Author Interviews,  Book Promos,  Book Talk

Author Guest Post with Ben Gartner, Sol Invictus

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Welcome to the February 2nd stop on the blog tour for Sol Invictus by Ben Gartner, organized by Rockstar Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more features, reviews, other guest posts with the author, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)

It’s my birthday, by the way! Want to make my day? Leave a comment and/or visit the other tour posts I’m featuring today, which you’ll find pinned to the home page. Cheers!

I have received review copies of both The Eye of Ra and Sol Invictus, so expect more posts about this series as I review them.

Anyway, this is a guest post stop, so I’ll let Ben take it away with his portion first. I’ll be back after that with more information about the book, the author, and that giveaway.

Why Middle Grade?

I wrote another blog post about the neuroscience behind this question, “Why middle grade?” But for this post I want to follow up with a little less science-y answer, one that speaks more to the heart than the head.

Yes, I have two boys who were nine and eleven when I started this adventure, so that put them squarely in the middle grade bracket. That was definitely an impetus for me to start thinking about a good novel for that age group. And as you can read in my other blog interviews, collaborating with them on book one of The Eye of Ra series was a wonderful bonding experience. In fact, I dedicated book one to them.

That speaks to this question, or more so how I started in middle grade, but why continue? What keeps me going in this niche?

For me, it boils down to two reasons:

  1. It’s FUN
  2. I’m writing for the middle grade ME.

It’s FUN.

First of all, writing anything is fun for me. I can easily get sucked into a world of my own making, characters who I control and yet surprise me. The puzzle of a good plot. That feeling you get when you overcome a challenge in the outline. I love it. And writing for middle grade is all of that. On top of that normal rush, writing for middle grade is pure and unadulterated. Middle grade books can explore heady topics, but they’re written for a mindset that is probably 70% interested in the imaginative adventure (even non-fiction, when written well, should stir the imagination!) and 30% with internalizing the themes. Kids most definitely internalize, but first and foremost they’re coming out of a phase in development that is all about play. So, they’re still all about play, but morphing into a young adult with all the challenges therein.

Oh darn, I got into some of the science again. I digress. But the point is: Middle grade kids like to have fun by expanding their minds and perception of the world. That is my target market. How great is that?

I’m writing for the middle grade ME.

That age 8-to-12 era in my own life was wildly influential on who I am today, perhaps more so than any other time in my own maturation. I read a ton (still do, but not nearly as much as back then). And I remember very fondly being absorbed, lost, enraptured—whatever you want to call it—in book after book. I read anything I could get my hands on. And, I like to think, that middle grade me would have been a fan of Ben Gartner’s books. When I think about that third or fifth grade kid looking up at me, I want him to be excited and proud of what lays in store for his future.

About the Book

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

Sol Invictus
The Eye of Ra Book Two
by Ben Gartner

Published 2 February 2021
by Crescent Vista Press

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 300
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.

An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!

Early Reviews:

  • Gold Recipient, Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence

“Once again, Gartner deftly weaves real-life history into a compelling adventure, offering high-stakes, realistic danger and vivid scene-setting.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Gartner has a knack for action and creating compelling historical personalities . . . Middle [grade] readers who treasure ancient history with a side of adventure will welcome this fantasy story.” -BookLife Reviews by Publishers Weekly

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK
B&N | iBooks | Kobo | TBD |

Grab book 1 THE EYE OF RA now!

  • Gold Recipient, Mom’s Choice Awards
  • Silver Medal in Children’s Adventure, 2020 International Readers’ Favorite Awards
  • Finalist, Next Generation Book Awards
  • 1st Place in both Children’s Adventure AND Grades 4th-6th, 2020 TopShelf Awards

About the Author

Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Goodreads

Giveaway Alert!

  • 1 winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, International.
  • 1 winner will win a finished copy of SOL INVICTUS, US Only.
  • 1 winner will win an eBook of SOL INVICTUS, International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.


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