Interview & Giveaway: The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Agent Auggie Spinoza by Steven Stickler

Welcome to Author Steven Stickler

Steven Stickler is no rocket scientist. He will never be confused with a professional athlete. He is not (despite widespread rumors) the actor who played Cousin Oliver in The Brady Bunch, nor was he a guest drummer for the Beatles during a brief period in the mid-1960s. He is something completely different: a writer. He began writing when he was five years of age and, perhaps due to an oversight by those in positions of authority, was never told to stop. Aside from the occasional story written for his son, he has spent most of his adult life writing non-fiction essays and reports for adults who enjoy spending their days in meetings, classrooms, and libraries. The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Agent Auggie Spinoza is his first, but hopefully not his last, novel for children and young adults. He lives in the great Pacific Northwest of the United States, where he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his family and, of course, reading at least one book by Dr. Seuss every year. A “stickler” for secrecy, he has never allowed his face to be captured on film and fears that we have already revealed too much in this simple biography.


If you were a superhero what would your name be?
Adjectivo. Able to wield adjectives with the utmost cunning and skill.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Time travel, secret agents, code-breaking, evil villains, chase scenes, and a mission to save the world: what else could a kid possibly want?

Any other books in the works?
I’m currently working on a sequel which I hope to have ready by late 2012. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll let you in on a secret: things in the first book were not always what they seemed.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
Becoming a writer is one of those things that just sort of happened to me: like getting hit by lightning, but without the tingling. I’ve been writing for adults for most of my professional career; not, unfortunately, the exciting fictional prose that becomes a blockbuster movie, but instead the sort of boring reports that get discussed in conference rooms by people in suits. That’s how I started writing. But what made me start writing fiction for kids was much more personal and not at all boring: I began to write stories for my son and I couldn’t stop.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
One of the joys of writing for kids is hearing directly from those who connect with the writing in some way. It’s rare, of course. The book is aimed at kids in the 9-12 range, and not a lot of those kids are posting reviews, blogging, or tweeting (yet). So, the first time I received an email from a ten-year-old (along with a cute p.s. from mom), letting me know that this was the longest book he had ever read, I was floored. What a fantastic feeling.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I absolutely adored The Chronicles of Narnia. I must have read each book in that series at least a dozen times. Just the idea that the back of a closet or wardrobe could be the entry to an entirely different world–and such an imaginative one at that–was enough to captivate my childhood imagination. I always wanted to be Peter, but probably had more in common with Edmund. Don’t even get me started on Turkish Delight.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
It’s the same bit of advice I would give to anyone starting any writing project: “Don’t get it right, just get it written.” It’s something a writing instructor once told me and I always find it useful to remind myself that I’m not going to start by writing something perfect; I’m simply taking a first step in a very long journey that will involve multiple drafts and extensive editing and will, hopefully, eventually, become a good piece of writing. I find that, with kids especially, there’s a tendency to think that editing and redrafting is a sign of failure. But I think most writers would agree that redrafting and editing is where the real work of writing takes place. For someone aiming to be an author, it’s important to respect that process.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I share some traits with the main character, Auggie. It’s not an autobiographical book in the least, but Auggie is a little bit shy and hesitant. He likes to think things through and act in a slow and sort of deliberate way. I’m the same way. You won’t find me bungee-jumping unless there’s an awfully good reason. Even then, I’d probably need to spend some time studying it.

What do you do in your free time?
I am two contradictory things: a bookworm and an outdoor enthusiast. My life is spent happily trying to balance the desire to lock myself in the house with a good book and the desire to take to the trails for a hike.

Pizza or Pasta?
Pizza, hands down. No offense to pasta, but nothing can beat a tasty slice.

City or Country?
I’m a city mouse.

Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter. Not even close. No offense to Twilight and the millions of fans, but….wizards, magic, latin phrases, and an invisibility cloak? Pretty tough to beat, at least for me.

Text or Talk?
I’m a talker. It’s the way I was raised.
Favorite quote from a movie? “I’m not a panda, I’m the panda.” -Po, Kung Fu Panda

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day?
One word: reading.

The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Agent Auggie Spinoza

Auggie Spinoza is a ten-year-old boy with a secret: he is a special agent who can travel through time. Now, he finds himself locked in a desperate battle against evil forces trying to change the course of history. To defeat them, Auggie must pursue a dangerous quest to find a set of mysterious clues hidden in the past.

With the help of a clever new friend and advice from a cast of famous characters with names like Jefferson, Darwin, and Plato, Auggie fights to fulfill his destiny and save his world from ruin. Along the way, he learns the importance of thinking clearly and shows the awesome power of a code-breaking, book-loving, time-traveling ten-year-old with a talent for being in the right place at the right time (and doing the right thing). 

Giveaway Details
1 Print copy to US only
1 Ebook open Internationally
Ends 5/1/12
Tiffany – Print
Viari – Ebook
a Rafflecopter giveaway<a href=””>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.