The title of this post came straight from Paul’s author biography. We liked it so much, we decided to borrow it!
Brainerd & Fraser: Welcome, Paul! What drew you to writing for young adults?
Paul Smith: My main goal was to write a story I could read to my two boys. My wife reads to them quite often, so I thought how fun it would be to read something to them I actually wrote. My goal is not to write JUST for youth, but really something all ages would enjoy. However, if you want to write something that kids will read, then it needs to be accessible for them.
B&F: We can’t help but notice the similarity between the title of your book, Jason and the Draconauts, and Jason and the Argonauts. Is there a golden fleece in your story? Or, perhaps, a golden hoodie?
PS: HA! No, but I did purposely twist the title from the classic. I think it promotes a sense of adventure, but still leaves you wanting to find out what a Draconaut is.
B&F: You’re from Binghamton, NY, just like Rod Serling. Would you cite him as one of your influences?
PS: Unfortunately, no. Rod Serling is huge around here, and I was at a convention last year where his daughter was a guest of honor, but I never was into his work that much. I am originally from Rochester, NY, but at this point I’ve lived longer in Binghamton than Rochester.
B&F: Who is your favorite superhero and why? How about your least favorite?
PS: Oh, now you’re asking the really tough questions! I think I have to default to Spider-man as a favorite. Peter Parker is such a great character and such a departure from the stereotypical superhero that you can’t help BUT like him when you really get to know him. Up there on the list though are Green Lantern, Captain America and Thor.
As far as the least favorite, there are some real stinkers that have been created over the years. Some of them were so bad that they were almost humorous. I can’t say I have a least favorite, however, but a character that is poorly written is one I stay away from. So I don’t blame the character, but the writer. My best example is a specific writer that will remain nameless that did this god-awful run on the X-Men a while back. The fans hated him so much that they demanded he get kicked off the book, and he made a lot of the characters we all loved seem terrible.
B&F: What do you think of the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off films?
PS: I like to give any new idea a chance. It sounds like Ms. Rowling is bringing together the same team that made some of the better Harry Potter movies, so who knows?
And now it’s time for the rapid-fire round…
Dumbledore or Gandalf? Gandalf, hands down.
Han Solo or Tony Stark? GAH! That is like being asked to choose which of your children is your favorite. I think the Millenium Falcon is cool and all, but give me a suit of Stark-Tech armor any day.
Battlestar Galactica: Old or new? Definitely new. No fuzzy robot dog or ship of lights.
Aries or Athena? Gotta go with Athena. Ares seems to be always portrayed as a bad guy.
Apple or Android? Android! Galaxy S5 is the awesomeness!
The creature hiding in the barn can’t exist. Fifteen-year-old Jason Hewes knows it’s impossible. A live dinosaur would be more believable; at least dinosaurs once roamed the land which is now the Hewes Montana farm. But this beast from legend? Quite impossible—although it doesn’t seem to be going away just because it shouldn’t exist.
Jason is about to reevaluate what is or isn’t possible. His discovery is very real, leathery wings and all. Nor is his new friend alone. Others of his kind are awakening from a centuries-long slumber. Realizing how traumatic contact between mythological beast and modern life could be, Jason and his impossible new ally devise a plan to integrate the newly awakened creatures into society through teenage interaction. What could possibly go wrong?
As the sound of giant wings becomes a common occurrence on the Hewes family farmstead, a malignant force senses his old enemies are flying again. Determined to end an eons-long war forever, this being turns his attention to a small rural Montana town, a family farm, and Jason Hewes.
Find Jason and the Draconauts on Amazon.
Paul Smith lives in upstate New York with his wife and two sons, where he works with emotionally disturbed and mentally ill children. He earned a master’s degree in social sciences from Binghamton University in 1999.
A lifelong love of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero stories influences Paul’s writing. His most recent work was a popular weekly online series that generated over 20,000 views. Jason and the Draconauts is his first novel.