Sam's Quest: The Royal Trident by Ben Furman

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Black Hawk Press; (Book 2) edition (October 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0977873145
ISBN-13: 978-0977873142

About the book:

Samantha Costas, called Sam, a descendent of the Originators, the keeper of the Crimson Crystal, and the savior of the Awokian people, is the bridge to the World of Bergeron and its lands of good and evil.Prince Buznor, an Awokian from Innerworld on a diplomatic mission, is seriously wounded during a surprise attack. He calls out to Sam as he falls into a raging river and is swept away. The Crimson Crystal glows, alerting Sam that her friend is in danger. She descends to the World of Bergeron where she comes face-to-face with the most powerful evil she has ever encountered. This evil must be defeated or all is lost.

I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Ben some questions:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

This is the second in the Sam’s trilogy. After the death of her parents eleven-year-old Sam now lives with Grandpa Paul at the farm on Mile High Mountain. She’s struggling with her loss while being conflicted about where she belongs. Is it New York, on the farm, in Innerworld or, perhaps there’s another place for her? Her best friend Buzz, an Awokian prince, is seriously wounded in battle in the World of Bergeron and calls out. Sam descends to the World of Bergeron to find him, and makes her way to the home of the Originators in the Kingdom of Ornia. There she is pitted against the most powerful evil she's ever encountered.

Once again Sam and her dog Patch meet up with Buzz, King Kaylan, General Gorn, and a variety of new unusual, and I hope at times, funny characters that join together to battle against evil. Sam has changed since her last excursion with Buzz, but in many ways she remains the same: still unsure and a bit lost, but always a strong leader--much to her surprise. Her place in the sun still eludes her. The search continues.

Have you always wanted to be an author, or did you aspire to be something else growing up?

I had three directions I wanted to go as a kid. First up was being a policeman. I was. Second I wanted to be an artist. I am. Third, I wanted to be a writer. Made it! I consider myself lucky in that I’ve always been able to make a living doing exactly what I have wanted to do.

What inspired you to write young adult books?

I wish I could say that the direction came from a “Thou Shalt” voice emanating from a burning bush or from some mystical being living in a misty cave, but I can’t. A cute red haired girl in my fifth grade class was the inspiration. I wracked my tiny brain trying to figure a way to impress her, and being a decent artist and writer I decided to regale her with a great picture/story book. It didn’t work! I was embarrassed, but this faded when she moved away at the end of the school year. My mother had kept the original story and years later I used it to form the basis for my Sam’s Quest series. I like writing stories that have less than perfect people, who despite human and physical frailties, trudge on, overcoming seemingly impossible odds. Samantha is one such person.

Do you have any rituals that you follow when finishing a book?

If a total collapse counts, I do. When I finish a manuscript I don’t go on three day binges or puff away on Cohiba cigars. I usually have several writing projects going at the same time, which means my veg time is short. I’m never far from the gravitational pull of the typewriter and after a breather I’m happily back at it.

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?

Depending on the subject matter, whether young adult, adult, history, thrillers and the like, there are a number of fine writers that have left their marks. On a contemporary basis I read anything by Carla Cantrelle, who in my opinion is an excellent young adult writer. I like the writing style of Ludlum, Forsyth and my favorite political thriller writer, David Baldacci. And I like the short, powerful sentence structure of Hemmingway.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just completed the outline and some of the preliminary writing of the third in the Sam’s series, Sam’s Quest: The Catacomb of Evil. With that done I’ve turned my attention to my next counterterrorism thriller, Chimera.

It’s not a story about the beast of Greek mythology. A Chimera in the terrorist and counterterrorism arena is a chemical/biological weapon comprised of five or six strains of anthrax, other toxic chemicals and biological agents such as small pox. That’s scary enough, but we don’t have effective vaccines to counter the effects of the weapon. A chimera is being fabricated now and it’s about to be peddled on the world market to the highest bidder.

In writing a series, do you find it hard to keep the storylines accurate, or do you have it plotted out beforehand?

I’m big on outlining, and at the start I have figured out the plot line that threads through the series. I don’t really drill down until I get close to writing the first word. I need a roadmap to guide me along, but I always leave plenty of maneuvering room so I can add the unexpected surprises that show up during the writing.

Who or what was the inspiration behind this series and main character?

Originally it was the girl in my fifth grade class. Beyond being cute she had severe asthma, something that she struggled mightily against. I was impressed by her grit and determination to lead a normal life. Then when I had daughters of my own I wanted to write uplifting stories for them with positive messages – something they could recall when the times got tough in life’s up and down rollercoaster.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

If you want to write, then do it! Lay yourself out there, have the skin of a rhino and don’t let criticism put you into a catatonic state. Have fun writing. I don’t mean dancing around the room flipping rose petals in the air fun. More of a self-satisfaction, a chuckle now and then fun. And for goodness sake, don’t take this writing stuff too seriously. Odds are that none of us will write the next great American novel. Well, I might….

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Take a page (metaphorically – bookstores don’t like pages ripped out!) from Sam’s book. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and ages. One doesn’t have to be perfect to succeed. Even Superman has a weakness. Keep churning one day at a time and you’ll be successful.

About the author:

Ben R. Furman, former FBI counterterrorism chief, has drawn on this experience to write about high-tech terrorism, chemical, biological, and nuclear threats, and transnational criminal cartels. During his career he investigated kidnappings, extortions, bank robberies, led SWAT teams and was the FBI counterterrorism chief assigned to address threats against the United States by terrorists of all stripes. He also writes fantasy adventure novels with positive messages for the young adult, juvenile market and is the Rexus CEO, a corporation that conducts international corporate investigations involving industrial espionage, internal theft, business due diligence and background screening. You can visit his website at


THE ROYAL TRIDENT VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on October 1 and end on October 30. You can visit Ben's blog stops at in October to find out more about his latest book!As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner(s) will be announced on our main blog at on October 30!



Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting Ben today, Tracee. I love both of these books. Sam makes a great role model for young girls.