Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook is the first in the author's Somewhat Silly Story series. It is the tale of a colorful land filled with bizarre creatures, in which a good and kind queen has gone missing and it is up to an over-zealous knight to find her. "Sir Nathan isn't your typical knight in shining armor," Smith says. "He's very caught up in the whole concept of good overcoming the forces of evil, whether they had anything to do with the situation or not. He's often disappointed that he can't smite the antagonists that he meets because they turn out to be nice or, at the worst, are simply misunderstood."
Smith originally wrote the story as a gift to give to his young nieces and nephews after hearing a story about fairy tales on Wisconsin Public Radio. "The first time through, since it was just for a handful of 10 year olds, the story was written in a very stream-of-consciousness sort of way. Since I've always had a difficult time coming up with character names, I just used the names of my nieces and nephews as a way to make the story more enjoyable for them. Now that I am offering the book to the general public, I've gone through and re-written and re-edited the story so as to offer something that I think will appeal to a broader audience, boys and girls alike."
An avid reader since a young age, Smith admits to being heavily influenced by authors such as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. "Their ability to spin a silly story always leaves me a little in awe. The words just seem to come effortless in their books and you can't quite tell if it's an interesting story with funny bits or a funny story with interesting bits."
As an author, Smith would like to create works that challenge young readers a bit and helps to build their reading comprehension. "I'm not intentionally placing difficult words into my stories, but early on, I often found myself wrestling with whether or not I ought to use a nice, juicy, colorful word because I thought a 10 year old might not know it. But then I realized that if my story was interesting enough, the young reader would try to figure out or look up or ask what the word meant." Smith also hopes that, by writing such a story, he could create a work that appeals to older kids as well as a work that parents would enjoy reading with their child.
He is currently working with local schools and libraries to promote reading and writing with his book. Smith has visited classrooms to read from his book and discuss the writing process with students. His book is also being used in area TAG Programs to further develop reading and comprehension skills in young readers.
For additional information regarding Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook, contact Mark Simon Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website, http://somewhatsillystory.com. Copies of Sir Nathan and the Quest for Queen Gobbledeegook (ISBN 978-1470059064)
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A self-published author writing humorous fantasy adventures for tween-age children with the goal of creating works enjoyable by teens and adults as well.