Dean Ammerman on being inspired to write his books because he likes the characters

THE LAST MA-LOO received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Dean Ammerman.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

THE LAST MA-LOO was published in August 2016. It’s the third book of The Warrensberg Trilogy, which includes WAITING FOR THE VOO (Book 1) and ESCAPE FROM DORKVILLE (Book 2).

What’s the book’s first line? 

I’m getting too old for this.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch.”

The universe is crumpling! The Ma-Loos are missing! Alice Jane has a new boyfriend! (Yikes.) So Intergalactic plumber Cardamon Webb enlists the help of teens Wilkin Delgado and Alice Jane Zelinski to find the missing Ma-Loos (which are invisible) and save everything and everybody from being crumpled out of existence. Along the way they get help from Loretta the puffin, a pair of newlyweds from Zorazeen and a toga-wearing electrician named Floranacious. It’s crazy and weird and funny. “Full of clever dialog and over-the-top silliness,” as IndieReader pointed out.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

The truth? I like these people. Teenagers Alice Jane and Wilkin live in the center of the universe (Warrensberg, Minnesota) and, as a result, they’re brought into universe-saving situations where the impossible happens all the time. Even better, I get to write from the points of view of both characters: Alice Jane, who’s trying to fast-track her way to nirvana, find the next doughnut shop and make a fashion statement along the way; and Wilkin, who is nice and polite and serious and has to think his way out of the most outrageous circumstances. So to answer the question: I wanted to spend more time with Alice Jane and Wilkin. Can you blame me?

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

Parents and librarians have a hard time finding age-appropriate books for middle grade readers (and above) that are exciting and challenging and that aren’t filled with profanity or deal with uncomfortable topics like sex, eating disorders and more. THE LAST MA-LOO and the other books in the trilogy are for intelligent, advanced readers looking for adventure, humor and craziness. For adults they’re an antidote to the insanity of the real world. For kids they’re just plain fun.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who—real or fictional—would you say the character reminds you of? 

Alice Jane Zelinski has serious anger issues, incredible strength, sharp elbows and (as she constantly reminds everyone) was the three-time tug-o-war champion of Jackson County, Missouri. She also has gray spiky hair, an eyeball tattoo on the back of her neck (that she can see out of) and a fondness for cats and fancy handbags. What’s the most distinctive thing about Alice Jane? Her attitude. She’s always trying out some new “psycho doctor,” and ignoring their advice; looking to punch or kick something; attempting to save animals; and reminding us about her “astounding goddess-like heart-stopping incredible sexy body.” She’s kind of a teenage female Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) from “Lethal Weapon” or smart-talking superhero like Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark) as Ironman. In short: Don’t mess with Alice Jane Zelinski.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

THE LAST MA-LOO is my fourth novel. My first was ANTEATER-BOY, which is a coming-of-age novel about a high school boy living in the Midwest who is “average.” Or that’s what he and everybody else believes. Fundamentally, it’s about who we are and who we want to be. It won a silver “IPPY” (Independent Publisher Book Award) back in 2012. After that I wrote WAITING FOR THE VOO (2014) and ESCAPE FROM DORKVILLE (2015), which are Books 1 and 2 of The Warrensberg Trilogy, with THE LAST MA-LOO as the final book in the series.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

I like a lot of different novels. Some of my favorites are: MOBY-DICK, THE BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, LUCKY JIM, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, ENDER’S GAME, KIM, “THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, A BEND IN THE RIVER and more. But writer? That’s different. I suppose it would be E.B. White. His essays are masterful, particularly DEATH OF A PIG. Every word, every sentence is perfect. I understand that he was a kind and generous person, too. Plus he had a dog. What’s not to admire?

Which book do you wish you could have written?

There are lots of books I could never write. Most, in fact. Looking at my list in the answer above, I would have to say that I wish I could have written THE THREE MUSKETEERS. It’s a book of war and intrigue and evil and adventure. But most of all it’s about friendship. It’s magical.

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