Matthew J. Kirby is the bestselling author of adventure books like The Clockwork Three, Icefall and The Infinity Ring: Cave of Wonders. His newest book, The Quantum League, is a fast-paced, magical mystery that offers thrills, chills and shocking twists. He took a moment away from his busy writing schedule to talk to BL about books, Batman and Boy Scouts.
BL: What can you tell us about The Quantum League?
M.J.K.: Spell Robbers is the first book in The Quantum League trilogy. It’s the story of Ben and his best friend, Peter. Together, they’re drafted into the Quantum League, a secret police force of magicians called Actuators in the book. During their training to become agents of this organization, Ben and Peter learn there’s a whole underworld of criminal wizards out there, and it’s up to the Quantum League to stop them.
BL: Where did the idea come from?
M.J.K.: The Quantum League series emerged out of a couple of ideas. The first is that I wanted to try my hand at writing something fast-paced, with twists and turns, double-crosses, lots of action — a page-turner. The second was a love for heist stories and crime sagas. But I wanted to take that kind of story in a new direction, so I turned to fantasy for some inspiration and came up with a system of magic rooted in science. So that brought me to The Quantum League, a magical crime saga.
BL: How is this story different from your other books?
M.J.K.: The biggest difference is the fact that it’s a series. I’ve written my other books as stand-alone stories, but with The Quantum League, I had more time and space to follow these characters and their adventures from book to book. I had the opportunity to plan out this large, sweeping story. I think the other difference is just the pacing and the type of action-oriented story it is.
BL: What’s up next for you? Book 2, or something else first?
M.J.K.: I just wrapped up writing Book 2, which takes Ben, Peter and Sasha to a slightly darker, more dangerous place. I don’t want to spoil it, but I’m happy with how it turned out.
BL: What are some of your favorite books for kids?
M.J.K.: As a kid, I loved the fantasy of Ursula K. Le Guin, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, the historical fiction of Elizabeth George Speare, and Natalie Babbitt’s stories, too. More recent favorite authors include Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, M.T. Anderson and so many others. It’s impossible to narrow it down any more than that.
BL: Do you have a favorite superhero?
M.J.K.: Batman. Totally Batman. I read Batman comics when I was a kid, and I’ve always loved the fact that he’s just a normal guy who worked HARD to become the superhero he is. He didn’t have any powers handed to him. He created his own abilities, through his determination. That always inspired me.
BL: You were a Boy Scout, right? Any cool Scouting memories?
M.J.K.: I was a Boy Scout, although I have to admit I didn’t earn my Eagle. But I have great memories from Scout camps and other merit badge activities. This one time, we met an archaeologist on the beach, and he showed us how to look through the sand for things. I found an ancient shark tooth that I still have in a box somewhere.
BL: Finally, what advice can you give to young readers who may be interested in a career in writing?
M.J.K.: The best advice I can give is two-fold, and I’m sure your readers have heard it before. The first is to read, read, read. Read everything you can get your hands on, and try not to limit yourself to one kind of genre or book. Read widely. The other part is to write every day. It doesn’t have to be much, but just write something. Get in that daily habit now.
— Clay Swartz
The Quantum League is out now. You can get it HERE.