Episode 396: When Fantasy and Reality Intersect: Writing Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction – Interview with Ryan Dalton

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Dalton. We’ll be discussing his latest novel, This Last Adventure, a middle-grade story about the bond between a teenage boy and his grandfather, how that boy copes with his grandfather’s memory loss, and what it means to live a life worth remembering.

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In this episode Ryan Dalton and I discuss:

  • Why he wrote This Last Adventure as a middle grade story, as opposed to YA.
  • How he created a sense of hope when his amorphous antagonist was undefeatable. 
  • Writing group scenes and what to include and what to leave out to make each character distinct.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Ryan Dalton

Ryan Dalton spends his time thinking up stories when he’s not wearing a cape and fighting crime. He’s a singer, a voiceover artist, a pretty decent amateur chef, and a lover of all things geek. Ryan lives in an invisible spaceship that’s currently hovering over St. Louis, Missouri. Please don’t tell anyone he’s Batman–it’s a secret.

You can find him on his website or follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.

This Last Adventure 

Archie’s grandpa has always been his hero. But after Grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the confident and adventurous man Archie’s known all his life starts disappearing. He’s not just losing his memory. He’s losing pieces of himself.

Archie desperately wants to slow the progression of Grandpa’s memory loss. Using Grandpa’s old journal entries as inspiration, he creates shared role-playing fantasies with epic quests for them to tackle together–helping Grandpa to live in the present while staying in touch with his fading memories.

But there’s a limit to the power of the fantasies. And not all the memories recorded in the journal entries are happy. When Archie learns a painful secret about Grandpa’s past, he questions everything he thought he knew about his hero.

As Grandpa’s condition worsens, Archie has to come to terms with the reality of what he’s losing and decide what it truly means to live a life worth remembering.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 396

(Right-click to download.)

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