The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress

Happy Friday! I'm thrilled Adrienne Kress dropped by to chat with me about Sebastian, Evie, Chicago, theatre, and school libraries. I wrote the words in purple, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Adrienne! 

The Explorers: The Door in the Alley tells the story of two kids, Sebastian and Evie, who meet for the first time at the whimsical and intriguing Explorers Society and are tasked with putting back together the formerly famous exploring team the Filipendulous Five (which disbanded under mysterious circumstances many years ago). Their ultimate goal: to rescue Evie's grandfather. Hilarity and adventure ensue. Also there’s a pig in a teeny hat.

Here are three things you should know about Sebastian:

1. He’s logical.
2. He likes to do the most appropriate thing and follow the rules to the letter.
3. He has a secret side to himself that is an adventurer . . . but he’s only just realizing that himself.

And here are three things about Evie, because she’d demand to be included too:

1.  She’s quick-witted and funny.
2.  She’s determined.
3.  She can jump the gun too fast and gets impatient with others.

On April 25, 2017, THE EXPLORERS launches! And I’ll be in Chicago on the first leg of my book tour celebrating it at Anderson's Bookshop La Grange! I’ve never been to Chicago before, and everyone has told me I’ll love it because I am a rather big architecture fan and Chicago has some great architecture. So I’m really looking forward to being an explorer myself and discovering the city as well launching the book.

I hope The Explorers: The Door in the Alley finds its way into the hearts of readers (obviously metaphorically – I’ve removed all the sharp objects from around it just in case, though). I also really hope it appeals to reluctant readers. This is a particularly personal desire of mine, having grown up a reluctant reader myself, and in a way still being one. I try to write books that I as a reluctant reader would enjoy: funny, fast, full of action and lots of dialogue. Though, of course, still with complex emotions, themes and situations. Reluctant readers don’t want to be condescended to. We enjoy a good complicated story, but we want to be entertained first and foremost. And I do hope The Explorers succeeds in that. 

I studied theatre for forever. Almost my whole life. I was a drama major from the age of 11 right up until post-graduate studies (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in the UK). I continue to pursue an acting career to this day. (In fact you’ll be seeing me in a small role in the pilot episode of American Gods which premieres really soon.) And I am also glad I trained as I did for reasons other than “I need to be able to be good at my acting job.” One of the big reasons is feeling comfortable speaking in front of crowds. I can’t say it’s effortless. I mean 13 years of training doesn’t equal effortless all the time. But it often feels so now. Speaking to an audience is really enjoyable for me, and having those skills means that when I get to spend time with kids, doing presentations and workshops, I can really have a great time getting to know them and working with them without nerves getting in the way.

School libraries are so important. It seems obvious to say that, and yet time and time again we see that funding gets cut precisely from this area that is so fundamental in helping instruct our children and turn them into life-long readers. I firmly believe there is a book out there for everyone to love, for both the avid and reluctant reader, and it’s librarians who never give up on the kids. They’re the ones who get to know the individual and find out their interests and, with that information, test the waters with different kinds of books until something clicks. Librarians, in other words, are the sage wizards of the quest leading the journey, inspiring hope, and teaching the tools that kids can take and use to journey on by themselves. Librarians are Dumbledore. Or Gandalf. And the reason people know who I’m talking about when I offer those comparisons is due in great part to them. 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my tour dates! I’m mostly doing school visits, which I’ve already explained earlier are one of my favourite things, but I am also doing three public events at bookstores across the country, and I’m looking forward to meeting new people, especially fellow book lovers.

April 25th - Anderson's Bookstore La Grange, Chicago, 7:00pm
April 27th - Half Price Books, Dallas (Fort Worth), 6:00pm
May 2nd - Copperfield's Books, San Francisco (Petaluma), 4:00pm 

You also neglected to ask me the very fundamental questions of favourite colour and animal. To which I will reply, red and foxes. 

Look for The Explorers: The Door in the Alley on April 25, 2017. 


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