Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blog Tour Pick: Samantha Sutton

Samantha Sutton and The Winter of the Warrior Queen
By Jordan Jacobs
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
January 2014 ISBN: 978-1-4022-7563-0
Trade Paper/$6.99 Ages 9+
Another thrilling adventure awaits this bold heroine…
Samantha is hesitant to join Uncle Jay on a second archaeological excavation. But the marshes near Cambridge, England, sound harmless after the sinister perils she faced in Peru. Or so she thought...
During the excavation, Samantha realizes the site could be the ancient fortress of Queen Boudica, who led an uprising against the Roman Empire. An amazing find! But Samantha’s crucial discovery threatens to halt construction on a nearby theme park that will make millions for English Lord and eccentric landowner Cairn Catesby. Unfortunately for Samantha, Catesby is also the scheming head of Cambridge University's Archaeology Department, making him Uncle Jay's current boss. Catesby will stop at nothing to discredit Uncle Jay’s theories about the excavation site’s royal ties. When Samantha is entrusted with the protection of an artifact that undeniably links the site to the Warrior Queen, she becomes the target of unscrupulous men determined to get their fortune by any means necessary.
On the run through the snowy English countryside, Samantha must muster the strength and wit to protect the treasured artifact—with her uncle’s professional reputation hanging in the balance.
Jordan Jacobs’ career as an archaeologist began with a love of mummies, castles, and Indiana Jones. He journeyed to his first archaeological excavation at age 13 in California’s Sierra Nevada. A Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge-educated man, Jordan has worked as an archaeologist at world-class institutions such as The Smithsonian and The American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Jordan is passionate about public awareness for the illicit looting of artifacts at globally important archaeological sites. He works with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), where his recommendations have helped to protect historic sites and to alert agents around the world about precious artifacts smuggled on the black market. Jordan is currently a senior specialist at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.   @JordanNJacobs

I asked Jordan how he came up with the idea of Samantha. He wrote this for the blog:

"As I suspect is the case with most authors, I have a hard time accounting for my characters’ origins. One day they don’t exist, and the next they do: bursting fully to life in my head and revealing themselves--slowly, painfully, inaccurately at first--in the harsh black and white of a document in Word.

Where do they come from? In most cases, it’s some subconscious machination. From people I've met in real life, I’d guess, or some fragment of my own personality, or--an unavoidable truth--from unconsciously remembered characters in other peoples’ books or movies.

But Samantha Sutton is a little different. I can account for her.

At first, I thought she was just some projection of me as a kid: obsessed with archaeology, studious--but not self-conscious about it--and very self-consciously small. For some reason, the fact that she was female when she sprang to mind wasn't particularly noteworthy. That’s just what seemed to make sense.

It took an old home movie to realize that I was wrong. Samantha isn’t me, at all. Samantha is my wife.

We watched the video at my in-laws, in the midst of my work on Labyrinth of Lies. The video shows my wife’s five-year-old birthday, just as the scheduled festivities--a performing miniature pony--wrap up. While the other kids are content to mill around, my future wife sees the need to structure the rest of the day.

“We can either play tag in the backyard or hide-and-seek inside,” she announces. “Or, we can pretend to be horses.”

And that was all I needed. That was Samantha: serious, meticulous, disciplined in the face of chaos. So Samantha was my wife, all along.

There’s some weird (slightly uncomfortable) psychological goings-on here, I admit, and I’m not even going to begin to go there. But the realization has helped my writing. Because while facing new dangers in Winter of the Warrior Queen, Samantha gets to draw from other strong women I’ve known in my life -- and from my own personality, as well -- it’s my wife’s personality that forms her disciplined core."

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