Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fabulous Friday Feature-Wayne Thomas Batson

Today we welcome author:
Wayne Thomas Batson

One commenter will win a copy of
Wayne's book:
War for the Waking World 
Dreamtreaders, Book 3 

My daughter said, "I really liked these books.
The main character is very relatable. He went through
the same things I did at the time. Like Chronicles of Narnia
(which is for children) the main character became someone
of worth when he went to the new world. I'd say these
stories are for young teens."

Mary here. My kids and I have been avid readers of Wayne's books. They also are books in our home library that are not given away because they are reread.

I feel really honored to have Wayne join us. He has an incredibly schedule. It took a lot of dickering to land on a date he could spare. In case you didn't know, he also teaches sixth grade. I asked Wayne to tell us how God led him on his writing journey.

Be ready--his answer is written with a wild roller-coaster-ride flair. Hold on! You're gonna love this:

A Galactic Face-Palm Event

Hi, Mary Vee! Thank you for letting me guest (read: invade) your blog today! My writing journey begins with a trap door, a black cat made of chocolate, and a cute girl. Yes, God works in mysterious ways.

Mary: How true!!

It’s October, and I’m in the 6th grade at Catherine T. Reed Elementary School (Yep, back then 6th grade hadn’t yet climbed into middle school). The principal announced a Halloween short story writing contest, the spookier the story, the better. I was intrigued but too lazy to act on it, until…they announced that first prize for the boy winner and girl winner would be a 2ft. tall black cat made of chocolate. (It was probably only 9 inches tall, but to me, it looked like it was 2 feet).

The lure of chocolate was strong but not quite strong enough. I needed something more. That was when this girl in my class, the cutest girl in my class, announced that she was entering. My wheels started turning then, I can tell you. If I win, and she wins, I’ll get to stand next to her for like 5 whole minutes! Hot dog! I was SO in.

I set to work on my story, using the completely original plot concept of kids trapped in a haunted house. Er…yeah. I don’t remember much of the story except for one part that took place on the top floor of the creepy house. One of the main characters found a key to an upstairs door that had, up to this point in the story, been mysteriously locked. He cautiously approached the door, inserted the key in the lock, and turned. But rather than unlocking the door, the key turning triggered a trapdoor beneath his feet. Down he went, hitting a serpentine sliding board that dumped him out in the basement. That’s all I can recall, and I remember it only because my mom read the story and said that part was really creative. She gushed about it. Sincere, specific parental praise really does matter, folks.

Mary: More than editors/agents realize!

Long story short, I won the boys side of the contest. The cute girl? She won the girl’s side of the contest. We both were awarded the giant chocolate cats, and yes, I did get to stand next to that cutie for 5 minutes. It was dreamy. But, then, to our surprise, the principal read our stories over the loudspeaker to the entire school. I was shocked and mortified. I was thinking, Oh no, I am going to get greased at recess for this!

But, at recess, the strangest thing happened: kids from all different grades came up to me to tell me what a cool story I’d written. Some even asked if there was more too it, a sequel, perhaps? Sixth grade Wayne was stunned. And suddenly, a life-changing formula materialized in my mind:


A writer was born.

Through middle and high school, I got into poetry. It was kind of cheap therapy. And, by my junior year in high school, it really came in handy because I joined a heavy metal band. Don’t judge. We didn’t drink or do drugs. We just liked that style of music and became a close band of brothers.

Finally, after graduating college with an English/Education degree, I decided to teach and had the ridiculously arrogant confidence to not just think—but know—that I would become the next Stephen King. I had manuscripts and journals filled with creepy stories, and one of them, I felt sure was my ticket to Best-Seller-ville.

That was when Jesus invaded my life. Oh, He’d introduced himself much earlier, several times as a matter of fact. But this time, He wasn’t going to let me go. Everything changed. My motivations and dreams all shifted. I went through a year long cleansing period (my friend called it God’s Ajaxing). Everything went: cursing, drinking, chasing after romance…and the writing. I remember dumping all of my creep-tastic manuscripts into the garbage.

A few years later, when I opined to a friend that I missed writing, he broke the news, “Y’know, you could write for God.” {GALACTIC FACE-PALM!}

From that point on, I wrote with a new passion. I was in my second year of teaching middle school English to 6th graders and I announced a short story writing contest. (Can you say, FULL CIRCLE?) But, then my students challenged me back. They said, if they had to write, I had to write. So I did. And that 17 page short story, written in green ink on loose leaf paper was the story that became The Door Within, my first published novel.

Since then, I’ve written 16 additional novels and, God willing, many more to come.


Wayne Thomas Batson was born in Seabrook, MD in 1968. He had an adventurous childhood and adolescence that included: building forts in the woods, crabbing and crayfishing in bays, ponds, and bayous, playing lead guitar in a heavy metal band, and teaching tennis lessons at the local recreation center. 

Having successfully completed the rigorous Holmes English Literature Curriculum, Batson graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in English and Secondary Education. In 1996, he earned a graduate degree in Counseling and has continued his studies with 36 credit hours of graduate-level Reading courses.

Wayne Thomas Batson has spent the last twenty-four years teaching Reading and English to middle school students. He lives in Eldersburg with his extraordinary wife of 21 years and his four amazing (and challenging) teenage children.

Batson’s writing career began in 2005 with the publication of fantasy epic, The Door Within. Since then, The Door Within, The Final Storm, Isle of Swords, and Isle of Fire have all appeared on the CBA Young Adult Bestseller List, including #2 for The Final Storm Fall 2007. To date, Batson has penned or coauthored seventeen novels and has sold well over half a million copies.

Batson’s works have garnered many awards and nominations including: Mom’s Choice, Cybil, Lamplighter, Silver Moonbeam, ACFW Book of the Year, and The Clive Staples Award. But most importantly, all of Batson’s works are “student approved,” meaning that, over the years, the middle school kids in his classes have given each novel a rigorous critique and enthusiastic thumbs up.

Wayne Thomas Batson gives thanks to God for the abundant life he’s been given. He continues to write for the kids he cares so deeply about because he believes that, on a deep level, we all long for another world and yearn to do something important.

You can learn more about Wayne Thomas Batson at:
 His blog - Enter The Door Within


Would you be willing to fight for your dreams?
Fifteen-year-old Archer Keaton has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is a Dreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord who dwells beyond the Slumber Gate. But as Archer’s dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life. 

In this fast-paced conclusion to the exciting fantasy trilogy, the dream world and the waking world bleed into each other when a rift is formed between the two. People in the real world suddenly find their waking lives resemble their wildest dreams. Now it’s up to Archer and his fellow Dreamtreaders to race to reverse the rift before too much damage is done and to battle Archer’s ex-best friend, Kara, who sits on the throne of the Nightmare Lord. Kara is building an army of her own. Will Archer be strong enough to stand against her?


Enter the contest to win a copy of 
Wayne Thomas Batson's book:
War for the Waking World, The Dreamtreaders Book 3
here is how:

leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this blog
AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email
AND/OR sign up to receive my quarterly newsletter-updates on young adult books

if you aren't already

US only

The winner will be announced on my Facebook page

Thank you, Wayne, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you and are looking forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!


Loraine Nunley said...

Hi Mary!
Wayne is a new author for me and I think my girls would love to read this series. Thanks for the interview and giveaway.
I follow your blog and am sharing this on social media.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thank you, Loraine. I'm hoping many people will share and get the news out to the Young Adult readers. I am confident your girls will love these books. High adventure. Great stories. My son and daughters loved these books.
Good chatting with you this morning.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Hi, Loraine! Hope you and your girls enjoy my books! Never alone!

Diane Estrella said...

I have books one and two in this series and would love the third! Great giveaway!

dianemestrella at gmail dot com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Good morning Diane!
I can see why you'd like the third. Wow! Who could stop after book two?
I'm so glad you stopped by to chat with us today!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I haven't read any of Wayne's work but this interview shows how talented he us with words. I absolutely loved this interview and I can tell that Wayne is a fantastic teacher. Thanks for this giveaway.
cps1950 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I'm Jordan, (hi Jordan) and I am very familiar with your books as you can tell from my email address. My sister first read me The Door Within when I was in the 4th grade. I enjoyed the book so much that I bought the whole series for around $35. (That was a lot of money for a 4th grader.) Since then, I have read the majority of your novels with the exception of the Imagination Station series and The Dark Sea Novels. It has been a blessing in my life to read your novels and find that God and His characteristics are permeated throughout. I found your call-to-writing to be so fantastic and amazing that it could have come out of one of your books. I am not familiar with your books Mrs. Vee, but I will begin to search for them at my library system. While I wouldn't label the Dreamtreader series as my favorite of your books, it has a very intriguing and fast paced story line that keeps the book in my hand for a day at a time. I personally am working on a piece of fantasy that I may have published or just write for my personal enjoyment. I will pray that God would continue to direct both of you in your writing careers as you seek to please Him.
P.S. Don't be alarmed, I am older than my current photo.
Philippians 4:6-7

Mary Vee Writer said...

So nice to meet you. I recently sent my first young adult suspense manuscript to an agent. I spent a lot of quality time perfecting it in hopes that this would be the one to get published. Until I hear back, I have started my second.

Your words, "very intriguing and fast paced story line" are precisely what is needed for great young adult books. Maybe that is why I prefer reading and writing them.

Stay connected on my website, I'll let everyone know there first when this manuscript "Sifted Through Time" has been accepted for publication.

Thanks for chatting with us. Hope to see you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hey, Connie!
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I can definitely affirm Wayne's books are exciting. Hopefully you have some young adults around who can read and enjoy them with you. Amazing conversations are sparked when we read books together.

Unknown said...

My daughter follows all that you do. And not only because she loves the books, but because you love Jesus and have the thread through all that you do! We appreciate all of your stories! I think we own multiple copies of them all. You have inspired her to write and I have to say she is pretty amazing at it;) we may even have a Berinfell Prophecy idea;) Thank you though for being obedient to your call. It's tough today to stick to your guns with so much other competition. I pray for you, as often as God brings you to my mind. Continue fighting the good fight with your stories!
Liane( and Hannah)

WayneThomasBatson said...

Greetings, Diane! Thank you for being a dedicated reader! Anchor First, Anchor Deep!

WayneThomasBatson said...

Very kind of you, Lady Connie! Thanks for coming by and commenting. Hope you enjoy my books!

WayneThomasBatson said...

Hello, Jordan! I am so stoked by your comments. Thanks, man. Seriously, it means a lot. Praise God that you've been encouraged! STOKED that you are writing. If you want some tips and tricks of the trade, I have a ton of writing articles up on my blog. Here's a link:

WayneThomasBatson said...

Hi, Liane and Hannah! Thank you for being wonderful readers following hard after God! To hear that you've been encouraged spiritually through my stories is food for a thousand years of writing. Seriously, that's all I ever wanted. And thank you so very much for the prayers!