Shari: Hi Mark! Happy Book Birthday! What a treat to get to share the trailer of your new book, Quest Kids and the Dragon Pants of Gold on its release day. This title will definitely get readers’ attention! What would you say about your book to convince someone to read it?
Mark: Hi Shari. Thank you for having me on the MG Book Village. It’s a real honor!
Quest Kids and the Dragon Pants of Gold was written to crack up my kids, as well as make my own inner eleven-year-old laugh. So if you’re a kid, or kid at heart, who thinks an afternoon of non-stop guffawing is time well spent, then you’re going to love Quest Kids!
Quest Kids follows four kids and their pig-dog-thing as they attempt underage questing in a medieval world. Ned is our fearless leader, who took up questing to find his missing parents. Gil is Ned’s best friend and a wizard-in-training; his wizarding teacher disappeared the same time as Ned’s parents. Terra is a 700-year-old elf who still happens to be a kid (700 is 11 in elf years). Boulder is a sensitive rock troll who often gets stuck doing the dirty work because he’s MMOR (Mostly Made Of Rocks). And the previously mentioned pig-dog-thing is their pet named Ash. Is he a pig? A dog? Or something else entirely? No one knows, but he’s cute, loyal, and intensely gassy!
The Quest Kids scour the countryside in search of quests, which is quite tough because no one is keen on hiring a bunch of kids to quest. Plus, the Quest Kids don’t really have the best track record quest-wise; they have not completed a single one. But Ned thinks all this will change with their latest quest:
To find and shave the golden-fleeced rage beast, so they can make a giant track jacket for a dragon.
A golden track jacket is the perfect complement to the dragon’s preexisting pair of golden lounging pants. But if Quest Kids can’t complete this shiny ensemble in one year’s time, the dragon looks to leave an entire mountain village EXTRA CRISPY! And not in the good bacon-y kind of way 😦
Shari: Quest Kids sounds like a hilarious adventure! What is the hardest part about writing a quest story, and especially a humorous quest story?
Mark: The hardest thing is to avoid mapping everything out ahead of time. It’s easy to get nervous about where the quest might go and want to safely steer things along. I try not to do that. Sure, I’ll jot down ideas, but I really just use those as jumping off points and then see where the characters take me. This leads to more spontaneity and probably more humor. Discovering what happens the same time as your characters do makes everything more fun. Even if it’s a little scarier.
Shari: Get your popcorn, folks, it’s time for the trailer!
Shari: Wow! What a fun book trailer! What were your thoughts when you first saw it? Is there an element that stands out for you or that you particularly like?
Mark: Thanks, Shari! I actually cobbled that trailer together myself. When I wasn’t constantly drawing growing up, you’d find me playing with the AV equipment. So ANY excuse I get to do that again is very welcome 🙂
My favorite part was finding music that seemed to work. Then I fine-tuned the edits a little closer so that the music sort of propelled everything along. It was so much fun!
Shari: Wow, well done! I love how the music really sets the mood for the story! If you can share, will there be more Quest Kids adventures, and what might they encounter on their future quests?
Mark: I’m working on the second quest right now. It is tentatively titled Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug. In it, the Quest Kids must face a dark and mysterious character who has written a dark and mysterious prophecy that’s sending the world into, well, darkness. Yup, things are glum. But this Doug fellow might know where Ned’s parents are. Plus, they should probably stop him from fulfilling his altogether downer of a prophecy.
Shari: Dark and mysterious prophecies are always intriguing! Is there anything you’d like to share about yourself with our readers?
Mark: I was always the weird kid who lived for drawing and making people laugh. I was fortunate enough to do those two things for a few years with my syndicated comic strip Cow & Boy. Now I feel super blessed to combine my only two life skills once again with Quest Kids 🙂
Shari: Thank you so much for sharing your talents with young readers! Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your writing?
Mark: My website markleiknes.com is your best reference for all things Mark Leiknes related. It lists everything I’ve published over the last ten years and where to find them.
Shari: Mark, thank you so much for letting me be part of your trailer reveal and chatting with me today. I hope you have a fabulous launch day, and I look forward to sharing your book with my young readers!
Mark: It’s been my pleasure, Shari. Thank you again for having me!