The Joshua Files – MG Harris

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Today, we’re lucky to have MG Harris drop by, telling us about a great competition and offering Bookbabblers an exclusive giveaway, too! What more could we ask for?!

Could you design a street-map for the ‘invisible city’ of THE JOSHUA FILES?

The locations that feature in THE JOSHUA FILES are places I’ve visited in Mexico, Brazil and Switzerland. Or Oxford – where I live!

However, one part of the Joshua Files mythology required total invention – the ‘invisible city’ itself. It was originally inspired by a trip to a cave system in Mallorca, where there is a vast underground cavern. I wondered if you could cram a small town into that – with careful architecture.

But I’m a bit of a claustrophobe – I didn’t want entirely to imprison my characters underground. So the ‘invisible city’ or Ek Naab (Mayan for ‘dark water’) has a partial roof made of cleverly camouflaged mesh, which allows sunlight through.

From the beginning I thought of making a map of the Ek Naab. But I never got round to it. I was careful never to specify too much about the locations. By the time I wrote Joshua #4 – DARK PARALLEL (out in Feb 2011), I realised that it might be useful for readers to be able to see how all the buildings and locations fitted together.

It would be useful to me too!

We decided to hold a contest to have readers design the map of Ek Naab.

The winner will see their map professional illustrated and printed in DARK PARALLEL! There are plenty of terrific runner-up prizes too.

Helpful hints:

1. In the first 3 books, Josh has to cross the market square to get from where he stays (in an apartment owned by Montoyo, his cousin Benicio or later, by his mother) to anywhere else – the ceremonial pyramid, the ‘Tec (university), the aircraft hangar, to the church, to Blanco Vigores’s apartment, to the hotel which rises above the underground part of the city to the surface part of Ek Naab.

So the apartments are probably all clustered on one part of town. But Montoyo’s place is a very short walk from his mother’s i.e. not the same block.

2. The cenote is one of the first things that Josh sees when he arrives from the subway platform.

3. Everything is very close together, almost labyrinthine. Only narrow alleyways between buildings, space efficiently used.

4. In fact the only open space is the marketplace, the cenote – which isn’t very wide, and the outdoor cafe!

You can read more about how to enter the contest on http://www.thejoshuafiles.com

Including all the locations which must be included and the rules…Contest ends on July 31st 2010! So get town-planning!

Exclusively for Bookbabblers – A Joshua book set and goodie-bag giveaway!

Win a set of the first three Joshua Files books (paperback editions) plus a neon-orange gym bag containing Joshua wristbands and an enamel badge. To win, read the excerpt of Invisible City here – Invisible City chapter 22 and answer this question:

What is the department store label, which Josh finds on an article given to him by Carlos Montoyo?

The winner will be drawn at random from all the correct answers sent to publicity@scholastic.co.uk (please write BOOKBABBLERS in the subject line)

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