in this blog tour for the Alison Dare books. One of the ideas coming out of the tour is to take an Alison drawing (provided Sylvia Chan at Tundra Books) and take her on an adventure. So, here's Alison in the jungles of Burma...

I had the opportunity to ask the author some questions, so here is the interview:


J. Torres is the Shuster Award winning writer of Love as a Foreign Language and Teen Titans Go as well as the Eisner Award nominated Alison Dare and the YALSA listed Days Like This and Lola: A Ghost Story. He is also a contributing writer to the Wall-E comic books series from Boom Studios as well as DC Comics' Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Avatar: The Last Airbender in Nickelodion Magazine. (from his blog)

Alison and her friends find adventures that are linked to famous stories/times in history (Arabian Nights, Peruvian mummies, etc). What inspired you to do that?
I love archaeology, ancient history, world myths and legends, and all that good stuff. It's the kind of thing that's fascinated me since childhood. And I'm almost certain my introduction to such subject matter came from things like Tintin comics, Scooby Doo cartoons, and so on. If on top of entertaining readers, these books can spark an interest in Ancient Egypt, or the story of Joan of Arc, or make people want to learn more about the original Arabian Nights, I think that would make me quite happy.

(Helen's note: Tintin was one of my favorites growing up!)


Where did Alison come from? Is she based on anyone you know?
She's definitely in part my younger sister Maria. She went to an all girls Catholic school with the nuns and the plaid skirts and all the rest of it. Plus, let's just say she... got into some mischief herself. I made her blonde and blue-eyed because I once had a crush on a girl with said features whose name was Alison. But the rest of the inspiration came from reading books like Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the aforementioned Tintin. I'm also a big Indiana Jones fan, of course.

Are there more Alison Dare books in your future? Will you give us a hint as to the direction she/they are taking?
We've just started talking about new material, so there's really not much to share yet. However, I'm leaning towards some stories set in Asia. There's a terracotta warriors exhibit in town right now, and I've always been fascinated by Emperor Qin so we may do a story set in China. I also visited Korea about a year ago and got some ideas there. And I do so love Japanese history and mythology so... who knows!

(Helen's note: I saw that same warrior exhibit in Santa Barbara years ago. It's fabulous!)

Who are the children that you envision reading your books? What age are they?
The Tundra website and catalog says ages 8-11. But I have nieces and nephews who are younger, and they really like Alison. I've also seen grown up comic book fans of mine pick it up for their kids, but end up enjoying the books themselves. That's why I like calling them all-ages.

Many children these days have parents who are separated or divorced. In these books Alison's parents are separated, which is an interesting twist in a children's graphic novel. Why did you include this aspect of Alison's life?
My parents were divorced so some psychologists might say it originates from there. However, I not only liked showing a different kind of family dynamic that you don't see too often in children's books, but it also had a number of storytelling purposes. It gives Alison extra motivation to get into trouble as it were. "Cry for help" anyone? It also allows me to have my cake and eat it too. Disney is infamous for eliminating a parent for ease of storytelling, but I chose to create a built-in an excuse to go back and forth between parents if I wanted to, or bring both together if the story called for it, etc.

(Helen's note: It drives me crazy that Disney always kills off one parent, usually the mother, so I like that both parents are alive and well)

How was it working with Jason Bone who illustrated your books? Did you have a lot of interaction with one another?
When we first put these stories together, we lived close to each other. We would often meet to plot or go over art, etc. We'd also do "research" like spend a day at the museum. It was a lot of fun. 

Where do you do your writing? Is there anything you need while you write (food, setting)?
I have a home office. All I really need is my laptop and a glass of water. Sometimes I write with music on, but it depends on my mood. Lately, I've been employing a variation of the Pomodoro technique to stay on task and it's really helped. I have way too many distractions these days like Facebook, Twitter, AIM, iPhone apps, etc. It felt a bit silly at first, but using a timer and "reward" system has proven helpful.

Are you doing a physical tour in addition to this virtual tour? If so, what are some of the details?
The only real world touring I'm doing this year involves a few comic conventions. I'll be at Fan Expo Toronto and New York City Comicon for sure, and the San Diego show quite possibly.

Thanks!


Click here to learn more about J. Torres and to see more reviews and photos about Alison Dare, check out Talking with Tundra!

If you would like to win one of these two books, fill in the form below. Give Away ends June 27


1 comment:

Giada M said...

Thank you for the interesting interview and giveaway! Please enter me only if it is international. :)

Thank you!

Giada M.