Hi, all, Sher here with an awesome giveaway for a book I read earlier this year with the rare distinction of featuring a Latino main character. Cool frijoles! Please take a minute to read my review of Diego's Dragon book one, Spirits of the Sun, to see why I'm excited to host Kevin Gerard for a character conversation between him and his book's main character, Diego. I loved this book because of the way it featured realistic problems among young people regardless of race: families with tempers, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Without condescending, Diego's Dragon gave a message of not giving up hope even if you have to exclude people from your life. I loved it way before the inventive journey and unexpected climax.
And don't forget the giveaway! First, check out the cover and the blurb.
And don't forget the giveaway! First, check out the cover and the blurb.
DIEGO'S DRAGON BOOK ONE:
BLURB:Diego's Dragon: Spirits of the Sun is one of the top new fantasy books for middle grade and young adult readers.
When a Hispanic boy wins a writing contest for sixth graders, author Nathan Sullivan visits school to award the prize. "Magnifico!"admirers call the statue, a glistening black dragon. Eleven-year-old Diego Ramirez has no idea how how well the name fits. Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun.
Nathan Sullivan is the earth's connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide. Yet as the dragon comes to life, he becomes mischievous, playing tricks on Diego until he vows to get rid of the pest. Eternal torment may result, for no other pair can right a terrible wrong. Even if they reconcile, Diego will suffer a terrible loss by guiding Magnifico to their goal.
AUTHOR KEVIN GERARD AND DIEGO’S DRAGON STAR DIEGO RAMIREZ
“Can I talk to you, Mr. Gerard?” a voice asked after three soft knocks on my office door. I looked up and saw an athletic thirteen year old, not a common sight on a college campus. Recognizing him immediately, I turned away from my computer and offered him a chair.
“Sure, Diego, what’s on your mind?”
“Why me, I mean, how did you ever pick me to be the main character for Diego’s Dragon?”
“Well, it all started many years ago when I visited Rincon Middle School in Escondido, California. Bonnie, the librarian, asked me to bring something very special to give away during my author talks. I’m not sure why I decided on a black dragon statue, but that’s what I brought.”
“Wasn’t the statue important to you?”
“That’s a good question, Diego, because that dragon and I had been friends for years. He sat right on my desk, inspiring me as I wrote another fantasy series called Conor and the Crossworlds.”
“And you gave it away, just like that?”
“Yes, I brought it to Rincon Middle that day, and out of hundreds of students, a seventh grader named Jorge Ramirez won it.”
“Did he seem happy, I mean, did he realize what you were giving him?”
“I think so, Diego. I hope he still has it and that it’s bringing him the same amount of inspiration it gave me.”
“Don’t you miss it?”
“Every day. I bought it at a local county fair one year, and do you know what’s really interesting?”
“I’ve gone back to that fair every year looking for another one, and not only have I never found it again, I’ve never even seen the vendor who sold it to me. It’s almost like he was there that one time to make certain I bought Magnifico.”
“It’s almost like the story you told my parents when you came for dinner the first time.”
“Very close, Diego, but I had to change it a little. I knew your parents were a little scared of your statue, so I added a bit of intrigue.”
“If the student who won the statue was named Jorge, why didn’t you call the story Jorge’s Dragon?”
“When I began writing the first book, that’s what the title was going to be, but I had a couple of students that semester who changed everything.”
One of the students was named Diego, a good student and a great guy. As the semester wore on, the name Diego’s Dragon settled in my head. I liked the way it clicked with the two D’s, Diego’s Dragon. Before the semester was over, I knew that would be your name, but I did keep Jorge’s last name, Ramirez. That’s how you became known as Diego Ramirez.”
“You said you had a couple of students. Who was the other one?”
“Racquel Carrillo. She and Diego were close friends, and like all my students, she and I became very good friends also. She had amazing sparkly eyes, and a personality to match; you just couldn’t help but like her.”
“So the Racquel from your class became my girlfriend Racquel in the books?”
“That’s right, Diego. She’s wonderful, isn’t she?”
“Yea, I like her a lot. I like how she has Estrella, her own dragon.”
“Speaking of dragons, tell me about Magnifico. How do you like being his guide?”
“I like him and all, but did you have to make him such a grouch?”
“Actually, I could have written any kind of personality I wanted for him.”
“Then why didn’t you make him nicer, even a little bit?”
“Have you heard of any other dragon stories, Diego? In most of the tales where a boy or a girl somehow crosses paths with a dragon, they become fast friends right away, and off they go on their adventures. I wanted your experience with Magnifico to be different.”
“Okay, but why is he always so hard on me?”
“In the beginning he wanted to test you. You’d been chosen as guide to the most powerful dragon in the universe, the leader of the Sol Dragones. Magnifico wouldn’t accept just any guide, Diego, the pairing had to be perfect. If you hadn’t taken control of your destiny, he would have requested another guide from Sol.”
“Okay, so now I’m tested and I’m a good guide. Why doesn’t he back off?”
“You mean like the time he rescued you and your brother Esteban from those men in the city that night? Or when he bathed you in his magic dragon fire and brought you back to life after the battle in the Dark Rift? Or when he ordered a group of his dragons to sacrifice themselves during the Battle at Tenochtitlan to save you from Satadon, the Dark Lord? Do you want me to go on?”
“Well, I guess not. It’s just that…”
“He loves you, Diego. Do you know that?”
“Yea, I guess so.”
“You guess so, really? Tell me something; how did you feel after the two of you were blown from the sky by Satadon’s weapon?”
“I thought Magnifico was dead. He could be for all I know.”
“How did you feel thinking he might be gone forever?”
“Like I’d lost the best friend I ever had.”
“What would you say if I told you he feels the same way about you?”
“But he’s a dragon. He’s been alive for thousands of years. He has Sol, and Estrella, and all the dragons of the sun.”
“He is the leader of those dragons. Aside from Estrella, he cannot befriend any of them. And Sol is his spiritual escort. He loves Magnifico, but not in a way that all living creatures seek. The bond between dragon and guide is like no other, Diego. Believe me, he loves you; that’s why he held onto you after the beam from the temple nearly killed both of you.”
“Can I ask you something?”
“Whatever you want, Diego.”
“Is Magnifico dead?”
“What do you think? Search within your heart, Diego. Find the bond between the two of you. Has the light gone out?”
“No, I don’t think so, but you’re the author; you write everything that happens. You can change your mind and do anything you want.”
“Are you sure it’s that simple, Diego?”
“What’s that simple?”
“That I make all the choices, that whatever I decide happens?”
“How could anything happen if you didn’t?”
“Sometimes I let you, Magnifico, Estrella, Racquel, and even Satadon tell me what they want to do, where they want the story to go.”
“It’s true, Diego. A good writer will let his characters run free if they want. Sometimes the best parts of stories happen that way. Remember the night you and Esteban ran to the horse club when Incendio, Nightfang, and Sharptooth came after you?”
“Yea, I blew Incendio out of the sky with his own fire.”
“That’s right, but that wasn’t supposed to happen. I’d planned on Magnifico fighting Incendio, but before he showed up, you told me you wanted to take him on yourself. It sounded interesting, so I ran with it, and look how great it turned out.”
“You mean I told you I wanted that part of the story to go that way?”
“In a sense. Writers always have to be open to any possibility.”
“So, if I told you I didn’t want Magnifico to die, would you grant me that wish?”
“I don’t want him to die either. I’ve grown rather fond of him. Let’s just work together and see what happens, okay?”
“Okay, Mr. Gerard. Thanks for talking with me.”
PRAISE:Taylor Hawkins's Goodreads Review
Naila Moons's Goodreads Review
Shannon O'Donnell's Goodreads Review
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:Diego's Dragon Website
Diego's Dragon Facebook Fan Page
Diego's Dragon Twitter Page
AUTHOR BIO:Kevin Gerard lives in San Diego, California, with two feline friends, Jesse the WonderCat and Little Man. When not writing or teaching statistics at Cal State San Marcos, he enjoys walking the grounds at the San Diego Zoo, hitting the waves at Cardiff State Beach, and hanging with his brother, nieces and nephews at the local Pizza Port. He also enjoys playing Halo on the internet; look for him in the rocket games as one of the characters from Diego’s Dragon or Conor and the Crossworlds.
AUTHOR CONTACT INFO:firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOKS TWO AND THREE COVERS:
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Thanks for the interview, Kevin. I love character conversations more than any other kind of guest post. This one was great! Makes me want to read all the books, hint, hint....
Readers, please leave a comment answering Kevin's questions below this post, not in the Rafflecopter form. Also, help us get the word out to friends, relatives, and anyone who ever suffered an injustice. I can't imagine anyone, from child to adult, disliking Diego's Dragon. Then please scroll back through the last few posts for other authors and giveaways before you join Shannon Messenger's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday hop. As always, thanks for visiting!