Category Archives: Uncategorized

Here’s how the virtual book tour for Spy School Revolution will work

Back in March of this year, the pandemic began just as I was about to release Tyrannosaurus Wrecks.  I was forced to cancel my multi-state book tour and did a single virtual event to celebrate the launch.

Well, it’s now six months later and the pandemic is still with us.

Now, when Spy School Revolution comes out on October 6, I am going to attempt a book tour, but it is going to be very different than tours used to be.

Let’s start with the things that you can attend:

Once again, I will be doing a  virtual launch on Facebook Live with Once Upon A Time Bookstore. This will be on October 6 at 7pm eastern time, 4pm pacific time. I will talk about my inspiration for SSR and then take questions from the audience.   You can see it by clicking here.

If you would like a personalized, signed book, contact Once Upon A Time.  Click here or call them at (818) 248-9668.  The sooner you get your order in, the better.

Then, I am going to try something new.  I will be doing a drive by book signing at Children’s Book World in West Los Angeles. 10580 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064.

This will be on Saturday, October 10th from 2-3pm.  RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. For this event, I will be in person at Children’s Book World, although keeping a safe distance from visitors.  Still, you should be able to say hi, ask a question and get a book signed.  Fir more details, contact Children’s Book World by clicking here or calling them at 310-559-2665.

I am looking to add other virtual public events over the next few days.

I am also working with a few bookstores around the country to do virtual school visits.  For these, I will get on Zoom with the schools, do a brief presentation and then take questions. Obviously, I can’t work with every bookstore in the country, but here is who I will be working with:

  • Novel Neighbor – St Louis, MO
  • Little Shop of Stories – Atlanta, GA
  • Pages – Manhattan Beach, CA
  • Blue Willow – Houston, TX
  • Rakestraw – Bay Area, CA
  • BookPeople – Austin, TX

If you go to school in any of these cities and you are hoping for a virtual visit, tell your teachers or your school librarian to contact their local store.  Maybe they can make it happen.

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!

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.

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.

 

Today, May 18, 2020, is the tenth anniversary of Belly Up’s publication.

Ten years ago today, I became a published author. Belly Up was released by Simon & Schuster.  If you go back to my very first blog post (which was also published about ten years ago) you will see that it was a very momentous week fo me.  On May 14, I had watched my friend, astronaut Garrett Reisman, blast off into space, and then my family spent the next few days having fun in Florida.  Somewhere around may 18, Garrett took this incredible photo of my first copy of Belly Up (which was an Advanced Reader Copy) on the space shuttle.

At the time that Belly Up was published, I thought that maybe, this might be the only book I would ever write. But thanks to the support of some of the finest people I have ever worked with, such as my agent Jennifer Joel, my publisher, Justin Chanda, editors like Courtney Bongiolatti (who really left publishing to become an FBI agent), Kristin Ostby Hoyle, Liz Kossnar and Krista Vitola, and my cover artist Lucy Cummins (who may have created the finest cover ever for this book), I have now published twenty books and am scheduled for another six over the next two and a half years.  (Plus, there might be some exciting new projects to mention in a few months.)

My career in publishing has been an incredible journey. When I started, I had no idea that I would get to engage with my young readers so often via school visits and blog post comments, or that my own children would eventually get involved in the editing process, or that I would be participating at book festivals and meeting fellows authors. As it happens, many of those authors have become some of my closest friends.  Authors like James Ponti, Sarah Mlynowski, Christina Soontornvat, Karina Yan Glaser, Max Brallier, Gordon Korman, Ally Carter and many, many, many more.

So thank you to everyone who has supported my career, bought one of my books, come to a reading of mine, sat in on a panel, written me fan mail, given me a positive review, or simply enjoyed the book. Thanks to all the hard-working bookstore employees and librarians out there who have recommended my books to young readers.

And of course, thanks to all of you, my readers.  This wouldn’t have happened without you.

Stuart

How COVID is affecting the release of Spy School Revolution and the Spy School movie

Hi everyone –

At this time, there are two questions I have been getting over and over and over again.  So I figured I would post to answer those questions before anyone else asks them.

Can you please release Spy School Revolution early so that I have something new to read during the pandemic?

The simple answer is NO.

Here is the more complicated answer: You have to realize that releasing a book is not easy.  After I write it, there are still many steps.  The book has to be designed, then printed, then shipped to stores.  All of that takes time, and each one of those steps has been adversely affected by the virus.

Plus… to release a book, it helps to have bookstores be open.  Thousands are not right now.

Now, you might be arguing that you could order the books on line, so you don’t need the stores to be open — but it still helps to have stores open, so that people who don’t know about the book can see it and decide to buy it.

Due to these issues, many author friends of mine are having their book releases pushed back, rather than moved forward.  Hopefully, the release of SSR is far enough away that this won’t happen.

Also, if you are still ordering books on Amazon… stop it.  You are hurting the publishing business!  Instead, order your books through either your local independent bookstore (if they are still open), bookshop.org or Barnes & Noble.

Is the Spy School movie going to film after all this is over?

I have no idea.

Hollywood is completely shut down.  I haven’t heard from the executives on the project in weeks.  Disney, which now owns the rights, is having severe financial problems because all its theme parks are shut down.  No one can film anything because there is no way to do that while being socially-distanced.

At some point, Hollywood will need to start making movies again, but no one knows when that will be.  Until that happens, I will have no further updates on the movie.

One more thing:

Not to sound like a jerk here, but please please please stop asking me if I can cast you in the movie.  I know you are all shocked that I won’t have any sway over casting, but here’s the best explanation I can give:

Actors are hired by casting directors.  That is the casting director’s job, and they train for years to do it.  So, if I were to call a casting director and say, “Hey, you should consider this kid for the movie,” that would be like the casting director coming up to me and saying, “Hey, would you mind if I wrote a chapter of your book for you?”  The casting director has their job.  I have mine.  It is not cool for me to try to tell them how to do their job.

Thus, I have no idea if there will be an open casting call or when that would even happen.  My bet is, it is unlikely.  If there is an open casting call, I will post about it on this blog.  So please do not ask me if I can contact you directly at your email to let you know about this.

Again, not to sound like a jerk, but I have a lot to do.  Emailing every one of the thousands of kids (and a lot of parents) who has asked me to contact them directly would take me weeks.  I do not have time to do that.  I have books to write.

That is all for now.  Stay safe.