Strands of Thought

Musings and Random Words from Kai Strand-Mostly About Writing for Children

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Blogview - Wizard of Odd by Soda

Today I am pleased to host the author of The Wizard of Odd.  The author’s individuality shines through in his novel.  Wizard of Odd is categorized for young adult, but I would recommend it for middle grade students with a higher tolerance to violence (or the result of violence, maybe). You can order your very own copy of Wizard of Odd online. OR participate in the CONTEST!!!! (info @ the end)


Ladies and gentlemen, click your fingers on the keyboard and make some noise for SODA!


The Wizard of Odd by Soda


Young Donovan Bale is the only survivor of a plane crash. He awakens in a strange city called Baziel, otherwise known as Cloud City, to a whole new world. Few humans can actually see the pink and blue inhabitants, but he happens to be of the special few. As fate would have it, he arrives just in time to help the city fight a terrible witch who has captured their wizard and wages a war of darkness.


Donovan—accompanied by his stuffed rabbit, Toby, who comes to life in Cloud City—meets many strange friends. Together they undertake a treacherous journey through a haunted forest, into battle with deformed flying pigs, and all the way up to a horrifying castle. As he helps defend a city he never knew existed, he learns about himself and about life. The emotional an physical stress of this quest affects Donovan and his brave young friends, but they soon find out that if they believe and work together, they can beat the darkness.


If he can help defeat the witch, he’ll go down in Cloud City history. And if they win, the biggest wish of all will be granted. But it won’t be easy. Can he free the wizard? Is he brave enough? What will he wish for? Come join Donovan on his trip through this enchanting land of light and dark.


Soda, thank you for joining us on blogview today.  First and foremost, I want our readers to learn more about you. You are a musician in an alternative rock band, Scarlet Cinema. Are you a singer? Do you play any instruments?


Hey Kai, thanks so much for caring and taking the time to do an interview with me, I appreciate it.


Yes, I am a musician. My main thing with performing is Vocals, Guitars, and some percussion. I can play bass, drums and keyboards a bit as well. Scarlet Cinema is my current project but we will actually be disbanding at the end of September. My band before that of 7 years, His Mighty Robot was very successful though, I loved that band. Anyway, writing too is a huge passion of mine and I plan on getting more writing out as music as soon as I can. I keep busy.


How does writing/composing music differ from writing a novel?


Writing music for me I guess tends to be more personal than say…a Fiction novel, of course. Writing lyrics can be very similar to writing poetry though. Both can be very personal. Some of my poetry has been turned into lyrics for songs in the past, I’m sure that’s not an uncommon thing.


But writing music and books per se are both very great exercises to just get things inside of you out…really helps keep your head on straight.



You live in New York. Did you grow up there?


Yes, I’ve always lived in NY, was born and raised. I currently live on Long Island. And although it is tough to live in NY, I really doubt I’ll ever leave.


Do you work bits and pieces of your childhood experiences into your writing or are you more of an “entire event” kind of writer, where your story includes larger sections of your experiences?


I’ll refer to songwriting again with this question. I put a lot of personal experience into my songs. What I’ve always wanted with songwriting is for people to relate. I know being able to feel better after listening to music has helped me greatly and I want to do that for other people.


And outside of songwriting I mostly write all kinds of fiction, but that’s not to say I don’t incorporate my life into my fiction either…it can happen.


Why do you write young adult? Why do you classify The Wizard of Odd as young adult?


As far as writing YA, it’s very much fun for me since I love to read it myself. I love cartoons and old toys and all that stuff. One of my favorite series of books is Goosebumps. But really my whole objective for The Wizard of Odd was for 10 year olds to 90 years olds to be able to enjoy it, ya know? I write in all types of genres but really want to make in impact in younger fiction.


Wizard of Odd was published in June 2009.  You chose to self-publish.  Tell us about your journey to publication and why you chose the self-publishing option.


After searching for an agent for a long time, sending letters, reading books, getting rejection letters, etc. I finally took the time to look into getting my work out one way or another. I researched a bunch of different companies and looked down many different avenues and after finally being accepted into the Print On Demand Program with Llumina Press in Florida I knew I was on my way. It was a ton of work and very “pull your hair out” tough at times but it made it, and almost a year and a half later the book is still bumping and I’m still promoting it and I love that because I love the book. (Soda is a promoting dynamo! I met him on JacketFlap, but really, he’s everywhere.)


What kind of editorial support did your manuscript receive along the way?


Well, besides picking it apart myself a million times Llumina Press did offer to edit it as part of the package, which of course YOU MUST DO. Although I honestly feel it could have been done a bit better on their part. But they were available throughout the whole project.



Marketing a book can be such a challenge.  What have you done to get the word out about Wizard of Odd? What did you find most effective in promotion?


Well, Llumina did a bit and I have done many signings including BEA and going into schools to speak and meet the kids. I also got postcards and bookmarks made up and just emailed, called, whatever I could do. Besides the book, I also have stickers, shirts, pins and other merch available. I’ll do anything to promote my work, I’m known for that. I love networking.


In Wizard of Odd, who was your favorite character to write (besides the m.c, Donovan.)? Why?


My favorite character? Hmm, good question. I really enjoy them all; they are all so different and have their own really cool eccentric qualities. If you asked me what parts I liked the best I’d say it’s the darker sections of the book, they were a blast to write.


Cloud City is portrayed as an idyllic place to live, but of course it isn’t, otherwise you wouldn’t have a story.  What was your inspiration for the darkness in the book?


In general with the entire book I wanted to bring the reader to a really different place. Something really visual. I’m heavily inspired by 80’s movies and cartoons (and the 80’s in general). When I think of The Wizard of Odd I really feel people who dig The Dark Crystal, The Never-Ending Story…stuff like that will really be into this story. I wanted to create something in that vein because I grew up on that stuff and am still in love with it. Plus, I really feel that there is nothing that captures that feeling around today, I know people try to make “old school” type stuff now because it’s the in thing to do, but I feel it lacks that certain feeling and vibe.


I loved the subtle way you wove in the message about people being ultimately responsible for the choices they make.  Was there ever a bad choice that you made in life that you had to suffer the consequences for and not get bailed out by parents, or authorities?


Haha, I think we’ve all made some mistakes in our lives that got us into some type of trouble, but it helps us all grow too. I’ve always managed to try and keep my head on pretty straight and fight to just do something good.


What writing endeavors are you currently tackling?


The Prequel to Odd, which has been kinda put aside. Myself, and one of my best friends who lives in NC have a killer Vampire novel written that has been in the works for like, 3 years and is finally done. I’ve also been working on a lot of short stories and entering a bunch of cool contests. I hope to turn one of the shorts stories into a short film too, it’s being talked about.


Where can we find out more about you, your awesome singing voice and your writing?

Well, anyone can feel free to write me anytime at But I’d say the best place to direct people is to my main site at which I am 100% in charge of.


Finally, I love pizza! I’m too lazy to make my own dough, but I love to top my own pizzas at home.  My favorite topping combo is cheese, shredded chicken, chopped onion and green chilis.  What is your ultimate and odd pizza?


Haha, I do love pizza and being a very strict Vegetarian, I love broccoli on pizza. Yum!


Anything else you’d like to say?


Thanks very much!


Thank you, Soda, for stopping by the blogview. 


CONTEST!!!! Soda has been generous enough to offer one lucky reader a copy of Wizard of Odd.  Here are the rules:


Follow me on Twitter. Tweet your favorite odd pizza topping, using the hash tag #oddtopping and direct readers to this interview with this link:


Your tweet should look something like this: Muscles are my favorite #oddtopping. Read about the Wizard of Odd


Tweet each day and everyday between now and Friday, September 23rd, if you wish.  Tweet any ole Odd number of times you want each day! I’ll give you one point each time I see you tweet with that hashtag!  Make sure I can get a hold of you through twitter if you win (or leave alternate contact info here). US/Canada mailing addresses only, please. 


And leave a message for Soda in the comments.  It was trés cool of him to hang at SoT.



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Dianne, I have to agree with his comparisons. Spot on. Thanks for reading and tweeting!

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