MD: I am a loving husband and father to a toddler princess. I have been teaching middle grade English for over a decade now. Because of that, I often find myself reading almost exclusively middle grade and teen novels so that I can keep up to date with what my students are reading. In recent years I have added other hats to my resume such as football coach and now author.
BBB: What inspired your book, The References: A Superhero Tale?
MD: Funny enough my book was inspired by an assignment that I gave to my students. For a creative writing assignment, I charged them with the task of creating a superhero complete with back story and villain that they would want to write a short story about. One of my students asked me if I had to do this assignment, what would I write. I jokingly stated that I was an English teacher so I would have to make a hero named something like The Human Dictionary and that his only weakness would be slang. At that moment I thought- wait, there is something to that. And now it’s a novel!
MD: I would think that I have three main characters: The Human Dictionary, Thesaurus Rex, and Atlas. But if I had to choose one, I would say it is The Human Dictionary. Richard Shanary (his alter ego) was a college student on a karate scholarship when one night, a terrible accident fuses his mind with an online dictionary site. Now he can instantly define any word spoken in English (and a few in French, Spanish and Portuguese). He decides to use these abilities to help clean up his city’s streets . . . and grammar.
BBB: What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
MD: I think that readers will find the humor in the book to be appealing. The book is designed for middle grade, but I have always considered myself a kid at heart. I have used humor as an effective teaching tool for years and crafted nicely into my writing (Just look at the pun in the name of The Human Dictionary’s alter ego). The best part about my humor is that I can make a fifth grade student laugh as well as their parents.
BBB: What are you currently working on?
MD: Readers will be pleased to know that the second book of the References series is already complete! Illustrations and editing are happening now! Book three of the series has already been started. In addition to the References universe, I am dabbling in another superhero realm. This new realm is in its infancy and will probably be geared to an older audience than what The References is. But there are a great many story ideas floating around in my head. The loudest ones usually get put on paper first, so I am not even certain what is on the horizon for me. And I find that exciting!
You can find out more about Mark Dennion and his books by visiting website or by connecting with him on Twitter or Facebook. The References: A Superhero Tale is available on Amazon.