CSFF Blog Tour – Storm by Evan Angler, Day 2

BadBeginning-coverI like blog tours that give me lots to think about–such as the current one for Storm by Evan Angler. The downside, of course, is that I have to decide between a variety of topics, and today, I’m having a hard time choosing.

I thought I’d delve a little more into the political intrigue that plays a significant part of the Swipe series, but instead I want to talk a little about the author, or the character, Evan Angler.

One reviewer remarked about how unusual this book was that the author was a character in the book. Ah, I realized, it may be unusual, but it’s not unique. It has been done before.

Most famously, the middle grade books known as A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book one, The Bad Beginning) were written by Lemony Snicket, a pen name for American novelist Daniel Handler, as well as the name of the character in the books who narrates the story.

To my knowledge, this technique has not been copied widely, if at all.

I do know of another short series that used a similar device, though I don’t know if the Lemony Snicket books were influential at all. I’m referring to Matt Mikalatos’s two Christian speculative humor novels–My Imaginary Jesus and Night of the Living Dead Christian (see my reviews here and here). In both books Matt appears as a central character–either as the protagonist or a secondary-character narrator.

What does all this have to do with Storm and the Swipe series and Evan Angler? The author has used the same device, though I suspect there is an intentional borrowing or overt influence from the Lemony Snicket books.

Part of me thinks, it’s about time. I mean, The Bad Beginning first appeared back in 1999. And no one else has used this author/character device in all this time?

Another part of me wonders if readers familiar with the Lemony Snicket books will think the Swipe books are derivative. It’s hard to think so, though, because the tone of the two series is vastly different as is the subject matter. The only commonality I can detect is this author/character device.

The question, then, is whether or not the device works. I think there’s a lot of intrigue created with the use of this kind of pen name. The pretend writer has his own persona and history and interaction with the story events. But in the case of the Swipe books, it appears that the real author is determined to remain behind the curtain. At least I have yet to locate any information about the person behind the pen name.

So yes, I’d say, for me, the device worked to spike my interest. There’s an accompanying tactic that I think may have backfired, however, but I’ll address that in my review tomorrow.

For now I suggest you check out the various posts from blog tour participants discussing and reviewing the Swipe books.

Shannon McDermott posted a review of book one, Swipe yesterday, and book two, Sneak, today. Chawna Schroeder has a two-part review of the series as a whole (see Part 1 and Part 2). Emma and Audrey Engel have a giveaway for Storm over on their blog. And don’t forget to check out the ever delightful Tuesday Tunes put together by Steve Trower.

You can find the entire list of participants at the end of my Day 1 post, and I suggest you take a few moments to check out a couple of these articles. Why not leave a comment as well? Tell them Becky sent you. ;-)

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5 Comments

  1. […] Angler briefly appears as a character in Storm, getting his story from his characters. According to Becky Miller, “Evan Angler” is a pen name. She said that she had “yet to locate any […]

  2. I hadn’t realized that “Evan Angler” is a pen name. Huh.

    Oliver North made himself a (very minor) character in his military thrillers. That – together with Lemony Snicket, Evan Angler, and Matt Mikalatos – makes four authors who appeared in their own novels. It’s a rare thing – with good reason. Most autobiographical inserts are more subtle.

    • Shannon, I’ll admit, it’s an assumption on my part. But I did an Internet search for the guy and came up with nothing. No interviews, bio, author pic, FB page. Nothing except the cutesy character info on the web site and in the back of Storm.

      I’m also only guessing that he got the idea to be a character in his book from Lemony Snicket. Since I don’t know how to contact him, I can’t ask, of course, but it would make sense to me that someone would think to give it a try since it worked so well for Snicket.

      What I don’t know, since I was oblivious to middle grade books when A Series of Unfortunate Events became all the rage, is whether or not Daniel Handler kept his identity secret for any length of time.

      In thinking more about this, I realize the technique is also something Alfred Hitchcock did in his movies. Perhaps that was Oliver North’s inspiration, or Matt Mikalatos, or Snicket or Angler. ;-)

      Becky

  3. Actually I emailed him at the address on his website and he responded to me! He was really nice. I don’t know if Evan is really his name but I was very impressed that he actually took the time to e-mail back and forth with a fan.

    I just got Spark in the mail and so far it is weird but very good.

  4. That’s cool, Amy. Did you ask him if Evan Angler is a pen name? Maybe I should try and get an interview with him if we tour one of his books again.

    Becky


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