Today, I am excited to announce the release of Rex, by Adam Rocke, Mark Rogers, and Cody Stewart. I’ve set up a spotlight and a Q&A with the authors! I’m in love with this book and can’t wait to see it released for everyone to read!
I hope you enjoy.
Author: Adam Rocke, Mark Rogers, Cody B. Stewart
Genre: Middle Grade
Release date: October 5, 2016
Publisher: Common Deer Press
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When eleven-year-old TJ finds a weird looking egg in the Florida Everglades after a tropical storm rips through, naturally he takes it home for identification. It could be the egg of a mutant duck or something, which would be awesome. Problem is, the egg doesn’t look like it came from a mallard, even a mutated one—it’s too big and heavy and…strange. So he hides it away in his closet and continues on with his life as usual, doing his best to ignore the creepy men constantly banging at his front door and the significant rise in military helicopter sightings in his typically quiet neighbourhood.
Then one day he comes home from school and it’s as though a hand grenade has gone off inside his bedroom. Suddenly, TJ knows he’s dealing with something a little more interesting—and a little more deadly—than a duck.
Cody B. Stewart
Cody B. Stewart was born in the Adirondacks, in Upstate New York. His love of stories began in those mountains as he vanquished trolls, fought in the American Revolution and discovered his latent mutant powers. Stories have continued to consume his life, but he now plucks them out of his head and puts them down on paper in the form of novels and comic books. He left the Adirondacks to grow into a man, did so, and has since returned with a wonderfully supportive wife and two sons.
Adam Rocke Slutsky never met an adventure he didn’t love. From swimming with great white sharks without a cage, to jumping out of a plane without a parachute, Adam’s adrenaline junkie tendencies play a major role in his writing. Throw in a secondary degree in CryptoZoology and it’s anyone’s guess where Adam’s literary travels will take him.
Mark’s career as a travel journalist has brought him to 56 countries and counting. These trips have fed his imagination while at the same time provided authentic experiences and sensory detail that find their way into his novels and screenplays. Mark’s won multiple awards for his travel writing, including an award for his Hurricane Ivan coverage in Jamaica. His work regularly appears in USA Today and other media outlets. Mark lives in Baja California with his Sinaloa-born wife, Sophy, where they recently built a rock house overlooking the sea.
What sparked your idea(s) to write a story about a boy and his t-rex? Have any books or movies inspired you to write this story?
The inspiration for Rex stems from a “swamp survival” course I did in the Florida Everglades. While I didn’t find any dinosaur eggs—or any spooky CIA secret agents for that matter—I did find a few alligator snapping turtle eggs, and these got my creative juices flowing. The scenery in there is so amazing, and when it gets dark—whoa! It’s like a whole different world. The Everglades is really a character unto itself!
I was a bit of a TJ myself, heading into the woods every day at the age of five until seven years old, for full days of looking for box turtles, salamander, and huge beetles living in logs. These were great days without a grown-up in sight.
I have a lot in common with TJ. My brothers and sisters were all out of the house when I was around TJ’s age, and I lived in the middle of the Adirondacks, so there weren’t many people around. I spent most of my time making up stories as I explored the woods. Those stories always involved me running around with fantastic creatures.
This book is a joint project from all three of you. What drew you to be a part of this book? Who contributed to what?
The way I see it, the three of us are like a “dream team” for this story. We all have different backgrounds, different life experiences, and different writing styles and tones. So we could bring different thoughts and emotions to each character, each chapter, each “scene” in the story. Then, when we put it all together, and filled in the gaps, we knew we had something special
My inspiration was meeting someone as rare and strange as Rex – Adam Rocke. He invited me in to add a little extra something to the Rex project. We had written another novel together and knew we had what it took to create a book that was greater than the sum of its parts. Then when Cody joined in, the magic took off to the nth power.
I’m incredibly grateful that Adam and Mark invited me to be part of Rex. I’ve learned so much about writing and the writing business from them and the process. Accepting their invitation was a no-brainer for me. They were positive that they had a great story to tell and that it would take off. And they were right. Rex is a story with so much heart, humor and adventure. I jumped at the chance to help shape it.
Many people have gained a love of dinosaurs over years. What do you believe interests readers on their love of dinosaurs?
For me, dinosaurs are the ultimate story creatures because they’re real. At least, they were. Grasping the concept that actual monsters once roamed the earth is really cool. And to think, maybe they’re still out there somewhere. Just because we haven’t found yet doesn’t mean they no longer exist. In the deepest depths of the ocean, or somewhere in the lush jungle, maybe, just maybe, there are leftovers from a prehistoric era.
I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love playing with dinosaur toys, reading dinosaur books, or seeing their bones in a museum. Part of the appeal for kids may be because dinosaurs roamed the earth before there were schools, chores, and big people telling you what to do. Also, with all of the scientific strides being made, who’s to say a Jurassic Park scenario is impossible?
Dinosaurs make the ultimate What if? story. What if they never went extinct? What if humans and dinosaurs lived side by side? What would it be like if dinosaurs existed on our modern day earth? It’s fun to imagine because they really did exist, not like unicorns. And, really, unicorns are just horses with horns. Not that awesome. But dinosaurs are practically dragons that walked on the same ground that we walk on now!
Congratulations on the potential movie deal! What are your thoughts on Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Sony Pictures circling your book?
The thought that our story could actually be made into a movie is incredibly exciting. From a writer’s standpoint, it’s always flattering to have people respond to your writing. And the fact that so many people have responded thus far takes that flattery to another level. But it’s important to remain level-headed; Hollywood is filled with almosts and near-misses. Just because we have a ton of interest doesn’t mean we’ll land a deal. And even if we do get a deal, that doesn’t mean a movie will ever get made. But still, it’s awesome to sit back and watch it all unfold and we’re all truly appreciative of the time and attention that Rex is receiving.
We’re all excited about a possible film – whether it would be live action with lots of CGI, or an animated movie. There’s a famous saying about Hollywood: “It’s the only place in the world that can encourage you to death.” So I’d say we’re doing a good job managing expectations, while still now and then.letting fly with a “Whoop! Whoop!”
I don’t even really comprehend the question. It doesn’t seem real. Actual living people who work for the biggest companies in the film industry have read something that I wrote and at least thought, “Well, this isn’t the worst.” For me, that alone is a win and incredibly flattering. But, like Adam and Mark said, there is no guarantee a Rex movie will happen, so I try to stay grounded. Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t imagine what I’d name the dinosaur I genetically engineer with all my Hollywood money. His name would be Newman, and he would be a triceratops.
We hope you love the book as much as we do!