The Seven Wonders book series is beloved by tweens and “kids” of all ages across the globe. The first four books in the series spent a total of 14 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The final book in the Seven Wonders series titled “Seven Wonders: The Legend Of The Rift” was released today and is just as adventurous and amazing as the last four books.
“Seven Wonders: The Legend Of The Rift” author Peter Lerangis joined me for an interview yesterday to discuss his new book, what inspired him to write it, his thoughts on the characters, at what age he decided he wanted to be an author, the new interactive website where you can find additional information on the series and much more.
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about your new book “Seven Wonders: The Legend Of The Rift”? What inspired this edition?
Peter Lerangis: “Well, this book is the last of the series. It’s a culmination of this adventure that began in 2013. At the beginning of the series we have four ordinary kids who find themselves on this island. They have no idea what they’re doing there, there are all these people hanging around there in their lab coats. They’re obviously the subjects of some experiment.
What they find out is that each of them is a descendant from a prince who escaped the sinking of Atlantis hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago and they have inherited a gene from this prince that takes whatever you’re already good at and turns it into an awesome super power. That’s pretty cool, right? The only problem is that anybody who has ever had this gene throughout history has never lived past the age of 14. They are all 13 years old, and they have one year. On this island they find out that this study shows that there is a cure for this, if they can go and find seven magical objects that were taken from Atlantis before it sank by this prince (their descendant) and hidden in the seven wonders of the ancient world which were built for that purpose.
If they bring these objects back to the island they will be cured and they will lead long awesome lives and as it turns out they will save the world, right? It’s a pretty awesome task but it’s made even more difficult by the fact that of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only one of them still exists. That’s the Great Pyramid in Egypt and that’s it. How do you bring back to life these six ancient structures in order to save your own life? It’s a tough thing to do for anyone. It’s an even tougher thing to do if you’re 13 years old and you don’t even really know yourself that well. Our hero Jack has got an added thing in that he doesn’t know what his talent is. There’s nothing special about him, he has no idea what it is that is so great about having this thing, and he has to find out, all four of these kids have to work together as a team how to do this impossible task. Now, by the end of book four I’ve pretty much blown the whole thing out of the water. Two of the objects are destroyed, this island is in danger of being destroyed itself. There is absolutely no way that this thing can be solved.
Now book five is coming out, I’m going to be touring and visiting 10 or 11 different cities and talking to kids. I’m just so excited to find out what they think about how I’ve worked out the adventure.”
Candace Rose: What do you hope readers will take away from this edition?
Peter Lerangis: “From this edition, what happens is something that absolutely seems impossible to solve, gets solved. You’re exercising your mind a little bit. You’re going to face something that you think cannot be surmounted and this is one thing about my readers who tend to be around nine to 13 or 14, they’re at a point in their lives where there’s just so much that seems stacked against them, added to the fact that they’ve got to learn some basic things about what’s right and what’s wrong. I think in book five there are so many conflicts – both in terms of the plot and in terms of the characters and personality of the kids that they’ve got to work through in very creative ways.”
Candace Rose: As you mentioned, this book concludes the Seven Wonders series. The characters are all amazing, especially Jack. Was it hard to say goodbye to these characters?
Peter Lerangis: “It was impossible! I feel like they became my best friends. This is going to be the hardest thing. After this it’s a whole different world. It’s tough.”
Candace Rose: You graduated with a degree in biochemistry from Harvard and you were also a broadway musical theater actor. You’re now a best selling author and have written 165 books. At what point did you decide you wanted to be an author or is this something that you always aspired to do?
Peter Lerangis: “I knew I wanted to do that when I was a little boy. I used to think of stories and I would write them in little notebooks tucked into my math textbook in class. The teacher thought I was working on my math, but I was writing stories. I always knew I wanted to do it. I kind of thought that was something that nobody could do. I didn’t think I had the goods, so that’s one of the reasons why I kind of veered into different careers earlier on in my life.
I finally came around to writing after I had majored in biochemistry in college and realized that there was no place there for me. I didn’t want to be a doctor and I didn’t want to do research. I thought I might go to law school and in fact I had applied and got in and I made a very careful decision when I was about 22. I said look, you’ve got your acceptance. Defer for a year and give yourself 12 months. Try to do something you’ve really dreamed of doing, and if you fail, you can always go back. During that 12 months, that’s when I started auditioning for shows because that was one of the other things I always wanted to do, and I got cast in a broadway show. I ended up doing theater for eight or 10 years. In between acting jobs I went back to the thing that I always dreamed of doing and really stuck inside my soul all that time, which was to write.
I started working in a publishing company as a freelance editor, then I started writing some books and at one point I had to decide, Peter, you’ve got to do one thing. You can do a couple things, but you won’t be very good at all of them because you’ll be spreading yourself too thin. I decided to go into the writing which was really in my soul, the thing that I wanted to do most and haven’t looked back ever since.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice for kids who are at the age you were when you decided you wanted to write?
Peter Lerangis: “First of all, read all the time. You may not want to read the things that people are telling you you should read. Read things that you love. Pick out your own books. Pick out the stories that really speak to you because everybody is different. Read in your spare time, read before you go to bed. The only time you shouldn’t read is when you’re crossing the street, that’s it. Otherwise, it’s all fair game. Once you fall in love with reading and storytelling, try to figure out what it is about your favorite writers that makes you excited. See if you can do the same thing. Try to practice your own. Practice your own storytelling. Tell stories, write stories down and never give up. You can always do something else in your life, but there’s always time to develop your own story telling and before you know it, you just never know somebody may love your story as much as you do.”
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about your new interactive website? What can fans find on the site?
Peter Lerangis: “We have a site called SevenWondersBooks.com. On that site, if you’re not caught up with the series or you need some reminders, we talk about all the plots of the books. We have a page where you can deep dive into the places where the Seven Wonders exists and the Seven Wonders themselves learn what makes them so wonderful. We have little character parts of the website where you can get to know all of the four kids and other ancillary characters in the book. There’s stuff for teachers, there’s curriculum guides in case you want to incorporate the Seven Wonders into your curricula. There’s a lot of things to interest everybody and also it’s a great introduction into what the series is all about and what makes it successful.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go to purchase “Seven Wonders: Legend Of The Rift?”
Peter Lerangis: “When the book comes out it’s going to be available everywhere. It’s going to be at all the physical bookstores, online. There will be eBook versions of it. Wherever you get books, you’ll be able to find it there.”
Satellite Media Tour Sponsor: HarperCollins Children’s Books. Candace Rose Anderson was not compensated by the sponsor for this interview.