Great new merchandise available now!

Looking for something different to get for your friends this holiday season?  Or looking for the perfect gift for yourself?

There is now a lot of newly-redesigned merchandise available at the on-line store on this website: new shirts, bags, sweatshirts, caps and more!  Just click here to check it all out.

And… Now, the Spy School vs SPYDER collection is finally available in paperback!

Click here to get it!

And now… the title, cover and plot of FunJungle 7!

Hey readers!  Perhaps you recall my post from earlier this year, when I announced that due to the extra time I had to write (and not travel) thanks to COVID-19, I was able to get FunJungle 7 out earlier than expected.  In fact, it will be out next May!

Well, it is my great pleasure to reveal the title — and yet another great cover by Lucy Cummins:

In the seventh novel in New York Times bestselling Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series, Teddy Fitzroy returns as FunJungle’s resident sleuth to solve the disappearances of endangered bison and an irreplaceable necklace.

Teddy Fitzroy, his family, and some other FunJungle employees have been invited to visit a bison ranch just outside Yellowstone National Park that FunJungle’s owner, J.J. McCracken, is considering purchasing. But as usual, trouble isn’t far behind.

The ranch’s endangered bison have been mysteriously disappearing. Then a massive local grizzly bear named Sasquatch breaks into the house, causing chaos. In the aftermath, Kandace McCracken discovers that her exceptionally expensive sapphire necklace has vanished.

Was it stolen? Or did Sasquatch eat it? (And if so, can it be recovered?) And what’s been happening to the bison?

With over a dozen suspects, it’s up to Teddy to detangle this hairy situation, before his family or friends—or any more expensive objects—become dinner.

You can click here to preorder it.

Here’s Why I Can’t Answer Certain Questions You Have About My Books

Hi everyone –

I have been deluged with questions since Spy School Revolution came out, and while I have been doing my best to answer them, I have noticed that there are categories of questions that come up again and again.  So rather than answering them repeatedly, I figured I’d try to address them in a blog post.

Category One:  Questions about what is going to happen in future books

This is the type of question I get asked the most and there’s a simple reason why I feel it would be better not to answer them: Because it will ruin future surprises in the books for you — and this ruin some of the fun of reading those books.

You hate spoilers, right?  Well, asking me to tell you who Ben Ripley will end up with — or whether or not a character you like is going to reappear in a future book — or really anything about the future of any series — is asking me to spoil something for you.  I know you want to find out what’s in store, but I promise you, the less you know about what’s coming, the more fun the read will be.

Category Two: Questions about things that didn’t get answered in the books

If I didn’t share a piece of information with you in the book, that wasn’t an oversight.  It’s because I didn’t want to share that piece of information.  Often, this is because I’m saving it to reveal in another book.

For example, I know there are some questions left at the end of SSR.  But if I had wanted to answer those questions, I would have.  I promise, they will eventually be answered — although I think most of you could probably make very educated guesses about what happened.

Category Three: Questions about obscure things

And author can’t possibly tell you every single thing that happened to every single character over the course of their lives.  Honestly, we can’t possibly even imagine all those things.  We have to leave many things out of the story.  So if you’re writing to ask what happened to a character after the Moon Base Alpha series ended — or what a character likes for breakfast — or whether someone likes cats or dogs better — the answer is honestly: I don’t know.  Whatever you imagine the answer to be is good enough for me.

Category Four: Questions about what my characters look like

I get a lot of requests to specifically describe characters which is because I didn’t specifically describe many of them in my books.  That’s because, frankly, I don’t think extremely specific character descriptions are very helpful.  My own experience is that, no matter how specifically a character is described, I probably imagine them the way I want to anyhow.  So I’m pretty sure that you do the same.  Therefore, whatever you imagine a character to look like is what they look like.

Now, this doesn’t really work for graphic novels or movies.  You will very obviously see the characters in the graphic novels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is the only way they can look.  It’s just one version.  The chances are very slim that any character will look exactly as you imagined them in the graphic novel — or the movie.  There is nothing i or anyone else can do about this.  That’s just the way things are.  Try not to be disappointed.

And finally, this is probably the question I get asked more than any other, even though it is answered elsewhere on this site:

Category Five: Questions about how many books will be in each series

I can’t answer a question I don’t know the answer to.  And right now, I do not know how long each series will go.  Sorry.

 

The exclusive edition of Spy School Revolution is available for preorder from Barnes & Noble!

I am pleased to announce that Barnes & Noble is issuing yet another exclusive edition of one of my books.

Here’s what you need to know:

Limited collector’s edition of Spy School Revolution, the eighth book in Stuart Gibbs’s New York Times bestselling Spy School series, featuring an exclusive jacket with shiny blue foil, and a map of colonial era Virginia on the reverse side–plus 16 pages of bonus content, including super-secret post mission memos and some earlier drafts of the Declaration of Independence.

Superspy middle schooler Ben Ripley faces the Croatoan—a new evil organization that’s so mysterious, the only proof it exists is from the American Revolution—in this latest addition to the New York Timesbestselling Spy School series.

And get this: IT’S THE EXACT SAME PRICE AS THE REGULAR EDITION!

CLICK HERE to pre-order it now!

If you have missed any of my virtual events and still want to see or hear them, read this!

The pandemic has forced authors (and everyone else, I suppose) to find new ways to reach audiences.  So here are some of the virtual interviews and panels that I have done over the past few months.

I actually recorded an interview with Sarah Enni’s amazing podcast, First Draft, shortly before the pandemic.  It is a very in depth interview about writing.

Click here to listen to it.

This summer, I was the Barnes & Noble summer reading hero.  One of the events was a virtual conversation with my good friend and fellow author, James Ponti, where we discussed how we write, where our ideas come from, our advice for young writers, how we structure our mysteries — and how sometimes, we have separately come up with the exact same ideas.

Just click here to see it.

Also with James Ponti — and Beth McMullen — and the International Spy Museum — I did a virtual writer’s workshop this summer.  This one is fun because you get to learn about some of the more bizarre things from the museum’s collection  — like the dead rat dead drop — and then see how we utilize them in a spy mystery set at one of the most popular locations on earth.

Click here to watch it.

Here is a virtual presentation that I did for Follett Books, which gives some background into where I get the ideas for my series.

Click here to watch it.

A few years back, I did an interview with the Fairfax School System’s own TV network.

Click here to watch it.

If you watch all that, then you probably will end up knowing more about me than I know about myself.

Cover and plot reveal for Charlie Thorne and the Lost City

Hi all.  I am thrilled to be able to share the cover and plot for the second book in the Charlie Thorne series, which will be published on March 2, 2021.  Here’s yet another masterpiece by the great Lucy Cummins:

As you can see, there’s all sorts of great action and adventure here on the cover alone.  Here’s the official plot synopsis:

Charlie Thorne is a genius.
Charlie Thorne is a fugitive.
Charlie Thorne isn’t even thirteen.

After saving the world, Charlie is ready to take it easy in the Galapagos Islands. That is, until she’s approached by the mysterious Esmeralda Castle, who has a code she knows only Charlie can decipher.

In 1835, Charles Darwin diverted his ship’s journey so he could spend ten months in South America on a secret solo expedition. When he returned, he carried a treasure that inspired both awe and terror in his crew. Afterward, it vanished, never to be seen again…

But Darwin left a trail of clues behind for those brave and clever enough to search for it.

Enter Charlie Thorne.

In a daring adventure that takes her across South America, Charlie must crack Darwin’s 200-year-old clues to track down his mysterious discovery—and stay ahead of the formidable lineup of enemies who are hot on her tail.

When an ancient hidden treasure is at stake, people will do anything to find it first. Charlie may be a genius, but is she smart enough to know who she can trust?

 

As usual, I am not going to answer any more questions about the plot, because the more you know, the less fun the book will be to read.

But I will say this.  I test every one of my books out on my kids and they LOVED this one.  Once we hit the last half of the book, they wouldn’t stop reading.  So hopefully, all of you will love it too.  I’m really proud of it.

Although it doesn’t come out until next March, it is already available for preorder here.

Here’s why both the Moon Base Alpha series and the Last Musketeer series have ended

Hi everyone –

The information in this post may be old news to many of you, but I have been getting a lot of questions from readers asking why both MBA and Musketeer stopped at three books.  The posts where I explained this are now a couple years old, so I thought I would revisit the issue.  The reasons I stopped writing each series are quite different.

Why I ended Moon Base Alpha

When I first started writing this series, I really thought it might run for a long time.  But I also made the decision to write a sci-fi series where space travel was depicted as realistically as possible.  My good friend, astronaut Garrett Reisman, who was overseeing the human space flight program at SpaceX, served as my technical advisor.  I was very pleased with the world that I created, but it had an unforeseen side effect:

It was very limiting.  Moon Base Alpha was small and cramped; there weren’t many rooms and less than thirty residents.  I had originally planned to bring in new residents (which is why the Patucket family is mentioned) but after three books, I was having trouble coming up with new ways to make life in the moon base exciting.

Meanwhile, the world outside the moon base was also more limiting than I had realized.  Planet Earth has billions of different locations, all of which are different from each other — but the exterior of the moon is basically the same, no matter where you go.  True, there is variation, but for the most part, it is moon dust, with the occasional crater or lava tube.  And there is no way to get from one place to another quickly, so even if there was great variation, I couldn’t move my characters very far.

Even worse, the only way to go outside the moon base involved wearing a space suit, which provided its own limitations.  An action sequence in a space suit is very different from one where the characters are free to move about in any way they would like.

Therefore, I realized that, if I kept going with the series, it was going to start feeling repetitive — and I didn’t want that to happen.  I really hated ending the series, because it was a very personal series to me, but I thought that letting it get boring would be worse than bringing it to a close.  (Plus, I was having trouble getting inspired to write another book.)

Many of you have written to me, suggesting various ways to move the series along.  But all of them have their issues:

Why not open Moon Base Beta — or move the series to another planet?

Neither of those really solves my issue with a series that is set in a base on another planet (or a moon) feeling limited.

Why not follow up with Dashiell’s life when he gets back to earth?

What made this series special was the fact that it took place on the moon.  Once it returns to earth, it’s just not that special any more.

Spoiler alert:  Why not continue the story after it ends in Waste of Space, on another planet in another galaxy?

Because, first of all, after the epilogue in Waste of Space, Dashiell is in his forties.  But more importantly, the story would be very different that the type of story I was telling in the series so far.  I wanted to write mysteries set on a moon base, which was technically science fiction, but very heavy on the science.  Switching to a whole new world would definitely open up what I could do — but it would veer into full on science fiction, which isn’t really what I want to write.

So is the series over forever?

Probably.  I won’t rule out the chance that maybe, some day, I will be inspired to write another story in this series, but for now, I am going to focus on the three series I have going: Spy School, Charlie Thorne and FunJungle.  That is really the maximum number of chapter series I can handle.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read the MBA series, you can get the whole thing in a lovely boxed set by clicking here.

 

Why I ended The Last Musketeer

The Last Musketeer is, to this date, the only series that I have written for a publisher besides Simon & Schuster.  (That’s why the covers look different.)  It is also the only series I have written that was not my original idea.  Before Belly Up was even published, I was approached by an editor at another publishing house (which I will not name).  The editor wanted to know if I would do a three book series and gave me the basic concept: Kid goes back in time and meets the three musketeers.  He had a few other ideas, which I used in the book, although I would say that 98-99% of the story is my own original ideas.  I was told that this was a huge priority for the publisher, and that I would need to be prepared to do a lot of travel to promote the series.

Here’s what happened instead: After I finished the first book, the publisher fired the editor and shut down the entire division.  I still was under contract to do the other two books, but no one really was looking out for the series.  In my opinion, the publisher didn’t do much to market the books at all.  To this day, they have never arranged for a single school visit, festival or book store event.  Meanwhile, the original covers were very disappointing.  Bookstores didn’t realize that I had even written those books.  They looked so different, people assumed that a different Stuart Gibbs had written them.

I would have been happy to write more books in this series if the publisher had supported it.  But it made far more sense to write books for a more supportive publisher like Simon & Schuster instead.  There is little point in writing a book that you think no one is ever going to read.

I spent years pestering the publisher of The Last Musketeer to change the covers, which they finally did.  This change encouraged more bookstores to carry the books, and so they have started selling better — although they still don’t sell nearly as well as my other books, as that publisher really still doesn’t promote them.  The major way those books are promoted is on this website.  At this point, it has been nearly a decade since I wrote that series, so I can say that there is no chance that I will revisit it.

I still like the series, though.  If you want to give it a try, you can get the first book by clicking here.

And just in case you’re interested, here’s what the book originally looked like:

 

Here’s what it look like now:

 

New FunJungle mystery now available — in Super Puzzletastic Mysteries!

Hey everyone!

Many of you have been writing to me, saying that you need a great new book to read.  Well I have one for you.

Super Puzzletastic Mysteries is out today.  It has twenty great short stories written by a cavalcade of exceptional Middle Grade authors: folks like Chris Grabenstein, James Ponti, Kate Milford, Lauren Magaziner, Peter Lerangis… and more.  Including a short FunJungle mystery by me.  Grabenstein himself edited them all — and did his usual, excellent job. Some are hilarious.  Some are touching.  And all are wonderful.

And, for extra fun, you get to match wits with these mystery writers.  Like Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, each story challenges you to solve it — before turning to the back of the book to see if you’re right.

Click here to order it today!

BIG NEWS: There will be a Spy School graphic novel!

Over the years, many of you have asked me if any of my books will be translated into graphic novels. The answer is: Yes.  The graphic novel version of Spy School is coming.

Simon & Schuster has hired a very talented artist named Anjan Sarkar to illustrate it, while I am adapting the book.

I am pretty sure of what your next question is:

When will the graphic novel come out?

Some time in 2022.

And I am now betting your next question will be:

What??? Why do I have to wait so long???

Because making a graphic novel is A LOT of work.  Especially for Anjan.  We are only in the early stages.  But what I have seen so far is great and very exciting.

I will now answer a few more theoretical questions.

Is the book going to stay true to the original Spy School novel?

Yes.  Although there has been some adaptation to take advantage of the graphic storytelling.

Will other Spy School novels be adapted to graphic novels?

I certainly hope so, although I don’t know that for sure.

What are Ben and all the other characters going to look like?

You’ll have to wait a bit until you get to see them.

I went and looked at Anjan’s site and some of his stuff looks too young.

First of all, that’s a complaint, not a question, but I know I’m going to hear it over and over again.

So, know this: Anjan is very talented.  If you come across some illustrations he has done for younger readers, that does not mean he can only do illustrations like that.

When is the Spy School movie going to come out?  When is it going to cast?  

Yes, I know that these questions have nothing to do about the graphic novel, but I still keep getting asked them.  And the answer is, yet again: I don’t know.  I don’t even know if the movie will be made.  Sooner or later, I will know this, and when I do, I promise you that I will not keep such big news a secret.

Books you should be reading right now

Hi everyone.  I have been getting a lot of mail from readers telling me that they have read all my books and now want to know what to read next.  I have already done one list, but now I’m going to do one that is a bit more targeted.

These are very tough times in our country.  First, COVID-19 forced us to isolate and upended our lives, and now our country is confronting the issues of our own entrenched racism head on.

Reading teaches us empathy.  So here is a list of great books that can help you do that.

Ideally, it would be great if you ordered these from bookshop.org or your local indie bookstore.

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi, just came out and could not have been published at a more appropriate time.

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams has won so many awards, they can barely all fit on the cover.  And it deserves them all — and more.

The Parker Inheritance, by the very talented Varian Johnson, is a great mystery with great characters that will also really make you think.

New Kid, a graphic novel by Jerry Craft, has also won a slew of awards.  And deservedly so.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon is a Coretta Scott King honor book.

You have probably already heard of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  But still, if you haven’t read it, you should.

Slay by Brittney Morris is a great, fun read that will also illuminate you.

My college classmate Duchess Harris has written a lot of great, informative history books, such as Black Lives Matter.  If you’d like to see all of her books, click here.

So check these out.  And, of course, there are many, many more great books out there.  So if you’re feeling cooped up, upset, frustrated or angry about what is happening in the world, take some time to read.