An amazing new video game has the power to resurrect the brightest minds of the past and see what they’d create in the modern world. There’s just one catch—it requires another person’s soul. Carter Chance, who is a teenage genius, must find a way to stop his generation from exchanging their souls for a computer-generated fantasy. This action-packed thriller delves into the enticement and dangers of virtual reality.
Stephen J. Valentine received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Utah State University. He is Senior Program Manager for FamilySearch International, responsible for the online publication of billions of historical records. Stephen loves history, hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling, especially to Disneyland. Stephen resides in Utah with his beautiful wife, talented children, brilliant Schnauzer, and massive J.R.R. Tolkien collection.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
If I could chose anyone living or dead (not including religious leaders who would be the real list of people I would want to meet with): Walt Disney, George Lucas, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Huston Valentine, and William Shakespeare. The men are all figures who have inspired me in my writing and education; Mary Huston Valentine is a great-grandmother whose sacrifice, religious devotion, and love for family changed my life.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
This is my dream superpower: EverEat! The ability to eat anything I want without gaining weight!
One food you would never eat?
Unlike Gollum, I hate fish. My Mom cooked greasy, stinky fish, and I would run crying from the house. No fish for me!
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I think “The Lazarus Game” is a funny, fast, fun read; more than that, I believe it will prompt readers to think deeply about the value of each human soul.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I am writing an anti-dystopian novel right now, or what would the world look like if all our hopes and dreams came true. Be careful what you wish for . . . I love this concept and am excited to finish the book. I’m about 30% complete on the first draft.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My son is in 6th grade. His teacher recently said to me: “Everyone in the class is reading your book! Your son is about to burst from being so proud of you!” That was an awesome moment! I wrote this book hoping my son would like it, so that’s pay-off enough for me!
What is your favorite Quote?
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood . . . Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” – Daniel H. Bingham
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I am certainly not as smart as Carter Chance, and I think I’m a lot nicer than him . . . but we do share a common sarcastic and smart-mouthed tendency. Unlike him, I love my family and friends and know they are all smarter than me!
Do your characters really talk to you?
If Carter Chance really spoke to me I’d wash his mouth out with soap and send him to bed without dinner! No, really, I love the unique voice of characters, particularly when they start saying things I never expected.
Are you for or against books being made into movies?
I love seeing books made into movies. I know that many fans feel betrayed when the movie does not match the book they love. I believe that a movie is a very different medium for telling a story than a book, and that the movie maker should have considerable freedom to tell that story. There are obviously some really bad adaptations, but overall I enjoy most movies made from books. I would love to someday see a movie based on one of my books!
10 fun facts about author Stephen Valentine
- The movie theater/game store in “The Lazarus Game” is based on the Capitol Theatre in Brigham City, Utah, where I grew up. It is still in operation today, one of the few old elegant movie theaters still in business.
- My favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The recent announcement of an additional book by Harper Lee was about as astonishing to me as if they’d found human life on another planet!
- I’m also a huge J.R.R. Tolkien nerd (way before the movies!) and have collected dozens of editions of his famous trilogy, including editions in Russian, Spanish, German, French, and Canadian (Frodo has an annoying habit of adding “eh” to the end of all his statements).
- I started writing at the age of four. You can still find lots of four-year old humor in my books.
- I have traveled to 48 of 50 states in the U.S; 49 of 51 if you count Canada as a state. (I love Canada, by the way—but I have many Canadian friends and love to tease them.)
- My favorite places to write are in public places—airports, libraries, etc. The surrounding noise is like white noise to me.
- The worst thing when writing is to be interrupted—potty breaks, eating, and loved ones are all huge distractions while “in the flow” of the story. All you authors out there know what I’m talking about.
- My favorite place on earth is Disneyland with my family. We have more fun standing in line than most people have on the rides!
- I’m tired of dystopian novels. Does the future have to be dark and nasty?
- If “The Lazarus Game” were made into a movie 20 years ago, the perfect actor for Carter Chance would be Matthew Broderick. Think of a blend Matthew’s roles in “War Games” and “Ferris Bueller.” Perfect, right?