If you’ve got young ones, or you’re just young at heart, then you might know Jeffrey Brown from Jedi Academy: a book series that captures all the angst and excitement of middle-school through a Star Wars-colored lens. Brown has recently taken a break from the galaxy far, far away for a new series set a long, long time ago: the Stone Age. Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is the story of two prehistoric pals surviving everything that the world has to offer, from wild wooly mammoths to babysitting wily younger siblings.
UNBOUND WORLDS: From Jedis and lightsabers to stones and bones: that’s quite a journey. What got you interested in writing about the Paleolithic era?
JEFFREY BROWN: Ever since I was a kid playing with dinosaurs, I’ve been interested in pre-history – and after growing up with “The Flintstones”, I was really excited to sit down and watch shows like the BBC “Walking With Dinosaurs” and “Walking With Caveman”. I started to think that there should be a fun caveman story for kids that was still grounded in the actual research, especially now when there are so many new discoveries being made. I knew I needed a break from Star Wars at some point, and so this seemed like the right project to do something different with.
UW: Your characters do some babysitting. Is this something you have some experience doing?
JB: My older son Oscar is nine and I’ve had a front row seat to watching him with his three-year-old brother. While my wife and I haven’t left them at home alone together yet, it’s fun to watch them and see Oscar be the big brother taking care of his sibling. They’re definitely inspiration for Andy and his little brother Danny!
UW: I’m guessing Lucy is named after the famous Australopithecus skeleton, am I right? Any other inside jokes for astute readers?
JB: Yeah, I figured Lucy should be named after her great-great-great-great-great (etc, etc) grandmother! There’s a few more inside jokes, but I don’t want to take away the fun of finding them…
UW: Do we get to see any other well-known flora and fauna from that era?
JB: A lot of the most interesting pre-historic mammals lived in North America, across the ocean from Lucy and Andy, unfortunately. But they do get to go on a mammoth hunt and they have a pet scimitar cat. Scimitar cats weren’t pets, of course, but it was too much fun to not give them a pet.
UW: What’s next? Is this a one-off or is there more from Andy and Lucy coming?
JB: I have three books planned for Lucy and Andy, and I’m finishing up the second book — The Stone Cold Age — right now. So there’s still more adventures for them to have!