Talented teacher and author, Grant Goodman, has taken some time out from his holidays to share a bit about himself with us. His first book, Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble, is an engaging, action packed spy and ninja book perfect for middle to upper primary school children. Read my review and get ready for the next book in the series! I’m just a little excited!
First, a bit about yourself, your family and home?
I’m a former martial arts instructor, a current middle school English teacher, and a fan of imagination and wonder. My absolute favorite writer is Ray Bradbury, my favorite songwriter is Glen Phillips, and my favorite animated movie is a tie between WALL-E and Spirited Away.
I grew up in Maryland and my younger brother now lives in San Francisco, where he conducts a classical music group called Elevate Ensemble.
I’m a resident of Washington, DC, which is a pretty cool place to be. I’m never too far away from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (dinosaurs!), the Lincoln Memorial (inspiration!), or Kramerbooks book store (they’re open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays!).
What is the first book you remember falling in love with? What made you love it?
The first book that really opened up my world was The Fellowship of the Ring. I read it when I was in 6th grade and the scope of it was amazing: the huge map, the deep history, and the final desperate journey to defeat evil…I had never read a book like that before.
But the first book that I loved–that I obsessively read and re-read–was actually a manga. When the Dragonball Z manga first came out in the US, it was a monthly comic book. Every month, I made my parents take me to the little comics store in town for the newest issue.
Dragonball Z pulled me in because it was full of martial arts action, characters who could fly, villains who were capable of destroying planets, and plots that took you to other galaxies. Plus, the characters could throw fireballs and I thought that was the greatest thing ever.
What was the last book you read?
I finished Welcome to Night Vale a little while ago. Night Vale is a fictional desert town that is full of monsters and weird magic. If you like strange, creepy stories, this one will deliver. The book is based on a podcast of the same name, which is hands-down my favorite podcast.
Is there a special place you prefer to write from?
I’ve found that I can write in a lot of different places. While I do a lot of my writing at a desk at home, I’ve been able to write in coffee shops, in my classroom after school, and while on vacation. I can’t write very well in a car or on a plane, though, because I get motion sickness when I do.
You are a middle school teacher, aren’t you? Did teaching inspire you to become an author?
Being a middle school English teacher played a huge role in reigniting my love for writing. When I first started teaching middle school (I taught high school for 2 years), I started up a classroom library for my students. I didn’t know much about YA lit at that point, so I started checking out Goodreads reviews and built up my collection. I wound up getting hooked on Scott Westerfeld, Rick Riordan, and Suzanne Collins. The more I read, the more I realized I wanted to write my own novel.
If I hadn’t moved to middle school, I don’t know if I ever would have pushed myself to write a novel.
What do your students think of Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble?
My students are such big fans!!! One of them wants to write a musical version, one of them has drawn several issues of a comic book series. They make all kinds of fun fan art, and the majority of my Amazon reviews were written by my students! I have some die-hard fans who I get to see every day and it is the best.
Are Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve based on real kids in your life?
I would say that they are based on a blend of real people. When you’re a teacher, you learn about the struggles that your students have and that helped me to form my characters.
Darcy is the kind of girl who sits quietly in class, always does extremely detailed work, and doesn’t like to show off. If she has insecurities, she does everything she can to hide them, but sometimes they break through.
Steve is a guy who always has people assume things about him because they know his genius older sister. I’ve taught students and then later I’ve taught their brothers and sisters. I do my best to make sure that I never compare them to their siblings, because that just isn’t fair. Not everyone, however, is aware of how hard it can be when you get stuck in your older brother’s or sister’s shadow. We’re all different, we all have our own different talents that we should be recognized for.
Being a ninja or a spy sounds a bit dangerous, yet extremely exciting! Would you prefer to be a ninja or a spy, and why?
I love this question! Both of them involve a mix of martial arts, acrobatics, and danger. In my novel, the spies have access to extra-powerful technology and the ninjas can learn to use magic spells. I have always wished that magic was real, so I’ll have to go with “ninja” on this question.
I hope that there will be more Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve adventures soon. When can we expect your next book?
Book two, Robot Rumble!, will be coming out on Saturday, April 30th, 2016.
Darcy and Steve are going to have to deal with new danger and adventure as they both find themselves traveling to the robot kingdom of Botsylvania.
I can’t say too much without revealing spoilers from the first book, Tiger Trouble! But…I can say that this book is going to have more spin kicks, more gadgets, and more danger!