Welcome to my tour stop for Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand by R.S. Mellette. This is an upper middle grade, lower young adult sci-fi adventure novel that's perfect for the whole family. This tour runs Feb. 9-20th with reviews and interviews. Check out the tour page for more information.
Title: Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand
Author: R.S. Mellette
Publication date: December 8, 2014
Publisher: Elephant's Bookshelf Press
"E=mc2 is no longer the most powerful force in the universe. Your wand is."
Twelve-year-old Billy and his best friend Suzy Quinofski didn't mean to change the universe. Billy, a quantum physics prodigy, just wanted to find a way to help his hoarding, schizophrenic mother - and maybe impress a coven of older girls in high school. Suzy, his intellectual equal, wanted to help her friend and cling to her last remnant of childhood, a belief in magic. Together they made Billy a real, working, magic wand, and opened a door to the Quantum World where thoughts create reality, and all things - good and bad - are possible.
I am SO excited for you guys to check out my interview with Mr. Mellette! His answers made me laugh and fangirl at the same time. Best. Interview. Ever. :D Read on! (Author's answers are in blue)
Hi DDG [Donnie Darko Girl] - I'm looking forward to a real Sci-Fi (or Science-Fiction if you're nasty), interview. For years now people have argued about whether I write Middle Grade or Young Adult books. I let them talk. If they ever bother to ask me, I say I write Sci-Fi.
DDG: As a fellow science fiction fan, I'd love to pick your brain about the genre! Are you looking forward to the upcoming Star Wars film? Or are you inwardly cringing? I have to ask because the prequels weren't as great as the originals in my humble opinion. :)
Of course I am. A bad Star Wars movie is...almost...better than no Star Wars movie.
Lucas had painted himself into a corner when he said there would be three more movies after the first three were released. I think he said in an interview that there was really only one movie's worth of story in the creation of Darth Vader. I wish he'd gotten more help on the story level before shooting began. Now that Vader's story has been told, I think it can break out of the mold and become an old-fashioned action-adventure again.
DDG: Can you tell us about your role on Star Trek: Enterprise? Do you get nervous when acting?
First, no. Acting is my first love, and while I don't do it much anymore, it never makes me nervous. It makes me kind of high.
The Star Trek: Enterprise thing was fun. I got the gig as an extra, which I would do when I was unemployed. It doesn't pay much, and it can be a little depressing for an actor with a degree - but at that stage in my life, I didn't worry about it. I was just glad to get paid and have next to no responsibility on a film set. On the first day of shooting, I had no idea that my character had a name and featured role. That was a fun surprise.
The Star Trek episode was set on a planet patterned after the Wild West. My first day on the job was not at their Paramount sound stage, but on the backlot of Universal, where they have a small western city set for just this sort of thing. This meant the regular cast and crew were like kids on a field trip. Instead of being inside the same old sound stage they used every day, they were outside, at another studio, having a blast. All the Brits in the cast were excited about being in a Western and wearing cowboy gear. Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) had been up to the Universal Tour, so she was running around with one of those air slingshots that shoots a puff of air over a long distance. She was shooting everyone with it. My day job had been at Universal for almost a decade, so I got a bigger kick out of seeing a seeing a shuttle craft parked on Western street.
DDG: What do you think about the rebooted Star Trek films? If you've seen both, which do you like better and why?
I loved them! I love the fact that they are in a parallel time line and that old Spock doesn't make a big deal out of it. Why should he? The alternate time line obviously didn't affect his.
I like the first one a little better, but only because I'm a sucker for an origin story. That, and no one is as bad an ass as Ricardo Montalban.
DDG: Have you been to Comic Con? If so, what was it like? If not, do you have plans to go one day?
I have not been to Comic Con. My first Con was the first Xena: Warrior Princess convention, and I have to say going as a VIP rocks! Skipping the lines... snacking in the green room... feeling like a rock star. It's fun.
The last con I went to was also fun. I was watching the local news in LA and they did a story on Stan Lee's Comikaze convention. I figured I should scout that out, since Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand was about to be published. A friend of mind is one of Mr. Lee's assistants, so I texted her and got a free pass. That was a fun "Hollywood Moment" as I call them.
And no, I haven't gotten to meet Stan. I don't tend to do the fan thing. I'd rather meet someone when we're working together.
DDG: What's your favorite science fiction TV show? Movie? Favorite film by Steven Spielberg?
Dr. Who. The Original Star Wars. Raiders. Not very original, but you have to go with the classics.
DDG: Are you a Whovian? Why or why not?
Am I a Whovian? Does Tom Baker have curly hair and a big nose?
When I was a kid, the local CBS station started showing Dr. Who, but they did them out of order. Back then, an episode was 20 minutes long and it took four of them to tell a story. I watched a few of them, they made no sense, so I stopped. A few months later, a friend said how much he loved Dr. Who. I told him I thought they were stupid and why. He said I should watch them on PBS. They showed them in order. Wow, what a difference! I started with Tom Baker. He was the Doctor from '74-81. I graduated from high school in '80, so he got me through some rough years.
Years... decades... later, I'm unemployed. My career is going nowhere. I'm lying on the couch flipping channels and I land on a cute British blonde girl walking through a spooky house. I paused to see what it might be. When Sally Sparrow pulled off the wall paper, revealing a note from The Doctor, the theme kicked in and I leapt to my feet! The Doctor was back in my life. How bad can things be when the Doctor is watching over me? Things have gotten much better since then.
Oh, and FYI - there are both obvious and subtle references to Dr. Who in Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand. Also, Star wars, Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, Camelot, and more. I think your friends and fans should try to track them all down.
DDG: When writing Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand, did you listen to music? If so, do you have a playlist, or do you write better in silence?
I generally put on CNN. Writing can put a person in a closed world, and it's nice for me to know that if anything happens of importance on the planet, I will know about it. As I get more into the writing, the sound gets lower and lower until I'm just wasting electricity.
DDG: How did you feel the moment Billy Bobble was published?
Surprisingly calm. I had three short stories published with Elephant's Bookshelf Press prior to Billy Bobble. When Chief Elephant Officer, Matt Sinclair, offered to publish Billy Bobble, I was happy about it - and still am - but I also knew that this is small press publishing. Sure, getting it out there without self-publishing is great but the real proof is in sales. Everyone at EBP has been a tremendous help, but it's a long hard haul to get enough people reading the book to have word-of-mouth catch on.
I like word-of-mouth small press marketing, though. Different than Hollywood word-of-mouth, which is all based on people seeing the trailer and pre-release marketing, independent word-of-mouth means that people who have actually read the book (or seen the movie), liked it so much that they've told their friends and family, "you HAVE to share this with me." That's a big compliment for an artist.
DDG: And last but not least, have you seen Donnie Darko? ;)
Yes, but only once, so I have no idea what it's about. Every time I try to watch it, some bunny keeps bothering me and I have to turn it off.
About the Author
R.S. Mellette has written, directed, designed and acted in theatre, film, television, and publishing for over 30 years. His credits in various jobs include XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS, BLUE CRUSH, and his own JACKS OR BETTER, which won Dances With Films Best Screenplay award in 2000. He has been working with the festival ever since. His novel, Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand, released in December 2014 from Elephant's Bookshelf Press. For novelists, Mellette blogs for From The Write Angle. For filmmakers, he writes for Dances With Films.
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