Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Straight Chatting from the Library: Ben Gartner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ben Gartner will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

I really remember James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. That was probably second or third grade. I also remember getting into the Dragonlance Chronicles. Typically, I preferred the fantastical and this was reflected in a lot of my writing at the time. Still does, to a certain degree, though my fantasy these days tends to lean toward the more realistic and plausible, with a hint of magic.

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Two siblings travel through time to save the world.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Both. I prefer print if I can relax in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and read into the night. But I have no qualms with e-readers. I love that I can sync my place across multiple devices, can easily download from my library or NetGalley or any of the retail shops, and can easily look up words while reading!

One book at a time or multiples?

Definitely multiple, but this is a bit of a trick answer. You see, I have two children and I read with each of them on alternating nights. So, I have a book of my own going, plus a book with each of them. For my own pleasure reading, it is rare that I have more than one going, though I’m not counting reading my own stuff, editing, etc.

Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)

Bookmark! I have been known to dog-ear in my past, though, I’ll admit.

When do you do most of your reading?

Seeing as how I have a day job, I do most of my reading at night. Though it’s nice to get in some pages in the morning or afternoons on the weekend, time permitting…

Favorite place to read?

Comfy chair in a quiet space. And since I have two kids, that’s why most of my reading happens at night after everyone is in their own rooms reading. ;)

Favorite genre?

I like stories and characters I can trust, even if they have magical or fantastical elements. Or even if they end up tricking me, then that is what I can trust about them. What’s interesting to my answer about this question is that I have a harder time now reading full-on fantasy and science fiction (though I do occasionally), but I love watching those movies. Conversely, I don’t really like to watch horror movies and yet I love to read Stephen King.

I love realistic contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy and science fiction that has some basis in reality. Though I am open to anything and everything that has a good story.

Do you loan your books?

Definitely! I love encouraging and sharing the exchange of ideas and what better way to do that than over a book discussion!

Re-reader or not?

Typically not, though there are a few notable exceptions. I’ve re-read Stephen King’s On Writing a few times, and probably will a few more.

I also read the Lord of the Rings book as a kid, then re-read them to my oldest, then again to my youngest. It took awhile, but it was worth it!

Thanks so much for having me today. It was a pleasure. And let me just say that I love hearing from readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and the writing community. Don’t be shy about reaching out.


Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.

An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!


John’s whole body shook. His irregular breathing created a feedback loop of anxious nerves. On one side of him, Lucas was now armed. On the other, a squad or regiment or whatever you call it of Roman soldiers pointed spears at them, and they looked very, very serious. John’s worrying spiraled and he couldn’t steady himself and—

If only he could trace the eye of Ra again. Why on Earth had he thought tracing it would be a good idea in the first place? What was he thinking?!

Then Sarah asked for him to hand it over. Of course! She would save them. She got them out of ancient Egypt. She’d save them again.

He couldn’t get the leather cord over his head, so Sarah leaned in close and put her finger on the pendant. With the loop still around his neck, their foreheads pressed together.

“We’re going to get out of here, Johnny,” she whispered.

“Get up!” the boy standing over him said again.

Given that he was one of the fighters about to face a lion, John assumed he was a venator and thus wasn’t trying to kill them, or the other people in the ring. They were supposed to work together to overcome the lion, right? In fact, this boy had offered to help them. John examined Sarah’s face—her single pointed look of determination as she traced the eye. Why was she reluctant to accept this boy’s help, to work together?

Sarah finished tracing the almond eye and moved to the line with the curlicue finish while mumbling to herself in some kind of mantra, “Please work, please work, please work.”


Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Sol-Invictus-Eye-Ben-Gartner/dp/173415523X
WEBSITE: https://bengartner.com/
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/bgartnerwriting
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BenGartnerAuthor/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/86465769-ben-gartner
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/2710189959


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