"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Friday, March 8, 2013

Blog Tour: THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION by Kevin Emerson (Guest Post & Giveaway!)

I am so very thrilled to be a part of The Fellowship For Alien Detection's Blog Tour today
hosted by Walden Pond Press!!! 

The cover of this middle grade book says it all! It's one of my favorites for this year!
Take a look below for Kevin Emerson's magnificent guest post!
And, if the alien's don't get to you, there's a great giveaway going on too :) 


On Road Trips, Parents, and Roswell

There is a point about 300 miles from home, when suddenly you feel it: you’ve crossed some kind of barrier, and you are officially on an adventure. You could go anywhere, and anything could happen. Your senses sharpen, and everything that seemed so important just a few hours ago is suddenly the past, more distant than the rearview. You are in the now. You are on new map.

A year before I started writing THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION, this happened to me in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It was a dreary April day, everything soaked and gray, and we were listening to Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album, on day one of a three-week drive to move from Boston to Seattle. I made a little video, just a view out the window, as the song “Time to Move On,” was playing. We were far enough that we wouldn’t turn back. We’d planned on camping but it was pouring. We had a road atlas, no smart phone, no GPS. We didn’t know where or what would happen next. And it ruled.

This was one of the feelings I wanted to capture in FAD, not even the sense of exhilaration, but the sense that such a feeling was possible. My characters were going to be middle graders, so this would be the first time the road and its potential captured their imagination.

The only problem, for Haley and Dodger, was that unlike grown-up me, who was driving with my wife in our own car with our own money, Haley and Dodger were thirteen, and so their trip was going to, at least at first, look a little more like I do in this picture:

See the slumped shoulders? The sulky expression? These are the signs of a teen that has been trapped in the car with his family for two weeks. It was actually a great trip, but at that age this kind of thing is also a cruel test of will: You want so badly to be on your own, a hero on the road, yet you are supposed to be part of a family adventure.  And besides you can’t drive or even get a hotel room.

That’s a tension I think I’m still dealing with as a grown up, but thirteen is where we can really see the possibility of our own journey, and the desire to get there is nearly unbearable. And yet, whenever we do leave home, whether for camp or college or to move out west, it’s still sad. Somewhere along the way, hopefully we find balance, or maybe it’s always that way.

Back to the drive: Things really got good when we went here:

I never gave Elvis all that much thought until I spent an hour in Graceland. Besides being kitschy, and giving me a firm respect for The King’s talents, I found it to be a sad place. Here was a man who started out on an incredible journey but went too far, who maybe by the end had lost track of who he really was, at least that’s what those 70’s Vegas costumes seemed to indicate. A cautionary tale for any would-be adventurer, and in a way, the template for a key character in FAD: The Alto. It’s no coincidence that he makes his appearance in the book just across the street from Graceland.

After this we drove west and south, through Mississippi:

Made a stop for Gumbo in New Orleans:

Then headed into the wilds of the west like Haley and Dodger do. And after Big Bend…

The monolithic cliffs of Guadalupe…

The spooky dark of Carlsbad (complete with bathrooms)…

…there was no question that we were going to Roswell. Not just because we were both huge X-Files nerds. But also because, after a week in the big west, the concept that aliens might be lofting along behind those high clouds, tending to their secrets, somehow seems completely plausible. It’s always felt like, out there, you could really get that far, to aliens, even other worlds.

I don’t think if a weather balloon (so says the air force) crashed in a town in Connecticut, anyone would go alien-crazy about it. But here:


The thing about Roswell is that it’s a sad town, too. There’s not much going on. Even in 2004, many of the stores and shops were vacant. Other than the Denny’s (prominently featured in FAD), the only places that have any verve are the alien stores, and of course, this Mecca of alien folklore:

Where you can see stunning evidence, like this:

And of course, this:

Regardless of how convinced we were by the museum, we wanted to believe (get it?), and when we left, the bug for a story about alien adventures was firmly planted. We got a copilot, too:

We spent two more weeks on the road, visiting places that later became settings in FAD: Chiricahua National Monument (the Alto’s spires and site of Project Bliss), the Oregon High Desert (where Dodger attends the Heavenly Frequencies convention), and of course, Juliette’s primary inspiration: the lovely town of Flagstaff, Arizona.

I think part of the reason I wrote this book was to spend more time in these places, as well as in that time out of time, when we were in between lives, when any adventure seemed possible. For Haley and Dodger, their long journey through the west (and further than that…) makes them realize that for as much as they want to break free, to get out on their own, there’s time, and maybe the life they often feel stuck in isn’t actually all that bad. At least for now.

I like to think of Haley and Dodger as older teens someday, college students, twenty something’s, and even married with kids (not to each other! Though I could see them reuniting later in high school to meet up at Burning Man, where they might just so happen to uncover a nefarious plot! [not a sequel! I just thought of that now!]) out on the road, driving the wide miles of the west, finding new map, and still feeling that yearning, that sense of freedom, only this time, with their own credit cards, and hopefully a cool electric car.

A very big thank you to Kevin Emerson for stopping by with an eye-opening trip! 
And a thank you to Walden Pond Press for hosting 
and letting me be a part of The Fellowship for Alien Detection's tour!

You can find MY REVIEW right here!!!


by Kevin Emerson
Release date: February 26th, 2013
Published by: Walden Pond Press
Genre: Middle Grade - Fantasty, Sci-Fi
Format read: ARC


Two kids from opposite sides of the country find themselves on a road trip to save the world from an impending alien attack - and bolster their middle-school transcripts in the process. 

First came the missing people, missing time events, and untraceable radio signals. Then came Juliette, Arizona, a town that simply disappeared from existence. Suffice it to say, something strange is going on. Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids from opposite sides of the country who both think they can prove that these unexplained phenomena have a very real cause: aliens, and they are about to discover that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial life are one-hundred-percent accurate.

Having each been awarded a Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation dedicated to proving aliens have visited earth), Haley and Dodger and their families each set off on a cross-country road trip over summer vacation to figure out what is happening in towns across America. They soon realize that the answers to many of their questions lie in the vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone, or something, is doing everything in its power to ensure they never reach it. If Haley and Dodger don't act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as we know it may change for the worse.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Kevin Emerson

Kevin Emerson has never been abducted by aliens, at least not that he remembers. He has been to Roswell, but all he found there was a cool key chain. Kevin is the author of a number of books for young readers, including the Oliver Nocturne series, Carlos Is Gonna Get It, andThe Lost Code, the first book in the Atlanteans series. Kevin is also a musician. His current project is the brainiac kids’ pop band the Board of Education. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.


Enter to win a hardcopy of The Fellowship For Alien Detection 
AND a Signed Bookplate from Walden Pond Pres!!!

- U.S. and Canada only, sorry!
- Must be 13yo and older to enter. 

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