Monstes Verses Aliens...and the Sasquatch

Two Washington State Authors from Same Town Vie for 2014 Washington State Children’s Book Award
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Royce Buckingham
Clete Barrett Smith
Sasquatch Book Award
Children S Books



Feb. 28, 2014 - PRLog -- (BELLINGHAM, WA) – It’s Oscar season for children’s book writers everywhere. Votes for many state book awards will be cast and winners announced this spring. And every win is a feather in the cap of an author competing for the attention of young readers and the librarians who recommend quality books to their students.

In Washington State classrooms, a battle is being waged between a monstrous radioactive tree and the earthly host of a bed and breakfast for aliens. The Dead Boys and Aliens on Vacation are both nominated for the Sasquatch Award—Washington’s premier children’s book award. Their creators just happen to live in the same city—Bellingham—and their books just happen to both be set in Washington.

Clete Barrett Smith was born and raised in Bellingham and Royce Buckingham grew up across the state in Richland. The authors, who met a few years ago, pitching story ideas to Hollywood producers, got a similar start in publishing—their first published books were also optioned for movie deals. Let’s just say the two have had a few things to talk about and now share the same hope that readers will choose their book out of the 12 titles nominated this year. So far, the two have exchanged friendly banter on the competition, but winning book awards is serious business.

“I like Clete and his alien business venture, but if he gets in my way, I will not hesitate to have an evil tree suck the life force from him. Muh-ah-ah-ah!...” says Royce. “And then we’ll have our bi-monthly lunch at the local Thai restaurant and chat about it. It’s great to have an accomplished colleague nearby, and so fun that he’s also nominated for the Sasquatch.”

“I love The Dead Boys. Every time I do a school visit I tell kids that is definitely the book they should vote for second place,” says Clete. “I think it’s so fun that both of these books are set in Washington. I know growing up here has meant a lot to both Royce and me and it’s fun to share such a great setting with kids.”

The Sasquatch Award is presented through the Washington Media Library Association. Titles are selected by a committee of school and public librarians and presented to students in grades four through six.  Students who read at least two of the books on the list are able to vote. There are 12 books for consideration this year. Voting for the 2014 Sasquatch Award will open March 20th and end on April 1, 2014.

When Teddy Mathews moves to quirky Richland, WA, his main concern is making new friends. But something is not right about the quiet desert town. All the boys he meets disappear in creepy ways, and an imposing Sycamore tree outside his house seems to be trying to get him in its clutches. Teddy’s life quickly becomes a waking nightmare, and no one else believes him. Can Teddy escape the tree’s terrifying grasp and solve the mystery of the missing boys before he becomes the next one to disappear?

Scrub isn't happy about having to spend the summer with his hippie grandmother in "Middle of Nowhere," Washington. When he arrives at her Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast, he's not surprised by its 1960s-meets-Star Wars decor; but he is surprised by the weird looking guests. It turns out that each room in the inn is a portal and his grandma is the gatekeeper, allowing aliens to vacation on Earth. She desperately needs Scrub's help with disguising the tourists as humans. As if that weren't difficult enough, the town sheriff is already suspicious of Granny. One wrong move and Scrub could blow Grandma's cover, forcing the B&B to shut down forever. And when it comes to aliens, every move seems wrong . . .

Royce Buckingham
is an American fantasy writer with an English degree from Whitman College and a Law degree from the University of Oregon. He was born in Richland, Washington and grew up in the 70’s downriver from the Hanford nuclear plant, which might explain his mutated view of the world. He moved to Bellingham after law school and landing a job as a prosecuting attorney.

The Dead Boys, a Junior Library Guild selection, has been nominated for both the 2014 Sasquatch Award and the 2014 Sunshine State Young Readers Award in Florida. His first YA thriller, The Terminals, is due out this fall with Saint Martin’s Press. In Germany, Royce is has two bestsellers Demonkeeper (Damliche Damonen) and Mapper (Die Karte Der Welt), an epic medieval fantasy, for which fans are eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Royce lives in Bellingham with his wonderful wife, whom he met in the courtroom when she came to cover one of his criminal cases as a reporter. They have two fabulous boys who help with his books. Thankfully none have been eaten by demons…or goblins…or mutated trees.

Clete Barrett Smith’s first novel, Aliens on Vacation, was released by Disney-Hyperion Books for Children in May, 2011. Aliens on Vacation was named an American Booksellers Council “New Voices” selection as one of the top middle grade novels of the year by a debut author. In addition to the Sasquatch, AOV has been nominated for state awards in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Nebraska.Two more installments of The Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast series have since been released: Alien on a Rampage and Aliens in Disguise. Clete’s books have also sold overseas for publication in 15 other countries.

Clete is currently taking a break from aliens, and his next book, Magic Delivery, will be released in July from Disney-Hyperion Books for Children.

A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Clete taught English, Drama and Speech at the high school level for over a dozen years. He received his MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. Clete has two beautiful children and lives in Bellingham, Washington.

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