Saturday, May 2, 2009

Giveaway: Patrick Carman's Atherton Series

Summary: In the dazzling conclusion to the epic story of Atherton, Patrick Carman takes readers on the most rewarding journey of all, to the perilous realm of The Dark Planet: Earth.

When Edgar discovers a way to leave the mysterious satellite world of Atherton, he couldn't have imagined the gloom that awaited him on the dark planet, where the oceans are toxic, the forests are full of mutant monsters, and children toil in darkness, controlled by ruthless maniacs. Max Harding, an orphan of the Silo, the maker of Atherton, and the last hope of a dying world, left this place behind, and now Edgar is determined to complete the mad scientist's spectacular plan, revealing Atherton's true purpose.

Edgar's quest to discover Earth's dark secret leads to an out of this world adventure in the final book of the Atherton trilogy. -- Little, Brown Kids

On May 1st, the last book in Patrick Carman's Atherton trilogy for middle grade readers was released -- THE DARK PLANET. I have not read any of the books in this series (yet), but I have to say that Booking Daughter and I both think these books looks great! Patrick Carman is the best-selling author of some other terrific book series including Skeleton Creek, Elliot's Park Adventures and The Land of Elyon; and he has also won numerous awards for his books. Check out this very interesting Q&A with Mr. Carman:

First, let's talk a little about Atherton:

Which character in the book do you most relate to? Why? Which character do you WISH you were like?

Oddly enough, I relate to AND wish I were more like the same character, and that would be Edgar. Some of the things I love doing the most are also things I prefer to do alone. While Edgar likes to climb alone, I like to fly fish, write, and mountain bike alone. I enjoy doing the outdoor activities with friends and family too, but I like these things better when I can go off by myself. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I do enjoy my own company (maybe too much!). I also feel as if Edgar and I are both risk takers, though I’m not as crazy as Edgar. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time skateboarding, snowboarding, paragliding – that sort of thing, so Edgar and I share a love of risky endeavors as well. I think if Edgar lived in our time he’d be endorsed by a lot of extreme sports companies!

Why did you choose to place this story in an alternate world instead of on Earth?

I wanted to explore (and get readers talking about) the idea of a future earth that’s been abused to the point of no return. What would happen if we really did go too far and Earth was pushed to a point of no return? In addition, I’d been playing with the idea of a made world for awhile and this seemed like the right combination of ideas. A broken world, a mad scientist who makes a new one, and then what?

Is The Dark Planet supposed to be Earth? If so, why do they call it The Dark Planet now?

You guessed it! It’s called the Dark Planet because of the way it looks. This is a future earth of very little green and blue, a lot of pollution, and thick brown skies. Earth in the future has become colorless and dead. From space it’s no longer white clouds and blue oceans – it’s a dark planet.

What’s up with Dr. Harding?

What a loaded question! All I’ll say for sure is that he’s a mad scientist and that he’s managed to mysteriously disappear. Oh, and we might see him again someday.

It seems that a lot of responsibility is placed on Edgar, Isabel and Samuel by the adults in the book – why did you choose to make them responsible for so much?

Interestingly, on Atherton, the young characters know about as much as the adults do for reasons you’ll only understand if you read the book. But more than that, the story is told through the experience of young people who must face the conflict of a changing world. They know how to operate in this world as well or better than the adults, so they have a big role in how things play out.

Can you give us a sneak preview of the next book? C'mon! Just a quick teaser?

If you’re looking for Dr. Harding, you might find him in the second book. Also, the world of Atherton isn’t through changing. It has a ways to go!

OK, enough about the book – let’s talk about you!

Did you have a favorite superhero growing up?

Many! I was a comic book nut when I was in grade school, and I especially liked the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Batman.

What kind of books did you read back when you were a kid? And how about now?

The first books I loved that weren’t comic books were tales of adventure like Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, and Swiss Family Robinson – for some reason, I had a real thing about being stranded on a desert island or finding buried treasure. I also liked books about growing up by SE Hinton, which I read over and over again (The Outsiders, Tex, That Was Then – This Is Now, Rumble Fish).

Do you like pizza? If so, what’s your FAVORITE topping (OK, we’ll give you two!)?

I do enjoy a good slice of pizza, especially when it’s homemade. My favorite toppings are sun dried tomatoes and pepperoni, preferably both at the same time.

If you had to choose between ice cream and JELLO, which would you pick?

That’s like a trick question, right? I can’t imagine anyone liking JELLO better than ice cream unless the ice cream was melted and there was a lot of dirt floating around in it. On that same topic, I’d offer these favorite ice cream flavors: peanut butter chocolate, tin roof sundae, and just about any flavor of Ben and Jerry’s (by the way, why haven’t they come out with a flavor called Neapolitan Dynamite yet?)

What else do you like to do besides writing?

Playing with my kids, talking to my wife (she’s a very good listener),off road motorcycling, fly fishing, hiking, listening to music, watching a really good television series all the way through in about three days on DVD, and reading great books.

When you were in school, what were your favorite subjects? Did you know then that you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I liked recess the best. I was VERY good at recess. I guess I was pretty happy with writing, art, and social studies, but I didn’t care for math. I do remember liking books from early on, though it wasn’t until I hit college that I started thinking seriously about being a writer. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

How can I become a writer when I get older?

You’re already a writer! Everyone that can put two words together is a writer, it’s more a question of what sort of writer you want to be. If you love the craft of writing so much that you want to be published, then it’s pretty simple: spend a lot of time writing and reading. And when you write, write things you care about. Things will fall into place if you keep at it long enough.

I thought this was a great Q&A especially for kids who are interesting in reading Mr. Carman's books! If you'd like to learn more about Patrick Carman and the Atherton series, as well as other exciting extras such as excerpts, virtual tours, videos and free downloads, visit and Readers can also play a game by visiting

And now for the really exciting part, I am happy to announce that I am going to giveaway not only a copy of THE DARK PLANET, but also the first two books in the series -- THE HOUSE OF POWER and RIVERS OF FIRE. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me something you found interesting from the Q&A. To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. This giveaway will be open until Friday, May 15th at 11:59 p.m.; and I will announce the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only -- no p.o. boxes please. Good luck!


Kitten22 said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

I love it that he liked Batman when he was growing up. Seems most everyone likes Batman! :)


Pam Tee said...

This does look great, BookingMama. I've heard about the series and would loooovvveee to win.[at]gmail[dot]com

Note: will be retweeting (PamNation)

Yvette Kelly said...

It does look great!! But I can't enter (no delivery to me).Hope you are having a great weekend!!

Unknown said...

Earth will be the Dark Planet if we continue living the way we do.


Unknown said...

Posted this contest on my sidebar:


Unknown said...

I'd like to win this series.


Annie1 said...

I find it interesting that Patrick Carman and his wife watch entire tv series in a few days when they have the chance!

I do that too and I love it!


Annie1 said...


greeeneyedwhwom Win Patrick Carman's Atherton Series!

greeeneyedwhwom (twitter name)


Valorie said...

I love the idea of alternate universes and planets, especially when it allows us to express our own fears for the future.



Anonymous said...

I love these kinds of books. I have never heard of this one, but it sounds wonderful!

Vanessa said...

This sounds like such a fantastic series... how have I never heard of it before?

I liked the comment about everyone being a writer... so true.


Bridget said...

This sounds wonderful. Would like a chance. Just posted on Win A Book, too.


Michele P. said...

I am a SciFi person, and love watching the movies showing what WOULD happen to Earth if it was abused, or if something disastrous happened... so I found it interesting that he compared Earth to the Dark Planet, based on what our world would look like after years of abuse, neglect and not caring for the environment... micaela6955 at msn dot com

Ally in WA said...

It's interesting that Patrick mentioned S.E. Hinton's book as being a favorite growing up. I share that same feeling about those book and haven't thought of that in a long time. Count me into the giveaway.

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

mindy said...

that we are ruining earth and it will become a dark planet thanks for the giveaway

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this.



Anonymous said...

I found interesting his advice on being a writer. He makes it seem a lot simpler than people initially think.

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

I like the alternate Earth concept. Why not use fantasy as a way to deal with the death of the world? Seems cool to me. Obviously that's what I found interesting :P.

I blogged about this here:

I tweeted about it here:

Thanks! Email is in my profile.

Sharon said...

I love the way he describe earth as being the dark planet and how it looks from outer space because of pollution and such. Thanks for the giveaway

sharr1226 at yahoo dot com

Becca said...

Batman and pepperoni on his pizza, very good choices. I'd also like to read his books. I blogged about it here:


Chris said...

I really liked his answer to you question about how to become a writer. Haha - you're already a writer! I've always thought this way, it's good to hear someone else say it.


Deborah said...

I make home-made pizza, and I thought his comment that he likes sun-dried tomato and pepperoni toppings interesting...I never tried that combo, but I will! asthenight at gmail dot com

Sandra K321 said...

The Dark Planet is Earth in the future, when it has been left colorless and dead from pollution.

Sandra K321 said...

Please replace my earlier comment with this one. I forgot my email address.
The Dark Planet is Earth in the future. It is colorless and dead because of the pollution.

Nickolay said...

I also love tin rood sundae ice cream. So after reading the interview, we have the same tastes

A Reader said...

I like that he likes off road motorcycling. I love that too!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Karlie said...

I love that recess was his favorite subject in school!

A said...

What a fun interview, and a great group of books to win! I loved Patrick's answer to the Jello vs. ice cream question. When I think about it, I can't say that I'd choose Jello even if there were bits of dirt floating in the ice cream. I think I'd decline them both. Thanks for the great giveaway!


Belle said...

Outsiders was one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I read all of SE Hinton's books, too. Outsiders was my fave, though.

ginnn7 said...

i thought the whole interview was great. i liked the q & a:
How can I become a writer when I get older?

You’re already a writer! Everyone that can put two words together is a writer, it’s more a question of what sort of writer you want to be. If you love the craft of writing so much that you want to be published, then it’s pretty simple: spend a lot of time writing and reading. And when you write, write things you care about. Things will fall into place if you keep at it long enough.


Katrina said...

i like that he likes ice cream

Brimful Curiosities said...

I liked his comment about recess being his favorite subject! Funny. I liked recess, too, especially the killer tall slide. Lots of kids broke their arm falling off. They don't have fun equipment like that anymore. Poor coddled children.

Brimful Curiosities said...

Blogged Here:
pvilletoygirl at g m a i l dot com

CherylS22 said...

I found it interesting that Mr. Carman is so much like his character Edgar.

Please count me in - Thanks!

Renee G said...

I enjoyed that recess was his favorite subject at school.


Carlene said...

I just loved the questions. My favorite was the one about Jello or Ice Cream and I have to agree who in there right mind would like Jello better then Ice Cream. I would love to be entered in your drawing.

Gaby317 said...

Thank you! The books sound interesting - I'm curious to find out why the young characters know as much as the adults and how he weaves that into the story!

pls count me in!

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Gaby317 said...

i posted a link to this contest on my blog's sidebar.


gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Rabid Fox said...

These books around intriguing, so count me in on the contest. My e-mail addy is rabidfox(at)

From this Q&A, I enjoyed learning more about Carman's thoughts on a dystopian outlook for Earth. The Jell-O question threw me, though. I just am not a fan of the stuff anymore ... I think from tasting too many bad batches maybe.

Luvdaylilies said...

From the Q&A I thought it was interesting that he never thought about being a writer until college~I guess you always assume an author has wanted to write all of their lives=)

Please enter me in your great giveaway,I'd be thrilled to win!

Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

Anonymous said...

I agree that most would choose ice cream over jello!
mel at