Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be taking part in the Balthazar Fabuloso Blog Tour taking place April 18th to May 1, 2016. “Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs” by I.J. Brindle will be available May 1, 2016, so order your copy now!
About the Book
Title: Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs | Author: I.J. Brindle | Illustrator: Sholto Walker | Publication Date: April 26, 2016 | Publisher: Holiday House | Pages: 240 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12
Summary: Balthazar Fabuloso’s lovable and eccentric family performs a magic show. What makes the act so unusual is that all the Fabulosos actually have superhuman powers, except for Balthazar, a practical-minded 11-year-old who simply aspires to be a normal kid. So when everyone but Balthazar disappears mid performance, the only Fabuloso without real magical skills must save the family. Balthazar wonders if the family’s archrivals, the Furious Fistulas, are to blame or if there are other, even darker forces at work. To free his loved ones Balthazar must work with some questionable characters, including a lunatic long-lost uncle, three enigmatic senior citizens and the loathsome Pagan Fistula, whose family also mysteriously goes missing.
At the center of these disappearances is a force so evil that the world’s most preeminent magicians cower before it. What hope could a ragtag crew of misfits have against it?
Interview With the Author, I.J. Brindle
I.J. Brindle is an author and screenwriter. She has also produced internet games for Disney, written and directed theater in New York and Montreal, clerked in a bookstore, waited tables, and had a bunch of other adventures along the road. She is the mother of two wild monkey children and the companion of a dog named Moose. This is her first novel.
I.J. was kind enough to answer some questions for us today, so without further ado, here she is!
About the Book
As succinctly as possible, tell us why someone should read your book.
It’s super funny, a great adventure and has magic.
Where did you draw your inspiration from for your characters?
I was inspired to write Balthazar by all the over-achieving, super-talented people in my life whom I love dearly but can sometimes intimidate the heck out of me. I wanted to create a character who knows what it feels like to be normal in a world where it seems like everyone is supposed to be more than that. The artistic side of Pagan was inspired by my multi-talented sister who was born doodling in sketchbooks. The demented side of Pagan is all me.
What is YOUR favorite part of the book?
When Balthazar gets into a scrape with a group of muscle-headed bullies in a public bathroom. This is also the first scene where Balthazar’s weird, borderline insane uncle, Ignatius, shows up and he always makes everything more fun. I also really enjoy Pagan’s journal entries. She’s complicated and scrappy and is really trying to figure out her messed up life.
What is the main message you want to convey to your readers in your books?
I would love it if young readers came away from this book thinking about the strength they can draw from being true to who they are, even if that’s not exactly what anyone else wants them to be, and even if they’re not even quite sure what that is yet.
About Being an Author
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? What inspired you to choose to write books?
The first thing I ever really, really wanted to be was a ballerina. The first clue I might write fiction cropped up in preschool when I started making up truly outrageous stories about horrible things that happened to me based on things I heard on the news. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) Also, I’ve always really, really loved reading, so much that I actually got in trouble in seventh grade for reading too much. The excuse I gave my parents and teachers was that I was studying to become a writer. The idea stuck.
How do you react to a bad review?
Well, I’ve only received one truly and crushingly bad review so far – but I’m not going to lie, it felt rotten. My first reaction was a dull muffled feeling of stun, like someone had hit me in the head with a psychic brick: “Wha?” Then came confusion: “But didn’t he or she read the bit about . . . ? No, that’s not what I… Man, wow, why does this person hate my book so much?” Next, came denial: “Whatever, I don’t care. Look at me, so aloof and uncaring about it all. Nope, don’t care at all.” Then sadness: “Who am I kidding, of course I care! Waaaaaaa!” Then I got busy with other projects so I didn’t leave myself too much time to dwell. When the next better review came along with good feedback from readers, I made sure to take the time to really appreciate it.
What advice would you give someone aspiring to write a children’s book?
Be honest and real. Kids can smell phony from a million miles away.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
We all piled in the car and drove out to our favourite clam-shack for oysters. Weirdly, oysters are the one food everyone in our family likes.
What are some of your favourite books from when you were a child and did any of these inspire you when writing your books?
I really love some of the Canadian authors, like Mordecai Richler who wrote Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang and Pierre Burton who wrote The Secret World of Og. I have definitely drawn inspiration from the way they mash up reality and fantasy and their offbeat, absurd senses of humour.
More About the Author
If you were a superhero what would your name be, what would be your super-power, and what would be your kryptonite?
Metamophosa. My super-power would be having the ability to change into any animal or plant any time I liked. My kryptonite would be a sink full of dirty dishes.
- Board game? Scrabble–especially with my friend, Roz, who lets me use the Scrabble dictionary to check if my made-up words are real.
- City to visit? Catharines, Ontario. It’s where I grew up and has the magic secrets of my childhood there (as well as the most donut stores per capita according to the Guinness Book of World Records).
- Animal? Cows, because they’re majestic and usually peaceful.
- Time of Day? First thing in the morning, because everyone else is still sleeping and peaceful and the day feels full of potential.