Interview with Craig Venezia

Please welcome Craig Venezia author of Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure: H.G. Doyle, The Greatest Detective of All Time (Book 1), a chapter book time travel novel, brings H.G. and his best friend Agatha back to 1718 in search of Blackbeard’s lost treasure!

1. Hello Craig. Welcome and thank you for taking the time to stop by Damsels in Regress to talk with us. I write time travel too, also part of a series, and I knew I had to come up with a strong character that readers would get attached to and want to follow after her first adventure ended. H.G. Doyle (love the name) is a great character and I want to follow him anywhere after reading book one! How did you get the idea for his character?

Thanks for having me, Jennifer. I’m glad you like H.G. He’s a great character to write about. The idea for him literally popped into my head. I knew I wanted to create a time-travel character but couldn’t quite come up with anything. Then one day a thought struck me. If I combined two of my favorite authors, H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, what type of person would I end up with? Why, someone who traveled through time and solved mysteries, of course. That was the birth of H.G. Doyle

2. What was your research process like for this novel? It’s not historical and not your typical time travel, but there were still a lot of interesting historical facts in the novel.

The research process was a lot of fun. I read many books on pirates – some fiction, some non-fiction; some for adults, some for kids. I also watched a bunch of old pirate movies. I highly recommend “The Crimson Pirate” with Burt Lancaster. It’s a great, light-hearted pirate adventure that was filmed in 1952. I took all that research and peppered it throughout the story. Keep in mind, the goal of any H.G. Doyle story is to make kids laugh, plain and simple. I didn’t want the story to be a boring history lesson. Instead, I made it a point to weave fact and fiction together so that, hopefully, kids learn a thing or two about history in between laughs.

3. This is book one, do you know how many are planned in the series?

The great thing about this series is that the number of books I do is limited only by my imagination. And I have a very, very vivid imagination, so I don’t think there’ll be any shortage of books. Currently, I’m writing Book 2, and Books 3 and 4 are already drafted in terms of basic plot structure. Ironically, the challenge isn’t coming up with story ideas; it’s finding the time to get those ideas on paper.

4. This book is unique in that it was released as an audio book before a printed copy. The audio was done wonderfully. I loved all the sound effects and especially the music that played every time “greatest detective of all time” was mentioned. Did you have any say in the production of the audio?

I don’t write my stories for any one particular medium. I write stories that can be told in many ways – be it on the printed page, by listening to a CD, watching a DVD, streaming online, whatever. As a matter of fact, I’m in very early discussions about turning “Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure” into a puppet show. Admittedly, when I first wrote the story, I assumed it would be published as a traditional Chapter book. At the time, that’s the interest I was getting from publishers. But then the concept of an audio book surfaced and after I heard the demo narration by Steve Anderson, I knew this had to come out as an audio book first. Steve did such an amazing job bringing the story to life. Plus, I had complete say in the production of the audio, which is why it includes live action sound effects, something unique to audio books.

5. Do you have a particular favorite time travel novel?

“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells is a classic. It’s a must read.

6. Can you give us a hint about what H.G. and Agatha’s next adventure?

Ben Franklin, who makes a “guest appearance” in Book 1, is back in full force for Book 2. He’s determined to find out who cracked the Liberty Bell.

7. And lastly, I’m always curious to know what other authors are reading. What books are on your to read list?

I’m a big Stephen King fan. Currently, I’m reading his Dark Tower series, which has its own aspect of time travel; although, it’s more about traveling across dimensions and different worlds.

Questions from Mrs. Hofmann’s (Jennifer’s Mom) Second Grade Class

1. You sound like you know a lot about pirates, how did you learn all that information?

By reading a lot. I gobbled up anything I could get my hands on about pirates. I also visited the New England Pirate Museum in Salem, MA. Thankfully, it’s a quick drive from where I live.

2. Where did you get your ideas for your characters?

I get my ideas from reading the newspaper, reading books and just plain interacting with people. My characters are usually a mix of real and imaginary people. Most of all, I try to come up with unique aspects that make my characters stand out. For H.G., it’s the fact that he’s very self-assured, even when he doesn’t know what he’s doing, like trying to fly the time machine.

3. How did you get inspirations for your book?

My six-year-old son, Luke, is very much into pirates. I mean, really into pirates, and has been for several years. After I came up with the idea for H.G., I asked Luke what the first adventure should be. Without taking a breath, he said it should be something that has to do with pirates.

4. How old where you when you started writing?

I was eight. I “wrote” a picture book. I always loved reading the Peanuts comic strip on Sundays. One day, I came up with my own story with Snoopy as the main character. He was battling monsters who were trying to take over the Earth. I drew a bunch of pictures and stapled them together into a book, which I still have today.

5. Do you dedicate your book to anyone?

My son, Luke. After all, he’s the one that inspired me to write about pirates.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.

Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure. By the way, if you’d like to hear a sample of Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure (H.G. Doyle, The Greatest Detective of All Time), please visit:

CONTEST: To earn an extra name entered into the drawing leave a thoughtful reply to this interview!


6 Responses to Interview with Craig Venezia

  1. Meg Mims says:

    WOW – great idea for H.G. Doyle, for starting with pirates, and for launching with an audiobook. Will have to order your book – and the Liberty Bell as well. 🙂

  2. Meg Mims says:

    Guess I should have checked Amazon first – it’s ALL on the CD. Hope they print it for kids who focus better on reading the pages than listening… but the sound effects must be fun!

  3. Jennifer says:

    It will eventually be released in book format as well. The audio is really fun though. The sound effects make the descriptions come alive and just pull laughter out of you!

  4. Gale Holt says:

    Audio books are also great for increasing reading fluency, especially if kids sometimes read aloud with the audio version. Not to speak of presenting a book in fun, compelling form. This teacher says “Produce some more!”

  5. Jeff says:

    Mr. Venezia’s idea to combine two of his favorite authors into a story character for children is brilliant. I’m intrigued by the raw symbiosis. I also like adventures. H.G. sounds like the kid I always wanted to be (and was in a small way), so, I think I’ll borrow H.G. very soon and take him along with me on the road to and from work.

  6. Jeff says:

    Shoot! Did I say borrow? I meant BUY!

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