Meeting Brandon Mull

It’s starting to seem like there’s an author under every rock down here. This morning we braved Costco (blowing Southwest Airlines away when it comes to making customers feel like cattle) for some shopping and found out that Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series (serie? seriea? serieses?) would be doing a book signing in the afternoon.

I’ve read the first two books in the Fablehaven series to the kids and have really enjoyed them. His kids feel like kids, his adults are (sometimes annoyingly) like adults, and the whole series is built on a fun, solid premise. He carefully tries to avoid being predictable and cliched, even though it’s a kids series, and writers can get away with all kinds of cliches usually, because kids are not well-read enough to recognize cliches.

Anyway, the kids immediately wanted to come back in the afternoon and meet him, so we decided to give it a go. I guess that’s one advantage of not living very far away from a major book store and a Costco. So back we went after lunch.

This was the first book signing I’ve been to at Costco, but I’ve seen authors there before, and there isn’t usually a line. But then Brandon Mull is a NYT Bestselling writer. Even then, the line wasn’t bad. We waited perhaps twenty minutes at the most. And of course, as is the plan, we picked up two of his books while he waited.

The book he was promoting today was book two of his Beyonders series, but since we’ve not read book one yet, we bought that and the third Fablehaven. Though his books are rather thick for that age group, they don’t cost very much, even in hardback. As it was, those two books were only in paperback.

Anyway, he works his line well. He talked to us long enough to feel like we were important, but not too long to slow the line down. After hearing him describe the premise of Beyonders I’m looking forward to reading it. I can’t put it as well as he did (he’s had much more practice), but it’s about an evil king who gets rid of the would-be heroes in his realm not by killing them (and making them martyrs), but by corrupting them so that they lose interest in opposing him.

He also describes it as part “Chronicles of Narnia”, part “Lord of the Rings”, in that two kids from our world are transported to that world and must find a way to defeat the king in spite of his devious and effective means of derailing heroes.

For the last week or so the kids have been having me make up stories to tell them at bed time. I think we’re going to wrap up “Ben Carter and the Temple of Tol-kien” (Hey, I need a name fast, and it was the first book I saw on the shelf) quickly tonight so we can start reading the third Fablehaven.

I’ll keep you posted. I wonder which author we’ll meet next.