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Obert Skye
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Obert Skye   Obert Skye is the young adult author of the Leven Thumps series (Leven Thumps and the... Gateway to Foo, Whispered Secret, Eyes of the Want, Wrath of Ezra, and Ruins of Alder) and Pillage. His books have received the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Juvenile Fiction, the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award for audio book, and the iParenting Media award for Best Book. Obert has visited more than 600 schools around the U.S. speaking on such topics as making right choices and promoting literacy.

Buy Obert Skye's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 01/28/2010 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Obert Skye

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Matthew Peterson: Hey there, youíre listening to The Author Hour: Your Guide to Fantastic Fiction, which can be found at Iím your host, Matthew Peterson, author of Paraworld Zero. Our theme today is magic, mystery and zany worlds.

My next guest is Obert Skye, young adult author of the Leven Thumps series and Pillage. His books have received the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Juvenile Fiction and the iParenting Media award for Best Book. Obert has visited over 600 schools around the country speaking on such topics as making right choices and promoting literacy. Thanks for being on the show today, Obert.

Obert Skye: Hey, thank you so much for having me, Matthew.

Matthew Peterson: Now is Obert Skye your real name?

Obert Skye: Sure, why not?

Matthew Peterson: Why not? Okay. [laughs]

Obert Skye: I mean, yeah, Obertís great, yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Okay. ĎCause I went online and I was like, ďAhh, I donít know if this is really . . . true.Ē [laughs]

Obert Skye: Itís kind of all about imagination and itís like thinking bigger and beyond the books even so. Itís kind of . . . I would never admit to it not being my name.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. Okay. I read that you were born on a stormy night in the back of a fast-moving taxi. You read your first book at age two, wrote your first story at age four, and was nearly trampled by a herd of water buffalo at age six. Whatís all that about? [laughs]

Obert Skye: [laughs] Sure, it all happened just like that.

Matthew Peterson: Just like that. Iím interviewing Lemony Snicket. That sounds like something right out of his biography.

Obert Skye: Uh . . . yeah! It could be. Thatís true. Heís a great guy.

Matthew Peterson: You two arenít related are you?

Obert Skye: [laughs] No, just . . . Iím just a fan of his.

Matthew Peterson: So tell me a little bit about the Leven Thumps series.

Obert Skye: Sure. This is sort of my first major series and itís just been a lot of fun. Itís kind of based on a whole new place. And I think one of the reasons itís been so successful is because it kind of creates this whole new world, which is Foo. And this boy Leven, who Ďcourse assumes heís nothing or worth nothing, discovers that itís up to him to not only save this world, which is where imagination and dreams go to become gigantic, but save our world as well, reality. Itís heavily based on humor and adventure, but this great new place, which is Foo... and all sorts of new terms, new places, and exciting new things that happen. Itís been a lot of fun.

Matthew Peterson: So the first one is Leven Thumps and The Gateway to Foo. And I remember seeing the book cover and I have to tell you, your book covers are so amazing. Theyíre probably some of the best book covers Iíve ever seen. And thatís why . . .

Obert Skye: Youíre so nice.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, Iím serious.

Obert Skye: The artist is brilliant. Ben Sowards, who does it has done just a terrific job.

Matthew Peterson: Just great. I love those book covers. And I took a look at the websites. And Shadow Mountain I think is the one who did your websites. Those websites are just amazing!

Obert Skye: Yeah. No, itís cool. Really interactive and sort of kind of has the feel of kind of the book. Iíve been very fortunate.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. I was tempted to move over to Shadow Mountain just so I could get one of those cool websites and a cool book cover. [laughs]

Obert Skye: [laughs] Come on! Thatíd be great!

Matthew Peterson: So you have another book: Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder. Tell us a little bit about that book. Thatís the last one in the series?

Obert Skye: Yes, volume 5, the very last in the series and probably the hardest thing Iíve ever had to write but also the coolest. It ends the main series. There will be a book coming next year, which just focuses on one of the minor characters in the series. But it ends Leven and Winter, is the girlís kind of story. And itís just awesome what happens. Itís sort of when Foo and reality collide and some of the amazing things that happen and sort of a really cool ending. Iím very happy, and sad at the same time that itís kind of over but happy with what the result is.

Matthew Peterson: From book one, he grows older, of course, and matures. So how has your main character, Leven, matured over the course of the series?

Obert Skye: Well, nice question. In fact, the whole five volumes really only covers a little over about three months time, actually.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, wow!

Obert Skye: But in Foo you grow by experience. And so Leven really starts young but by the end of book five is almost out of his . . .you know, I think heís 18 or 19 when he ends. And so heís had these terrific experiences--or horrific experiences--that have made him grow at this tremendous rate. And so he changes pretty rapidly, and a lot of the story is about him having to adapt to such a change in his life and becoming such an amazing person. And when he ends up in book five, I just think he turns out to be one of the coolest heroes ever. Heís just a great character--so fun to write.

Matthew Peterson: And Simon and Schuster, theyíre doing the paperback books. Is that correct?

Obert Skye: Yes, Simon and Schuster are . . . have the soft backs for Leven.

Matthew Peterson: Okay, cool. And what about a movie? Are there any plans for a movie?

Obert Skye: Yeah. The rights have been sold and theyíre in early talks, hoping theyíll line up production stuff. So itís very exciting.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, thatís one of those things. Iíve been told by a lot of authors. When you get your option for a movie, take the money and run. [laughs] And pray real hard.

Obert Skye: Well, thereís certainly some of that. Thatís for sure. The guys that have bought it I really like it, and they really have this cool vision of kind of Leven and Foo. So I hope . . . yeah, weíll see what happens. It looks like itís lining up to take place. But thereís certainly a lot of that, yeah, hoping and wishing as well.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. But itís still fun. You have a whole series there, so there could even be more than one movie.

Obert Skye: Yes, yeah, no, thatís exciting. I agree.

Matthew Peterson: Now you have a standalone YA novel called Pillage, which came out in 2008?

Obert Skye: I do. Itís actually the first volume in a ďPillagy,Ē which is kind of lame, but . . .

Matthew Peterson: A ďpillagy.Ē [laughs]

Obert Skye: But it sounds . . . book one is called Pillage and book 2, which is called Choke, comes out in spring this year. Yeah, I really love it. Itís a story... itís kind of centered around dragons but a whole different take on it. Itís modern day. This kind of a smart-alec kid goes into this fantastically cool little village with this amazing old man or house that he lives in and basically finds out some really cool things about him and his family. 1. That they have this control over things that grow and 2. That with that gift he can sort of grow dragons. And so itís kind of a . . . it was so much fun to write.

Matthew Peterson: Like grow a dragon? [laughs]

Obert Skye: Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Well, thatís cool. So you mentioned that there might be another Leven Thumps book with another character.

Obert Skye: Yeah. One of the main characters in the Leven Thumps series is Geth. He actually starts the series off as a toothpick and by the end of book five is transformed quite a bit. And I get so much great response from him. Heís just such a great guy. And heís from Foo. So thereís a book called Geth and the Return of the Lithens, which is what he is; heís a Lithen. And thatíll come out next year. And then I have a book coming out from Holt, sort of a new series, which is a novel drawn--you know, a comic novel.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay.

Obert Skye: So thatís kind of exciting. Iím excited about that as well.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, awesome. Well I have to tell you before we end this interview, I called Shadow Mountain. You know, they were kind of giving me some suggestions and Iím like, ďWait a second. Obert Skye, youíre with Shadow Mountain!Ē

Obert Skye: Thatís cool.

Matthew Peterson: So, yeah, you know, what reminded me of you is that I had a house fire not too long ago . . .

Obert Skye: Thatís just horrible.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. It really was. [laughs] We pretty much lost everything in the house, but I had on my desk a package. And it was sealed, it was wrapped... and it was your book. [laughs] I had bought you books. I havenít read them yet. But I bought like the whole series and I was like, ďOh, these probably would be a good Christmas gift for my boys.Ē So I actually still have that package. And I havenít had the heart to open it up yet to see if itís been ďsmokified.Ē Thatís my wifeís new word: ďsmokified.Ē

[Mattís note: it got so hot in our house that plastic items upstairs, where the fire hadnít even reached, melted into goo. We even had smoke damage in the frozen food sealed in plastic in our standalone freezer, which was 30 feet away from the fire. The smoke literally permeated the entire house until it put out the fire, and then it got hotter and hotter for two or three hours until we opened the door, and like Backdraft the movie it blazed back up again.]

Obert Skye: Oh, man. Thatís a tragic story with only a slightly happy ending. I mean thatís . . . the books, thatís great, but thatís too bad. Iím so sorry for you guys.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, so I thought, you know I should probably at least talk to him and . . . [laughs]

Obert Skye: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: ĎCause I remember . . .

Obert Skye: Iím glad you did.

Matthew Peterson: I remember those covers. Iím like, ďThat is really . . . thatís really nice. I gotta take a look at those books.Ē And I do respect Shadow Mountain and the other authors.

Obert Skye: Itís been a wild ride. I mean, people have just been so kind, and itís just been unbelievably . . . more successful than I kind of even imagined. And itís been a . . . Iíve been very fortunate. Itís been great. Itís been awesome.

Matthew Peterson: Well, cool. Well Iíve been speaking today with Obert Skye, author of the Leven Thumps series. Thanks for being on the show today, Obert.

Obert Skye: Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for having me!

Matthew Peterson: Well, thatís it for today. Make sure you visit to listen to all of the great bonus questions that didnít make it onto the live show. Next week Iíve got Mary Pope Osborne who writes the Magic Tree House books, Cory Doctorow who wrote Little Brother and Makers, Garth Nix who wrote the Old Kingdom, The Seventh Tower, and The Keys to the Kingdom series, and Mindy Klasky who wrote the Glasswrights, Jane Madison, and As You Wish series. See you next week everyone!

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