Published by Pugalicious PressWhen Bianca and Melvin brave the jungle to rescue their grandfather, they stumble upon the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years. They must learn to work together as they face loincloth-wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy that says in three days the city will be destroyed. No problem. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match.
Creating a villain with empathy.
But this Crazy King, this all-powerful kind of villain, especially one with the tag of Crazy, came with its own built-in flaws. It was too easy to focus on the big, bad king and the threat he poses to Bianca. I never wanted to forget that he also has a heart.
As the pages turned and the story developed, I wanted readers to have that aha moment where they understood him. Where if they were to see the story from his point of view, if only for a second, they would struggle with what to do. I needed that for this story. I worked extra hard at it because I didn’t want a stereotypical cliché Maya king that rips hearts out due to his blood lust and the demands of the gods. Of course, he’s that too because it was part of the culture.
But the biggest thing I learned through all the research is that the Ancient Maya weren’t too different from us. We might not sacrifice live people by chopping off their heads and watching it roll down steps, we might not filet the skin off of our enemies and wear it over our shoulders in a victory dance, but there are definitely things we sacrifice to the gods/idols in our own lives as a nation/world and as an individual. Have you ever been so passionate about something that you take it a step too far? That you don’t know when to stop? That’s when a character steps over into the role of villain. And for the best villains, it’s just a matter of perspective.
Thanks, Margo, for hosting me on the tour!
How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings released in November. Pugalicious Press did a fantastic job, and I’m extremely happy with the results. This book would make a fantastic gift for boys or girls who enjoy adventure stories with lots of excitement! You can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can read the first chapter here. Check out the teacher's guide. Thankfully, my journey is just beginning and I’m excited to see where it leads. Click here for the list of blog tour stops! Enter to win these prize packages!