I caught up by phone with the book's author, Mitch Krpata, to get the inside scoop on the book series, Poptropica Worlds, and more. A lightly edited transcript follows. Enjoy!
Captain Crawfish: Hey there, Mitch! It's Captain Crawfish. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Mitch Krpata: Huh? Who? Why are you calling so early?
CC: It's one o'clock in the afternoon. Your publicist made the appointment.
MK: Fine, fine. Let's make it quick. I need my beauty sleep.
CC: At the end of the previous book, the kids had been captured by some mysterious figures in uniform. Are these members of the "secret society" of the book's title?
MK: How about a spoiler alert, Gary Gives-away? [deep sigh] Since the cat's out of the bag... yes, they are.
The Secret Society picks up immediately where The Lost Expedition ended. The kids are being transported to the headquarters of an organization whose purpose is not yet known to them. But they do know that they've run into its members all over Poptropica -- the people with the strange tattoo who keep popping up on every island.
CC: Obviously we don't want to spoil the story for readers, but what will be different about this book? How have the kids changed?
MK: The Secret Society explains more about the history and purpose of Poptropica. It also starts to pit the kids against each other a little bit. As they learn more about the mysterious organization, they find themselves disagreeing about the group's motives and actions. There's still a ton of action and peril, but now there's tension between the kids about the right way and the wrong way to do things. The Lost Expedition was more of a pure survival story.
CC: Speaking of which, what about Captain Franklin and the crew of the HMS Terror? What happened to them?
MK: [diabolical laughter, devolving into a coughing fit]
CC: We also know that Octavian had gotten away with the magical map at the end of book 2. Is it safe to assume we haven't seen the last of him?
MK: Octavian plays a bigger part in this book. Let's just say that there's more to him than meets the eye.
CC: Switching gears a bit. Poptropica players are on the edge of their seats waiting to play Poptropica Worlds. You've been hard at work on it. What can you tell us about it?
MK: At work... at work... uh oh, I was supposed to be at work four hours ago! I don't think anybody noticed I'm late. You can keep a secret, right?
CC: Me? Totally.
MK: You'll edit out that part of the interview?
MK: Thanks dude, you're a lifesaver. Anyway, yeah, we're excited about Poptropica Worlds. It was a real opportunity to take what players love about Poptropica and make it even better.
We've still got big island quests with lots of characters, challenges, and plot twists. That hasn't changed. But now we've got new features that make the quests more accessible to new players and that help returning players get back up to speed. The islands aren't necessarily easier, but we're giving players more tools to finish them.
Plus, we're building tons of new stuff from the ground up, including a lot of things that Poptropicans have been requesting for years -- like your own customizable house. It's a brand-new game that is still unmistakably Poptropica.
CC: When can we expect to play Poptropica Worlds?
MK: What's that? Couldn't hear you. Bad connection.
CC: Let's just move on to the lightning round. I'll ask you a question, and you answer as quickly as you can without thinking.
MK: Now you're speaking my language.
CC: Here goes. What's your all-time favorite TV show?
MK: The Simpsons.
MK: Batman (1989).
CC: Video game?
MK: Resident Evil 4.
MK: The Cure.
MK: David Foster Wallace.
CC: Okay! Again, Mitch, thanks for your time. I know Poptropicans will really appreciate it.
MK: [snoring]Well, that's it for the interview! Once again, Poptropica 3: The Secret Society is available in bookstores today. We hope you'll check it out!