Six Questions with James Babb: Author of The Devil’s Den Trilogy and Treasure Hunt

armchair treasure hunt book series

Devil’s Backbone Series

Winner of multiple awards for his historical fiction trilogy, The Devil’s Backbone, The Devil’s Trap, and The Devil’s Den, James Babb creates another winner of his own through these adventurous books. The trilogy features a real-life treasure hunt, and earlier in October, James announced a winner for the first to find prize in his secreted cache!

Wonderfully, however, the hunt within the books still continues!

James cleverly fashioned a hunt which offered a Grand Prize, valuing over $800 dollars, to the first to find searcher.  But after this treasure is awarded, the hidden box in the Fort Smith area, Arkansas, remains. It’s still there for all to discover!  Searchers have the joy of finding the Cache of the book, logging in (like a geocache), trading items from the box, and then forwarding photos of their successful find to James’ website.  Awesome!

Let’s learn more about James Babb, The Trilogy, and the Treasure Hunt!

Six Questions with James:

  • 1Q) Thanks James for offering such exciting books.  I truly enjoyed reading about the adventures of Brody. You easily capture hearts with your relatable characters, and guide us on a thrilling journey!  What was your inspiration for writing the Devil’s Backbone trilogy?  Might there be more adventures to come?

I’m an outdoorsman who loves hunting and fishing. Even while sitting still in the woods, my imagination continues to run full speed. Usually I think of silly things like, what would I do if bigfoot came walking by? One particular day, I was thinking of what it might be like to suffer an injury and become lost in the woods. The idea for The Devil’s Backbone was born there.

I think The Devil’s Den will be last in this series, unless my fans decide otherwise. I’m working on an amazing story now that is inspired by true events and it will be in the same time period as the other books.


  • 2Q) As mentioned, the trilogy involves a wonderful treasure hunt.  What did you enjoy most about adding this engaging aspect and real-life adventure for readers to your books?

It was both fun and challenging to keep the treasure hunt a seamless part of the books. When you write for reluctant readers you can’t slow the story down too much or you risk losing them. The thought of a family setting out to find this long-ago hidden treasure gave me the most joy, people getting out of the house away from their televisions.


  • 3Q) It must have been exciting to hear from the family who found the treasure of the books and how your trilogy offered them such a thrilling day in the Fort Smith area!  Would you share how you felt when you first found out the treasure was found?  Was it what you had hoped for?

I couldn’t have pictured it any better. I was thrilled to see a picture of two young girls holding the treasures! A wonderful family consisting of four generations turned the hunt into something fun and almost magical for two little girls. Their grandfather said his granddaughters will never forget it.

found treasure in the devil's den armchair treasure hunt

One of the Finders! Congrats!


  • 4Q) On your website, you mention people can still hunt for Todd and Brody’s hidden box.  Can you tell us more about this continued fun?  Have many others been to the ‘treasure site’ since the first find?

The treasure box is still there for others to find but so far it seems only one family has been successful. The instructions are inside the treasure container as to how the finders can be recognized for their achievement.


  • 5Q) I’m always looking for recommendations on books to read. What are some of your favorites? Did any of these inspire your own writing, and would you share some of your journey as becoming an award-winning writer?

I was a reluctant reader when I was young and still somewhat as an adult. It takes a combination of action, adventure, and survival to capture me then and now. Gary Paulsen knows how to write this combination well.

I always wanted to write but never seemed to have the time. Instead of reading bedtime stories to my two girls, I would make up stories on the spot and they loved it. I was always coming up with book ideas but my busy life kept me from pursuing it. In 2008 I was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly I had an overabundance of down time. It was then that I took up writing seriously.


  • 6Q) What advice might you give someone who dreams of being a writer?  Do you have other books in the works or what are you doing now since the trilogy is complete?

My advice to an aspiring writer would be, don’t write to get rich, write to enrich. Don’t focus on money or fame, focus on touching someone’s life with your words or message.

The book I’m working on now is set during the civil war and is inspired by true events. While doing research, I have found it hard to believe that these soldiers persevered through a long list of challenges, finally ending with the Sultana steamboat tragedy that killed more people than the Titanic disaster. These tough soldiers also found a puppy and somehow managed to keep it alive and raise it to become their regiment mascot. Who doesn’t love a story with a dog in it?


How exciting to hear there are more adventures to come, James!  I’ll be looking forward to reading your next historical fiction.  Sounds incredible!

And thanks again for your answers to the above Six Questions.  It is always great to learn more; not only about happy endings to successful treasure hunts, but also the beginnings and how they come about.  Prayers to you for continued healing and living cancer free.   Best to you and your family. 

Please visit James Babb’s website for continued updates on the treasure hunt in the Devil Backbone Series, and all upcoming works by James!  



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