I first met Cam at a friend's 30th Birthday Party in Joshua Tree. He was awesome then and is awesome now (Cameron hooked us up with Ashley and Brad, the animators we hired for The Grocery Store) and has worked as an animator and creative genius for many moons. (Cam's past credits include Team America: World Police & SpongeBob Squarepants.)
Cam and his writing partner, Benny (past credits include a little-known show called The Simpsons), recently wrote a YA book together, the first in a trilogy, and Book One is now available in stores. It's called The First Book of Ore: The Foundry's Edge and here is its blurb:
Phoebe Plumm has everything in the world except a friend. Her opulent Art Deco metropolis, Albright City, is full of spectacular, gleaming luxuries: rocket-fast Cable Bikes and ZipTrolleys, wondrous Televiewers and Computators, and a never-ending parade of streamlined mechanical innovations. All of it comes from The Foundry, a global corporation with a monopoly on technology where her father, Dr. Jules Plumm is Chief Surveyor. Phoebe's life in Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome Micah Tanner but when her father is abducted, Phoebe and Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal which they discover has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries. In this strange, mysterious and violent realm, Phoebe and Micah must fight to save Dr. Plumm, themselves ... and all creatures of good will.
And now, without further ado, I am pleased to introduce you to Cam and Benny. This, my friends, is Cam:
Cam & Benny: Thank you! This trilogy is our baby, one we've been developing and nurturing since 2006 - even older than our real and more damp children (Cam has a daughter of two and Benny has a daughter of three and a son of two months!) Our Middle Grade book is about a lonely girl called Phoebe Plumm who has everything in the world she could possibly want - except a friend. Her only companion is her father, who is unexpectedly captured and stolen away. Phoebe goes on a rescue mission to save her father, along with a rowdy servant boy she particularly despises called Micah, but soon the two kids find themselves stranded in a mysterious realm of living metal. As they figure out how to survive together, Phoebe and Micah stumble upon a secret that will change the world.
GGC: I love this. What inspired such a rich idea?
Cam & Benny: In addition to being debut authors (still getting used to saying that), we are also stop-motion animators, which means we have a unique relationship with inanimate objects. Not like those people who fall in love with pavement or the Eiffel Tower, but more that we spend so much time imbuing pieces of foam and wire with life that we reflexively see a personality in all sorts of objects. Well, we started wondering about the history of the everyday things around us, like cars and phones. Who are they? Where did they come from? And that led to a stranger question still, which was - if these objects had once been alive, then how did they come to be inanimate and sitting on our desks? Out of that egg hatched our story.
Cam & Benny: Kind of like being married. Our spouses have affectionately dubbed us work-wives. There is a lot of disagreement and plenty of give and take. We make it work because we have compatible strengths as writers - Benny is better at braving the blank page faster and spilling out the first draft, and Cam's strength is in details and meticulous word choice. But where two minds are most valuable is in world-building and solving story problems. We attack each others' ideas to make sure they are watertight, all while trying to not get too precious along the way. Yet as with all relationships, especially creative ones, there are always fights. Our favorite was when we literally argued for twenty minutes about a single period.
GGC: Which character in the book do you (both) most relate to and why?
Cam & Benny: There are two characters in our trilogy that are partners called Mr. Pynch and the Marquis, and we realized partway through writing them that they were actually us. Mr. Pynch is a squat little curmudgeon who has a good heart but can be a bit "prickly," while the Marquis is something of a busybody / walking slapstick machine. We'll let you decide who is who. And their relationship is eerily similar to ours - bickering and fighting much of the time, but all with a deep respect for one another, which proves them to not only be dependent, but inseparable.
GGC: What are your characters doing right this very second do you think?
Cam & Benny: After what we put them through? Getting some sleep (which makes us jealous.) And they better rest up, knowing what's in store for them
GCC: I am equally jealous. This is the first book in a trilogy. Are you working on book two? Book three? Can you tell us a little about them or are they top secret?
Cam & Benny: Indeed - we are deep in the mines of book two as we speak, in-between running around town and taking pictures of every copy of our book we can find on shelves. We have a thorough map for the rest of the series, while still leaving room for surprises once we are ready to walk every step of the next journey. But yes, over the next months we will be "crashing" book two, though we prefer the term "Evel Kniveling" since crashing sounds tragic. The books themselves? Actually quite top secret. But we can say that Phoebe and Micah both find themselves in positions they could have never expected, and ones they are certain they are not ready for. Beyond that, we can say that it's gonna get ca-razy… er.
their book to give away. To win? Leave a comment below about something adventurous. I'll pick all winners at random next Monday. Good luck!