Q: How did you two come up with the idea for writing Middleworld?
A: Jon grew up in South and Central America, and the idea for Middleworld came partly from his childhood memories and partly from a bedtime story he used to tell our son. It was called The Monkey Girl and it was about a girl who lived on a pyramid in the jungle. Her best friends were monkeys, and every night she would outwit a different set of baddies. At first, it was just an exciting adventure story with lots of action and chases. But as we began to research the Maya, we became more and more interested in them, and they took over the story.
Q: Do you two have a strategy for writing a book together?
A: At first, when we were getting to know our characters, one of us would write a draft and then pass it to the other one. Now we know where we’re going with it, we plan out the plot together and Pamela does most of the writing, while Jon takes the lead on illustrations. But we like surprising each other and taking the story in unexpected directions.
Q: What was your favorite scene in the book?
A: Both of us would choose the scene in the Black Pyramid where Max attends Ah Pukuh’s party. In the Red Pyramid, Max was tested physically and in the Green Pyramid, he was tested mentally. He’s expecting something even more intense to happen in the Black Pyramid, but he’s not prepared for the kind of emotional torture he encounters. The chapter was a lot of fun to write – it’s also very revealing, as we find out Max’s greatest fear.
Q: Middleworld left off with a cliffhanger. Any info you can share about book 2?
A: It’s called The End of The World Club and all we’re saying is that Max, Lola, Lord 6-Dog and Lady Coco head off to Spain in search of the Yellow Jaguar. There’s even more action, even more twists and turns, a kidnapping, a wedding, a funeral, and a large helping of rock and roll!
Q: As authors, what are you hoping readers will take from your books?
A: First and foremost, we’re hoping they’ll get so caught up in the story that they won’t be able to put it down. Along the way, we’re hoping they’ll learn a few things they didn’t know about the Maya, and maybe gain a deeper understanding of life in a tropical rainforest. Then we’d hope they’d try even harder to find ways to protect the environment – including asking other publishers to follow the lead of Egmont USA and use only paper from sustainable sources.
Thank you J&P for taking the time to answer my questions!