Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author A.J. Massey.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps, June 5, 2018
What’s the book’s first line?
The snow beneath Ben’s bare feet grew warmer with each step.
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
A normal eighth-grader by day, thirteen-year-old Ben awakens one night in a fantastical dream world.
Joined by Avery, Marcus, and three dog-like dragonwoofs, Ben journeys across monster-infested oceans and sun-scorched mountains to retrieve the sphinx’s head, the key to saving the world and every astonishing creature that inhabits it.
But not everyone wants them to succeed.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
I created this story to convey the mystery, awe, and wonderment I felt while consuming fantasy as a child and teen. Although I was heavily inspired by books like Alice in Wonderland and The Chronicles of Narnia, my biggest influences growing up were films like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, and The Goonies. I always believed there was a particular flavor of darkness and whimsy found in 80s fantasy that has never been replicated since. My intent was to capture these elements in Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
Along with a thrilling fantasy story, I wanted my characters to navigate the social complexities of the eighth grade and show that not everyone falls neatly into cliques. Oftentimes, we fall into middle school purgatory–not cool enough for the cool kids, not nerdy enough for the nerds. What happens when these characters team up and are put in a position where they must save a dream world and everyone in it?
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
Ben is not equipped to handle the social hierarchy and pitfalls of Middle School. He’s awkward, shy, and has never been in a fight. Ben’s plight is loosely based off my own experiences from Junior High. The insecurity that Ben feels when he is confronted by bullies or when he tries to talk to a girl are feelings I knew too well. The land of Meridia allows Ben to shed this skin and realize his true self, while finding courage and life-long friends in the process.
When did you first decide to become an author?
I became an author when I realized I had an entire world in my head that I wanted to share with others. Sometimes, I’d be driving to work and I would think about Ben, Avery, and Marcus’s adventures in Meridia. It wasn’t until I put actual words on paper that I could stop thinking about them all the time. Writing almost became cathartic, allowing me to release this world and story from my mind and onto the page.
Is this the first book you’ve written?
Yes. As an author, I never knew how my writing would be received by the public until I finally released it into the wild. Sure, I had friends, editors, and ‘test’ readers who supported me before release, but I never really knew if the novel was actually good. The reception thus far to Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps has been wonderful surprise! I love seeing my readers relate to the characters or how they draw parallels between the real world and dream world. It makes me feel like I’ve written something truly special.
What do you do for work when you’re not writing?
I am a Program Manager for a video game company. It’s amazing that I can even find time to write, but I hope to start writing my next novel this winter!