Tag Archives: Middle Grade Books

If you’re looking for a great stocking stuffer for the middle grade reader in your family, look no further than the wonderful book, THE MAD SCIENTISTS OF NEW JERSEY. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down…and I’m no kid! 🙂 It’s funny, adventurous and filled with enough mystery and wonder to keep your kids turning the pages.

I was fortunate enough to interview author Chris Sorensen and find out if he believes in The Jersey Devil!


Where did you get the idea to write The Mad Scientists of New Jersey?

CS – It came to me one afternoon as I was giving some out of town friends a tour of Lake Mohawk on our pontoon boat. They had just returned from a scuba trip in Cozumel and were eager to try out their diving skills. After a few dives one of them said, “I can’t see my hand in front of my face!” I started wondering what secrets might be hidden below. After some investigation, I learned that where the lake now lies was once a farming community. It was purposely flooded back in 1928. That lost, underwater world stuck in my head and was the jumping off point for the book.

I see you’ve been a working writer, narrator and actor for quite some time. What inspired you to jump into the kid lit end of the pool?

CS – I’ve always loved Middle Grade and Young Adult books. As a kid, I read and reread Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Narnia books and anything on Bigfoot I could get my hands on. I had a blast narrating Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing series for Recorded Books. And when The Mad Scientists idea came together, I happened to be in between recording contracts and so I took the time to scribble out the rough draft. So what inspired me was having the right idea at the right time.

There’s a lot of fact…and myth…woven into the story, from Thomas Edison to a mysterious scientific community deep in NJ and even the Jersey Devil. How much fun was it combing all of them into one humorous, action packed book?

CS – It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had at the keyboard. Ideas just kept tumbling out onto the page. So much so that I soon realized that I wasn’t writing a book, I was writing a series. And I wanted to write a truly Jersey book. I knew the Jersey Devil would show up, I knew Edison would be a key figure and I knew Jersey pizza had to make an appearance.

Do you believe in the Jersey Devil?

CS – I believe in the Jersey Devil. I believe in Bigfoot, the Yeti, UFOs and teleportation. I believe in Nessie, Ogopogo, the Mothman and ghosts. I believe that belief in these things keeps a part of our childhood alive. That’s important to me.

How did you come to narrate audio books? Will there be an audio version of The Mad Scientists of New Jersey in the future?

CS – I stumbled into audiobook narration. A friend who works at Recorded Books in the city invited me to record an audition, and (much to my dyslexic alarm) I booked my first title. After a couple of years of fumbling, I finally got the hang of the medium. At present, I have 200+ titles out there. Title #201 will be The Mad Scientists of New Jersey (recorded during the holidays).

I noticed this is book one. Can you give us a hint of what’s to come in book two and when it will come out?

CS – Like I said, the ideas wouldn’t stop on this one. Book Two will pick up a couple weeks after the first and will be titled, The Defenders of Ong’s Hat. All I can say is that a chunk of the next book takes place in the past and that direct contact with Thomas Edison is finally made. I also have Book Three mapped out — The Wizards of West Orange. And who knows? Seeing as I spend quite a bit of time near Tesla’s Colorado stomping ground, perhaps The Mad Scientists of Colorado is not far behind. Thanks for taking the time to give the book a chance. I can’t wait to binge read your collection!

Synopsis: Eddie Edison is the last of the Mad Scientists of New Jersey. After his father is abducted, Eddie is left foundering with no knowledge of his birthright. But when a mysterious stranger takes him under his wing, Eddie learns that not only is he the only hope of retrieving his father, but that he is the only person left to stand against the evil genius who brought about extinction of the Mad Scientists.
Chris Sorensen Biography: Chris Sorensen is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and audiobook narrator with an affinity for the strange and bizarre. He’s been scribbling stories ever since he was a kindergartener, never going anywhere without pen and paper. He originally trained as an actor at the Rutgers Professional Actor Training Program under William Esper and moved soon after to New York City to pursue his career. He became a company member of The Present Company, producers and founders of NYFringe, and performed in numerous productions including Brian Parks’ black comedy Americana Absurdum (Edinburgh Fringe First award-winner).
After a run-in with a commuter bus sidelined his acting career, Chris turned to writing, becoming part of the Thin Air Theatre Company, resident company at the Butte Theater in Colorado. TATC has since produced thirteen of his full-length plays (the majority to record- breaking attendance) including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Angel of the Christmas Mine, Haunting at the Old Homestead and Sherlock Holmes and the Cripple Creek Ripper.
He has numerous screenplays in various stages of development, including Suckerville (Winner Writers Boot Camp Horror Fellowship), Bee Tornado (Finalist StoryPros Contest) and Triumvirate. Intrinsic Value Films (Experimenter, Blue Caprice) has tapped him to write a found footage horror script as well as a television adaptation of the same.
As an audiobook narrator, he has recorded over 200 titles for Audible, Recorded Books, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin and others. He has received three AudioFile Earphones Awards, and his recording of Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix was selected as one of the Best Audiobooks of 2010 by AudioFile.
Chris lives in western New Jersey where he enjoys perfecting his curry recipe, searching out vintage objects for his wife’s gift shop, teaching his mutts oddball tricks and generally avoiding the spooky hallway that runs past his office.
Harmful Monkey Press / Sparta, NJ production@harmfulmonkeypress.com 551/482.1335

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