If you like cryptids, world-wide adventure, and good old fashioned fun (or trouble), then you’ll love reading Lija Fisher’s Cryptid Catcher Duology. If these books had been around when I was still reading to my kids, they would have been bedtime favorites for sure, and I would have known what a cryptid was before the age of 40.
- Book One: The Cryptid Catcher is 352 pages
- Published by Square Fish, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC. (2018)
- Book Two: The Cryptid Keeper is 320 pages
- Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2019)
- MG Adventure, age 8-11
- Cover art by Lisa K. Weber
- Available for purchase wherever you buy books. But here’s a link for convenience.
While researching for The Legend of Bigfoot, I came across The Cryptid Keeper–book two in the duology–and immediately purchased book one (always start at the beginning). The cover alone intrigued me. I was not disappointed as vibrant characters with witty dialogue and meaningful struggle tackled conflict head on. I’ve since read book two and loved it even more. Middle graders will easily identify with and admire thirteen-year-old, Clivo, an unlikely hero with a strong conviction. His myth-blaster friends bring the laughs, proving unique is cool and friendship unstoppable.
The Cryptid Catcher Book Blurb:
The Cryptid Catcher is the first book in a monstrously fun middle-grade duology by Lija Fisher about a boy who inherits a job hunting legendary creatures.
After Clivo Wren’s archaeologist father dies mysteriously, the newly orphaned thirteen-year-old finds out the truth: his dad was no archaeologist. He was actually a cryptid catcher, known for finding elusive beasts like the bloodsucking chupacabra. His goal: discover the one extraordinary cryptid whose blood grants immortality―before the knowledge falls into the wrong hands. The mission remains unfinished, and now there’s only one person who can take the renowned cryptid catcher’s place: Clivo. He may not know the first thing about monster hunting, but he’s willing to give it a try―because anything beats staying home with his salsa-crazy aunt and her neurotic cats.
The Cryptid Keeper Book Blurb:
In the Cryptid Keeper, Clivo and the Myth Blasters are back on the trail of the immortal cryptid in this conclusion to a monstrously funny middle-grade duology by Lija Fisher.
Life has gotten complicated for thirteen-year-old Clivo Wren. After taking up his deceased father’s mission to find the extraordinary creature whose blood grants everlasting life, Clivo is spending his summer not at camp or hanging out with his friends, but jetting all over the world tracking cryptids―while keeping his aunt Pearl in the dark about his dangerous adventures. At the same time, a shocking development unveils the truth about Clivo’s enemies, and the cryptids themselves are posing trouble at every turn. With the help of his crew of Myth Blasters, Clivo is going to need all of the tools, gadgets, and training he has to prevent the immortal cryptid from falling into the wrong hands―and to keep Aunt Pearl off the case.
About The Author
Fisher was born in Istanbul, Turkey to American Peace Corps parents and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She received her BFA in Performance Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder and has lived in London, LA, and NYC.
She’s performed on stages across New York, California, Florida, Colorado and Alaska where she was chased by a bear. When not being hunted down by local wildlife, you can find her writing at a cozy coffee shop or disappearing into the mountains for a hike. In 2017 she was granted a writing residency as part of the Aspen Words/Catto Shaw Foundation. She currently lives in Colorado but dreams of residing in a castle where she is tended to by knights in shining armor or manly Vikings. Either would be fine.
A Deeper Look at the Books and Author
Getting to know an author and the motivation behind their story is such fun. Ms. Fisher was kind enough to answer a few (okay, several) questions. Please, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and join us as we talk about Lija Fisher’s books and other fun stuff.
T.S.: I believe I read that you began your career pursuing the performing arts and actually wrote your first novel during some down time while living in New York? Did you previously want to be a writer?
Lija: I actually never thought about being a writer! Which, in hindsight, is so funny because I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. My love of stories began when my mom read The Hobbit to me every night before bed, and from that point on I devoured every fantasy book I could. But I ended up taking a shine to theatre and majored in Performance Studies, living in London, LA and NYC making my way as an actor. But when I turned 35 I treated myself to a New Zealand trip to go on a Hobbit hiking tour (I’m that big of a fantasy nerd!) and an idea for a story just popped into my head. My acting career had stalled, so I thought I’d try the writing thing to see if I liked it. I instantly fell in love with writing the kinds of stories I had read my whole life and wondered why I hadn’t tried it before!
T. S.: Why cryptids vs. the popular mythological creatures?
Lija: I had no idea what cryptids were until I read an article about Charlie Sheen and how he put together a hunting party to find The Otterman. I thought, ‘who is The Otterman and what does Charlie Sheen want with him?’ The second I started researching what The Otterman was, I was introduced to a whole fantastic world of animals that might be wandering the Earth, we just hadn’t found them yet. I remembered being fascinated with mythology when I was a kid, and realized that these were modern day myths that I thought would be fun to introduce kids to!
T. S.: Where did your love for monsters and mythological creatures come from?
Lija: Probably two things, the first going back to my mom reading me The Hobbit as a bedtime story. Talk about being introduced to monsters and mythological creatures at a young age! They immediately fascinated me. The second is that I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, so every day during the summer I would run into the woods and pretend that I was searching for fairies or trolls or goblins. Also, growing up with Jim Henson and the movies “Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal” were a huge influence as well.
T. S.: Your characters have such colorful and distinct personalities. Clivo is a great main character, but which of the secondary characters is your favorite? (I’ve raised two boys, so for me, it is a toss-up between Jerry, Adam, and Charles. I laughed so hard when Jerry had to carry Charles up the rope to the roof of the castle-like warehouse).
Ha! I love Charles! I must admit that he is probably my favorite. He takes himself just a little bit too seriously and his intensity is off the charts. I basically pictured Napoleon Dynamite as a thirteen year old and took it from there!
T. S.: Did you model your characters after anyone you know?
Lija: Honestly, no. For some reason that’s not how characters come to me. I usually model my characters after people I’ve seen in the movies, especially comedies. Those people are always a little more exaggerated and a little more specific in what makes their personalities funny, so it’s easy for me to grab onto a few traits and mold my own characters out of that.
T. S.: Friendship and working together are strong themes in both novels. Was this intentional from the outset or did the themes evolve as the story took shape?
Lija: Oh, it definitely evolved. Since I didn’t study creative writing in college, it took me awhile to realize that you couldn’t just write an adventure novel that went from action scene to action scene. You also need to include a theme so that readers care about the characters while they’re slaying the dragon. It’s a lesson I’m still learning in my writing!
T. S.: Clivo faces the challenge of filling his dad’s shoes as he takes over the Cryptid Catching/Keeping legacy. What was your greatest challenge as a kid?
Lija: I didn’t realize it until I became an adult, but even though I enjoy acting and being in front of an audience, I’m actually a huge introvert. So going to summer camps was always really hard for me because I just wanted to be alone reading a book. I remember during the school year kids would tease me because they’d see me at the movies by myself and assume I didn’t have any friends. I actually had wonderful friendships, but I was also supremely happy spending time with myself. Still am!
T. S.: And for fun, what was your happiest childhood memory?
Falling asleep as my mom read The Hobbit to me and my brother every night, images of the shire floating me off to dreamland.
T.S.: Can you share about what comes next? Do you have a project in the works?
Lija: Always! I’m in the process of finishing a book about beasts and witches and after that would love to circle back to cryptids and create some new adventures in that world!
Thank you, Lija, for participating in this fun interview. Best of luck with your writing and thank you for creating such fun and entertaining stories that also tackle real-life issues.
You can learn more about Lija Fisher by visiting her website. Also, I pulled this from her Instagram: “The paperback version of THE CRYPTID KEEPER comes out Tuesday! Pre-order a signed copy through the link in my bio through Sunday 8/16 and you’ll also get a fancy bookmark, informational cryptid cards, and a Bigfoot Believes in You sticker! A perfect gift for any young Cryptozoologist, ages 8-12! Thank you, readers, and enjoy the adventure!”
If you’d like an opportunity to win both of Ms. Fisher’s books + a $10 gift card, consider entering Cryptid World’s coloring contest, which is really a drawing. All the details can be found here.
Thank you for taking time to read this week’s post. We hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” —J. R. R. Tolkein, The Hobbit