Yesterday saw the debut day of W. H. Beck’s middle grade novel Malcolm at Midnight. When W.H. Beck was interviewed here earlier this year, a trailer for this cute mystery wasn’t available yet. So we thought we’d celebrate Malcolm’s release by sharing the trailer today. It showcases the great artwork of Malcolm’s illustrator, Brian Lies. Take a look:
And here’s my favorite question from the W. H. Beck interview because she shares some of the interesting things she learned about rats during the writing process:
Did you do any particular research when writing Malcolm at Midnight? For being a funny mystery starring a talking rat, I did a lot of research for Malcolm! First of all, I’ve never had a rat as a pet, so I had to learn about rats—what they could do (swim through plumbing!), their strengths (resilience) and weaknesses (food). It was really fun to twist those around into Malcolm’s character traits and actions. The same was true for the classroom pets’ “slang.” I figured that if food was really important to them, then their vocabulary would reflect that. So I got to get out my trusty thesaurus and looked up alternate words for eating and snacks and crumbs and turn them into sayings the animals could use.
Working with an illustrator (Brian Lies) also opened up a whole new level of research for me. Malcolm at Midnight is set in an old school, and when I write, I like to use a lot of visuals, so I spent way more time than I needed to clicking around on the internet, looking at aging schools and clock towers. But this all came in handy later on, when Brian had questions about the school’s layout. I forwarded him a lot of my links and sketches and photos for his illustrations.
And finally, because I’m a nerdy chick, I did a lot of research in planning and plotting a successful mystery—what parts are necessary? How do you hide the clues in plain sight? I really loved learning about how to fit the pieces of the story together.
To see the whole interview click HERE.
I met W.H. Beck at the Chautauqua Writer’s Workshop in 2004, the same time I met fellow blogger Sudipta. It is always exciting to see an author welcome a book into the world. But when that author is someone you count as a friend, it is especially exciting. So we’re very happy about this release! Here’s to Malcolm at Midnight! May his journey be a long one!