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Interview - Ethan Coffee

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
 Today, I am interview with Ethan Coffee, author of Fables of the Flag.

Book Synopsis
Jack Preston, an ordinary kid on his 8th grade trip to Washington DC, finds himself mysteriously transported back in time to 1720 Massachusetts. Finding a world without cars, phones and other conveniences of modern life takes some getting used to, but he's even more surprised to meet a young Founding Father, Ben Franklin.

Being a righteous fellow, Ben befriends the confused and tattered Jack and offers him a place to stay. When Jack overhears a seedy plan that will most certainly ruin Ben's brother's printing business, Jack vows to help find the culprit before it's too late.

From the streets of Colonial Boston, to the cargo hold of a huge galleon, Jack realizes he's on the most bizarre, but important, adventure of his life. As Jack is thrown into a whirlwind of conspiracy, he realizes that much more than a printing company is at stake. An adventure is one thing, but being stuck hundreds of years in the past is quite another.

Author Bio
Ethan Coffee left California for a few years to study at Purdue University, but is now back in the Golden State. His series, Fables of the Flag, chronicles Jack Preston’s journey through time as he meets famous figures in American history. The second installment, Fables of the Flag: The Surveyor’s Tale, was released July 1st.

Author Website | Fables Facebook Page | Twitter

What research did you put into writing Fables of the Flag?
Quite a bit! Jack Preston’s journey through history was never intended to read like a textbook, but it definitely needed to be accurate in its depiction of the characters and daily life of the era. To get all the details right, I used whatever I could get my hands on, from encyclopedias to my old AP US History textbooks and everything in between. Yes, that includes hundreds of hours on the internet as well!

Sounds like you did a very thorough job researching. What drew you to write about colonial times?
The Fables series is going to cover all of American history, and I figured there was no better place to start than the beginning. I don’t want to give away too much about Jack’s path and how it may change over the course of the series, but I will say that if your favorite historical period is relatively contemporary, you may not have as long a wait as it seems.

If you were in Jack's position and found yourself in colonial America, what would you do?
I think, like Jack, I’d try to make sure I wasn’t doing anything that would change the course of history. It would be absolutely amazing to see what the world was like hundreds of years ago firsthand, but no one wants to accidentally destroy the universe doing it!

That's true. Who knows what one simple action could do to change the course of history. What do you admire most about Benjamin Franklin?
The diversity of his research and expertise. In addition to his experiments with electricity and his invention of bifocals, which are addressed in Fables, he also invented the Franklin stove and even fire insurance, among other things. It seems he was able to come up with an answer for whatever problem he encountered.

I foresee one answer to my next question. If you could spend an afternoon with three historical figures, who would they be and why?
Ben Franklin and George Washington for sure, not just for their historic accomplishments, but also to see how close I got representing them as young adults. For the third, I would choose Plato, who is one of the originators of the story of Atlantis. It would be interesting to hear his inspiration for the idea and I’m sure he would be amused to hear how long people would be fascinated by the idea of a lost civilization.

It would be pretty neat to get the chance to compare your writing to the real people! Where do you like to read and write?
I read pretty much everywhere from my house to outside at the park. I’ve always got a book on me, whether it’s printed or on my Kindle. As far as writing, it’s got to be either in my office or Starbucks. Anywhere else is usually too chaotic to get into any kind of rhythm.

I love my Kindle. When I know that I'm going to have a lot of time to read, I usually bring it instead of packing three or five books. What books are in your TBR pile right now?
I’m currently reading Frankenstein. After that, Dracula is up next. I’m on a bit of a classic monster kick right now. The rest of the stack is a mixed bag; Fall of Giants, Cryptonomicon, and A Game of Thrones.

The other day I walked into an Oxford University Press store and found a whole wall of Oxford classics. It's tempting me to download a bunch of classics on my Kindle and start a classic marathon. (Actually, I have gotten some new ones that weren't on my Kindle before. Can't wait to get back to the States and get started on them.) What can readers next expect from you?
I’m working on the third Fables book right now. It will be available by the end of the year as well as the first three books in a single volume. After that, I’m not sure if I’ll go right to another Fables or one of the other projects I’ve been dreaming up.

Thanks so much for the interview! Great questions!

Thanks for interviewing, Ethan!

 Ethan has generously donated two e-copies of Fables of the Flag for a giveaway. It will be open internationally through August 20th.

To enter, follow Imaginary Reads and comment on the interview with Ethan, then fill out the Rafflecopter form. Extra entries for follows and tweeting about the giveaway.

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6 comments on "Interview - Ethan Coffee"
  1. Great interview! I always like to read about how much research went into a book and how they went about writing it.

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    1. Thanks Steph! It was definitely a lot of work, but a blast to write!

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  2. Great interview. I think even English majors would love this book.
    tinyauthor at yahoo dot com

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    1. Thank you Stacy! I'm sure majors of any kind would enjoy Fables!

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  3. As I'm from the UK, I've never really been taught at school about American history. Through books such as The TimeRiders series and The Fable of the Flag (which I'll be sure to add to my TBR pile) I have learnt more & more about it, and m intrigued by it.
    Great interview!

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  4. Nice review :) Man I stink at doing research. You can imagine how I got though school LOL

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