Michael Thal- author of several novels- honors me with his presence today to discuss his new release, along with his other books. There is a genre and tale for every age! Take the time to know the books and the author–read on for more!
“A high school track star is abducted by aliens, explores strange worlds, uncovers genocide on a planetary scale, and is thrust into extraterrestrial politics that decides the fate of an Earth on the brink of war or unification.”- Abduction of Joshua Bloom
Tell us about your books- how they relate and how they differ:
The Abduction of Joshua Bloom tells the story of a teen abduction by an alien race who justifies their act in an attempt to save their people. Joshua finds himself in a world dominated by women, and men are subjugated to their whims. He travels to a dinosaur world, visits a water planet, and a world doomed by a star about to nova.
Like my first novel, Goodbye Tchaikovsky,The Abduction of Joshua Bloom is also a YA novel. However, where Goodbye is a fictional account about hearing loss with a deep emotional basis in reality, Abduction was created from a dream I had during my late 20s.
My other novels, The Legend of Koolura and Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback are fantasy novels written for middle grade students. They are about a MG girl with extraordinary psychic abilities. The first in the series tells how Koolura received her amazing gift and how her life is threatened by a stalker. Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback is a stand-alone novel about Koolura’s continuing adventures. This time she’s at a sleep-away camp and wakes up her first morning powerless. To add troubles to her summer, the boys are producing pranks that need immediate response. It’s a fun head’s up to life at camp and the camaraderie of the campers.
So as you see, I’ve written serious fiction, science fiction, and MG fantasy and mystery.
Discuss the types of characters in your books.
The characters in Abduction are more adult like. Though Joshua Bloom starts out as a typical American teen, he’s thrust into an environment with adults. That would force any kid to change. The closest character to his age is Anita, but she can’t talk. She communicates solely telepathically.
The lead character in Goodbye Tchaikovsky wishes he could read people’s minds. David Rothman, a violin prodigy, becomes deaf on his 12th birthday. He’s caught between two worlds—the hearing and deaf—and must learn to survive in each.
Koolura Akopyan, my favorite character, takes on the personalities of two of my favorite people, my daughters Channie and Koren. Koolura is a sweetheart with amazing psychic gifts that seem to increase in each book. While The Legend of Koolura shows the metamorphosis of a pre-teen girl with extraordinary psychic powers overcoming a stalker bent on her destruction, the sequel, Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback is pure camp adventure fun. In Saddleback, Koolura makes friends with a deaf girl in her bunk and manages to turn an introvert into a contributing member of the group. Koolura also has to figure out why she’s lost all of her powers and uncover the prankster that may actually hurt someone.
What are your plans for this summer?
I have plans to continue work on my newest novel, Koolura and the Mayans. In this third installment of the Koolura Series Koolura and her Camp Saddleback buddy, Leila, head toward Oaxaca, Mexico for Koolura’s dad’s wedding. While exploring old Mayan ruins the duo are transported back in time to Mexico’s pre-Columbian era to confront a threat to the future of humanity on Earth. It’s a challenging writing experience and should provide fun entertainment for Koolura fans.
What is your favorite book? Favorite author? One of my favorite authors is Jessica Tornese. I just loved her time story novels, Linked Through Time and Lost Through Time. Tornese does an amazing job of developing her main character, Kate from a spoiled teen to a young woman who learns the true meaning of family and sacrifice. Reading Tornese’s books gave me the motivation to create Koolura and the Mayans. I too thought it would be fun to write a time travel story.
Have any recommendations for summer reads?
It’s sad media coverage doesn’t reach the plethora of excellent books available for young readers and their parents. Below are two books both kids and parents can enjoy together:
Anni’s Attic by Anne Loader McGee provides a heart-wrenching look at the atrocities of the Civil War and its affects on the lives of the people living in the Savannah countryside. The YA book is a marvelous character study of Anni and her cousin Jenn. During the course of the war the cousins encounter spies, racial hatred, the Underground Railroad, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. In the confines of a secret attic on Jenn’s plantation, the cousins begin to depend on each other, and in so doing, they mature as they learn to love and respect each other. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/1gsoo3g
Letter’s to Juniper by Peggy Tibbetts utilizes the literary tool of journal letters to reveal the life of Sarah, a pre-teen girl whose 21st Century life would make Cinderella cringe. Sarah’s dad is a Separatist. He believes in a strict interpretation of the Bible. Since her isolated home doesn’t have a TV, telephone, computer service, indoor plumbing, or a nearby school, she passes her free time writing letters to her friend, Juniper, who she hasn’t seen since she was in kindergarten. From first page to last readers will be engrossed in Sarah’s plight until the mind-numbing climax. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/1siHHS4
What is your ideal summer vacation?
I was lucky enough to live it four summers ago. I took my fiancé, Jila, and daughters Channie and Koren on a cruise through the Mexican Riviera. We spent eight days traveling to places like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. We had plenty of family time together, quiet time to tan and read, and take adventurous excursions. We had a blast.
Michael Thal’s Website: www.michaelthal.com
Los Angeles Examiner articles: http://www.examiner.com/academic-success-in-los-angeles/michael-thal