Yesterday, I shared about a wonderful new series called Imagination Station which is historical fiction written for early readers (ages 7 and up). If you’d like to receive a copy of all six Imagination Station books, join our giveaway! Just leave a comment each day this week (total of 5 entries available per person). The winner will be randomly chosen next Monday, November 14.
Today, I’d love to introduce you to the authors:
Paul McCusker (creative director) has written more than 300 episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, as well as 18 novels and two screenplays
Marianne Hering (main series writer) has written hundreds of articles and a number of books for children and parents.
Brock Eastman (series writer) started writing The Quest for Truth series in 2005 and has written more than nine books since.
Marshall Younger (series writer) has written over 100 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and four novels.
Q and A with Marianne Hering
Imagination Station Blog Tour
Q&A with Marianne Hering
1. What inspired you to write the Imagination Station series?
Paul (McCusker) had always wanted to write stories about the Imagination Station. When looking to do a kids’ series about it, we chose early elementary to introduce new readers to the Adventures in Odyssey world. We also wanted to touch on a group of kids that didn’t have many Christian books written for their level. There seemed to be a gap from picture books to later elementary readers.
2. The Imagination Station device is well-known to fans of the radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. Why did you and Paul decide to use it in a book series?
It lends itself to stand-alone adventures. It’s a fascinating device. Why wouldn’t he want to write about it? It allowed us to write about settings outside of Odyssey. We’d like some of the books to augment the history kids learn from public school textbooks or TV. The Imagination Station radio dramas are also among the most popular. We thought that kids would like them, that’s all!
3. The first two books focus on the Vikings and ancient Rome. The next two books focus on Kubla Khan and the War of the Roses and now books five and six take readers to the Holy Land and back to Plymouth Rock. How did you and Paul decide which historical events to write about?
Paul and I aren’t the only ones who weigh into the decision. Paul and I have a creative team that also includes Adventures in Odyssey writer Nathan Hoobler, book publishing director Larry Weeden, and marketing manager Brock Eastman. I’m fortunate to have such a well-rounded and experienced bunch helping decide on setting, cover scene, and title. All that said, I do most of the research or verify the other writers’ research for the book’s outline. I’ve written a lot of historical fiction and had many of the ideas for settings and conversations in my mind and heart for years. I try to choose moments in history that reveal a hero’s Christian character and are historically accurate. The exception is book 4, Revenge of the Red Knight, which covered the War of the Roses. Because that war was so convoluted and political, it was difficult to find a well-defined real-life hero we could hold up as a role model. The hero, Sir Andrew, in that book is 100 percent fiction. The other books all have a true-life hero as a role model.
4. How true to history are Showdown with the Shepherd and Problems at Plymouth?
Let me start by informing readers that it’s my intent to answer all of these questions on TheImaginationStation.com website. The historical information is already posted in the parents section for books 1 and 2, and book 7’s material will be posted momentarily. I’m working on filling in the “what’s true and what’s not true” material for books 3, 4, 5, and 6. Hopefully in the next week.
Showdown with the Shepherd expands on the David and Goliath story. For readers who are not familiar with the story, we kept it as biblical as possible while adding three time travelers and a catapult. The Philistines are still gruesome and fearful and want to take the Israelites as slaves. Young shepherd boy David is mocked by his brothers. King Saul is still afraid to fight Goliath himself. David still whomps Goliath with God’s help. (I did get Goliath’s helmet wrong on the cover. The Philistine helmets had a funky topper.–I missed this because I was on vacation when the cover roughs came through and I didn’t check everything as carefully as I should have. Sorry for that. I work hard to get the details of the art to be accurate and feel bad when I overlook an important detail.) The setting was as accurate as I could make it. I did ask my boss to pay for me to fly to the Valley of Elah for “research,” but he wisely thought that would be a waste of ministry resources.
Problems in Plymouth—the events all happened, just over a longer period of time than it did in the book. In reality, these events happened over about a year period. In the book it’s two days. John Billington and his family are real. John did get lost. Mr. Billington didn’t agree with William Bradford on what to do about Indian relations. Chiefs Aspinet and Yellow Feather are real. The Pilgrims did accidentally shoot some innocent Indians. The doctor is real. The issue of the stolen corn is real. The Pilgrims did fear that Squanto was kidnapped, and they set out to rescue him. The Pilgrims did bury their gun powder. The storage room did exist. The meeting house was described accurately as were the cannons. There were several types of muskets models used by the Pilgrims. The details of the first Thanksgiving were basically accurate. We depicted the traditional bell-shaped blunderbuss. However, many Pilgrims probably had muskets without the bell-shaped musket. Marshal Younger and I took some small liberties with the history (besides, of course, Hugh and the cousins). For example I’m not sure who was actually on the shallop that came to rescue John Billington. The dialogue between Bradford and Standish was based on research, but the actual words were fictionalized. We did try to quote Bradford in some places, but his language was so outdated we had to modify it a lot.
Tomorrow we’ll hear what Marianne has to say about writing for young readers and how to help them read better!
If you’d like to order the books, please use my referral link to Barnes and Noble!