In the depths of space orbits an intergalactic space station. Living here are some of the smartest scientists in the entire universe and their families. After traveling billions of miles, Earth's top two scientists, Clyde and Klara Klosmo, and their kids Kelvin and Bula, are the newest members of the space station. This is the story told in the new book, Sci-Fi Junior High, written by Scott Seegert and illustrated by John Martin.
In Sci-Fi Junior High, Kelvin tries to blend in, but that proves to be difficult since he is the only human at school. He’s also the son of the smartest human scientists in the universe so everyone expects him to be a super genius like his parents. He doesn’t always live up to those expectations. However, when the third smartest scientist from Earth, Erik Failenheimer, secretly plots to rule the universe, Kelvin and his zany friends rise up and save the day.
While on the road promoting Sci-Fi Junior High, Seegert and Martin spoke with TFK about the book and how they work together.
Finding Your Passion
Seegert, a former engineer, was inspired to give writing a try at age 45 after reading a book by a famous humor writer. After working on that book for three years, Seegert’s hard work paid off when it was published in 2007. After that success, he decided to turn his attention to writing books for kids.
Martin, on the other hand, always loved to write and draw. As a kid, Martin spent Saturday mornings watching cartoons and drawing monsters and superheroes. Martin says he was "avoiding homework," and didn't realize that he was really working towards his future career. Martin went on to study art at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, and became a successful illustrator.
A Dynamic Duo
Seegert and Martin grew up during the same time and had similar interests. As kids, both men read comic books, watched superhero shows, enjoyed monster and alien movies, and loved cartoons. John says they share a common "pop culture explosion of influences."
Their first cooperative work was the book Vordak, the Incomprehensible, which follows a super villain named Vordak as he plots world domination. The duo went on to write more books together, and have received many awards for their work. For Sci-Fi Junior High, they started with a very general idea, and then focused on the characters to tell the story.
Seegert and Martin say they work really well together. They even work in the same art studio in Farmington, Michigan. They work in separate rooms, but have a door in between so they can always consult each other in person. “Many times nowadays, you might have an author and illustrator working together, but they have never even met," Seegert told TFK. “We work differently than most children's book authors and illustrators in the market."