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A Conversation with Middle Grade Fantasy Author Mike DiCerto




We’re talking today to Mike DiCerto, author of the middle grade fantasy novel, The Door to Far-Myst: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright published by Zumaya Thresholds.  A filmmaker and writer since childhood, Mike DiCerto has directed numerous shorts, music videos, documentaries, promotional videos and two feature films (NO EXIT and TRIPTOSANE). His first novel, Milky Way Marmalade, received rave reviews and was the winner of the 2003 Dream Realm Award.

About The Door to Far-Myst

Can a boy who has never even heard of the word “imagination” save a magical world from an evil force using his own imagination?

Rupert Dullz isn’t very happy. His grandmother’s coffus is getting worse, school is boring and there’s nothing to do on his days off but rake up endless piles of leaves. Everything in Graysland is, well, gray, and every day is just like the one before it, and the one before that. That is, until a strangely dressed man named Pie O’Sky swoops out of nowhere in his multicolored bagoon and offers a special reward to whoever can open his mysterious door. When Rupert succeeds, he’s thrilled when Pie O’Sky carries him beyond it to the brilliantly colored land of Far-Myst. Adventure calls, and Rupert discovers a wonderful world full of something he’s never heard of before–imagination. But Far-Myst is in danger, and it may be that only Rupert has the power to save it. Is he the one whose imagination is powerful enough to stop the evil that is destroying the beautiful world beyond the door?

The Interview

Thank you for this interview, Mike.  Can we begin by having you tell us all about your new book, The Door to Far-Myst: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright?

Mike: The Door to Far-Myst: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright is the story of an eleven year-old boy who lives in a boring world (isn’t that the case for EVERY eleven year old!) where the word IMAGINATION is never discussed. When he wins the chance to travel to a world overflowing with imagination­–he is thrilled. Maybe in this world will be a cure for his grandmother’s sickness? But you have to be careful what you wish for. Rupert discovers all the children have vanished from Far-Myst and the adults need a child to help defeat the evil force than is trying to render the colorful world imaginationless and hopeless. Rupert finds himself on a life and death adventure. Will he stop the terrible dragonman Murkus and find a cure for his grandma?

What do you love most about writing middle grade fantasy than any other genre?

Mike: I can just untie the leafbag of my imagination, let the wind blow through it and send those leaves of Imaginings soaring into the world.

If you had three words to describe Rupert Starbright, what would they be?

Mike: Compassionate, tenacious, clever.

Is there a bad habit or quirks that Rupert has he can’t help?

Mike: He can be impetuous. He also belches at inappropriate times.

Are there any love interests for Rupert?

Mike: I have a feeling BOOK TWO (The Secret of My-Myst) will bring pangs of love for Rupert! : )

What kind of crazy situations does Rupert get into that makes for great reading?

Mike: Wow. So many. In book one he and Dream Weaver are attacked by the Darkledroons­–horrible black moths that seep into one’s skin and produce horrible thoughts of pain and death. Rupert also has a few run-ins with the NightWingers who are the terrible cockroach-like soldiers of the bad guy Murkus. There are so many other exciting situations.

If Rupert was stranded on a desert island with no one but himself, how do you think he’d get off the island?

Mike:  He would use his Imaginings! Maybe create a six-winged, multi-colored giant butterfly with a comfortable seat that would come and rescue him?

Open your book to page 69, what is happening?

Mike: We are in the middle of Rupert and Weaver’s first night around a campfire. Weaver, in his grumpy way, is teaching Rupert about waterbustles (a fruit that contains drinkable water) and camper grass (a special water plant that ignites into flames when it dries! Rupert is finding it all very UN-boring!

How long did it take you to write this book?

Mike: About seven months writing two hours or so every morning before I went to work. So never use “not enough time” as an excuse not to write. There is ALWAYS time. Pages add up quickly.

I understand you are a filmmaker, too.  What films have you produced?

Mike: Two films that are not really for kids. One was a inner city mafia film called NO EXIT and the other a psychedelic science fiction story about the mind called TRIPTOSANE.

I love it that you have been writing since childhood.  What kind of things did you write?

Mike: Mostly superhero stories from comic books I liked. I also created a spy series- AGENT 21. I still have all those original, handwritten stories that I secretly wrote in class when I was suppose to be paying attention!

Where did you grow up and were you encouraged to be a writer?

Mike: YES. When I showed my Dad the first book I was working on (when I was five) rather than just saying “Yes Mike- very good”, he gave me constructive criticism and told me if I want to be a writer I have to treat it like a pro. I have been writing ever since and he is still my number one fan.


What tip can you give aspiring middle grade or fantasy aspiring authors?

Mike: Find your own voice. They say there aren’t any new stories. Maybe not. But NO ONE else can tell the story the WAY YOU CAN. Do not write with dollar signs in your eyes. Write with stars in them.

Thank you so much for this interview, Mike.  Do you have any final words?

Mike: Imagination is the station Where the train of life begins, It’s the ocean where the notion Of a talking fish can swim, It’s this and that, and that and this, Not exactly what it seems, It’s that place inside your mind Where you can manufacture dreams!

If you are sad Harry Potter retired, give Rupert Starbright a chance. I think you will fall in love with him!

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

Join Mike DiCerto at the Pump Up Your Book Live! November Author Chat / Book Giveaway Party on Friday, November 18 starting at 8 p.m. eastern!

Mike will be giving away a copy of his book! You could win a paperback copy of  The Door to Far-Myst simply by attending the chat and asking him a question. All there is to it!

For details on chat, visit the official chat page for the November authors at Pump Up Your Book Live!


What kid wouldn’t like to have his 15 minutes of fame in a real live book!  Well the book isn’t live but the stories Mike creates are as real as a child’s imagination can take it.  Mike is giving all kids a chance to have his or her name inside the third book of his series.

Click here to find out how your kid can win!

You can visit Mike’s website at or his blog at  Connect with him at Twitter at triptosane and Facebook at




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