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May 10 / Michael

TombQuest 2—and Worlds Collide, too!


TombQuest 2: Amulet Keepers is here! I am very proud of this one and excited to share it. Alex and Ren are in London this time, and the story began to take shape last February with a week of intense (rainy) research there. I was holed up on Gower Street, in a room not much longer me, with the wind howling outside each night. And each morning I would button all my buttons, don my new flat cap, and head out to fill my boots up with rainwater, my notebook up with history, and my camera up with the astounding sights.

Made a friend at the British Museum.

Made a friend at the British Museum.

From the world-famous Egyptian collection at the British Museum to the glittering crown jewels at the Tower of London to the Victorian grandeur (and gothic creepiness) of Highgate Cemetery, it was an unforgettable experience—and bloody great material! So maybe it’s not a surprise that the writing process for this book was one of the smoothest and most inspired of my life. Was it hard to imagine I was back there, in blustery, brilliant London? It would have been hard not to! The result is now available for your consideration, wherever books are sold. (You can get it right now from your local independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.)

Worlds Collided—and we’ve got the video!
And finally, here’s an amazing video look back at the World Collide convention, which brought authors and fans of Scholastic’s many multiplatform titles together in March. How awesome are these young readers? And who’s the goofy guy in the headdress?

And that’s all for now, TombQuesters. Book 3: Valley of Kings comes out in August!

Mar 1 / Michael

TombQuest is a New York Times Bestseller—and you rule the school!

Holy Nile crocodile, people: TombQuest made the New York Times bestseller list! And it didn’t waste any time, either: Book of the Dead debuted on the List of Lists, securing a perch at lucky number 13 after its first week of release. It spent two more weeks on the Middle Grade list for a grand total of… *gets out calculator* three weeks! It slipped off this week, but here’s hoping it will Rise Again—I mean, come on, everything else in the book does!

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 3.40.44 PM

And where was I when I got the news? On the road of course. The first leg of TourQuest took me coast to Great Lake to coast, from NY/NJ/CT in the east to Chicagoland in the middle to Texas and California out west. Dozens of amazing school visits, thousands of enthusiastic kids, and half a dozen bookstore events: It was epic (and, OK, occasionally exhausting, but let’s concentrate on that epic part)! What’s that, you demand proof? Pictures or it didn’t happen? Fine! I admire your intellectual rigor—and boy howdy do I have pictures. Here are just a handful of them:

The sun rising over Connecticut (somewhere) during an early morning ride to two snowy school visits.

A warm welcome in Texas!

An auditorium of awesomeness at Skyline Elementary in California!

Epic fan mail from the amazing (and artistic) kids in Naperville, IL!

And back home for a room full of friendly (and familiar) faces at Books of Wonder in NYC!

What a tour, what a trip, what a start. I am happy and humbled by the reception Book 1: Book of the Dead has gotten so far and thrilled that all of this momentum is leading to Book 2: Amulet Keepers, a book I straight up love. Thanks to everyone who attended an event, bought a book, read a book, or just didn’t trip me as I stumbled blearily to my next destination. If you ruled any more, you’d be pharaohs.

Jan 27 / Michael

TombQuest is loose in the world—and TourQuest has begun!


It’s finally (finally!) TombsDay, people! TombQuest, Book 1: Book of the dead is officially on sale everywhere: bookstores, book fairs, online, you name it! Basically, it is rampaging through the world of the living like a hungry mummy. Hungry for what? Hungry for readers! *Arrr!* *chomp chomp* Uh, sorry. I’m a little punchy over here. It’s my first series—and definitely my first multi-platform series with an online game and message boards—and I’ve been working on it for a long time now. Research trips around the world, outlines and story arcs, intense writing schedules, and *no small amount* of revision… And now it’s out, and I really, *really* hope that readers enjoy the high-stakes adventures of Alex and Ren as much as I am enjoying writing them. VOYA Magazine recently described those adventures this way: “Nonstop action, great horror descriptions, and good teen camaraderie provide a perfect background for the adventures of this dynamic duo.” And what’s better than a dynamic duo? A dynamic trio, of course: just add reader!

Hitting the road for TourQuest!
I did a full week of school visits in Chicagoland last week, two more yesterday in Scarsdale, NY, and I have dozens more (seriously, like 50!) scheduled between now and mid-May. It has been an incredible experience meeting so many creative librarians, dedicated teachers, and just straight-up amazing students and talking about reading and writing and why, exactly, the ancient Egyptians kept a mummy’s intestines but threw out its brains.

A room full of gallant Naper Knights in Illinois!

A room full of gallant Naper Knights in Illinois!

If you’re no longer in 4th grade (I am a few years past that myself), I also have a *dazzling array* of public events coming up. Here is the official schedule of my first National Tour!


Monday, February 2, 2015 at 5:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
Stonebriar Center Mall
2601 Preston Road
Frisco, TX 75034

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 5:00 PM
Blue Willow Bookshop
14532 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM
1378 Lincoln Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 5:00 PM
The Reading Bug
786 Laurel Street
San Carlos, CA 94070

Friday, February 13, 2015, time TBD
Rakestraw Books
350 Hartz Avenue
Danville, CA 94526

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th Street
New York, NY10011

Monday, May 4, 2015 at 4:30 PM (Official Children’s Book Week event)
Oblong Books and Music
6422 Montgomery Street (Route 9)
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
[The Oblong in Millerton was my local store growing up, and my main source of poetry books and D&D modules, so this is a really big deal for me!]

It’s all subject to change—we’re still in blizzard season, for example—but these are amazing stores, and I am incredibly excited about it. I hope to see some of you at, well, some of these!

Jan 12 / Michael

1 day to TombQuest!

TombsDay is coming: January 27th! Are you ready? This dude is…
TombQuest: Read the book. Play the game.

Dec 4 / Michael

TombQuest video shoot at the Met!

Back in September I had the opportunity to shoot a video for Scholastic Book Fairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to one of the world’s preeminent collections of Egyptian antiquities and a major setting and inspiration for TombQuest. We arrived early in the morning and were ushered inside the museum two hours before it opened! It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, and I wanted to share a few photos I received recently of my epic morning at the Met.

Michael Northrop 004
The amazing Scholastic crew and me, outside a special entrance. Can you believe they are going to let the dork in the polo shirt inside?

Getting the light right alongside the world famous Temple of Dendur, an ancient site that was shipped over block-by-block from the banks of the Nile and reassembled within the Met.

The Met press officer who accompanied us was fun, cool, and incredibly knowledgable. After she schooled me on the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, I explained how the magic works in TombQuest!

Dec 2 / Michael

First reviews for TombQuest and Sharks and good news for Rotten!

The reviews are in for my new book and my next book: and they’re excellent! I don’t know if you’d call them glowing reviews, exactly, but I am currently sitting in a dark room looking at them on my computer screen, so, yeah: They’re glowing reviews!

First up, Kirkus Reviews sizes up TombQuest in its November 15 issue. The best part comes at the end:

“Like a preteen Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, Alex and Ren make a compelling duo, and Northrop balances pathos and action effectively to engage readers. Funny and smart, Alex and Ren are excellent companions for this fast-paced and scorpion-filled ride.”

Hooray—and phew! It is stressful waiting for that first official review of a new book—and Kirkus is notoriously tough—so I am definitely happy (and relieved) about this one. And speaking of happy: Surrounded by Sharks is on the board! It received its first official review in the October issue of School Library Journal. Once again, the best bit comes at the end:

“The climax steadily builds as readers are pulled through the narrative via multiple points of view, including that of Davey; a tiger shark; and Brando, his adventurous younger brother. Overall, this story strikes a balance of suspense and action, all while interweaving intriguing facts about sharks. Of special interest for reluctant readers and fans of survival stories.”

Which is, of course, exactly what I was going for. Sharks is a book for reluctant readers, avid readers, and fellow Shark Week aficionados!

And finally, one last bit of good news: ROTTEN has been named to the 2015 TAYSHAS (Texas) High School Reading List, along with a posse of fantastic YA novels, meaning that a passel of teens in the Lone Star State will be getting to know JD, JR, and the rest of the pack!

Sep 13 / Michael

Recent Wrap-Up: TombsDay is coming + news from Germany (and an elephant w/ a ribbon)!

Wrapped up in my new project...

Wrapped up in my new project…

All right, I haven’t blogged in dog years (again): 2.5 months is bad even for me. But I have a good reason—and HUGE news! Herewith:

1) TOMBSDAY is coming!
I am writing Scholastic’s new multi-platform series, TombQuest! Multi-platform means there will be a video game (I’ve seen an early version and it is Ah. Maze. Ing.) and website—an entire online community! And series, in this case, means there will be five books 😮 Book 1: Book of the Dead comes out February 1, 2015 (TombsDay!), and a new one comes out every 4-5 months after that. Of course, first I have to write them all, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back! (I’m currently gearing up to start the third.) It has been insane in the membrane—I barely saw the sun this summer. Then again, that is very tombish of me, no?

The cover of Book 1: Isn't it boo-tiful?

The cover of Book 1: Isn’t it boo-tiful?

The series follows Alex Sennefer, whose Egyptologist mom uses the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead to save his life, but in the process releases five powerful evil spirits known as the Death Walkers. But don’t listen to the man dressed as a mummy (good advice, in general), here is a big Publishers Weekly article about it all. Exciting times (and tombs), people!

2) Germany goes to the hunde!
Räudiges Pack
My beloved German publisher, Loewe Verlag, has just released the German edition of Rotten: Räudiges Pack! It is the third of my books they’ve translated into German. Check out this awesome page on their site, featuring all three. Loewe Verlag means lion publisher, and I am incredibly grateful to the big cat of German publishing for giving my American underdog tale a new life.

3) Follow my on Twitter! (Or add me on FB!)
Seriously, lord knows when I’ll blog again! Follow me on Twitter at @mdnorthrop—I follow back! Or add me on Facebook, especially if we’ve actually met, like if we did jail time together or whatevs.

4) And, of course, a baby elephant playing with a ribbon
Do I really need a reason?

See you next time, people! You all rule the school!

Jun 27 / Michael

Alert: SHARKS sighted on E! Online’s Best Summer Reads!


My new thriller Surrounded By Sharks has been out for exactly a month and—what d’ya know?—people are starting to notice! Yesterday, E! Online named it one of their Best Summer Reads. Says E!, “Warning: You might not want to go in after, so save this book for when you’re lounging poolside.” Good point! I would also add lounging couchside, parkside, and bus(in)side to that list.

A week earlier, the ever awesome I Heart Daily named SHARKS one of Three Stellar Beach Reads! “The suspense that builds and builds requires a read in one sitting,” says IHD. “And the finale? So worth it!” Also making the cut, The Prince of Venice Beach by the amazing Blake Nelson, which just underlines what a huge honor it is to see my tense little shark tale on these lists.

And in case you’re wondering if there is anything else rattling around in my square head besides gratitude these days, I did a fun interview with The Harvard Square Edition, talking all about writing, YA fiction, inspiration, oceans, and, of course, sharks.

And that’s all I got! I hope you’re having a great summer. It’s beach weather out there—at least that’s what the sharks tell me!

Jun 7 / Michael

A great week to be ROTTEN!


Fresh off the fins of my fifth book’s arrival, my fourth book is making some noise. I got two pieces of amazing news about ROTTEN this week:

On Wednesday, I learned that my li’l dog tale is a finalist for the 2014–15 Keystone to Reading Award. The other finalists are Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine, and The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman. Pennsylvania teens will read all four books and vote on the winner in March. ROTTEN may be an underdog in such esteemed company, but it is well suited to the role!

Then on Friday, I found out that ROTTEN has been named one of the Best Children’s Books of the Year by the Bank Street College of Education. SUH-weeeeeet! It’s the first big list for my third YA. PLUNKED actually made the same list, and it was a harbinger of big things to come for that little book. Fingers crossed—and stumpy tails wagging—that it’s just as lucky this time.

May 31 / Michael

Well, Surrounded By Sharks is out…

How on earth will I celebrate?

And special thanks to everyone who took part in the epic launch day #Sharenado. We may not have reached Sharkcat levels, but we still made some waves online!