Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review and Author Interview: Benjamin Nicholas by S.C. Crovo

Benjamin Nicholas & The Golden Key (Book, #1)Title: Benjamin Nicholas & The Golden Key
Author: S.C. Crovo
Publisher: N/A
Publishing Date: November 5th, 2019 
Pages: 200
Audio Length: N/A
Genre: MG Fantasy
Series: Benjamin Nicholas
Source: Book

A Lonely Boy. A Secret Wish. Will a Golden Key Unlock Hidden Magic?
“Dear Santa”…Benjamin Nicholas asks for only one wish in his letter to Santa: to live at the North Pole. His letters haven’t been answered so far, but this could be the year! The letter mysteriously disappears, and Benjamin is ready to give-up until a strange boy joins him in the school lunch room with a plate of ornate sugar cookies.
“Hi, my name is Kalto,” he said clearly despite the cookie remnants in his mouth, “and you’re Benjamin Nicholas.”
Kalto seems to know Benjamin, but how? Lunch gets even stranger when Kalto delivers a message. Benjamin belongs to the Magical Families of Nicholas! His magic is in a key, but Benjamin doesn’t have it. They must travel deep within a mountain to the Nicholas World of Sankelves. On their journey, Benjamin gets his wish and discovers that the North Pole, full of wonders and secrets, is not as he imagined. Will Benjamin find his key, and who else seeks its special magic?

What made me pick this book up:
The author actually emailed me asking if I'd like a copy to review.

What did I like about the cover:
It's a good combination of cute cartoon and beautiful realistic.

What made me read this book:

As I said, I was emailed by the author to see if I wanted to read this with Finn. I couldn't say no. It sounded like such a unique story and I was sure that not only would I, but Finn would love it as well.

What did I like the most:

Well Finn lost interest at about 3/4 of the way through. But he's also 6 and this was a little long for him. 

As I said, the story is really unique. It's like a combination of Harry Potter and Santa Clause. Yes as in North Pole Santa Clause. 

I found the part where they get their key after they turn 10 years old to be really interesting. 

I loved all the mythical creatures and the different worlds. Snonoble is going to be my favorite I think, I can't wait to read about it more in the second book. And Master is my favorite. He just seems so jolly and sweet. 

I love all of the characters, especially Kalto. Kalto is my favorite by far. I think I would love having him as a friend. I love the Kelves in general to be honest. I would love to have a Kelve as a friend. 

I have to be honest though reading about all the magical foods made me hungry. I was really jealous of how many sweets they all have. 

The writing in this book is really well done as well. The details weren't over explained, and I could most definitely picture myself in this world. The imagery used is absolutely stunning. 

I never knew I needed this in my life, but I really really enjoyed it.

What didn't I like:

First of all his dad. I understand it's part of the story. Like a big part. But I hated him. He made me mad. 

The other thing is the pace was a little bit off at times. It seemed to pick up and things happened fast and then it slowed down almost too much.

Nothing huge, I still loved it and found myself not wanting to put it down.

Would I read the rest of the series/more from this author?

Absolutely! (And she mentioned a ghost story in the not so distant future. I need it) 

Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys well written fantasy books, of any age. 

Midnight on Strange StreetThe Mona Lisa Key (Time Castaways, #1)The Train to Impossible Places: A Cursed Delivery (A Train to impossible places, #1)Malamander (Malamander, #1)The Boy Who Flew

S.C. Crovo

First let's get to know a little bit about what makes you, you..

Where are you from?
I was born in Baltimore, Maryland but moved to Camden, Maine in 2000 with my husband, two daughters, and four cats. We moved to St. Marys, Georgia in 2013 with three dogs and six cats, and now live in Jacksonville, Florida with two dogs and five cats. Yes, we are animal lovers! Life is an adventure!

Is your name a pen name? If so what inspired you to pick that name?
My name is a semi-pen name. Susan Carol Crovo is my full name. I always include my middle name or initial in some way, because it’s a great story. I was Susan Ann until I had to get my birth certificate for my learners permit at the age of 17. I learned, unexpectedly, that my middle name was Carol. My mother thought that she had changed it and wanted me to change it back to Ann. I said no so, at seventeen, I became Susan Carol.

3 facts about yourself?
First: I love animals! All of our animal family members have been rescued or ‘found’.

Second: I love to cook and have a huge cookbook collection. You will always find food in my stories.

Third: I am also a ‘catch-my-eye’ collector. I have been going to yard sales since I was a kid. What do I collect? What catches my eye…what tells me a story. 

What are some of your favorite things in general? (Food, shows, movies, anything you want to share with us)

I love: TCM, classic movies. They had to rely on quality of story, because they were censored from naughty and vulgar content. Show/tell me a good story!

I love: Travel. A little restricted now because we have a full animal house, so I must travel vicariously through House Hunters International!

I love: Tradition. Spending time with my husband and family. My youngest daughter is married and lives close-by, but my oldest daughter lives in New Mexico at the moment.

Now let's talk about you as an author...

When did you start writing and what was the first thing you ever wrote?
I started writing at a young age. One of the first poems I wrote was about my beloved apple tree in our back yard. 

What inspired you to start writing?
Writing to me is as intrinsic as breathing! Everything inspires me! I always feel that everything has a story to tell. That pencil on the desk…who wrote with it and what did they write? There’s a story there.

What is your writing process? Do you make a timeline first? Or just write what comes to your mind? Do you do a lot of research?
First: Idea. Usually just a simple sentence or concept. The idea for The Magical Families of Nicholas came to me about 10 years ago. One simple sentence; Santa stops here first. Boy, did that original sentence change! It went from a small town in New England to Outer Space!

Second: Mapping. I use bubble mapping for both the book concept and each individual chapter. After mapping, I line write content so by the time I’m in front of the computer, I’m ready to write.

Most Important: Imagination. I visualize and imagine everything! Conversations, characters, question resolution, and scenes. If I’m stumped when writing, I walk away and let my mind and imagination go to work. It’s where all the magic happens!

What are some of your favorite authors/favorite reads?
I’m a bit old school. I love, from childhood to current, L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Series, Michael Crichton, Agatha Christie, and all books, especially old…I collect books, too.

What do you have planned for the future? Any other book or series ideas?
The Magical Families of Nicholas Stories, which includes The Benjamin Nicholas Series Novels and the Masters of Nicholas Series Novellas will go on for at least a series of six or maybe seven, but I could probably write about them forever. There are so many off-shoot story lines. Another series I would like to start, in the not too distant future, is a ghost series, middle grade as well.

I absolutely loved Benjamin Nicholas. I loved how you took the Saint Nicholas idea and turned it into something of your own. 

Thank you!!!!

Where did you get the idea for this book?
One line and imagination unleashed!

Which of the Kelves is your favorite?
They are all special in their own way, but I am partial to Kalto. He is such fun and so loyal to Benjamin.

I'd love to see this as a movie. Or even a TV show. Which do you think would be better for this story?
A movie, probably several, would be great. I love movies that can go deeper and are true to the story and the characters.

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