Genre: Children’s Chapter / Adventure / Medieval
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Date of Publication: June 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 166, B&W illustrations
Kaye’s father is in danger! The young knight, Kaye, and his friends Reggie and Beau enter Eldridge in search of the only man who can save Kaye's father. During their journey, they encounter and make a powerful enemy of Baron Thomas—the self-proclaimed heir to the throne of Eldridge—who also has his sights set on ruling the country of Knox. Together, the boys dodge the baron’s henchmen and race against time to stop an assassination that would plunge the two kingdoms into war in this exciting conclusion to the series.
1) Tell us about the latest adventures of Sir Kaye!
The fourth and final book in the Sir Kaye series, The Eldridge Conspiracy is the most action-packed yet. The previous three books have been building up to a climax in both plot and character development that culminate in this story where Kaye, Beau, and Reggie set off on a mission to save Kaye’s father’s life. To do so, the friends have to overcome many obstacles, face their fears, and think strategically. Apart from the physical journey, Kaye and Reggie also have moments of crisis in their friendship, and both face questions about their identity. Reggie has to come to terms with his struggle to decide what he wants to be when he grows up, and Kaye has to figure out how to make peace with the fact that, through no fault of his own, he was given the humiliating nickname “Sir Donkey." That identity conflicts sharply with his idealistic desire to be seen as a hero and make his father proud. This book is sure to make young readers think about the importance of their friendships, what it means to be loyal to a cause, and how people learn to feel good about who they are.
2) Where do you get your inspiration?
I am most inspired when I see people from all walks of life and different circumstances triumphing over adversity or maintaining their personal integrity under duress. In other words, when people don’t give up when things don’t come quickly. Such examples can inspire all of us to display the same kind of courage and determination as we face challenges in life.
A few of my picture books feature characters that face everyday challenges. For instance, Shelby the Cat deals with continuous peer pressure and Chipper the Clown struggles when he doesn't immediately succeed in reaching his goals.
How we face such challenges reveals what kind of people we are.
3) What would be your dream vacation?
I would love to take a cruise to Antarctica. To see the incredible wildlife firsthand, including scores of penguins, whales, arctic terns and other pelagic birds, including fulmars and petrels—what an opportunity of a lifetime for bird lovers. And then there’s the ice: enormous and magical ice forms defying description. It would be amazing to see all that! I would also love to tour Britain’s castles and immerse myself in their history.
4) What is your favorite hobby?
Working on my books, blogs, and other articles takes up most of my time right now. I considered writing a hobby when I first started about 20 years ago, but it’s much more than that to me now. Whenever I can, I enjoy many interests, including building museum-quality model ships and airplanes and spending time outdoors with my family.
5) What are you currently working on?
I recently started hosting a monthly radio show (The Cardboard Box Adventures Show) in which my guests and I discuss a variety of topics related to children’s education. Our primary goal is to provide tips, topics, and inspiration that will help parents and educators in their quest to raise readers.
My first show was a conversation with Academy Award-winning director and producer Peggy Stern, in which we talked about her great new web series called the Super d! Show. We also got a glance behind-the-scenes through conversations with some of the dyslexic students who star in the show. The first show is now available on my website’s Radio page along with a preview of future shows.
I also have a new mystery story in the early development stage. My father used to live in San Francisco in the mid-1950s and would tell me lots stories about the time he lived there. When I was nine years old, we made a family trip to San Francisco, and the highlight of the trip for me was getting to ride a cable car for the first time.
Reminiscing about all of my dad’s stories about San Francisco and remembering my early experience with the city has given me the idea for a new book project—a mystery that takes place in San Francisco after World War II. The cable car system is part of the mystery. The story is about a boy whose father—a cable car gripman—dies under mysterious circumstances. The boy is now an orphan, and as he waits in the train station to journey to his new home with his great aunt, he decides that he can’t leave without knowing what happened to his father. His life changes forever with that decision.
6) What kinds of interaction do you have with your fans? What do your fans mean to you?
I get wonderful emails from fans and I treasure each one. Also, I love to visit schools and interact with the kids. It always makes my day when I get feedback from readers. Here's an example of a fan email, received while I was still working on The Lost Castle Treasure, from an eleven-year-old boy named Kai, sent to me via his mother. Here is what it said:
“Dear Mr. Winn, I really liked Sir Kaye and I want very much to read the next one. You advertise it at the end of the first book, but I'm frustrated that it isn't available yet! Can you please tell me when it is coming out? (Can you write any faster? Maybe drink some more coffee?) From Kai, age 11 (and little brother Liam, 8)”
About the Author
Don M. Winn is a multiple award-winning children’s author of eleven picture books and four children's novels. His Sir Kaye the Boy Knight® series of novels for independent readers include The Knighting of Sir Kaye, The Lost Castle Treasure, Legend of the Forest Beast, and The Eldridge Conspiracy. Don's picture books include The Higgledy-Piggledy Pigeon; Superhero; Twitch the Squirrel and the Forbidden Bridge; Shelby the Cat; Space Cop Zack, Protector of the Galaxy; and many others.
Don has been writing for over 20 years. After beginning with poetry, Winn moved on to writing children’s picture books. Almost immediately, his growing young readers begged for chapter books, which led to the creation of the Sir Kaye series. As a dyslexic, who well knows the challenge of learning to love to read, Winn's goal is to write books that are so engaging they will entice even the most reluctant or struggling reader. Winn lives in Round Rock, Texas.
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