I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the April 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 8 ) or you can read the whole story – plus some extra things I’ve thrown in – below! 😀
I hope you like the article!
Meet Bucks County Author Donna Galanti
By Erik Weibel
Author Donna Galanti was raised in England but she now finds her home in Bucks County! She has just written an exciting, middle grade action-adventure story called “Joshua and The Lightning Road”. The book will be released on May 15th of this year. The story follows twelve year-old Joshua’s quest into another word to find his friend that had been kidnapped by a mystical being during a lightning storm. Joshua realizes that all the crazy stories his grandpa told him about lightning storms are terrifyingly real and he soon finds himself up against terrible creatures determined to stop him.
I was fortunate to read an advanced copy of this book and Ms. Galanti has graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions!
Erik: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Ms. Galanti! The first line on your book is awesome: “I never knew lightning could zap you without burning you to a crisp.” I love it when a book hooks you from the beginning. How important to you was this first line?
Ms. Galanti: I’m so glad I hooked you! For me, the first line or paragraph in a book must grab me in order to keep reading. I often buy the book based on that emotional connection from the first page and hope the author follows through on their promise (and hope I can too!).
Erik: Having read the whole book, I can say that yes, you did! When I was reading the story I was wondering if you were afraid of lightning storms when you were younger or maybe a huge mythology fan, or both?
Ms. Galanti: I always loved summer lightning storms as a kid and would sleep on the screened-in porch to watch the big show. On the other hand, my dad has been struck by lightning three times on the golf course (and lived to tell the tales)! I’ve always loved the stories of the Greek Olympians. They are big and scary and full of power – and that drives my imagination.
Erik: Hit three times by lightning? I think I’d give up golf! Scents and smells play a big part in your descriptions, more than I usually find in stories. I think it made your settings even more realistic. When you say “He smelled like a wet dog that had been swimming in sour milk,” I know exactly how revolting that is! Did you use scents on purpose, or is that typical of your writing style?
Ms. Galanti: Smells can hold powerful memory triggers. I wanted readers to see Joshua’s world as he experiences it. When you first smell a new scent, you link it to a person or event. Like the scent of fresh cut grass can remind you of a summer day, even if it’s the end of autumn. And when you happen upon that smell again, the link is there, ready to pop that memory open.
Erik: That is a very interesting point! Your story has just the right amount of scariness and tension for an MG book. Did you intend to write this an MG book and have to keep that in mind as you were writing?
Ms. Galanti: Thank you! This book was always intended for middle grade readers. My son (the perfect audience for this book) helped me with plot issues along the way, and that was super fun! As far as scariness and tension, I love it when an author takes my beloved characters to the edge of no return and gives me that spine-tingling rush of “oh, nooo!” This is what I aim for in my own stories.
Erik: You sure do a good job of it! Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Ms. Galanti: Joshua and the Arrow Realm, book 2 releases December, 2015. In the book Joshua is called to free his friend, who’s been enslaved as a power pawn in a queen’s quest to rule all. But when Joshua becomes bait in her hunting game, loses his powerful lightning orb, and his friends turn on him, he wonders if he can survive on wits and instincts alone and not only save his friend—but himself.
I’m plotting out book 3, Joshua and the Fire Realm, right now! It’s more adventure set in a volcanic landscape, filled with lots of friendships, battles, and bad guys.
Erik: I am looking forward to the rest of this series!
For more information on Donna Galanti, please visit her website at DonnaGalanti.com
For more on books and reading, visit my blog, ThisKidReviewsBooks.com
NOW FOR SOME BONUS MATERIAL!!!
About Ms. Galanti:
Donna Galanti attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. She’s lived in other exotic locations, including Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse, and dreams of returning one day to a castle. Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Book 1, May 2015, Month9Books) and blogs at Project Mayhem. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com or on Amazon.
Praise for Joshua and The Lightning Road:
“Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page.” ~Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series
WAIT!!! THERE’S MORE!!!!
Ms. Galanti has provided the chance for one lucky commenter to win a galley print copy of “Joshua and the Lightning Road”! (US only please)
The winner will be announced in one week’s time, on Thursday, April 9th, 2015. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entries.
And, in case if you don’t happen to win, you can pre-order the book!
Here are links to go pre-order your copy now!!!
Barnes & Noble : http://bit.ly/1DBVtc9
WAIT THERE’S EVEN MORE!!!
Here’s my review!
By Donna Galanti
Series: Lightning Road
278 pages – ages 9+
Will Be Published by Month9Books, LLC on May 19, 2015 – you can PRE-ORDER NOW!
Summary (from GoodReads) – “Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.
Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.
To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.
In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life. ”
What I thought – The descriptions in this book were so vivid I could feel, smell and envision the setting. The characters were solid. Joshua was totally believable. He had all the right characteristics of a great main character – brave, smart and kind, but he also acted like the kid he is. The world Ms. Galanti created can be totally frightening at times, but it is done in a way that is kid-friendly. I personally found the whole idea of a “child collector” terrifying, but also intriguing. Ms. Galanti’s writing style pulls the reader along, answering questions about the story but then revealing new questions. It really keeps you reading. The story has a lot of action but also a great plot line that strings everything together. The ending is satisfying but leaves the reader wanting to get into the next book in the series.