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Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
I’m very comfortable being alone. I know not everyone is. I love people too, but I often prefer to be alone. My family being a notable exception, of course (though even alone time can be needed then too!). I don’t know about “weird” but I do tend to talk or sing to myself at times. I like to dress as casually as possible, but I don’t think that’s atypical. I guess I have no surprise reveal here. But now I’m curious what others might say to this.
What is your favorite quote and why?
Choosing favorites is always hard, but I’ll call out three that stick with me:
1. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” -Walt Whitman. This one is about not painting yourself in a corner. You’re allowed to change your mind. In fact, it’s encouraged.
2. The next two are variations that help with my perfectionism:
a. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.” -Voltaire
b. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” -John Steinbeck
Who is your favorite author and why?
So hard to choose one favorite! I really like a lot of the authors I’ve befriended over the last several years, but that is so many. If I had to choose a “favorite,” I think I’d probably go back to my early days when I really wanted to write like Stephen King.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Clarity of language. Emotional honesty. Human truths conveyed simply. The ability to paint a picture in the mind’s eye of the reader. Clever. Engrossing.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
People of the Sun is book 3 of The Eye of Ra series. The historical era and setting for each book were selected in collaboration with my two young sons by discussing what interested them. The first book was even more of a team effort where we sketched out the characters and the plot in detail together. The series was born from a bonding exercise with my kids. Those moments were priceless fun.
Thank you for having me on your blog!
In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you? For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!
When they came out of a pine forest and could see the lake below, with Tenochtitlan as a dazzling island city, John couldn’t help but mutter, “Wow.”
He heard his sister mumble the same thing.
The city sparkled and spread out with a much bigger footprint than John had imagined. He’d heard of the famed city of the Aztec, but he’d always pictured something . . . smaller. This was a regular metropolis, with suburbs and floating islands and multiple huge temples. Canoes drifted on canals like the pictures he’d seen of Venice in Italy, though these canoes were loaded with goods headed to market. Farther out into the lake, men cast nets and brought up flopping silver fish, their scales sparkling in the sun.
John’s mouth watered when he saw a floating garden bursting with leafy greens. The rectangular plot of land had poles sticking out of each side, securing boards that held the dirt like a raised garden bed back home. But this was in the middle of the lake. John squinted at the marvel of it all.
The sound of sloshing water pulled his stare toward a stone trough that started in the hills and was then suspended on man-made islands right across the lake and into the city. “An aqueduct?”
“For our drinking water,” Ome said.
“But you’re on a lake,” John said, implying that there was fresh water all around.
“Lake Texcoco is too salty to drink. Great for the fish, bad for the people,” Huitzi said.
“There are dikes that keep some fresh water close to the island, but that is used for farming,” Ome added.
Wow. John never knew that either. They lived on a lake and yet had to build a system of aqueducts to bring in safe drinking water. Amazing.
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra time travel adventure series for middle graders. 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.
Local bookstore: https://indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3AGartner%2CBen
Everywhere else: https://books2read.com/people-of-the-sun-ben-gartner
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