The Grotto Under The Tree Blog Tour Hosted by CBB Promotions ~ Author John A. Theo Jr. Guest Post

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Hello everyone, Paul here today. I’m happy to be participating in The Grotto Under The Tree Blog Tour hosted by Candace at Candace’s Book Blog & CBB Promotions. If you didn’t already know it Candace also hosts The Saturday Situation in her blog which is a list of great links to reviews and giveaways. Check it out here.

 photo TheGrottoUndertheTreeCover_zpsd944a6ef.jpgThe Grotto Under the Tree
Follow two young heroes, Sebastian and Sara, as they mistakenly descend into a mystical land where elves, mermaids, gnomes and other mythological creatures live. The two discover they have stumbled into an ancient battle between these fair folk and evil creatures called the Kylo. Their guide on this journey is Capri, an elf lord who is on a quest to find his lost tribe. The Kylo chase the children and Capri in his flying galleon north into the Arctic Circlewhere they find the most unlikely ally. During the final battle the children learn about sacrifice, love and ultimately forgiveness.
Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

 photo JohnTheoAuthorPhoto_zps09f0561a.jpgAuthor Bio:
John Theo, Jr. has numerous published articles on arts, culture and sports figures. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pine Manor Collegein Chestnut Hill, MA. During the day John serves as Vice President of Operations for Blue Sky Holdings, which owns many commercial fitness clubs. John is also an adjunct professor at EndicottCollege in Beverly, MA, where he teaches screenwriting. John’s Book, The Grotto Under The Tree, has been released by Astraea Press.

Find the author: Website 

I always love author guest posts. I learn so much every time I read one, and even more so if I get to pick the topic. In this case, I did pick the topic-actually several topics. I provided several topics to the author (sometimes they don’t click or maybe the author has written many times about a specific topic) and guess what? Mr. Theo Jr. answered them all. I am going to provide all the questions and answers as I feel they are quite beneficial.

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Descriptions (places, people, reactions, etc.) in MG works

-I read a lot MG books and the descriptions whether they are metaphors, similes, etc. they are really wonderful. It seems these wonderful descriptions really appeal to this audience. Discuss in any way you feel like.
I tried to write very unique scenes and descriptions in Grotto. This was hard to do with so many amazing fantasy books and CGI movies that have come out in recent years. Writing about these unique places forced me to put a lot of detail on the page, but you have to balance it with not giving out too much or you run the risk of diluting the reader’s “imagination contribution” to the experience.

How much is too much?
– MG readers are really fun because they are capable of suspending belief more so than adults, but they also don’t want things dumbed down too much. How much is too much as far as twists and turns in the plots? 
When in doubt I would not dumb a book, or scene, down but rather go in the other direction.
I don’t think you can ever have too many twists and turns. MG and YA books are stories people come back to over-and-over throughout  their lives. (Hi again, Paul here. I had to comment on this response because I it was one I never thought of. This is spot-on. I do the same thing! Okay, back to the interview). I know I have returned to my favorite Narnia books throughout the years.  It is wonderful as a reader to still have “aha moments” the tenth or eleventh time you read a favorite book. No matter how deep the reader wants to dig into your story try to leave little breadcrumbs, or treasures, for them to find along their journey. Kids and tweens are much smarter than people give them credit for. I think layered stories are very appealing to them.

-How many POV’s are too many for a MG book? Why?
For me I think two is more than enough. MG and YA books are usually shorter than adult books and having too many POV can lead to too many story arcs. Once this happens you run the risk of having a bunch of mediocre arcs instead of one or two good ones. On that similar note, I like stories told in third person better than 1st and omniscient. I think this formality keeps the reader in the author’s “world” more.

Setting the scene
-Is it imperative to set the scene each and every chapter? Why or why not? How do you personally go about doing this.
It’s not imperative but more often than not it’s a good thing, even if the next chapter (and scene) is a continuation from the previous one. You must assume the reader may put the book down for a few days and forget. Don’t rehash the previous description though. For instance if the protagonist(s) are in a space ship then use the new chapter, and its scene, to describe something new. Maybe the smell and sounds on board the space ship whereas the previous chapter had visual descriptions.

Now for the giveaway! Giveaway:
$25 Gift Card or Paypal (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop and sharing John’s wonderful answers with your readers! I also agree with so much he has said, it’s stuff that we may not actually think about much but once it’s said it’s like YES! THAT!

    Sorry about my delay in stopping by, I had a busy morning of appointments and only just got back! I’ll be sure to spread the word on twitter, pinterest and facebook. 🙂
    Oh, and thanks for the Saturday Situation shout out as well!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! <3

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    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.