An Interview with John and Sarah Tidewell by Ben Gartner – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ben Gartner will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

An Interview with John and Sarah Tidewell, the stars of The Eye of Ra series, by Ben Gartner

Q: So, let’s dive right in. What’s it like having your story written down for all to see?

JOHN: Most of it’s true. Sometimes a little too much so.

SARAH: Yeah, it’s kinda awkward being so gawked over. I mean, fortunately we get along—

JOHN: Most of the time.

SARAH: Yeah, most of the time. And we’re a pretty good team. So, overall, it’s pretty amazing. It’s wonderful to hear from kids our age who really associate and understand our characters. That’s a pretty surreal feeling, to know that we’re all in this together.

JOHN: Together. Hey, that’s a theme in the book too!

SARAH: Careful, John. Don’t want to be too heavy-handed with themes and whatnot. Mostly, our books are action and adventure and mystery.

JOHN: And I appreciate the historical detail too. The author, Ben Gartner, sometimes consults with me about those details and how we might react to them.

Q: That’s interesting. Tell me what you mean by that.

JOHN: Well, in Sol Invictus—

SARAH: Out February 2, 2021 everywhere books are sold!

JOHN: Shameless plug. Thank you, Sarah.

SARAH: Gotta earn my commission, right?

JOHN: Anyway, as I was saying, Ben—Gartner—will sometimes try out scenes with me and Sarah to see how we’d do in them, or what we’d do, and how that would further the story along.

Q: Such as?

SARAH: Any scene in the gladiator ring kinda freaked me out. I mean, we trust that the author isn’t going to kill us off in book two, but those wild animals were very real! That hyena . . .

JOHN: That’s an extreme example, and yeah, very freaky. He also likes to try ancient recipes with me. Mom calls me “Little Chef” cuz I like to help in the kitchen. Ben prepares old recipes and sees if I think they should be included. Book one has a delicious Tilapia Barley stew recipe at the back and book two went for dessert with a libum cheesecake.

SARAH: I suggest going heavy on the honey.

Q: Always! Well, I would love to talk more with you two. Feels like we just got started. Would you like to come back sometime?

JOHN and SARAH: Yes!

JOHN: Thanks so much for having us.

SARAH: And we love to hear from readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and the general writing community. Don’t be shy about reaching out. Hit us up through our author’s contact information.

JOHN: See you in the past!

Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.

An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!

Enjoy an Excerpt

John’s whole body shook. His irregular breathing created a feedback loop of anxious nerves. On one side of him, Lucas was now armed. On the other, a squad or regiment or whatever you call it of Roman soldiers pointed spears at them, and they looked very, very serious. John’s worrying spiraled and he couldn’t steady himself and—

If only he could trace the eye of Ra again. Why on Earth had he thought tracing it would be a good idea in the first place? What was he thinking?!

Then Sarah asked for him to hand it over. Of course! She would save them. She got them out of ancient Egypt. She’d save them again.

He couldn’t get the leather cord over his head, so Sarah leaned in close and put her finger on the pendant. With the loop still around his neck, their foreheads pressed together.

“We’re going to get out of here, Johnny,” she whispered.

“Get up!” the boy standing over him said again.

Given that he was one of the fighters about to face a lion, John assumed he was a venator and thus wasn’t trying to kill them, or the other people in the ring. They were supposed to work together to overcome the lion, right? In fact, this boy had offered to help them. John examined Sarah’s face—her single pointed look of determination as she traced the eye. Why was she reluctant to accept this boy’s help, to work together?

Sarah finished tracing the almond eye and moved to the line with the curlicue finish while mumbling to herself in some kind of mantra, “Please work, please work, please work.”


Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.

Buy the book at Amazon

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for the interview with John and Sarah. That was fun!

  3. Thank you for having me on your blog!

  4. Victoria Alexander says

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. The cover looks really neat

  6. Sounds like a good book.

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