April 1, 2019

Blog Tour: Roger Mantis by Tom Alan Brosz – Interview and Giveaway

Hello Readers! Welcome to our Tour Stop for

Roger Mantis by Tom Alan Brosz

presented by Month9Books!

We have Tom on the blog today for a quick Q&A.

Click on the banner above to follow the rest of the tour,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Baseball is Roger McGillicutty’s whole life. That is until he wakes one Saturday to find he is no longer a normal eleven-year-old boy. He’s a five-foot-tall praying mantis.

Roger has school on Monday, the carnival comes to town next week, and his baseball team is poised to play their biggest rival in one week. Being a giant bug will seriously cramp Roger’s style!

To Roger’s surprise, his parents and friends are supportive. Even his dog isn’t spooked. But not everyone’s thrilled about Roger’s change. Some people are frightened and others would like nothing more than to squash him into the ground like the bug he is.

And when Little League officials oust Roger from baseball, his world collapses.

When a reporter from the city comes snooping around rumors of a man-sized baseball-playing praying mantis, Roger must choose between hiding his true self or being the hero he’s always wanted to be.

Roger Mantis by Tom Alan Brosz
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Tantrum Books

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Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!

Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)

“Roger, 11, wakes up one morning to find he’s turned into a five-foot praying mantis. Is he a creepy freak now? Or, just maybe, a super hero?”

(Hey, I thought Tweets were longer now!)

What was your inspiration for writing this book?  Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?

Roger Mantis was the second book I wrote. My first book took a long time and a lot of work, and this was really kind of an attempt to show I had another book in me. Starting a book is one of the hardest parts for me, and I cast around for some kind of inspiration.

I found a list of “famous first lines” in books, and noticed the first lines of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

“What if this guy was just a kid?” I thought. “And what if the story was fun, not depressing?” Since Roger’s story was originally pretty episodic, plotting wasn’t a problem, and I had a first draft in a month, with a version of the Kafka opening line as the beginning.

Tell us about the main character(s).

Roger McGillicutty’s first name is basically “Gregor” spelled backwards (sort of). His last name is kind of funny, and designed to signal “humor” right at the beginning.

Roger is eleven, and a baseball sports jock at school. Not one of those strutting, annoying jocks we all remember from school, but just a nice, easy-going kind of kid who just happens to be really into baseball and not too much else. He doesn’t stand out academically, but he gets by okay. Roger never actually appears in the book as a human being, but I imagined him to be one of those stocky, benign, clean-cut kids who never really stands out in a crowd.

He isn’t a very complicated personality, but the dogged persistence that won him success at baseball turns out to be very useful when he has to adapt to a strange new existence.

Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?

That’s a tough one. The interplay between Roger and his friends is always a lot of fun. His friend Jerry Martinez has most of the best funny lines. I did like the part where some of the school punks annoy Roger in the school rest room, and Roger takes a flight at night that I liked writing. One of my inspirations for how I wrote Roger Mantis was the book Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, about a boy who magically gets wings. Roger’s night flight in my book was a version of a flight over San Francisco at night in Snyder’s book.

Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing?  If so, why?

My editors wanted me to ramp up some of Roger’s conflicts and obstacles, and writing Roger’s unhappy scenes was a lot harder than writing his humorous scenes. But it really improved the story and the characters.

What sort of projects do you have going on right now.  Any new books coming out?

I’ve got a couple of idea folders in my computer, and of course, I’m always thinking about sequels. I haven’t actually started anything new in a while, unfortunately. I really envy those writers who always seem to have two or three manuscripts under way at any given time.

It was great having you on the blog today!  We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!

Thank you!

Tom Alan Brosz actually is a rocket scientist (sort of), having done design and engineering work in the private space industry back before the private space industry was cool. His qualifications for writing this book are that he has experience in raising children who like bugs, and raising pet mantises for those children. Normal-sized mantises, of course.

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  1. James Robert

    Your book sounds like a great read and thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Julie Bickham

    I’m sure my son would like to read this!

  3. Tiffany S

    Sounds like a good book, I think my nephew would love it.

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