RKR Interviews John Martin and Scott Seegert, Authors of Sci-Fi Junior High: Crash Landing
Interested in learning more about Scott and John and their Sci-Fi Junior High series? Check out a Q&A with them below.
1). The intergalactic world you created in Sci-Fi Junior High Crash Landing is so creative and humorous. Were either of you huge science buffs growing up?
Scott: Not so much a science buff, but a science fiction fan for sure. I loved the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and all the other Universal monsters. I was also a big fan of the 50’s and 60’s “outer space/alien” movies such as The Forbidden Planet, The Thing from Another World, Them (giant ants! I mean, how cool is that!) and so many more. And don’t even get me started on the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation movies!
John: Yes, I was a huge Sci-Fi movie fan. I loved everything from Star Wars, Star Trek to Godzilla and other mutant monsters. As a youngster, I was always a poor student, especially in science and math. However, I fell in love with the art on science book covers and interiors. I would study the artwork of earth strata levels and lava flow charts, dinosaur and planetary renderings for the colors and brush strokes.
2). Kelvin struggles with the fear of not meeting people’s expectations, especially because both of his parents are scientists and his little sister is a genius. Can you offer advice to kids who relate to Kevin’s fears?
Scott: All you can be is the best that you can be. If that isn’t good enough for some people, well, that’s their problem, not yours. Worry about trying to meet your own expectations. Those are the ones that matter the most.
John: I like to tell kids: “Hang in there kiddo! You’re not the only one who is insecure! Your individual strengths will shine through eventually, even if your parents are scientists and your little sister is a genius.” I also tell college level students to, “learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Stories and anecdotes like these remind us that we are not alone!
3.) How did you come up with the idea of writing the Sci-Fi Junior High Series? What made you want to write for kids?
Scott: John and I talk about this stuff all the time. We had nearly identical childhood interests, and Sci-Fi Junior High is just an offshoot of those interests. We both really love everything monster/science fiction/superhero related and always have. As for the age group our material is aimed at, it just seemed natural to write to my own maturity level.
John: Scott and I wanted to work on a story where a classroom full of unusual kids would deal with the same issues we deal with. Then I thought of the title and rough premise of Sci-Fi Junior High. Viola, Sci-Fi Junior high with weird and crazy alien kids with middle grade dramas was born. Our process could be described as a creative collaborative stew.
To answer the second part of your question, when I was a kid I always loved to draw and create my own mini comic characters. My Saturday mornings were spent watching cartoons and drawing monsters and superheroes. I was avoiding homework but I didn't realize that I was really working towards a future career. Later in life I went on to study art at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit Michigan and became a successful illustrator. As an adult I met Scott Seegert, through our daughters who were playing softball together. We couldn’t believe how much we had in common with all of our childhood pop culture influences. We decided to give this storytelling thing together a shot.
4.) What were some of your favorite books growing up that inspired you to write and got you excited about reading?
Scott: Dave Barry was my inspiration to get into this writing business. He is the only writer who has ever made me laugh out loud while reading. I’m talking tears running down the cheek level guffawing. And when he pointed out that his typical work attire was boxer shorts and a bathrobe, I knew I needed a change in careers from engineering to writing.
John: My favorite books that inspired me were mostly comic books and magazines such as Spiderman, Hulk, Thor, Iron man. Bat man, Mad magazine, Famous Monsters of Film land and comic strips. Novels and pulp novels like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Doc Savage were a staple in my teens. When I was really young I was inspired by Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are.
5.) Everyone’s writing process is different. As co-authors can you tell the readers of RKR what your writing process is like?
Scott: John and I are actually “co-creators” of Sci-Fi Junior High. We came up with the nuts and bolts of the concept together and then I write it and John illustrates it. We throw ideas around and see what sticks. There is a lot of back and forth involved and quite often his art concepts lead to plot/story ideas as well. And it only helps this process that we have studios right next to each other in an eclectic old (leaky) building. We even have a “secret” door between the two spaces so we can get together without even entering the hallway. CRASH LANDING is the sixth book we’ve done together. We also have a blowharded supervillain series called VORDAK THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE. MUAHAHAHAHA!!!