An Interview with Children’s Author Douglas E. Richards: New Book in Book Nook?

Mar 7, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1)    Douglas, I understand that you have recently released a new book about Ethan Pritcher.  Give us some background.

It’s called ETHAN PRITCHER, BODY SWITCHER, and the feedback so far has been very positive. It’s about a boy who periodically switches bodies with someone else. He doesn’t know how or why, he just knows that it happens—and always when he least expects it. In the book, he trades bodies with a muscle-bound movie star, and finds himself in a big trouble. He soon learns that a hired killer is after him, so just staying alive turns out to be a big challenge.

But his sister, Madison, may have the toughest job of all.

She’ll have to find a way to keep the movie star, now inhabiting Ethan’s body, from getting her brother kicked out of sixth grade. The body switching theme has been very popular over the years (much like magic or vampires), and this is a humorous action/adventure take on the theme that I think will be fun for kids.

2)    I understand that you have left the sequel up to the actual readers- tell us about this.

At the end of the book, I ask kids to vote if they want this to become a series and if so, who they would like Ethan to switch with next. The response to this has been great. Kids really love having the chance to be a part of the process and help to determine future installments.

3)    What is Ethan like as a person- as a kid if you will?

Like all of my child protagonists, he is upbeat, likable, and bright.

4)    Now, he has this sister Madison. What is she like and where does she fit into the big scheme of things?

Madi is a year younger than Ethan and the only one who knows his secret. So she plays a huge role in the book. After switching bodies, Ethan and the bodybuilding movie star (think Arnold Schwarzenegger) strike a deal: they will try to assume each other’s role until they switch back. So Madi goes to school with the bodybuilder and has to make sure that he doesn’t alienate her brother’s friends, give away his secret, or get Ethan kicked out of school. The movie star isn’t all that bright, so this is a big challenge.

5)    Do we ever come to understand what causes these switches?

Yes, I spend a few pages in the beginning setting up the story. Basically, two years before, Ethan was playing with a chemistry set his parents bought him, mixing chemicals, when he decided to mix in anything around the house that would pour. When he added ketchup, the mixture started bubbling and changing colors — and then he spilled it on himself. Ever since, he periodically switches bodies with someone else without warning.

6)    Now, approximately what age and grade is this for?

This is always tough for me to judge. I would say for kids 7 or 8 and up.

7)    Doug, I read with relish the Prometheus Project Trilogy. Is Ethan Pritcher along those same lines—high interest and low vocabulary?

Yes. While my Prometheus Project books, which are part of the Accelerated Reader program, appeal to girls and advanced readers, they have been praised for their appeal to boys and reluctant readers as well. My hope is that ETHAN PRITCHER, BODY SWITCHER will follow in their footsteps.

8)    I hear that you are thinking about a follow up to your adult thriller, WIRED- is there any truth to this rumor?

Yes. I’m very happy to report that it is very nearly completed.

9)    How can readers get a hold of this book or download it or whatever?

The book is an eBook only for the time being, and can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Interestingly, my books and a number of other kids books do better as eBooks than as print books.

I’ve been amazed by this, since I really thought kids would still want to read books the old fashioned way — and parents wouldn’t want to give up their eReader devices to their seven-year-olds.  But I guess it really is a brave new world when kids are reading electronic books in these numbers.

10)    How can readers learn more about you and your books?

They can go to my website, http://www.douglaserichards.com/index.html

An Interview with Children’s Author Douglas E. Richards: New Book in Book Nook?

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

  1. Douglas, I understand that you have recently released a new book about Ethan Pritcher.  Give us some background.

It’s called ETHAN PRITCHER, BODY SWITCHER, and the feedback so far has been very positive. It’s about a boy who periodically switches bodies with someone else. He doesn’t know how or why, he just knows that it happens—and always when he least expects it. In the book, he trades bodies with a muscle-bound movie star, and finds himself in a big trouble. He soon learns that a hired killer is after him, so just staying alive turns out to be a big challenge.

But his sister, Madison, may have the toughest job of all.

She’ll have to find a way to keep the movie star, now inhabiting Ethan’s body, from getting her brother kicked out of sixth grade. The body switching theme has been very popular over the years (much like magic or vampires), and this is a humorous action/adventure take on the theme that I think will be fun for kids.

  1. I understand that you have left the sequel up to the actual readers- tell us about this.

At the end of the book, I ask kids to vote if they want this to become a series and if so, who they would like Ethan to switch with next. The response to this has been great. Kids really love having the chance to be a part of the process and help to determine future installments.

  1. What is Ethan like as a person- as a kid if you will?

Like all of my child protagonists, he is upbeat, likable, and bright.

  1. Now, he has this sister Madison. What is she like and where does she fit into the big scheme of things?

Madi is a year younger than Ethan and the only one who knows his secret. So she plays a huge role in the book. After switching bodies, Ethan and the bodybuilding movie star (think Arnold Schwarzenegger) strike a deal: they will try to assume each other’s role until they switch back. So Madi goes to school with the bodybuilder and has to make sure that he doesn’t alienate her brother’s friends, give away his secret, or get Ethan kicked out of school. The movie star isn’t all that bright, so this is a big challenge.

  1. Do we ever come to understand what causes these switches?

Yes, I spend a few pages in the beginning setting up the story. Basically, two years before, Ethan was playing with a chemistry set his parents bought him, mixing chemicals, when he decided to mix in anything around the house that would pour. When he added ketchup, the mixture started bubbling and changing colors — and then he spilled it on himself. Ever since, he periodically switches bodies with someone else without warning. 

  1. Now, approximately what age and grade is this for?

This is always tough for me to judge. I would say for kids 7 or 8 and up.  

  1. Doug, I read with relish the Prometheus Project Trilogy. Is Ethan Pritcher along those same lines—high interest and low vocabulary?

Yes. While my Prometheus Project books, which are part of the Accelerated Reader program, appeal to girls and advanced readers, they have been praised for their appeal to boys and reluctant readers as well. My hope is that ETHAN PRITCHER, BODY SWITCHER will follow in their footsteps.

  1. I hear that you are thinking about a follow up to your adult thriller, WIRED- is there any truth to this rumor?

Yes. I’m very happy to report that it is very nearly completed.

  1. How can readers get a hold of this book or download it or whatever?

The book is an eBook only for the time being, and can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Interestingly, my books and a number of other kids books do better as eBooks than as print books. 

I’ve been amazed by this, since I really thought kids would still want to read books the old fashioned way — and parents wouldn’t want to give up their eReader devices to their seven-year-olds.  But I guess it really is a brave new world when kids are reading electronic books in these numbers.

  1. How can readers learn more about you and your books? 

They can go to my website, www.douglaserichards.com.  While there is some good information about me there, alas, it is a bit out of date. I find it easier to display the latest news on my Facebook page, Douglas E. Richards Author, and I encourage anyone interested to Friend me, or visit my wall.

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