Book Tour| Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One – Andrew Auseon

I’m always up for a good middle grade fantasy book and Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One sounds amazing. Today I get to tell you more about this book on my stop during this week’s tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I had the opportunity to interview the author, so keep on reading to find out more!

Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One by Andrew Auseon
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: June 6, 2023

“Ben may only be pretending to be the ‘Chosen One’—but I’ve definitely chosen this one as my favorite new fantasy series.”
—Max Brallier, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Last Kids on Earth series

How far would you go to play the hero? One lonely seventh grader gets way more than he bargained for when he is swept into the fantasy quest of his gaming dreams in this magical illustrated series full of laughs, adventure, and twists.

Ben doesn’t feel chosen by anybody—not by his friends, who haven’t kept in touch since he moved after his parents’ divorce, or by his mom, who’s so busy he barely sees her. He spends all his time living in fantasy worlds and writing extensively planned adventure campaigns in his role-playing-game notebook. So when Niara, a character who could be right out of one of his favorite games, shows up and tells him he’s destined to save her realm (like, foretold-by-a-prophecy destined), Ben has two possible tell her the truth or play along. He’s tired of feeling left behind, so his choice is clear—game on.

One interdimensional portal later, Ben is in full hero mode. At first, adventuring in Lux seems like a dream come true, but pretending to be the Chosen One—and lying to his new friends—isn’t quite what he imagined it to be. And the more he learns about Lux and his quest, the more he realizes this is way beyond a game—and the rules seem to be changing as he goes. In fact, it might be time for him to write some new ones.

Book Links

Barnes & Noble

Author Interview

What inspired you to write Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One?

Books and games are what I spend most of my time thinking about, so it was only a matter of time before the two converged in a way that felt natural. Sometimes there are ideas you feel destined to explore, and for me it’s always been Spellbinders, a funny fantasy story that incorporates elements of game design and culture. I always hoped it would happen but I couldn’t predict when, how, or in what form it would manifest. The final product of Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One is much grander and more ambitious than I could have dreamed of, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

Also, honestly, I needed a good laugh. I wrote the novel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I think it’s safe to say the world experienced a collective nadir in 2020 and 2021. Writing a book is already a slog, but some days are harder than others, especially when you’re writing for no one but yourself. Everyone has to find their own kind of joy in the act of sitting down in front of a blank page and creating something from nothing. For me, humor is what keeps me going, finding the jokes and banter and crunchy weirdness that comes from writing something you never saw coming. Spellbinders gave me permission to focus on a story and characters that crack me up. I wouldn’t have written it otherwise.

What has been the favorite part of your publishing journey so far?

There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing art and design come together ahead of a book’s release. Years of hard work suddenly become real before your eyes. But even more magical is the relationship an author establishes with their editor and the editorial team, a dynamic that’s unlike anything else I’ve experienced in my creative life. This is especially true on a series like Spellbinders, where there’s so much fun and creativity to be shared, and it lasts over an extended period of time. My editors are amazing and talented people, and I love the relationship we’ve established in this journey to bring this first book (and the next) to readers.

If you were a character in Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One, what kind of character would you be?

This is a great question, because in role playing there’s often the character you want to be, and the character you probably really are and end up becoming if you don’t play close attention. It’s a bit like a meme that way. For example, in video games where you can make Evil or Good choices throughout a story, I always start wanting to step out of my comfort zone and play as the world’s worst, most disgusting villain; but the second I’m faced with a tough decision, I go all soft and gooey and decide to go the good-guy route. It’s simply who I am, or at least who I perceive myself to be. (Or it means I’m bad at role playing, which is probably also true.)

In the world of Spellbinders, I can imagine myself finding a cozy spot among the Daring Few, Drake Ransom’s troupe of performing mercenaries. Their camaraderie and style of of sustainable, vibrant living is the ideal, in my opinion. Plus, they know how to throw a great party! XD

Describe The Not-So Chosen One in five words or less.

Mistaken-identity high-fantasy shenanigans. (Boom. Nailed it.)

What is your favorite quote from Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One?

You’ve given me an impossible task. Lol. There are too many to choose from! If I have to choose one meaningful quote, I’ll go with the words of Ben’s mother as she comforts him at a moment of great anxiety about their future: “This whole thing is just a new chapter. Like in one of your books. We’re brave heroes setting off on a new adventure.” She’s right. What’s life if not a long, unfolding story (with a few side quests along the way).

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

Fundamentally, the Spellbinders series is about the importance of community. Whether the characters are battling, questing, bickering, or singing songs around the campfire, they’re participating in experiences together. Life is meant to be shared. And that’s coming from a lifelong introvert. For many people, playing games is the platform through which they enjoy social interaction, and the spirit of collaboration is a crucial part of Ben’s story–and mine.

Could you give us 5 random facts about Spellbinders: The Not-So Chosen One (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?

  • The flying narwhals of Lux were a last-minute addition. Initially, the narwhals were giant eagles inspired by the Lord of the Rings stories. But in the end that felt too obvious and conventional for the book’s over-the-top tone, so I picked a new animal, one everyone enjoys: narwhals. 🙂
  • I’ve designed several micro RPG set in the Spellbinders universe. That process felt like a natural extension of writing the books. I plan to release one of these games in the coming months.
  • The Big Twist in Spellbinders: The Not-So-Chosen One happened all on its own, a product of the writing process. Sometimes inspiration just hits you when you least expect it.
  • I originally pitched this idea for a series back in 2013, when it was titled The Donkey Boy’s Handbook. Most of it has changed dramatically but some of the core ideas remain.
  • Attentive readers will notice an abundance of Easter eggs in the Spellbinders series, references from video games, movies, fantasy novels, board games, pop culture, and classic fandom.

Tour Schedule

If you’re curious about this book after reading the synopsis and author interview, click here for the full tour schedule. Amazing bookstagrammers and bloggers will be talking about Spellbinders throughout the week.

About the Author

Andrew Auseon is a writer of novels for young people, and a designer of video games. He holds a B.A. from Ohio University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from the prestigious Vermont College.

He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Sarah Zogby, and their two daughters.

Author Links


I love that this main character has a role playing notebook and writes stories to deal with what he’s going through. I’ll definitely have to read this book soon. A big thank you to Andrew for taking time and answering my questions.

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