IndieReader Loves Idiot Genius

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IndieReader had some very nice things to say about Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy.

January 15, 2019 / in Discovery Awards 2019 / by IR Staff

IR VERDICT:

Abducted into a secret world, eleven-year-old Willa Snap takes readers on an imaginative journey through a place filled with mechanical people and fantastical machines. There’s wit and passion in the dialogue as author Richard Due delights with the first installment in the young adult series of IDIOT GENIUS novels, “WILLA SNAP AND THE CLOCKWERK BOY.” Don’t miss heart-stopping escapes and time machine-building dragons as Due weaves and winds a thrilling, and highly satisfying, novel.

Oh, Snap! Willa Snap has been shortlisted for the Internatinal Rubery Book Award

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Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy

There is plenty to like about this novel. It is full of fun, and clearly the product of a quirky, inventive mind, ideal for children’s writing. Willa is a smart, likeable child with no prejudices. She, her genius mother and practical father (no problem with gender stereotypes here) are kidnapped and taken to a world where they experience bizarre encounters with a variety of unlikely entities. The narrative is often very witty and the absurdity of the story is what carries it along. The pace is fast and the plot farcical in places which is what children will like about it. This would appeal to the 10-12 age range, although a certain amount of intelligence is assumed, otherwise too many of the jokes would be missed.

—International Rubery Book Award

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Willa Snap Wins an IPPY!

Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy just won Independent Publisher Book Award for Juvenile Fiction!

I can’t believe it! I couldn’t more proud!

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“Thoroughly engrossing story recommended for young sci-fi and fantasy fans who hold a prior attraction to books such as John Bellairs’ House with a Clock in its Walls.” -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Willa always knew one of her mother’s crazy inventions would cause trouble. She just didn’t think it would get the whole family banished to Grandeur, a hidden city of Geniuses deemed too dangerous to remain Outside.

Now, with the help of her cat, the Magnificent Lady Grayson of the Silky White Underbelly, or Just Grayson for Short, Willa and her new friends must scour Grandeur’s strange avenues in search of the Clockwerk Boy. Among her encounters: a curiosity shop run by curiously intelligent cats. Gear Hall, where Clockwerks outnumber humans. And the Jolly Rajah, a man-o’-war o’ pancakes, where your meal of flapjacks and hot chocolate is served with a brace of pistols and side of grappling hooks. Prepare to be boarded!

International Rubery Book Award Shortlist ~ Young Adult
Independent Publisher Book Award Medalist ~ Juvenile Fiction
National Indie Excellence Award ~ Juvenile Fiction
Eric Hoffer Award Category Finalist ~ Young Adult

“It’s unusual to see such sci-fi depth and detail in a title directed to young adults, but this is precisely what makes Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy such an appealing production: the characterization is solid while its fantastic setting will intrigue ages well beyond its intended 9-12-year-old audience. Highly recommended for young adults seeking something compellingly different.” -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

 

The Clockwerk Dress: Fabrics and Gears and Boots, Oh My!

The Fabrics

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The Gears

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A few Clockwerk bits . . . tick-tick-tick . . .

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Gilting the boots!

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Two Willa impersonator’s means two pairs of boots. C is a good bit taller than J. So, one pair of short heels (above) . . . and one pair high (below).

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Bringing Willa Snap’s Clockwerk Dress to Life

Once we decided to attend Balticon 52, it was a pretty short jump to: Let’s make Willa’s Clockwerk dress!

But how?*

Well, as luck would have it, we have a costume designer in the family. In fact, Meredith was there from the beginning. After reading an early draft, and after pincushioning me with questions, she dashed off—within minutes—the first design sketch of the dress. She then sat at my side, answering my questions, as I converted her sketch back into words. (Meredith was 14 at the time she drew this sketch. She’s now in her second year at Rutger’s University, pursing a BFA in costume design.)

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(please pardon the refrigerator magnets)

Years later, working from a newer draft, Carolyn Arcabascio created a quick napkin sketch, in color, to see if she was on the right track. (She was.)

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The dress appears twice in Carolyn’s many illustrations for the book. Once in black and white:

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Chapter Twenty-One: Villa da Vinci

And once in color, on the cover:

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(detail from the cover)

At this exact second, Meredith is ordering all manner of supplies for the dress, which will be modeled at Balticon this May by two Willa Snap impersonators.

My plan over the next few months is to document Meredith’s progress as she brings Willa Snap’s Clockwerk dress to life. Consider this installment #1. Watch this space.

*All of the above is, of course, complete nonsense. The simple truth is that CeeCee da Vinci swiped the original dress pattern from Clockwerk Couture in the Clockwerk burg, Nimet relayed the pattern to me, and I delivered it to Meredith. There’s a longer version (as you might imagine), involving a midnight burgling, a dozen of Aunt Mila’s Clockwerk cats, a defective Smith & Blazooski mini stun cannon, and the careful deployment of ten balls of yarn (work with what you have). And if Willa ever figures out what we’ve all been up to . . . well, as Nimet would say, “Tanrı yardımcımız olsun” (Heaven help us).

Midwest Book Review

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The folks at MBR released a review of Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy today! We’re really excited to post it here!

Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy pairs lovely illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio with the first book in a satisfyingly original, compelling series for ages 9-12, introducing Willamina Gilbert Snap, an eleven-year-old who discovers there’s a force keeping the world from destruction – and that force is comprised of Idiots.

She should know: she’s apparently one herself, and her destiny is to never see home again – among other things.

Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy represents Willa’s “first highly illegal memoir” and details her venture into Grandeur, a city of time-traveling dragons, talkative cats, and scientific discoveries unknown to Outside.

There’s a lot to relish about Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy; not the least of which is an approach that offers much food for thought about the structure of Willa’s world and the science and psychology behind it: “The problem is that geniuses – both capital G and small g – either think you understand everything they’ve said as perfectly as they do, or that you’re as dumb as dirt. It’s one of their biggest flaws.”

From the baristas’ strange brewed creatures (“a hermit crab the size of a basketball, a foxlike cashier wearing a hat and vest, and a small winged dragon perched in a cage, preening its bright green feathers“) to devices that rent unused brain space, Willa sweeps readers along. Sentient Clockwerks, a cat-run curiosity shop, and steam-powered rhino cabs coexist in a setting the author describes as “polypunk.”

It’s unusual to see such sci-fi depth and detail in a title directed to young adults, but this is precisely what makes Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy such an appealing production: the characterization is solid while its fantastic setting will intrigue ages well beyond its intended 9-12-year-old audience.

Time vortexes, ghosts, and the costs of navigating this odd world make for a complex but thoroughly engrossing story recommended for young sci-fi and fantasy fans who hold a prior attraction to books such as John Bellairs’ House with a Clock in its Walls.  From its engaging drawings to its powerful message, Idiot Genius will leave readers musing about Willa Snap’s adventures long after the winding story concludes. It is highly recommended for young adults seeking something compellingly different in tone, approach, and perspective.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review