Title: Lucas Mackenzie and the London Midnight Ghost Show
Publication date: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Steve Bryant
Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember.
But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know.
Like the rest of Luca’s friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters?
If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.
When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show’s enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family?
Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town.
Did you originally set out to write a middle grade book? Why a 10 year old?
No. The model I had in mind for the book when I began was Ray Bradbury’s From the Dust Returned, which is adult fantasy. I hoped it would appeal across the age boundaries, much as the Harry Potter books have been doing, all the way from readers old enough to recall 1959 pop culture to quite young readers. Two of my first test readers were eight-year-old girls. As things evolved, conversations with my agent, with my publisher, and with my editor convinced me to tailor it more toward middle grade. Actually, to upper middle grade, as my protagonist ages during his career with the ghost show, from ten to fourteen.
Why ten? I was exploring the death of a child, for personal reasons, and didn’t want to explore the death of an older teenager, a young adult, or someone even older. I realized that the character would “age” over the course of the story, and I wanted him to get to a circumstance for which he would be a viable candidate for a romantic link up with Columbine, who is “fifteen.” Ten seemed a decent starting point. Any younger and it would be harder to believe he knew anything about radio, and it would take him longer to grow up enough to appeal to Columbine. I also didn’t want him to be so old that sex were a major factor, even though in the present story there are hints of more physical attraction in the last scene.
ABOUT STEVE BRYANT:
Steve Bryant is a new novelist, but a veteran author of books of card tricks. He founded a 40+ page monthly internet magazine for magicians containing news, reviews, magic tricks, humor, and fiction; and he frequently contributes biographical cover articles to the country’s two leading magic journals (his most recent article was about the séance at Hollywood’s Magic Castle).