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Brainwashed – Crime Travelers Series by Paul Aertker

Paul Aertker - Teacher, Author and World Traveler

Paul Aertker – Teacher, Author and World Traveler

Brainwashed – Crime Travelers Series by Paul Aertker: teacher, author, and world traveler.  I met Paul through twitter over a year ago.  While vacationing in Missoula, Montana, Paul took the extra effort to meet me last summer.  We met at a local coffee shop, Liquid Planet, face to face.  Paul helped me to realize that the twitter supporters out there are real, and constant.  He is an avid indie supporter and believes in what I am doing here at Indie It Press.  It is an honor to help promote his book Brainwashed written for kids ages 10-14, and I am proud to call him a friend.

Book one of Paul’s Brainwashed (Crime Travelers) is a realistic middle-grade action-adventure novel about International teenagers who race through Paris to sabotage the Good Company’s profitable kidnapping business.


LG:  What was your creative process and timeline working on Crime Travelers?

PA: I stopped counting the rejections at one hundred. Then I boldly quit by sending a tweet to my writer friends, Christy Raedeke (who’s on the back of the book) had just read a partial and written back, “You’re quitting with this? This is great.” She persuaded me to start Flying Solo Press and hire Brian Luster as an editor. And we produced Brainwashed, the first book in the Crime Travelers series. Once I had this new lease on writing, the book took twelve months start to finish.

LG:  How does your work differ from others of its genre?

PA: In three big ways. One, it’s realistic fiction. There are no dragons, no magic; it’s just kids solving problems created by adults. Two, the book has a travel theme (there are more than 100 geographic references in book one). An adult reviewer wrote, “It’s like a quick trip to Paris.” And thirdly, the book is squeaky clean—“no sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll,” or guns. So the book works for adults reading to kids.

LG:  Why do you write what you do?

PA:  My mission is to write for kids who’ve become bored with reading. I write stories that I would have wanted to read when I was a ten, eleven, twelve year old boy—realistic and exciting international espionage novels steeped in mystery, intrigue, and deception. Thrillers for kids. I want children to see that the impossible may in fact be possible, and that children may have more power than they think. I actually believe that kids can and will fix the world that grownups have messed up. My adventure novels are set in international locales because travel has made me feel alive and given me an insatiable curiosity to learn… which I feel absolutely driven to share with kids (and grownups).

LG:  How or why does your writing process work?

PA:   I’ve just recently switched from being a morning writer to an evening writer. I’ve found that the marketing mumbo jumbo is best if I deal with it first thing in the morning. By the end of the day I’m tired and my internal critic is less likely to prevent me from taking risks and being creative.

LG:  How do you promote your work to the middle grade audience?

PA: I teach, speak, and read at any school, bookstore, library, or soapbox that will have me. Middle grade is challenging since the sale’s pitch is twofold. You have to convince the kids to like the book and then you have to convince mom or dad to actually buy the book. I also use the usual social media suspects: Twitter: Crime Travelers @paulaertker , Google+ PaulAertker,  the website:, and of course, Amazon and local bookstores.


No matter how bad your past is,

you still don’t want it erased.

While sleeping on the roof of his father’s hotel, thirteen-year-old Lucas Benes finds a baby alone and learns that the Good Company has restarted its profitable kidnapping business.

Brainwashed (Crime Travelers #1) tracks the secret urban adventures of the New Resistance, a network of international teenage spies. Headquartered in Las Vegas’s posh Globe Hotel, the New Resistance sends its Tier One kids to Paris on its biggest mission to date. Lucas leads a group of friends through the hotspots of Paris—from the catacombs to the Eiffel tower—in an all-out effort to sabotage a brainwashing ceremony that could potentially turn them all into “Good” kids.

Brainwashed (Crime Travelers #1) is a realistic middle-grade action-packed book for boys and girls who are intrigued by mystery, conspiracy, and espionage. (And it’s for kids who know the difference between good and “good.”) Ages 10+

“If you liked the Alex Rider series and are looking for something in the same vein, Brainwashed is for you!” ~Review from Larry Yoder at The Bookies in Denver, Colo.

Genre: Children’s Middle Grade

Title: Brainwashed

Subtitle: (Crime Travelers Series #1)

Author: Paul Aertker

15 Word Description: International teenagers race through Paris to sabotage the Good Company’s profitable kidnapping business.

ISBN: 978-1-940137-11-7

Price: $14.95

Number of Pages: 308

Distributors/Wholesalers : Brainwashed (Crime Travelers), Ingram

Publishing Company: Flying Solo Press

Home Page:

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Indie It Books

About the Author: Leisa Greene’s passions include writing about music, theater, film, food, art, family and friends -- all of which are supported by the community of Missoula and an IV line of dark-roasted iced coffee. She is the English Department’s Administrative Associate of Graduate Admissions at her alma mater, University of Montana; the editor-in-chief of Indie It Press; and the author of a memoir manuscript currently titled EARLY OUT. Her other writing consists of short essays (Brother Townsend and A Jamboree Family), playwriting (The Beckett Syndrome) and screenwriting. “The only regret you will ever have is if you never write it. So, go write it Mom. “ – Dustin Nelson, my son

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