We had so much fun talking to Shawn Peters about his superhero adventure book, THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER, that we decided to do a two part interview. And this time, the #Giveaway details are included.
Packed with superheroes, supervillains, and epic showdowns between good and evil, The Unforgettable Logan Foster from debut author Shawn Peter shows that sometimes being a hero is just about being yourself.–Harper Collins
You can see why we had more questions!
Q 1. A multi-layered superhero action book like THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER takes a lot of world building. Any tips? Did the world come first –or your story line?
Shawn Peters: The storyline came first. I wanted to tell the story of kid who had been made to feel different his whole life who suddenly finds himself as part of a found family where he’s the closest one to “normal” in the group. That’s where the idea of having him adopted by superheroes came from. But when it comes to superhero stories, there really have only been two options of “worlds” to choose from.
In one, the world is full of superheroes and people know who they are. The Avengers in the MCU are an example of that. Everyone knows Tony Stark is Iron Man. The other option is a world where all the superheroes are walking amongst us, in secret identities like Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, and only reveal themselves when absolutely necessary. But in these versions, people in the world still get that there are superheroes on the planet. I wanted to create a new option where superheroes are real, but almost no one knows about it, not all that different from how Rick Riordan handles demigods or how the “Men In Black” comics and movies handled aliens. Once I did that, it opened the door to a ton of fun where comic books and superhero movies we all know and love are all just cover stories and money makers for the secret organization that is in charge of the superhuman population. By the way, if I suddenly “disappear” you’ll know I got too close to the truth.
Be the Hero
Q 2. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
***I ,for one, appreciate the way it turns certain perspectives upside down, like this quote about villains: “I don’t like that term…I’ve found no one is a villain from his or her point of view.” Thoughts?
Shawn Peters: You’re making me smile as I write this because you’ve hit the nail on head. I very much want to ask the reader to see that everyone gets to be the hero of their own story, whether that’s an orphan who assumes he’ll never be adopted, or a super-villain who is willing to do terrible things for a cause. Logan is on the autism spectrum, but he has all the same emotions his peers have; he just has a harder time identifying them in the moment and thus, he doesn’t express them the same way the people around him do.
Once he finds a “family” that accepts that instead of trying to get him to act like everyone else, his life changes. Necros is the “big bad” in this book, and she has differences she can’t control too– albeit ones with more serious consequences than Logan’s quirks—but she isn’t motivated by pure evil. She demands the same rights as everyone else. I hope this book can be a subtle empathy tool for kids (or adults) to see that the people around them, even the ones that they deeply disagree with, are likely acting out of motivations that are not that different than the ones that motivate all of us each day.
Q 3. How does/did your experience writing for TV and advertising—and also as a kid actor– influence your #kidlit writing process?
Shawn Peters: My experiences as an unsuccessful child actor (photo above!) taught me to deal with rejection and keep trying, so that’s invaluable in every arena of life. As for my writing careers in TV and advertising, they both taught me about taking feedback (I am not one of those writers who shies away from it or thinks that what I wrote HAS TO BE PERFECT or else I stink) and also how to deliver on a deadline. Once you’ve been a creative director on an ad campaign that has to be seen by millions of people on a specific date or else multiple-millions of dollars in media spend go to waste… having a new draft due to an editor in a month feels doable.
Q 4. Any advice for beginning, not-yet-published #kidlit writers? Is this crazy #kidlit world what you expected?
Shawn Peters: I’m not sure I should give advice since I was blissfully unaware of the inner workings of the #kidlit world when I started. I just had a story I wanted to tell and really hadn’t thought too much beyond making it the best I could and praying I’d find an agent who loved it the way I did. Staying grounded in “What is the next step?” has been a big key to me remaining relatively sane and focused. Of course, it has also meant I’ve learned a lot on the fly. So, my advice to folks who are drafting or in the query trenches is to stay focused on that next step and put your efforts there. But also, as I mentioned earlier, get your work into the hands of your audience (and not just your own kids/relatives) if you can and then listen to what they say. It’s a gift.
Q 5. I hear there will be an UNFORGETTABLE Book 2. How has your approach for Book 2 differed from your debut novel?
Shawn Peters: I’m thrilled to confirm that the sequel is due out on January 3, 2023 and I’ll be revealing the title and cover over the summer. The sequel was bought at the same time as THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER, which was amazing, because it shaped how book one ends as well as how I thought about everything in the story. I did detailed outlines of both books, but with the sequel being purchased, I realized I needed to get alignment with my editor, David Linker. So, I boiled the story down into a page-and-a-half synopsis that I shared and we went over together to make sure he was totally into the plot and the new characters. I know a lot of my fellow debut writers HATE this part of the process, but I loved talking about the book at the high level so early, and because of that, I felt a ton of momentum going into the drafting process. Unlike my original first draft of book one, I was able to write, polish and share my rough draft of book two in just about three months after I started. Amazing how a paycheck and deadline speeds up your process: the days of “one page a night” were gone.
Q 6. How do readers enter the #Giveaway?
Shawn Peters: For a chance to receive a copy* of THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER:
- Follow @ShawnTweeters on Twitter
- Share this post on Twitter and tag two friends, as well as @ShawnTweeters and @ErinDealey
- And (extra points)/OR Share this post on FB and tag two friends, as well as @ErinDealey
For U.S. residents only. Deadline Tues. Feb. 8th.
ALSO– you can purchase a signed, first edition copy right here!
SUPER thanks to Shawn Peters for joining on the blog.
We can’t wait for THE UNFORGETTABLE LOGAN FOSTER, Book 2!