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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Author Interview, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Author Interview: Tor Seidler

Photo of Seidler by Charles Gold

Some of my favorite email exchanges are with the authors of the books I read and review on my blog. 


      Interview with Tor Seidler:
         author of: Firstborn, Toes, Brothers Below Zero, 
                Brainboy and theDeathmaster        






Tell us about your experience doing research for Firstborn. How long did you spend observing wolves? Where?

 Seidler: By my standards, I did a lot of research for Firstborn. Beyond the whimsical premise of the animals speaking in complete sentences, I wanted the story to be as close to nature as possible.  I read fictional and nonfiction accounts of wolves, but more importantly I had a friend who was a great source of information: Jean Craighead George, author of Julie of the Wolves, among many other books.  Best of all,I went wolf watching with Jean in and around Yellowstone Park in late May and early June, 2005.  The wolves had been reintroduced into the park in the mid 1990’s, and by the time of our visit they were pretty well established.  The pack we observed in the northeast corner of the park had twenty-six members.  We would arrive before sunrise and set up our viewing scopes on a hillside above a creek.  Often we got to see the alpha male lead the other hunters back from their night hunt on the other side ofthe creek and distribute food among the pack’s six new pups.  An amazing experience!  In more recent years I’ve also visited the wolf reserve in northern Westchester County.  But there’s nothing like seeing animals in the wild.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

 Seidler:There are always a lot of challenges for me in writing any novel, but in this one I think the biggest was figuring out how to tell the story.  I initially wrote it from an omniscient point of view, focusing solely on the wolves.  The story began with Blue Boy, the alpha male wolf, awaiting the birth of his pups.  But the story wasn’t quite lifting off.  When I hit on the idea of writing it from the point of view of a bird, a magpie who attaches herself to the pack, it seemed to give the material another dimension.

After writing a book about animals, do you have a favorite animal? Which one and why is it your favorite?

 Seidler: I’m a great believer in bio-diversity, so I like all animals.   But I must say in studying the wolves I gained a deep respect for them.   Their life is very hard.  Few live to see their first birthday.  But the way they learn to work together, both socially and in the hunt, is awe-inspiring.  I also have a soft spoke for coyotes, who lead much more individualistic lives than wolves.

Unlikely friendships develop in Firstborn. Did you observe any unlikely animal behavior or relationshipsin doing research? 

 Seidler: I’ve read about unlikely relationships developing between different species, but to be honest I didn’t observe any in my wolf watching.  I love the idea of multi-culturalism, though, and I’ve written about it before in the animal world, especially in a book called The Wainscott Weasel.

Your book involves conservation efforts for wildlife reintroduction. Are there any conservation efforts you would like to encourage in your young readers?

 Seidler: I’m a fan of all conservation efforts, be it joining the Sierra Club or encouraging your parents to recycle orminimizing your carbon footprint.  I have a particular fondness for the World Wildlife Fund.

 What made you want to become a writer?

 Seidler: Reading.  I enjoyed books so much as a kid that I thought, “Hey, maybe I can do that!”

What suggestions do you have for young readers who might like to become writers someday?

Read. And then read some more. And don’t accept what people tell you. Look at things with your own eyes and reach your own conclusions.

 Is there anything you would like to add about your writing and/or books?

 Seidler: Well, I hope some of you enjoy them!


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2. An Ember in the Ashes: trailer feature + giveaway

Two months ago, I was invited to attend a lunch to meet author Sabaa Tahir and to watch the filming of  the trailer for her book An Ember in the Ashes. The shoot took place here in Los Angeles, and while I’ve been on location before as a film publicist, this was the first time I’ve ever walked into a studio filled with smoke! It was a dark, moody setting that suited the book perfectly, since the story follows an orphan named Laia who risks her life to save her brother Darin, who’s held captive by a brutal empire. The actress who played Laia was friendly and chatty, and she showed us the tattoo painted on her shoulder. It’s an important and serious part of the book, so it was cool to see the attention to detail in the make-up and costumes. The Kommandant was small, blonde, and totally badass... Read more »

The post An Ember in the Ashes: trailer feature + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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3. Kwame Alexander Q&A: Poetry Provides Possibilities

We recently had the opportunity to talk with author Kwame Alexander about how poetry can draw a reluctant reader into a lifelong love of books and the creative process behind his book, “The Crossover,” awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal for Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.

kwame-alexander

Author Kwame Alexander
Photo Credit: Pilar Vergara

The first thing we noticed about The Crossover: its rhythm. Why did you choose to have Josh’s voice rhythmic in that way?

When I decided the book was going to have a frame of basketball, I knew that I wanted the language to mirror the sport’s high energy and rhythm,

I thought that basketball was poetry in motion – so I created a story on the page that reflected the action on the court. I’ve been a poet most of my life, so it seemed like a good marriage.

How would you describe kids’ reaction to the book?

You want to impact young people. That’s the goal. That’s the only goal. You want to get them reading. The response initially came from librarians and teachers – they were loving it.

I thought, “Wow, how cool is that?”?

Then teachers started getting it to their students. My, my, my – the reaction from the students blew me away. There were quite a few boys who had never showed much interest in reading  before. Their teachers and librarians contacted me and said, “They couldn’t put your book down.”

That’s pretty remarkable right there. That’s why I’m doing this.

Have you ever seen anyone perform a page from the book?

Yes! There was a school in Illinois – Granger Middle School – and the entire school read the book. They brought me in for the day to see some presentations, and the kids all crossovermemorized the poems. It was so awesome. Each kid – girl, boy, black, white – they all felt like they were the characters.

That’s all you really hope for from a book –  that it’s going to resonate with young people and empower them in some way. I believe poetry can get kids reading.

Why is it so important to get kids reading?

Inside of a book, between the lines, is a world of possibility. The book opens it up.

Why is it important for kids to open books? Because they can see themselves and they can see what they can become… Open a book and find your possible.

Click here to browse First Book’s collection of ALA Award-winning books.

 

The post Kwame Alexander Q&A: Poetry Provides Possibilities appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. Interview with Kidlit Author, Kristen Lamb

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve taken out time to join me today.K Lamb As you may already know, today is World Book Day and it was interesting seeing all the children dressed up as different literary characters on my way to drop off my bambinos at school. And what better day to have a children’s book author remind us why the written word matters. Today’s special guest was introduced to me by C.L. Murphy who was on the hotseat a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to today’s interview, I’ve been impressed with her passion to see literacy levels increase in children. Her blog contains lots of good stuff plus interviews with children book authors. Her book covers make you take a second look and she has loads of fans in different countries across the world. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Kristen Lamb.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

This is the part where I want to tell you lots of exciting things, but the truth is―I’m just a simple gal from the San Francisco Bay Area. As an indie writer I find joy in telling my stories and seeing the smiles they produce on a child’s face. I am a wife, mother, and business woman that lives a quiet life. My adventurous side finds peace hiking through the Yosemite Valley and my playful side can be found hanging out with Goofy and Mickey at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Most importantly, I am always thankful for each new day’s dawn and the promises it brings. I believe it is important to be grateful.

 

Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?  

Surprisingly, I remember quite well the “moment” I was complimented on my writings and the feeling it evoked. The details are a little more fuzzy. I was in grammar school and it was first or second grade. We had an assignment where we had to write a story and then make it into a bound book using material, cardboard, and book binding tape. I was so enthralled with the project, I asked my teacher if I could make two books. Our class “literary masterpieces” were proudly displayed at Parents Night. I can still remember the feeling inside when my teacher smiled down at me that night and then told my parents that someday I was going to be a writer. There was a feeling that radiated from somewhere deep inside of me that seemed to concur with her prediction.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?  Massachusetts-6

When I was very young, I loved my big red book of nursery rhymes. The book was bigger than I was at the time! I’d drag it around everywhere. Then of course, I had my all-time favourite Dumbo. It was more of a treasured memory in that my grandmother (who lived next door) would always tuck me in and read it to me. She must have been so tired of that story! But I loved our routine. She would tuck me in, read me the book, and finally sing me Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah before kissing me goodnight. How could that book not be my favourite?

Oh my, now the truth comes out. The quirkier side of me loved gothic horror. Yes. I admit it. When I was really young I loved the gothic comic books. As an advanced reader, I moved on to novels rather quickly such as Frankenstein, Dracula and countless others. Of course those were contraband that I kept at my grandmother’s house. To be honest, my love of these books probably also relates to the fact that my grandmother and I would always watch the old black & white “B” horror movies together. I loved cuddling up with her as we munched on popcorn and drank Dr. Pepper. For me, the stories were never scary because they came from a safe place.

When at home I would read my favourite Nancy Drew mysteries and other childhood books. I loved Little Women, Red Badge of Courage, Diary of Ann Frank and the classics. The genres I enjoyed varied greatly. Luckily, my grandmother was an avid reader who shared her love of literature with me so my supply of books was endless.

 

You have currently published three books in the Dani P. Mystery series. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it?Dani and the Haunted House  

The birth of Dani P. Mystery started out as a short story. It was a gift of love to my daughter. Dani, the protagonist in my series, is loosely based on my daughter and it was created specifically for her when she was seven years old.

When I became an ‘empty nester’ my family encouraged me to publish one of my stories. I always thought someday I would, but then they challenged me to make it a reality. I had worked on several projects and could have released any one of them, but in my heart I knew it had to be Dani P.  It is then that I decided to create the series and share Dani’s adventures with other children.

As you mentioned there are currently three books in the series:  Dani and the Haunted House (1st edition), Dani and the Mall Caper (1st edition), and Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch. There will be more books available in the future and I look forward to seeing what Dani gets into next! The important thing to know about the books is that I always try and include some kind of message in the story, in a subtle way that promotes self-esteem or life lessons. And although the books are part of a series, they can be read independently in any order.

 

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books? 

Gasp. I have not begun marketing! You mean there’s more to it than just writing a book? Okay, so that’s my humour showing through. As any indie writer will probably tell you, writing a book is the easy part! Marketing is what drains your life away.

In truth, I really haven’t begun marketing my books yet. I made a conscious decision not to until I had three books in which to market. I feel it is important, especially when doing a children’s series, to have more than one book available to a child before getting them “hooked.” Right now I do have three books available on Amazon, but I am in the process of having the first two books re-illustrated by my amazing new illustrator, Katrina Glidewell. When the first three books are complete with all new illustrations, then I will begin marketing. As it is, I get inquiries all the time asking me when the next Dani P. book will be released. This is an incredible feeling, but at the same time I don’t want to let the kids down by not having the next book immediately available, which is why we are still on the soft release without a big marketing campaign.

In the meantime, I am getting out there and letting people meet Dani. I’m connecting with teachers, parents, and children. I’m slowly building the platform to (hopefully) make her a success. We have our website, Facebook Page, and Twitter account where we can interact with her readers. One of the things I have thoroughly enjoyed is the communication I’ve had between the parents/children and teachers. They make each day brighter with their notes, their pictures, and feedback. We even have a new feature on our website where we are tracking where Dani has visited. Our readers are notifying us when Dani “visits” them and we are marking those visits on our world map. We look forward to expanding the map as more people learn of this feature!

 

I really like your book covers as they stand out. What advice would you offer other children authors with regard to working with an illustrator for illustrations and book covers? Dani and the Rocking Horse Ranch

There are several factors one needs to consider when deciding upon an illustrator! My first piece of advice would be to take your time. Don’t rush. We all get so excited when we write that story and we want to see it brought to life, but it is so important to wait for the right illustrator to come along.

It is also important to shop around. Spend the money to get several concept pieces done from different illustrators. Who best understands your vision? Can you communicate well with them? Do they respond? All of these are key factors. And ultimately, put your agreement in writing. It is crucial for both parties to have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations.

A writer must also focus on the reality of the situation: what can you afford? Personally, I don’t expect to make a profit from my books. It would be wonderful if I did, but it isn’t the reason I write. I write for children. To share the gift of reading. However, you have to be realistic that the overall cost of production is within means to produce and sustain. Ask yourself the hard questions and be prepared to answer it honestly.

 

Do you think social media is a waste of time and how has it helped or hurt you as a writer? 

I absolutely do not believe social media is a waste of time. But that does not mean it equates to book sales either. Social media is a wonderful way to connect with readers, parents, teachers, and other authors. The relationships, and even friendships, I’ve built from social media cannot be depreciated because they don’t bring in sales. Never underestimate the power of human connections and their true worth.

As an author friend of mine says, social media is a “time vortex.” Time disappears when on these sites. It is important to monitor the time you are investing in them and balance that out with productive time. It is all about accountability to yourself, and ultimately, to your writing.

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue? 

Honesty. I believe it is simple. Become your character. Would a character on a page really speak the same in real life? And don’t forget to listen. The world is a wonderful place to learn if you’re willing to be a sponge. Soak it all up. Then pour it all onto the page through your writing.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

Hopefully this doesn’t come out the wrong way, but I don’t want to be inspired by a book or a film. I want my inspiration to come from within. I want it to be genuine, and me.

I do have a book that has inspired me, but not as a writer―as a person. Many years ago, a client brought in a book for everyone in our office. He said he had received it as a gift and it moved him so much, that he bought dozens of books to share with others. The book was The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. I easily understood why it moved him as it struck a chord within me as well. Truth be told, I bought several copies of it myself and shared with family members.

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 1 - ATW Map

You’ve got a friend in me….Toy Story. I love the entire dynamic between Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Andy. In today’s life too many things are disposable and friendship shouldn’t be one of them. There is always room in our heart for one more. Although, I am a person that values genuine friendship over acquaintances. My grandmother always taught me that it is better to have a few true friendships than a multitude of false ones. It is all about quality over quantity.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to your city/town do? 

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area there is never a loss of things to do, whether it is taking in the theatre, strolling through Golden Gate Park, visiting Napa Valley, or heading out to the ballpark!

The possibilities are as varied as the personalities that visit! There is truly something for everyone. Of course, you can always visit one of the many libraries!

 

What can we expect from Kristen Lamb in the next 12 months? 

In addition to re-releasing the first two books, it is my hope to have the next two books in the Dani P. Mystery series released as well. The fourth book in the series is Dani and the Hidden Treasure and the fifth book is Dani and the Magician. That is a lot to accomplish in such a short period of time, but I like setting goals. It is always good to be striving toward something.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? Dani and the Mall Caper

I love connecting with Dani’s readers! You can find us at:

www.danipmystery.com

www.amazon.com/author/klamb

www.facebook.com/danipmystery

www.twitter.com/danipmystery or @danipmystery

www.authorklamb.blogspot.com

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

Decide whether you want to be an indie author or publish traditionally. Then have patience. Being a writer isn’t glamorous. It takes a lot of hard work, even longer hours, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But if you have a voice that demands to be heard, it is worth it.

 

Thanks for sharing so much with us today Kristen. I really loved the tips you gave on working with an illustrator and how we shouldn’t rush into working with the first person who comes along. As its World Book Day, I’d like to encourage everyone to checkout Kristen’s page on Amazon or any other retailer of your choice and pick up one of her books. We’d also love to hear an questions or comments you may have and as always do share this interview on your social networks.

10 Comments on Interview with Kidlit Author, Kristen Lamb, last added: 3/5/2015
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5. LitWeaver: Bringing Students, Teachers and Authors Together Virtually

It was during a #yalove Twitter chat one night that I happened to notice one tweet from author Will Weaver.  I always have an open invitation for authors to join, and we have had a few tweet with us, but to me, this man is a LEGEND!  He's been writing for well over twenty years.  He is also the author behind a new website entitled LitWeaver (http://www.litweaver.com)


I had the chance to do and online interview with Will Weaver to learn more about this site pairing e-books, authors, and reader's guides.  After reading the interview, please take a look at the website to get the full experience of the awesomeness of what these authors are doing.


 How did LitWeaver come to life virtually?

WW:  I do lots of school visits, and over the years have seen the increasing pressure on ELA teachers and school librarians. Budgets always seem in decline– especially for classroom sets of novels and new acquisitions for libraries. Some principals and superintendents believe “technology is the answer”, and find money for tablets—but none for staff support or even curriculum. The Learning Management Systems from big publishers look cumbersome and expensive—so it hit me that there has to be a better way.  A middle ground, you could say, as schools transition from print textbooks to digital learning


 Give a brief description of what LitWeaver does

WW:  LitWeaver is designed to be a bridge from your five pound lit anthology to iPad and tablet-style reading and learning. We’ve purposefully focused on shorter, contemporary young adult lit—short stories, essays, poems, and plays—that teachers can “weave”  (get it?) into their ongoing curriculum. Teachers need a break from the same readings every year!  LitWeaver also includes a short lesson plan with with discussion questions and reading prompts.


How did you get the authors on board with this idea?  

WW:  You mean Katherine Paterson?  Jerry Spinelli?  Ellen Hopkins? Rene Saldana?  Nikki Grimes?  Those kinds of authors? (Shameless name-dropping here, ha). Actually it was easy to get our 50+ authors on board. They (we) have had such amazing support over the years from teachers and librarians who have bought our books and invited us to their schools, and here was a chance to give back.


Teachers and students will have access to e-books.  Are these all free to read and download?

WW:  We believe in free stuff for schools, and we’ll always have a nice batch (about 20 titles to begin) of free reading. But our website has bills to pay, so we’ll eventually add a low-cost subscription option for “more”—that is, access to our whole library plus some other cool teaching and learning tools.  FYI, LitWeaver will never have a huge library—that’s exactly what we don’t want.  We are curating (buzzword nowadays) a select group of really good readings for grades 5-12 so you don’t have to spend time looking online or through huge, publishers’ catalogs.  Our editor, Don Gallo, and the authors themselves have picked pieces we know students will read—and maybe even like.


Each book comes with a reading guide.  Who created those?

WW:  Current classroom ELA teachers. We have a great, small team of lively teachers dedicated to keeping kids reading and thinking (a big focus on the latter)!


Currently LitWeaver is in beta stage.  When do you anticipate it becoming a full site?

WW: Within 5-6 months, that is, in time for the new school year.  Our beta release is to gauge support.  If we get a lot of teachers signing up (for free), we’ll get investor funding. If we get investor funding, we can build out LitWeaver to provide LOTS of free and low cost YA lit for schools. Nothing not to like about that.


The cost of becoming a LitWeaver user is free right now.  Will free users be able to keep this status after LitWeaver is fully functional?

WW:  Yes.  We’ll always have a rotating section of “free stuff” by top, contemporary authors. If you only want to use these free readings, that’s fine.  But we hope you’ll find enough value and excitement in LitWeaver to eventually subscribe as a paid user. As I mentioned, websites like our are expensive to build and maintain.  Looking ahead to new features, we’ll be adding a student writing component, which will be a fun complement to the reading side.  


Thank you so much Will!!  I've already gone to the site and demo'ed it out and it's really pretty intuitive.  I'm SO glad there are authors like you and the several others who contribute their time and energy to create passionate readers!!


WW: One last thing. LitWeaver doesn’t assume that all schools have 1:1 tablet technology.  If you don’t, no problem. You can select readings and print them out for distribution in class.  We believe in access first, technology second.  And please remember that our site is in open beta right now, which means we’re still working on it–so we’d love to hear your ideas. And very important: if you like where LitWeaver is headed, please sign up and help us get there.




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6. John Green ~ Author of The Fault in Our Stars ~ Interview

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7. B.J. Novak on His Book with No Pictures

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8. Interview with MGLit Author – M.J. Evans

Thanks for joining me on another edition of Author Interview Thursday.M.J. Evans Today’s special guest resides in the beautiful state of Colorado. Despite the fact she has a big family, she still makes out time to write great Middle Grade fantasy books.She is well respected amongst her peers and has worked in the education sector for many years. It truly is a delight to meet someone whose passionate about improving literacy levels in young people and loves telling a story. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming M.J. Evans.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife, a mother of five fabulous young adults, and a grandmother of nine beautiful kids. I love being outside (which is not good for an author!) I love riding my horses both on the trails in the Colorado Mountains and competitively in Dressage shows. I also love to ski, hike, camp, ride bikes…pretty much anything outside! I also love people and make friends easily. Dancing and musical theatre are also interests of mine. Now, add to that my love of reading and writing, I’m never just sitting around!

 

Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written? 

It wasn’t until I was a college student at Oregon State University that I was complimented on my writing and realized that I did have a talent for writing. It was many, many years later that I found the time to do the creative writing that I so yearned to do. Before that, I used my skills to write school curriculum and help Odyssey of the Mind teams write their one-act plays. Yet, I still didn’t really believe that I was a good writer until my books started winning national awards. When The Mist Trilogy won a gold medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards last December and North Mystic won first place in the Purple Dragonfly Awards for fantasy last spring, I started to gain a little more confidence.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

My favourite books were all horse stories! I loved all of Marguerite Henry’s books and I collect first edition copies of them. I loved Black Beauty and the Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, and National Velvet. Do you see the common theme?

 

You have currently published three books in The Mist Trilogy. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it? Behind the Mist

As you know, publishers want a middle-grade, YA novel to be 50,000 to 70,000 words in length. I had the over-arching story in my head from the beginning and found that there were natural breaks in the story at about 65,000 words. So, it turned out to be a trilogy. I started writing The Mist Trilogy to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could actually get it done. I had the story in my head and once my youngest child started high school, I actually had the time to commit to writing.

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue?

I love writing dialogue and I have found that I am quite good at it. The hardest part is to stay in character as you write what they are saying. Always ask yourself if that is something that your character would really say. Some other tricks I have learned: 1. Don’t try to fill in a lot of the story line or information through dialogue. Dialogue should enhance the story and add colour, not be the vehicle for telling the story. 2. Read it out loud, after all, dialogue is the spoken word. One example is to use conjunctions the way people actually speak. For example write: “She’s really angry with us.” Rather than “She is really angry with us.” 3. Let your characters have their own unique speech patterns and favourite phrases without over-doing it. For example, in The Mist Trilogy, one of the unicorns named Shema likes to repeat herself. One example: “Oh my poor boy, my poor, poor boy.” Hasbadana, the evil unicorn likes to try to impress others by using big words. In North Mystic, an award winning allegory of the Revolutionary war, the oldest child Evelynd is always the one to bring up the problem in any situation. She is the serious one, the pragmatic one.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why?M.J. Evans and fan

My passion is writing fantasy and I get my inspiration from J.K Rowling and C.S. Lewis. One reviewer wrote that I was this generation’s C.S. Lewis and a young reader told me in a letter that she liked my books better than Harry Potter! I don’t believe that either of those are true but it sure was nice to get those compliments. C.S. Lewis uses allegory which is a tool I love to use and have used in The Mist Trilogy and North Mystic. J.K Rowling uses beautiful description which has inspired me as I write. I have a piece of paper by my computer that has five words on it: “Smell, Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste.” J.K Rowling is a master at using all the senses in her writing.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

No contest! Toy Story!

 

With a background in education, what qualities have you seen in books that tend to capture children’s imagination?

I write so that pre-teens and teens will love to read. I believe that fantasy is one Genre that is best suited to encouraging the use of a child’s imagination. First, you are creating a fantasy world with fantasy characters. As the author paints a picture with words, the reader must use their imagination to follow the story. I have also learned that children should be allowed and encouraged to read books about topics that interest them. For me, it was horses. So, I have combined my love of horses and fantasy in The Mist Trilogy. I also enjoy history so I incorporated that passion in North Mystic.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do?

Take a trail ride into Rocky Mountain National Park. Ride a bike from the top of Vale Pass to Frisco. Drive to the top of Pikes Peak. Actually, it’s really hard to pick just three things!

 

As you own three horses, I wanted to know if you could tell us three things most people don’t know about horses.Margi Evan on Kit

Everyone thinks horses are beautiful but some people are afraid of them because they are so big. Fear of horses is something I have never known. I guess that is why I get along with them so well. People need to know that horses are herd animals. As a result, they want and need a leader. If you are going to be the leader, that is just fine with them. But if you aren’t, then they will take that role because, in their minds, someone has to be the leader. This is why horses will behave so differently depending upon who is working with them. Second, horses have both a reacting side of the brain and a thinking side. An untrained horse has an over-developed reacting side and an underdeveloped thinking side. As a trainer and rider, it is my job to reverse that. I help them develop the thinking side of the brain. You never can completely eliminate the reacting side, however! Finally, horses have a great ability to sense what a handicapped child needs from them. If you have ever watched a therapeutic horse work with a disabled child (or adult for that matter) you will be amazed. Therapy horses have helped autistic children find their voice, CP and MS children find control of their bodies and at-risk kids find a purpose in life. Horses are truly amazing and a gift from God.

 

 

What can we expect from M.J. Evans in the next 12 months?

I have just completed a new manuscript titled In the Heart of a Mustang. It is a young adult novel about a troubled teen and a mustang mare that meet at an Arizona ranch. The bond that forms between the two saves both their lives. I am now starting to submit it for publication. It is not a fantasy and for a little older audience than The Mist Trilogy and North Mystic so that is new for me.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

I love getting letters from my readers. They make my day…week…month! Readers can connect with me by going to my website: www.mjevansbooks.com They can also follow me on Facebook: Behind the Mist or North Mystic or on my blog: www.themisttrilogy.blogspot.com.

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

I understand how frustrating the publishing industry is. Not only is it hard to break in and actually get someone to publish your work but the industry is going through a lot of changes that are hard to keep up with. Some of the changes are helpful for new authors. They now have the option of self-publishing, either in print or on eBook. I actually know several authors who are bypassing or abandoning the traditional publishers all together and just publishing on eBook format. I would recommend that new authors find several beta readers that are not family members or best friends to read their manuscript before submitting it to a publisher. Take their suggestions if you want, discard if you want, but at least you would get some objective feedback. The best thing that happened to me was when I submitted North Mystic to a publisher. After reviewing my query and sample chapters, she asked to see the full manuscript. A couple of months later, she turned down the book but wrote up a full page, single spaced, critique. I took every one of her comments and made the changes. As a result of her helpful suggestions and criticisms, North Mystic was not only published but went on to become an award winner.

 

Thanks for spending time with us today Margi. I loved your insight on horses and I’m really impressed with how you’ve weaved in a theme around horses – something you love – into your stories. Do check out Margi’s website where you can purchase one of her books. Do share our interview using one of the share buttons and leave a comment/question. We’d be delighted to respond and know that you stopped by.

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9. Spotlight on a Book Series: Liz DeJesus and the Frost Series...

I want to thank and welcome good friend and fantastic YA author, Liz DeJesus for sharing her personal experiences on writing a book series and showcasing her paranormal/fairytale series The Frost Series with us on my blog today. So let’s get this interview rolling…
 
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Frost Series, Liz?

I got the initial idea for First Frost while watching a commercial for a local children’s museum. I thought about how cool it would be to have themed museums (since children are often into different things), like a train museum, pirate museum, or a fairy tale museum. And once I came upon that idea I knew I had stumbled upon something special. I grabbed my notebook as quickly as possible and jotted down the first things that popped into my head. Nine months later I had a novel.

Nine months? Sounds like you were having a baby. LOL! How many books are you planning to write in this young adult paranormal/fairytale series?

As many as I possibly can. I have an endless fountain of inspiration, there are so many fairy tales that I can have fun with and add to the storyline. But I don’t want to force anything with this series. If it has to come to an end, I want it to happen organically.

What sets The Frost Series apart from other series in the same genre?

The Frost Series is not a fairy tale retelling in the traditional sense. I’ve taken characters that live in the real world and thrown them into a series of magical events. The liberties I’ve taken with some fairy tales it’s mostly to add a solid foundation to the plot line. And some of the main characters are descendants of some of the most popular fairy tales. Bianca Frost is the great-great-great granddaughter of Snow White. Terrance is the grandson of the Big Bad Wolf. Prince Ferdinand is the great-grandson of Cinderella. The only one that’s just a normal girl is Bianca’s best friend, Ming.
We also get to interact with some of the items in the fairy tale museum and discover what each item is truly capable of.

Wow, your characters sound well developed and believable! How long did it take for you to
start and finish each book from The Frost Series?

The initial draft for First Frost took me about 9 months to write. And then another 3 months to edit and polish the book before I started submitting it to publishers and agents. Then while I dealt with rejection I wrote Glass Frost which took me about a year and a half to write and in that time Musa Publishing accepted First Frost and published it.

And I just finished writing the third book in the series, Shattered Frost, it took me about 2 years to write mostly because it’s such a complicated novel. It’s split between two points of view (Bianca and Terrance) and it was harder for me to get inside of Terrance’s head and write his scenes. With Bianca it’s so easy to slip in and out of her head because she’s so much like me. But I think people will enjoy this new adventure and see how these characters have grown and matured since we last saw them.

What are some of your favorite book series, Liz?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and anything written by Jessica Clare.

Hmm, I’ve got to check those authors out. Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write a series?

What has worked for me is to treat each book like a stand-alone novel. Only difference is that I’m using the same characters over and over again. But again, I’m new at writing a series so I’m just having as much fun as possible and listening to what my readers and other bloggers have to say. I do take some of their comments into consideration but I make sure it all goes with what I have in mind for the series.

I agree. As long as your readers give you constructive advice, then listen to them. So, what’s next for Liz DeJesus the author?

A lot of things! I’m getting ready to hit the road again, going to a whole bunch of conventions, book festivals, fairy festivals and libraries. I put together a few workshops and I am thrilled that people are enjoying them and that they are learning as well as putting some of my tips to good use. I also finished writing the third draft of Shattered Frost, I sent it to my editor and I’m waiting to hear back from her. Once that’s done I’ll send it to Musa Publishing and see if they will accept it for publication.

I’m also working on a collection of short stories titled Mugshots (it was inspired by some amazing artwork by MarilenAdroverhttps://www.facebook.com/adroverart) still have a few things to work on story-wise (if they are going to be individual short stories or if it will all tie in together somehow), but I’m having fun with this particular book.

I also have a few ideas bouncing around my head for book #4 of The Frost Series but nothing concrete yet.

I’m also working on a middle grade book titled Pros and Cons of Being a Teenage Fairy. It’s about a girl that grows fairy wings on her 13th birthday and how she navigates her life now that she’s a fairy.
So there is a lot to look forward to as far as writing is concerned.

 Sounds like you’ll be one busy gal! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—IF you could time travel into Earth’s past, WHO would you love to meet, and WHY?

It’s definitely a tie between Vincent Van Gogh and Antoni Gaudi. I love art and architecture (probably because I wish I could draw, only thing I can draw are stick figures) and I would love to meet artists that I admire just to see what it is that inspired them to create. I believe that as a writer there is a lot you can learn from other creative people.

SPECIAL NOTE: I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Liz on being a finalist in the Book Bzz competition! If you’d like to vote for Liz during the month of February, here’s the link: http://bookbzz.com/first-frost-by-liz-dejesus/

Blurb for First Frost:

Fairytales aren’t real…yeah…that’s exactly what Bianca thought. She was wrong.

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

Blurb for Glass Frost:

When joined together, Cinderella's slippers grant the wearer her heart's desire.  But whose wish will be granted?

When Cinderella’s glass slipper is stolen, Queen Felicia sends her faithful steward Terrance to the real world to retrieve his love and witch-in-training, Bianca Frost. The power of the glass slipper in the wrong hands could ruin peace in Everafter. Bianca must gather every bit of magic she has learned in the past few weeks to find the slipper and protect her new love. Together, Bianca, Ming, Prince Ferdinand, and Terrance venture deep into the heart of Everafter to seek clues as to who has stolen the slipper and why. Along the way, they uncover what happened to the Seven Dwarves after Snow White married the prince, but also learn the awful risk of tampering with black magic and the high price that must be paid for magical aid, even when used for good.

Bianca and Terrance’s relationship is put to the test. Through the pain of suffering and loss, Bianca must determine if following her gallant boyfriend into his faraway world is in fact her heart's desire. 

Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico.  She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi'er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 2011) First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 2012), Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, July 2013), Morgan (Indie Gypsy, July 2014) and The Laurel (Musa Publishing, November 2014). Her work has also appeared in Night Gypsy: Journey Into Darkness (Indie Gypsy, October 2012) and Someone Wicked (Smart Rhino Publications, Winter 2013).
Liz is currently working on a new novel and a comic book series titled Zombie Ever After (Emerald Star Comics, Fall 2014).

First Frost Buy Links:

Glass Frost Buy Links:

Learn more about Liz Dejesus on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, and TWITTER

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10. Jeff Kinney ~ Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

0 Comments on Jeff Kinney ~ Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid as of 2/8/2015 4:28:00 PM
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11. Interview with MGLit Author – Cheryl Carpinello

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve joined me today and our special guest.Cheryl Carpinello The wonderful lady in the hotseat has a background in education and recently became a grandma for the third time. Between juggling her roles as a wife, mother, grandma, educator, champion of children authors and so much more, she finds the time to write brilliant books for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. She writes Quest stories that span different historical time periods like the Medieval era or ancient Egypt. She’s one of the main hosts of the Kidlit Blog Hop and has personally helped me broadcast my books on her blog and social platforms. She has a big heart and I know you’ll pick up something good. Do join me in welcoming Cheryl Carpinello.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself & the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

I’m a twice-retired high school (ages 14-18) English teacher from Colorado having taught for 25 years. I love working with my students, and now I write for middle graders and early teens. It is my love of the ancient and medieval worlds that provides my settings for my stories.

Shortly after my first book, Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, was published, I was doing a medieval writing workshop for 30 Junior Girl Scouts. As part of their participation, each girl received an autographed copy of my book. About a week later, I received an email from one of the girls. She told me that she had fallen in love with Guinevere and thanked me for writing the story. She also wanted to know when the next book would be released!

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Cheryl Carpinello? 

Readers can be sure that they will be transported back into the ancient or medieval world in an adventure that at times, while exciting, may be dangerous and life-threatening. Weaved throughout the story are historical facts and fiction which enable readers to imagine themselves in that setting.

 

You’ve written several books set around medieval and ancient times. Can you tell us where this fascination with ancient tales stemmed from?Tutankhamen Speaks 

I would like to say that it was from my childhood when I first watch Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, but my fascination with Medieval times started in college when I read Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. I fell in love with his descriptive interpretations of that era. Then I discovered T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. I’m a romantic and these stories drew me into the heart of medieval times. As for the ancient worlds, I’ve always loved them and teaching ancient Greek & Roman literature furthered my fascination and love. We spent three weeks touring Egypt in 2008. Always on my bucket list, Egypt stole part of my soul.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

I loved—and still do—horses. I devoured horse stories growing up. My favorites were The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and The Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform, and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? 

In today’s book world, social media is where an author gets their name out in the world. An author needs exposure and social media can be an important tool. I’ve met a lot of people—authors, readers, educators, PR—that would not have been possible without Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, & Pinterest. In that aspect, it has been helpful, but at times it is also frustrating, overwhelming, and time consuming. I would love to have a simple formula to plug in and use. Know one?!

 

What tips do you have for writing good dialogue? The King's Ransom

Writing good dialogue demands an ear for how an author’s characters speak. After 25 years teaching teenagers (14-18), their nuances and mannerisms are second nature to me. That is extremely helpful when writing for MG/Tween/YA. Authors should pay attention to conversations around them. If writing for young readers, observe nieces/nephews/younger cousins and/or volunteer at local schools/youth sporting events. Observation and listening are important tools when it comes to writing dialogue.

 

Is there a particular book or film that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

I would have to choose Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien handles the hero’s journey and the quest story masterfully. We studied the similarities between Tolkien, Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King in my high school English classes and talked a lot about the influence of Joseph Campbell in all of those. For readers not familiar with Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Tolkien does the best job of incorporating Campbell’s philosophy in his writing. That is what I strive to emulate in my writing.

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 

Shrek! Sorry to say I’ve never seen Toy Story. Shrek is on his own hero’s journey in his story.

 

With a background in education, what qualities have you seen in books that tend to capture children’s imagination? 

Kids tend to be drawn into stories that transport them to other world(s). Writers can do this by focusing on their audience and writing at a level that encourages growth in understanding and vocabulary. Continuous action without long drawn out description is equally important. Young readers also love to read about characters that they can identify with either in age, situation, or experience. Take poetry as an example. Many readers—young and old—have a difficult time with understanding poetry in meaning and vocabulary. The main reason for this is that readers bring to a written piece of work their personal experiences. If they are unable to relate to the poem’s topic or the vocabulary is several levels above where they are reading, chances are good that the poem won’t be finished or even tried again. The same works for stories, fiction and non-fiction.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Colorado do? 

Getting up into our Colorado Rocky Mountains is a must whether it’s summer or winter. Colorado has 53—although some say more—peaks over 14,000 feet (4267.2 meters) in height. Hiking or snow skiing in the Rockies is an experience not found elsewhere.

Southwestern Colorado has some of the best examples of Native American ruins in the US. Mesa Verde with its cliff dwellings is not to be missed.

If visiting in spring or summer, taking in a concert at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater is an experience of a lifetime. The best of the music world have performed on this outdoor venue including The Beatles, Mumford & Sons, and James Taylor. The entire metro Denver area is visible from the seats as well as the start of the eastern plains.

 

What can we expect from Cheryl Carpinello in the next 12 months? SONS OF THE SPHINX_front

After spending the last two years in ancient Egypt, I’m back in Medieval England working on the second of three Guinevere books. Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend was meant to be a stand-alone. Over the last five years, I’ve had readers contact me wanting to know when the next book about this young princess would be done. Also, Guinevere’s young friend Cedwyn has been whispering in my ear. Seems he really does have his heart set on becoming a knight! So, I’ve given into the pressure and am just finishing the first draft of Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend—Cedwyn’s Story. At this time, it looks like very late in 2015 or early in 2016 for a release date.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? 

I have three websites:

Blog: Carpinello’s Writing Pages http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com where I interview children/MG/YA authors. Readers can find your interview there.

Author Site: Beyond Today Educator http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com

3-Author Site: The Quest Books http://www.adventurequestbooks.com where I team up with South African MG author Fiona Ingram and Abu Dhabi MG author Wendy Leighton-Porter. New subscribers to our monthly newsletter get to choose a free eBook from all our eBooks.

 

Social Media:

Good Reads:   http://www.goodreads.com/cherylcarpinello

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

Write because you love to write, not to get rich. Writing is a long uphill climb.

Write the type of story you love to read, not what is popular.

Be passionate about your audience.

Thank you, David, for having me.

 

The pleasure was all mine Cheryl. I liked what you said about observation and listening being highly beneficial when it comes to writing good dialogue. Do connect with Cheryl at one of the links she provided. I did a short piece on Cheryl’s latest book – Sons of Sphinx. Be sure to share this interview on your social network and leave a comment below.

 

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12. Author Interview with KD Forsman

Welcome, welcome, welcome.KD FORSMAN Its Author Interview Thursday and another wonderful opportunity to get to know an author whose shaking and baking somewhere on God’s green earth. Today’s special guest comes from the beautiful nation of New Zealand. She’s a first time author and her book – Fraud & Fabrication – was published a couple of days ago. She’s encountered some unique challenges on the road to getting her novel published and I’m so excited she gets to spill the beans on how she navigated those speed bumps. She’s also an avid reader and blogger and does all she can to support writers. She’s ready and I know I’m ready, so without further ado, please join me in welcoming KD Forsman.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

I was born in the UK and immigrated to New Zealand with my family at the age of four. I have lived in the Waikato region which some may know as ‘middle earth’ from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For most of my life I have been a keen horsewoman, and enjoyed a range of equestrian activities, dressage, endurance, hunting and everything in between. I have a wonderful husband and between us we have four grown up ‘children’, so I guess we’re your typical empty nesters. These days our ‘babies’ are our two dogs; Max, a fox terrier, and; Jimmy Choo, a Chihuahua cross.

I’m a project manager by day and a freelance writer, blogger and ebook author by night. I have done a lot of voluntary work in the past for organisations including; Arts Waikato and Riding for Disabled, which involved writing content for their website and newsletters. Fraud & Fabrication is my first attempt into the unfamiliar territory of fiction writing… as for complements; I’m sure my readers will be quick to judge either way!

  

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by KD Forsman?

A book that is readable and one that they can relate to.

Fraud & Fabrication is centred a wealthy racing family and reveals that underneath the veneer of success, the Leighton’s have everyday issues, drama, personality clashes and family secrets. It is spiced with a bit of romance, but the book is not a classic romance novel in the true sense of the word; the genre would be more women’s contemporary drama. Whilst I hope the story is entertaining for my readers, the underlying theme is about uncovering the truth and making a life changing decision… rightly or wrongly.

  

Your first book – ‘Fraud & Fabrication’ has just been released. Can you tell us about any challenges you encountered while writing and how you overcame them?Fraud and Fabrication

My biggest challenge was writing the love scenes. It took me a month to get past one particular chapter, but in the end I threw caution to the wind and just went for it. Then I let a girlfriend read it (big mistake) and I ended up re-writing it completely. After wasting a lot of time and angst, on something that really didn’t matter; I finally came to the conclusion that you should never let close family or friends read your draft until it is completed. Big lesson for a newbie!

 

Can you tell us a little bit about Fraud & Fabrication’ and if you’ll consider doing a series?

Fraud & Fabrication is the first of the Leighton Park series, about the wealthy and eccentric Leighton family, their successful horse racing empire and their closely guarded family secrets.

I knew I had to get serious about my writing when I realised the characters in my head were not going to leave me in peace. They’re a bunch of crazies, but they’re my crazies. A couple of story ideas had been percolating in my imagination for a number of years. In the end I thought it would be interesting to mush them all together and see what I could cook up. The result is Fraud & Fabrication. Seeing this book through to fruition was amazing and even I was surprised at how the ending turned out.

 

How critical was having a copy editor/proof-reader in getting your book published?

Absolutely paramount. As mentioned, I let a couple of close friends/family read the first draft which did sway the final product. However this feedback was nothing compared to the ‘polish’ a professional editor was able to provide me with. Despite the fact that I’d read and re-read, spell checked and triple checked my manuscript before I sent it to my editor; she was still able to provide huge improvements to the overall readability of the story. She also picked up numerous errors and typos that I had overlooked. As writers we can be completely blind to our common mistakes – it’s just the way we are wired. I got huge value from an independent, professional editing service and would never ever skip this step. I want my readers to enjoy a quality product when they order and read my books.

  

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?

  1. Being too formal – not writing how the character would speak
  2. Overuse of dialogue tags – he said, she said, John said etc.
  3. Underusing dialogue. Dialogue is a great way to set the pace of the story and get important information across quickly, keeping the reader interested and engaged with the story.

  

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?KD FORSMAN ON A HORSE

Gosh that was a hard question! 

Film – I’d have to say Silence of the Lambs; “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

Book – One I read recently which was extremely memorable was Gone Girl; it had a great dialogue, fantastic plot which kept the reader guessing all the way to the end.

Gone Girl’s parody Go Away Girl was equally as good, extremely witty with some memorable laugh out loud moments – I’d definitely recommend both books, read the real one first!

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Shrek without a doubt. I can so relate to the princess and the donkey.

 

You’ve been blogging since 2008. What have you found paramount in maintaining a successful blog.

  1. Writing on a topic I enjoy
  2. Regular posts – at least one post per week
  3. Being generous with my time for others. I offer a free book tweeting service for fellow authors and this has really helped build a readership for my blog. In an information rich society, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to be willing to truly engage with others and pay it forward.

  

What three things should a first time visitor to New Zealand do?

New Zealand is a unique location with something to suit every age and stage… I found it exceptionally hard to narrow down three things, but here goes;

  • Trout fishing at Lake Taupo
  • Surf lessons in Raglan (home of the legendary left hand break and black sand)
  • Annual Marlborough Food & Wine Festival

 

What can we expect from KD Forsman in the next 12 months?Fraud and Fabrication Books

I am hoping to finish the second book of the Leighton Park series which will centre more on one of the more colourful characters from book one, who else but the amazing Cheree! She has so many layers to her, I’m looking forward to unravelling that a bit further and seeing what we can find.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

Email               kdforsman@outlook.co.nz

Web                 www.kdforsman.com

Twitter             https://twitter.com/mybookreviewsnz

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/kdforsman

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

Do what it takes to get the job done!

For me, that meant scoping out the entire outline of ‘Fraud & Fabrication’ before I wrote a single word. It made it so much easier and gave me a roadmap to let the story unfold. It also made a huge difference to my writing and helped me take my story from an idea concept to an actual plot to a first draft. This worked for me, but I realise that everyone is different. I made a conscious choice to get serious about my writing in May 2014 and worked with ‘book midwife’ Maria Carlton to get me on the way to completing my first draft. Without that help, I’d probably still be thinking about it now.

I read somewhere recently that to be a successful author, you need to write more books. I totally believe this, and realise now that publishing my first book doesn’t mean ‘I’ve now made it’ as an author!

 

I couldn’t agree more with you Karen. This writing gig is definitely a journey and not a destination. I loved what you said about having a copy editor being paramount to the success and completion of your book. I think sometimes copy editors and proof readers are sometimes the unsung heroes who can make all the difference to a novel. You can enter to win a copy of Fraud and Fabrication on GoodReads. If you can’t wait, feel free to grab a copy on Amazon. Remember to leave a comment below and share this interview using the Social buttons.

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13. Interview with Kidlit Author – C.L. Murphy

Its back! Author Interview Thursday is back for the first part of the year and I’d like you to get ready for some inspiring authors who will not only provide the necessary fuel to turbo-charge your writing career to another level but will also offer tips, personal stories and current industry trends.CL Murphy - Childrens book Author Today in the hotseat, we have a lady who I met on Twitter. She absolutely and truly gets Twitter and to observe her interaction with fans and fellow authors on that social media platform is truly remarkable. She’s forever drawing attention to other authors books but guess what? The spotlight is firmly on her today. I’ve learned so much from her from afar and I’m glad I get the chance to ask the questions I’ve always wanted to ask her. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming C.L. Murphy.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

Whilst some may call me an author, I consider myself more of an illustrator. The first time I received recognition for something I created was in the third grade when I won a school wide poster contest. I lost my focus from art after my Mom died when I was 12. She was a talented artist and some of the happier times that I recall from early childhood, were of her creativity.  It wasn’t until my last year of high school that I was encouraged again by the teachers who told me that art was what I needed to be doing. I went on to college with a concentration in design. My creative spirit has led me down many paths, but none as rewarding as creating children’s picture books. One of those paths led me to paint a mural or two (or twenty). Colourful jungle critters “keep the beat” in this mural that I painted on a children’s music classroom wall.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by C.L. Murphy?CL Scribbles 1

I hope readers will fall in love with the lovable wolf pup character that I’ve created. He’s a kind lil’ fellow that loves all creatures and wouldn’t think of harming any of them. Uniquely, he considers himself a herbivore. He and his kooky, right-hand(wing) raven, Roxy, will take children on adventures in the great outdoors, introducing them to animals, all while trying to be true to his kind and curious nature.

 

You write and illustrate your books. Can you tell us your process in terms of what comes first and pertinent advice for other children’s book authors looking to illustrate their stories?

Because I am such a visual person, I always have the story envisioned in my mind prior to beginning. I start by sketching the story on paper and then creating the new characters digitally. The characters seem to speak to me during this part of the process as they come to life in my mind. I cannot give any advice to others because that would make me appear if I were some kind of expert. If anything, I’d say; find your style and keep crafting it.

 

Cathy, you’re the absolute master when it comes to Twitter. Can you give us a few tips on connecting with fans and authors on Twitter and how its been beneficial to you as an author?

Master? I’m just another twit on twitter. Haha! I do have fun, though, and enjoy the social platform. I find the 140 character limit a perfect format to connect with people.  I have benefited from Twitter by meeting and forming friendships with delightful people from all over the world. Many authors, teachers, readers, parents and creative folk are out there in Twitterland ready and willing to connect and share. They all brighten my day. I love following fellow KidLit tweeps but also appreciate those that enjoy life. I am interested in many things and what people have to say. Be kind and curious, just like Lobo’s character, and other tweeps will engage.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?Sunny the Sand Angel

Favorites? I can find merit with any book and I dislike playing favorites. It’s like asking me which of my sons is my favorite child. I love them dearly for different reasons. I owned a decent sized collection of books as a child and I would play librarian with the assortment. I categorized my books (which is surprising because I’m not what you’d call orderly) and taped check out slips in every single one. My library “stamp” was the family Christmas greeting that was used to stamp our signature on our yearly greeting cards. Oh, how I’d love to to find one of the books with the imprint of Merry Christmas from Bill, Bette, Carol & Cathy Lou, stamped in it. Those ALL would be my favorites!

 

You’re a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). Would you advise other children’s book authors and illustrators to join and how has it helped you? 

I’m a member of a fairly new branch of an Oregon chapter. We don’t assemble as much as I’d like, but when we do, I always leave the meeting enthused about what I’ve learned and anxious to use the knowledge. The society is a wonderful wealth of information and I would highly recommend any author or illustrator to join their local chapter. I feel it is almost mandatory to join if you want to stay involved with the industry.

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published?Lovable Lobo North Pole

Once a book is available to readers, the work is far from over, so there’s no time to celebrate. A successful launch includes promotions and honest reviews in hopes that others take note. You hope that children and their parents will like, or better yet, LOVE, what you’ve poured your heart and soul into. The BEST reward is when something you’ve created is appreciated!

 

What is your favourite Hollywood Animal film and why?

There you go asking me to play favorites again, David. As a child, the movie Bambi, made quite an impact on me. I’d listen to the story on a record player over and over again. I had a pet rabbit that I named Thumper based on one of the movie’s characters. I enjoy animated movies and ones that capture your imagination. I’ll always be a kid at heart with a soft spot for the furry and the feathered.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Oregon do?

Oregon has so much to offer! There’s outdoor activities galore, available year round, in every corner of the state! A visit to Crater Lake National Park is a must. If you’re a fan of live theatre, then world renowned, Oregon Shakespeare Festival can’t be missed. We’re famous for our microbreweries and wine regions, if you partake. Don’t get me started on the local cuisine!  How does some warm MARIONBERRY cobbler à la mode or a chocolate HAZELNUT torte or a PEAR upside-down gingerbread cake with caramel drizzle sound? Oops. I think my sweet tooth is showing.

 

Lovable, who is the main character in your popular series – The Adventures of Lovable Lobo – was inspired by a wolf you raised for 14 years. Can you tell us something we possibly don’t know about wolves?musicroom

I could perhaps tell you everything you’d ever want to know (or not) about wolves. Okay, that’s not true. I believe them to be magnificent, intelligent creatures with a very caring social structure. Interestingly, the wolf has inspired many legends and stories, their imagery is present in many cultures and even prehistoric man left evidence of their existence. Did you know that wolves are one of the few animals that communicate using a great range of facial expressions?

 

With Christmas just gone, can you tell us the most memorable gift you received growing up?

A very memorable gift was a copy of The Wizard of Oz book that I received from an aunt at Christmas. Memorable, because I found it creepy. That wicked witch gave me nightmares as did the house coming down and squishing her. And those flying monkeys! I appreciate that the newer story’s adaptions have lessened the creepiness, but back then, I hid the book from sight. I did want a pair of those ruby slippers, though.

 

What can we expect from C.L. Murphy in the next 12 months?Lobo Huddling

Lovable Lobo will go on another adventure. I have two stories in the works. They are fighting amongst themselves and the strongest shall prevail. I’m hoping to announce a BIG surprise, that no one will see coming, sometime in 2015 but it may not happen until 2016.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

 

Website: http://lovablelobo.com

Blog: http://lovablelobo.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LovableLobo

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lovable-Lobo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6852948.C_L_Murphy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/murphymess

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CLMurphyKidLit

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

I waited until my sons went off to college to start the journey even though I had plenty of ideas. When they were young, they were always a source of inspiration. I’d take my notebook along and write and draw during our outings. For instance, they liked to fish. I did not. I took that opportunity to create in between baiting hooks. Ah, worm guts. Nature can be so inspiring! The point is; I could have started back then. Could have. Would have. Should have.

It is both an exciting and interesting time in the publishing world. Never has it been so easy to self-publish and that has created a glut of self-published books on the market, with absolutely NO filter. How do you stand out amongst the gazillions? You produce a quality product and develop a loyal fan base whether you’re traditionally published or not. It is not easy, as I’m sure you know all too well, David. It takes dedication and an inordinate amount of time. If you love what you do, you keep doing it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them when you do, try new things, make new connections, stay informed and see where it takes you, but NEVER give up. That’s my strategy and I’m sticking with it.

Thank you, David, for this opportunity to share.

 

The pleasure was all mine Cathy. I like how you ended by encouraging us never to give up. It sometimes seems like the time is never perfect to begin that dream. Sadly, things will never be perfect for us to begin that dream and the best time to start is usually now. Please connect with Cathy at the links she provided above and let her know you got to know her through my interview with her. She currently has two books about Lovable Lobo that you can get on Amazon and other Online Retailers. Kindly leave a question or comment below so Cathy and I know you stopped by.

11 Comments on Interview with Kidlit Author – C.L. Murphy, last added: 1/25/2015
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14. Player Profile: Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train Tell us about your latest creation: The Girl on the Train is psychological thriller which examines the fine line between normality and the loss of control wrought by addiction. It’s all about how when you peel back the veneer of everyday life, you can find something really quite disturbing just underneath… […]

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15. Hello 2015!

I don’t know about you, but so far, 2015 has been a good year. Okay, so we’re only nine days into it, but hey, it’s nice to start out on a good note! For starters, next week is the Celebration of Local Authors which I’m excited to be a part of. I’ll be there all […]

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16. Author Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m happy and sad. I’m sad because today will be our last interview for the year but I’m super happy because we have a full roaster of inspiring authors lined up for the new year.Krysten Lindsay Hager Some of the authors lined up for 2015, have been admired by yours truly from afar and I’m so glad we both get a chance to learn something new and inspiring. On the hot seat today is a lady from the beautiful state of Ohio. She is an international bestselling author and her book ‘True Colors’ has gained a fanbase on several continents. She writes in different genres and loves making authors look good. I’m so glad she’s with us today and please have her name etched somewhere on your medulla oblongata as I believe you’ll be hearing more of it in the days to come. She has a lot to share with us today, so please join me in welcoming Krysten Lindsay Hager.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?

I’m a writer who used to work in journalism. The first time I got attention for something I wrote was when I won a writing contest in the first grade. I won a little clown doll (a cute one, not one of those scary ceramic clowns that can give a kid nightmares) for a school-wide essay contest.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Krysten Lindsay Hager?

I always write with humor because even the most difficult times in life are easier to take with a little humor.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? True Colors Book Cover

I think it helps people know who you are as a person and a bit of what they can expect from your work. A lot of people who knew me before reading the book have said, “Oh, I can hear you in the novel.” Some people have said when Landry and her mom argue in the book about Landry modelling that you can hear me with my adult view of modelling versus my view of it at Landry’s age.

 

You write in multiple genres like Young Adult, Middle Grade and Adult Fiction. Has this created any unique challenges and how have you overcome them?

The only difference is some of the themes you touch on. I wouldn’t use anything political in a middle grade/YA book, but I can do that in an adult piece. And obviously any dating situation is different. But a lot of the emotions stay the same no matter what the age.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

I love Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together, My Mother was Never a Kid by Francine Pascal, The Great Mom Swap by Betsy Haynes, and Goodbye, Glamour Girl by Erika Tamar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-read those books.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?

F. Scott Fitzgerald has such a way with dialogue. The Great Gatsby is a favourite. I’ll never understand why they assign it in middle school though. I didn’t appreciate it until later in life.

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published? talk show set

I may have bought myself a bracelet and a necklace, but I can justify them both since the bracelet is similar to the one Landry wears in the True Colors (with a heart charm) and the butterfly necklace will appear in the sequel, Best Friends...Forever?

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Toy Story all the way.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Ohio do?

Well, I’m a book lover so I’m going to say check out Joseph-Beth Booksellers and Books & Co—both gorgeous bookstores. There’s an Air Force museum here and I personally love the train museum with all the little miniature displays of houses and towns. I have to say though that it throws me not living near the Great Lakes though. I’m from Michigan and I miss the lakes so I try to get home when I can.

 

With Christmas around the corner, can you tell us the most memorable gift you received growing up?  On a TV Show

I know I should say something like the gift of family togetherness, but let’s be honest, what can beat a Barbie Dream House? Kudos to my dad who spent ALL day putting that thing together…and was an awesome Ken…even if he spoke in a falsetto voice whenever he was Ken.

 

What can we expect from Krysten Lindsay Hager in the next 12 months?

I have a sequel to True Colors called, Best Friends…Forever? (Book 2: Landry’s True Colors series) coming out in 2015. I’m also working on another MG book, two YA ones and an adult humor novel. And I’m working on the third Landry book in the Landry’s True Colors series.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

My website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? TrueColorsbannerwebsite

If a writer is just starting out then I’d suggest taking a literature class to learn from the best—the classics. I’d also say to take as many classes on writing, literature as you can as well as going to conferences and workshops. You can never learn enough. If you’re getting frustrated then I’d say to write the story you want to read and not worry about whether or not it gets published. Take all that pressure off yourself and enjoy the whole writing process. The work will be a lot better that way and that will increase your chances of publication. Even if it doesn’t get published, the focus should be on the journey, not the destination.

 

Awesome! Thanks for not holding back and sharing so much from your journey. I think as authors we sometimes get frustrated and it’s because we take our eyes off of the ‘main thing’ – our calling to write. Please connect with Krysten at one of the links she provided. Check out Krysten’s books and grab a copy for yourself or a loved one. Also remember to share this interview using the social buttons below and leave a comment. Merry Christmas!

7 Comments on Author Interview with Krysten Lindsay Hager, last added: 12/18/2014
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17. In the Limelight with MG Author: Derek Thompson…

I want to thank magnificent middle grade author, Derek Thompson for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Derek’s book Superhero Club can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: For a chance to win an ecopy of Superhero Club please check out the Rafflecopter at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview started…

Welcome, Derek! How long have you been writing?

I lovedwriting stories as a young child, and the way you could start to create a world or a situation that then, somehow, pulled you into it. My interest in novel writing really took hold in my teens. Writing became a way of exploring ideas, making sense of the world around me, and finding out who I was.

Very inspiring for younger writers! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Superhero Club?

Generally, I start with the central character and what I learn about them takes the story forward. In the case of Jo, once I understood her that gave me the main challenges and relationships.

I was an exam invigilator at a local school, which also included one-to-one support for children with additional educational needs (reading, handwriting or explaining some key words and terms). Being back in a school environment allowed me to see how real children behave with one another, and it also made me think about my own schooldays.

Putting all that together, I wanted to create fully realised, living, breathing characters that readers would care about enough to share their journey.

Sounds like you’ve done a top-notch job! What sets Superhero Club apart from other books/series in the same genre?

That's a good question! Superhero Club is set in the present day and touches upon some of the issues that young people face: self-image, bullying, fitting in at school, food issues and modern families. All that said, the book also deals with the importance of friendship, creativity, transformation and self-acceptance. It's written with humour and, first and foremost, is an entertaining read that will have you rooting for Jo, the main character. My hope is that it will also stimulate discussion about the issues raised and encourage anyone who is having any of Jo's challenges to talk to someone about it.

Hmm…I bet a readers’ guide for this book would be a great investment! As a middle grade author, what is your writing process?

The character came first and once I 'heard' her voice clearly it as a case of allowing her to tell her own story. I didn't have a fixed idea about where the story was heading until about halfway through the writing.
 
How long did it take for you to start and finish Superhero Club?

Once I understood Jo and her situations it was a fairly smooth process - I'd say around a month to put it together and then refine it. There were some ideas I had originally that, on further reflection, were too ambitious for this book. However, they may reach the page in some other form in the future.
 
A month? Wish I had your typing fingers! Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Derek?

The most important thing is to understand the lives of young people, as well as what they are reading. Stories need to be relevant to your readers, and emotions need to be authentic. One aspect of fiction that's largely overlooked, I think, is its capacity for enabling and encouraging us to feel. Emotional literacy is as important as literacy itself.

Above all, write! Worry about all the other stuff later - the editing and pacing can all be worked on, but only if you have a completed story to work with. I'd also say that it's important to have fun with it. Make your readers laugh, cry, think differently and even gasp with surprise.

Get feedback from young people and school staff if you can - it will give you valuable insight into how your ideas and your writing are received.

Truly, it’s all about how you make readers feel. Wonderful advice! So, what’s next for Derek Thompson the author?

I've written two contemporary adult British thrillers (I'm a Brit) that are under review by a UK publisher - best described as an updated British noir. I've also written a standalone transatlantic comedy drama, loosely based on a year I spent living the American Dream in New York and California.

As regards writing for children, I have some early draft books that need dusting off, and I'm now thinking about another adventure for Jo and the Superhero Club.

All things considered, 2015 is going to be an exciting writing year!

Wishing you all the best in 2015, Derek! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Well, having grown up with Dr Who, time travel has always held a bit of a fascination for me. I'm going to be greedy and choose three journeys through time:

I'd like to go back into my own timeline (always tricky!), to see myself as a child and to see my family again at that time. Part curiosity and part therapy!

Next, it would have to be Ancient Egypt. I've been on two trips to Egypt and felt a real sense of connection with the Egyptian history and culture. In particular, Karnak temple at Luxor at the height of its influence and the wondrous Nile would be an amazing sight.

Lastly, I'd love to see a glimpse of Victorian London, when the railways were the lifeblood of the nation and the London Underground was developing. I would walk along cobbled streets and read about the adventures of a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
    
Mini synopsis for Superhero Club:

You only find out you're a butterfly if you spread your wings.

Twelve year-old Jo has never fit in at school, what with being overweight and over-sensitive. Since Dad moved out, Mom forgets who's who in the whole mother-daughter relationship. Jo has one ambition in life: to be normal. Not gifted, or gorgeous, or even particularly popular. Just normal.

When Jo's counselor offers her a lifeline, there's a bunch of other misfits sharing the rope. Group sessions could help them to help each other, but Chris doesn't like speaking and Alistair's a self-confessed geek. Like Stevie, the joker, says, “Oh yeah, right bunch of bloody superheroes we are!”

Sometimes the most heroic thing is to trust a group of strangers, who also have a lot at stake. Jo may find the unlikeliest of friends, and a way to transform her life from the inside. The Superhero Club could give her all that in the blink of an eye. Well, maybe a double-blink!

Sales links:




Connect with Derek:


Pinterest link showing covers and sales link for my books, ors book that contains some of my writing: http://www.pinterest.com/derekwriter/derek-thompsons-books/


Twitter: @DerekWriteLines

Author Bio:

Derek is an adventurer with words, creating fiction, non-fiction and comedy material. He believes in the power of the imagination and the magic of 'what if' to open our eyes to possibility. He is also a magazine columnist and freelancer - see his blog for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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18. In The Limelight with MG/YA Author Cheryl Carpinello…

I want to thank magnificent middle grade/young adult author, Cheryl Carpinello for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Cheryl’s book Sons of the Sphinx can be purchased from Amazon, and other major on-line bookstores. Welcome, Cheryl! So let’s get this interview started…

How long have you been writing, Cheryl?

Probably around 20 years, but I started writing for MG/YA readers about 10 years ago. Nothing I wrote in those first 10 years will ever be published.

Never say never, Cheryl! Wink. Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Sons of the Sphinx?

We had visited Egypt in 2008 and that started me thinking. However, it wasn’t until 2010 when the Tutankhamen exhibit was in the US that I thought seriously about writing a book set back in ancient Egypt.

Egypt is definitely on my bucket list. What sets Sons of the Sphinx apart from other books/series in the same genre?

I believe it is the fact that this isn’t just an historical adventure story full of action and danger. It is also a story of a young teenager trying to come to grips with who she is and how she fits in the world around her. Ages 14-18 are stressful years for kids, more than most people would think. Any trait that sets a teen outside of the norm can be devastating, and Rosa, the main character, has just such a distinction. She can hear dead people, and her classmates know this. This makes for some tough times for Rosa.

Hear dead people? Now you’ve got me hooked! As a middle grade/young adult author, what is your writing process?

I do a lot of brain work before I start a story. Once I have a basic idea and outline in my head, then I write that out—when I say write, I mean in long hand. Then it’s back to mulling the idea over in my head for a while longer until I can sit down and write out a chapter by chapter outline. Once the outline is finished, I start writing the story. My goal is always to write the first draft without worrying about changes or omissions. Each day before writing I do type the previous writing on the computer without making any edits. If I find that something is not working, then I change from that point on. I don’t go back over previous entered material. Once the first draft is done, I start rewrites and do any additional research. From that point on, it’s a breeze! Just read, rewrite, edit, rewrite, and so on. My story always goes through my personal editor at least three times. Then a professional editor goes through another three or four rounds with me.

Wow, I don’t think readers realize the leg-work authors must do to write a book! Thanks for sharing your process, Cheryl. How long did it take for you to start and finish Sons of the Sphinx?

I started working on the idea in May 2010. Sons of the Sphinx was released in October 2014.

Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Cheryl?

Do your homework: research the time period you are writing in. While I saw Egypt firsthand, I did a ton of book research, and I went to the Tutankhamen exhibit three times. Even if you are creating your own story’s history/background, you need to know everything about it.

Good advice! What’s next for Cheryl Carpinello the author?

Right now I’m working on sequel to my first Arthurian tale Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve also got the first book in my new trilogy series Feathers of the Phoenix over half finished.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

I don’t even need to think about this—the Ancient World 1000BC to 400BC. I love the Greeks, Romans, even Egyptians of that time period. I’m also keen to see Atlantis! Those eras gave modern man and society so much in the way of philosophy, government, art, science, that it had to be fascinating to be a part of those worlds.

Blurb for Sons of the Sphinx:

Armed with what she considers her grandmothers curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesenas ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemhebwho crosses mortal boundaries using Seths evil magicif she is to stay alive to make it back home.


Buy Links for Sons of the Sphinx:






Cheryl Carpinello’s Author Sites:

Author Bio

I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure. Hook up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Google.


Also please visit my other sites: Carpinello's Writing Pages where I interview childrens/MG/Tween/YA authors; my home website Beyond Today Educator, and The Quest Books where I've teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.

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19. Author Interview with Mystery Writer GG Collins

It’s Author Interview Thursday! Woohoo. Today’s special guest reached out to me after reading an AIT special earlier this year and I’m so glad she did. She has a background in journalism and runs several blogs on topics dear to her heart. She’s written two paranormal Mystery books and has other titles in the works. In liaising with her as I prepared for this interview, I have to say that I have been inspired by her passion for the writing craft as well as her transparency. We really do have someone special in our midst today, so please join me in welcoming GG Collins.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and something most people don’t know about G.G. Collins? 

My friends know this, but it’s not general knowledge. People shouldn’t call me before 10 a.m., 11 is better. What my friends know is that I stay up quite late to write and therefore sleep in the mornings. Early calls usually find me incoherent and muttering swearwords. As one might gather, I dislike mornings, but also Brussels sprouts and clouds. On the up side, I love travelling (even on a bad day). Sunshine and chiles improve my mood greatly. I continue to report and write for my blogs. I have two. Can’t ever have too many blogs. They arereluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com my book blog and paralleluniverseatlarge.wordpress.com a news, views and reviews blog. You can also find me on Twitter @GGCollinsAuthor. There is a rap star by the same name so “Author” had to be added for clarification.  

 

Tell us about the first time someone complemented you on something you had written? Book Cover Newest LM 6-2014

The first time one of my stories was chosen as the cover. My editor told me it was good work. I beamed all the way to my car. It’s difficult to beat that first time.  

 

You have currently published two books in the ‘Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries’ series. Was it a conscious decision to write a series and what led you to do it? 

No, I didn’t have a series in mind. I learned of the Native American ritual to return the dead and all I could think about was what if the wrong spirit returned? By the time I finished the book, I just didn’t want to let these characters go. I am writing a stand-alone book too, but I like my Reluctant Medium, Rachel Blackstone. Long may her cynicism live.  

 

What key ingredients should a good crime/mystery book possess? 

My books are paranormal mysteries so I have more latitude than pure crime writers do. I begin my story where it starts, usually in the first line. At that moment, something is going very wrong. The mystery unfolds a little at a time as new elements (some supernatural) present themselves and up the ante.  Periodically the threat level heightens or the need for action revs up. It’s a delicate balance. You don’t want to reveal too much, too soon, but there has to be enough mystery to keep readers interested. I enjoy putting Rachel through as much mayhem as she can stand. If I go too far, I have to let her have a mental health day.  

 

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue? Book Cover Reluctant Medium Newest 5-2014

Unnatural or pretentious lines (unless your character is a pompous gadfly) should be avoided. We usually don’t speak that way in conversation. Each character should have a consistent voice. If you’ve been away from your manuscript for awhile, this is especially important. Find that voice again. Be careful using contemporary vernacular. It might shorten the shelf life of your book. Stay away from phrases like: “don’t you know,”  “she goes” and “awesome” unless this is specific to one character.

 

Have you ever struggled to give a character a distinct voice and what did you do to solve this? 

My stories are dialogue-driven and I enjoy letting my characters go. Rachel has a big mouth. She’s sardonic and quick, but can make a complete fool of herself around men. Chloe is her best friend and is usually more diplomatic—but she does occasionally curse in French. Like most of us, I’ve met many of these characters in everyday life. Whenever I have trouble finding someone’s voice, I think back to a person I’ve run across who was this type. Here’s where even the nastiest person you’ve ever met can pay off. Make them a character! Get even!  

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

I’m a fan of Chris Haddock’s Canadian TV shows such as “DaVinci’s Inquest” and “Intelligence.” His stories have realistic dialogue. His characters feel authentic. The dialogue is much like that you or I have with friends and co-workers. There’s a BBC show called “Last Tango in Halifax” that is a hoot! All because of cleverly penned dialogue and superb delivery. In American TV, I like the writing in “Longmire,” thanks to the influence of Craig Johnson, the writer of the popular series. “Supernatural” has some fine writing. They kind of slip it in between the demons and the vamps, but it’s there. That’s why they’re in their 10th season. The cute guys don’t hurt, but it’s the substantive writing that knocks me out. Someone on the writing staff has insightful views about hope and things we can’t understand. In books, I find mystery writers Lia Matera and Edna Buchanan refreshing. Wit is always a good thing, but smart wit is tremendous.

 

How do you handle bad reviews? 

Most people are kind in their reviews, but occasionally one is not helpful and just plain mean-spirited. In this instance, we book writers have to realize that it’s not us. The unkind words have more to do with the person who wrote the review and what kind of life, or day, they’ve had. These go into File 13 where they belong. Some writers have had bad experiences with what is referred to as a troll, people who go from place to place on the internet spreading vile prose with limited vocabulary and issues with sentence structure. If I should ever get one of those, just know I have a very thick skin. Most of my reviews have been complimentary and readers enjoyed my books. Of course, this makes me happy. The Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series is supposed to be fun—and maybe a bit scary. But writers must realize that not everyone likes the same thing. That’s okay.  

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 

(Laughing.) I’ve seen neither so I really can’t comment. I saw “WALL-E” twice.  

 

As a journalist, can you give us tips on how to make people ‘spill the beans’ in an interview situation? Watermark G G Collins in -office-

Everyone has seen this done on a news show. A journalist asks a question, the person being interviewed says something short like “yes” or “no.” When nothing more is forthcoming, the reporter sits there quietly, the seconds tick by with dead air, the person can’t take it any more and out it spills. Another “technique” is to phrase a question in this way: “Some people might say . . . you’re a tyrant” or “you’re a crook.”  How would you reply to this accusation?” This way, the reporter is afforded some distance, but still gets the answer needed for the story. Personally, I’m not comfortable doing this, but they can be an effective tools, particularly in hard news. And that may be why I’ve covered primarily arts, health and personal stories. I’ve found that being truly interested in what your interview is saying goes a long way to crafting a good story. Once I ask the first question, there is nothing in the world but the person sitting in front of me.  

 

What is the worst thing a person can say or do to a journalist? 

Lie. You don’t have to be a journalist to detect a lie. Most anyone can do it. But in reporting we come to depend on our regular sources. If someone lies, and we know it, that could become the story. And they’ll likely never be asked for another interview. Word gets around.  

 

What three things should a first time visitor to your hometown do? Watermark Santa Fe Plaza

Bask in Santa Fe’s Plaza and people watch. Eat at The Shed; it’s my favorite restaurant and my characters too. It’s family owned, has great New Mexican dishes and yummy margaritas. Take the short drive up the ski basin road (Artist Road which becomes Hyde Park Road) for the breathtaking views. And eat the chiles. Oops, I think that was four.  

 

Can you tell us a bit about a book you’re currently working on? 

Oh sure, that would be “Atomic Medium.” In this story, Rachel Blackstone must go back in time to 1945. Two evil men have slipped through a portal at a local retail shop, once the office of The Manhattan Project. If they succeed in their diabolical plan, it could change the outcome of WWII. It’s no small thing for Rachel and Chloe; just save the world. 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb, which was developed in Los Alamos, just north of Santa Fe.  

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

I have worked for a book publisher and while there can be some advantages to publication by a book house, there are also some drawbacks. If your book isn’t one of the chosen to get tight promotional dollars, you will likely do as much marketing and promoting with a publisher as you would going the indie route. I opted to self-publish and haven’t looked back. If you have found yourself knocking on publishers’ doors and getting nowhere, try going indie. It’s a terrific creative experience, even if you eventually go with the bricks and mortar publisher. Have a presence on the internet so an interested editor can see what you can do. Start blogging and be sure to take advantage of author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, Ask David and Book Goodies. With a little experience, you’ll determine which work best for you and your book. I recently joined Twitter and now I can’t believe I was reluctant to do so. It’s fun and you get great exposure. But don’t constantly urge people to buy your books. Get involved in what’s going on and reply or retweet others. You’ll make friends quickly. Avoid spending so much time marketing that you stop writing. The more books you have out, the more sales you’ll rack up.

 

Thanks for all the wonderful advice and letting us into your world GG. I’ll personally be revisiting this page in the days and weeks ahead to feast on your wise words. GG and I would really appreciate your questions and comments, so do drop a line or two in the comments section below. Be sure to share this interview using the Social Media buttons and you can grab one of GG’s books at the link below.

GG Collins on Amazon

1 Comments on Author Interview with Mystery Writer GG Collins, last added: 11/6/2014
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20. Interview with Children’s Book Author – Stephanie M. Ward

Its Author Interview Thursday and I’m really excited about the special guest we have on the hot seat today.Stephanie Ward I hooked up with today’s author on a book giveaway for kidlit authors during summer. She was the main organiser and it was a great success. It was a pleasure working with her and seeing how she connected several authors from across the globe. She has travelled to many countries across different continents. Although she’s originally from the U.S.A., she now lives in Sydney, Australia. She’s very generous and creative and I believe her passion for life does flow through in her books. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Stephanie M. Ward.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

First I just want to say that I’m really excited to be participating in Author Interview Thursday as I always look forward to reading these posts. I’m a bit overwhelmed at being on the other end of one of your interviews, but I’ll do my best to come up with creative answers to all of your interesting questions. And a big congratulations on your new Christmas book, Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas! I’m looking forward to reading it.

Now, a bit about me…

I’m a small town girl from Spokane, Washington who caught the travel bug at an early age and has been exploring the world ever since I was old enough to drive across the border to Canada.

In fourth grade, we were given an assignment to write a short story. Remember those pieces of grey-ish paper that had a big square where you’re supposed to draw a picture and then about four lines underneath? Well, I covered four of those, front and back and my teacher was quite impressed with my not-so-short story. It was about a pet dog that was taken by an alien and the adventures of the little boy who went to find him. It sure would be fun to read that story today!

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Stephanie Ward?

They can expect to learn something, probably about a place that not many people write children’s books about, and have a lot of fun in the process.

 

Congratulations on the publication of your first kidlit book – Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin. Can you tell us about the research process that went into writing this book?Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin

Thanks! I figure it took 10 years from concept to publication of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin, so yes, there was quite a bit of research. First it was research for my trip to the Galapagos Islands where Wally travels. I was fascinated by the unique wildlife, much of which is endemic. As I was putting together the book, I wanted to share what I had discovered about different species that are endangered in the area. And after learning about how fragile the environment is in the Galapagos Islands, I decided to donate proceeds from the book to the Galapagos Conservancy (galapagos.org) to help protect the animals there. I’m happy to say the first donation was made earlier this year.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your book?

In almost two decades in corporate marketing, I have never seen an industry whose competitors support each other as much as in the realm of publishing. I have met the most amazing authors, writers, bloggers and friends through social media as a writer. I think it plays a big part in linking to new sales channels, marketing opportunities and ideas as well as good old moral support.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

Not surprisingly, I loved reading about far away places. There was a series of books about foreign lands that I checked out over and over again at my elementary school library. I also remember reading a book about a little girl traveling alone on the bus to see her grandmother. I’m not sure if she went across town or across the country, but I was amazed by her courage and sense of adventure.

 

What tips would you offer other first time children’s authors with regard to working with an illustrator?Crab Sketch

I had a wonderful time working with a very talented illustrator from Ecuador – Vanessa Landin – for Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin. It was important to me that the illustrator was from the place where the story is based, as I wanted to give back to the community that inspired the story. Vanessa was a student at the time and I would encourage anyone looking for an artist to consider the young talent at art institutes around the world.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Shrek – I am truly inspired by the way Shrek seamlessly weaves adult and child humor into one story.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Sydney, Australia do?

1) Hit the beach – if you visit on a hot day, that’s where everyone is! I love Manly and Balmain.

2) Go to the zoo – Yes, there are some cool Aussie animals there, but the setting of the Taronga Zoo is stunning. You will get some of your best photos from there, likely with a giraffe in them, but gorgeous shots of the harbor and Sydney skyline.

3) Take a ferry – So much of Sydney revolves around water that you should be on it at some point during your visit. Take a ride on one of the iconic yellow and green ferries and be sure to leave from Circular Quay where the Opera House and Botanical Gardens sit on one side and the Harbour Bridge on the other.

 

Can you tell us a few facts about penguins that fascinate you?

Wally was inspired by my visit to both Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands on a yearlong trip around the world.Visiting Antarctica and being amidst Emperor Penguins in the icy conditions made me wonder why they didn’t just pack up and go somewhere warmer. A couple of months later, I was in the Galapagos Islands and saw a colony of Galapagos Penguins hanging out on the beach, swimming in relatively warm water and there was the story: What if an Emperor Penguin learned that he could live on a warm, tropical island?

 

You’ve travelled to more than 50 countries. Can you tell us about a memorable incident on one of your travels?

I’m fascinated by the similarities in people’s lives around the world – we all eat, sleep, observe, listen, talk – we just do it in our own way, place and time. What I keep coming back to are moments – having a picnic under the Eiffel Tower with a warm baguette and chilled bottle of champagne, bone-chilling coldness at sunrise on board a Russian ice breaker travelling through pancake ice in Antarctica, or the hot, dry, sage-like smell of the air in Tanzania. Oh sure, there were incidents, like being mugged in Brazil and sitting in the tent of a nomadic family in Mongolia sharing a cup of fermented mare’s milk, but the small, seemingly insignificant moments are the ones that pop into my head most often.

 

What can we expect from Stephanie Ward in the next 12 months?Wally

I’m so glad you asked :) I’m thrilled to announce that the paperback version of Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin was just released this week and is now available on Amazon. The paperback edition includes a brand new scene with a wonderful new character, a section of Fascinating Facts about the animals in the book and a map of the Galapagos Islands.

In addition, I’m starting work on an app for Wally which is a whole new learning curve but a very fun process. Plus, I’m writing the next adventure for Wally. There are many fascinating (and warm) places in the world that Wally wants to visit, so stay tuned!

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

Author Website & Blog –  http://www.stephaniemward.com

Facebook Fan Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/wallythewarmweatherpenguin

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/stephmward

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7877690.Stephanie_M_Ward

YouTubeWally the Warm-Weather Penguin

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

Write your story. If your story can’t be defined in a specific genre or written in the traditional format, don’t worry. There are many options for authors to get a book into readers’ hands. I have met some talented indie authors whose wonderful kid lit books are longer than the 1000 word maximum that agents will accept for review. And I recently read a fantastic novella that is the perfect length, but in traditional publishing may have been expanded or reduced to a short story or looked over completely due to the number of pages. It’s a whole new world in publishing today, so don’t worry that your idea doesn’t “fit”, just write your story!

 

Thanks for hanging out with us today Stephanie and ending on such a positive note. I love how you’ve allowed your various experiences to influence your writing and how that has in turn allowed children to experience new worlds that are alien to them. Please do connect with Stephanie at one of the links she gave. We’d love to hear your comments and questions, so leave a few lines below. Grab a copy of Stephanie’s book for a loved one at the link below and do share this interview on social media.

Get Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin on Amazon

2 Comments on Interview with Children’s Book Author – Stephanie M. Ward, last added: 11/13/2014
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21. Interview with Children’s Book Author – Rhonda Paglia

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’d like to thank you for stopping over today.Rhonda Paglia First of all, I’d like to wish all readers and fans of this blog based in the U.S., a very Happy Thanksgiving. I promise you’ll enjoy the spread laid out today. In the hot seat today is a wonderful lady who is fondly known as ‘Grammy Pags.’ I’ve been so inspired by her energy and passion for life in the lead up to today’s interview. She has so much to share with us today, so get into your most comfortable position and join me in welcoming Rhonda Paglia.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

Hi David, thank you for inviting me to be part of your Author Thursday Interview.  I’m honored, and congratulations on your new book, Billy and Monster’s Golden Christmas that is coming out soon!  Congrats!!!  You are prolific!!

Okay, a few facts about me:

  • I’ve been married to my sweet husband, Tony, for 41 years.  We have three grown children, five adorable grandchildren, and little Yorkie-poo named Bella.  She’s my shadow.
  • I’m a retired elementary teacher, [I taught 26 years], and now I’m a Grammy babysitter, a flower planter, a musician, a tap dancer, and a self-published children’s author.
  • I have received a great deal of praise for the first book I released to the public: “The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission.”
  • I must add that growing up, I had NO confidence in my writing! NONE! ZIPPO! My writing was so bad that in 7th grade, when our English teacher gave us a story writing assignment, my mother ended up red-lining and rewriting everything I had written.  I would have gotten an F on my story, but she earned an A.  I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t look at my teacher for the rest of the year.  It was awful!  I was living a lie every day I walked into his class.  Thankfully, I’ve come a long way in my writing confidence.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Rhonda Paglia? Rhonda Paglia Book Signing

I’m still in the process of learning and developing my “niche.”  I’m just writing for fun.  I have learned a lot in the last two years, and I’m getting and understanding the process more.  My hope is that readers will enjoy my stories and come away with a little glow in their hearts and a little tickle in their tummy.

I want kids to learn something and to stretch their imaginations and creativity.  For example, in my crazy little book, Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue, kids will find a hero in Doonsey.  They will also learn about his new friends, the “Beach Buddies.”  Our family went on a vacation to the beach.  We “met” Doonsey there.  Then I started seeing faces in the sand that were made out of the shells and stones.  My granddaughter, Sofie, and I started making a bunch of faces and the “Beach Buddies” were born!  We used shells, stones, crab claws, and other items we found on the beach.  The “Buddies” ended up as characters in the first Doonsey book and they will reappear in Book 2.  Kids can learn to make their own Buddy characters with  things they find in nature, not just stones and shells.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? 

I’m new to the “book business” too, but everything I’ve read, indicates that Social Media has a huge impact on getting your name “out there.”  So I tweet, toot, blog, Facebook, website, and get Linkedin, as often as possible, but always feel behind.  It’s a time issue for me, as I’m sure it is for most authors.

Is marketing on Social Media helpful?  Who knows?  I’ve sold books on line, but most of my sales success has been one-on-one, face-to-face, book signing events.  It’s fun too!

 

What in your opinion makes a great children’s book? 

This is a tough one, so my answer is simple.  A GREAT book has ALL the pieces: characters, plot, setting, illustrations.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?

The Little Golden Books series, Caps for Sale, Country Mouse and City Mouse, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, and all of the classic fairy tales.  I read the Wizard of Oz until the pages were falling out.  Our nearest library was miles away, but every once in a while, we were allowed to buy a comic books at the grocery story.  I loved the adventures of Little Lulu, Dot, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.  And then there is dear Dr. Seuss.  When his books became available, I loved them.  Later I branched out to the Nancy Drew mystery series and some biographies, but mostly, I loved the books that would send me away on adventures.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?Rhonda Paglia Books

Dr. Seuss.  I love the freedom of his language usage.  I love the rhythm and cadence of his words.  I love his stories, characters, and how he moves the plot.  Such fun and imagination!  I will never be a Dr. Seuss, but with my musical background, I find myself using rhythm and rhyme when it’s appropriate.  In my yet to be released book, “Grammy’s Rockin’ Color Rap-a-licious Rap” – Grammy’s looks prim, proper, and sophisticated, but she’s really a closet rocker!

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published? 

I’m still very new at all of this – and currently, I’m self-published.  However, the fact that my ideas and my works are in my hands, in a form, that I can share with others, is a huge reward.  Like, “Phew!  I did it!”  The “no confidence – non-writer – F’s on story-getter – me” is now writing and publishing stories.  I never thought that would happen – certainly not the 7th grader sitting in English class lying to my teacher about a paper my mother wrote for me!  #Iamwriting!  That’s a biggie reward!

I wrote “Doonsey’s Beach Adventure, the Great Rescue” and created a companion coloring activity book for my grandchildren.  It was a Christmas surprise last year.  My heart just beamed!  Not only did I write a story and publish it for them; I got to be around to read it to them and get their reactions.  Big time reward!

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Toy Story.  I love the characters!!  I love seeing the toys come to life, organizing themselves, tackling problems. Great fun!   I grew up in the country.  We didn’t have any close neighbors.  My friends were at school, a distance away.  I would have LOVED for my toys to come to life, be my “real” friends, and have merry adventures with them.  So definitely, Toy Story!

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Pennsylvania do? Grammy reading Doonsey to O, Ro, & So 12-26-2013

  1.  Visit Amish Country.  Lancaster, in northeast, PA, and Volant and New Wilmington in northwest PA, where I live, near, would be a cultural experience.  It’s hard to believe that we have communities within our modern society that can exist and thrive without electricity and all the conveniences that the rest of us can’t live without!  If you visit the Amish area, many of the locals have little shops in or near their farms.  Visitors can purchase colorful handmade quilted items, homemade pastries and canned goods, plants, beautiful handmade furniture, and get your horse’s harness repaired at the same time!
  2. Pymatuning Lake.  I grew up there, so I’m a little prejudiced.  Pymatuning Lake is located in northwestern PA on the border of PA and Ohio.  It is located within Pymatuning State Park and is the largest man-made lake in Pennsylvania.  The lake is 18 miles long and has over 26 square miles of lake surface.  In 1931, when my dad was 9 years old, he and my grandfather attended the ground breaking ceremonies for the lake.   They saw the first shovel full of dirt removed that would later become Pymatuning Lake Reservoir.  If you are an outdoors person, you can swim, hike, camp, fish, go boating, picnic, and explore.  But make sure you don’t miss the Pymatuning Spill Way.  That’s where you get to feed the fish!  There are so many, the duck’s walk on their backs!!
  3.  Pittsburgh, PA. It’s a cultural hub for all the arts and it’s the home of our three major league sports teams, the Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates.  The Strip District is in downtown Pittsburgh and is a great market place filled with lots of people, cooking street vendors, markets with fresh produce, restaurants, places to shop, and the home of the Mancini breads and the Primanti Brothers’ famous super stuffed sandwich with French fries.  Oh, and if you listen carefully, you’ll pick up some of the famous Pittsburghese language!  Fun!

With a background in teaching, can you give us a few tips on capturing a child’s attention and relaying a moral lesson?

Phew – that’s a big question!!  I may not answer your exact question, but here’s what came to mind as I reflected on it.

  • Make learning fun!  When kids are engaged, they will take more ownership for their own learning.
  • Help kids develop confidence!  I had very little confidence as a kid – all the way through adulthood.  I recognized this weakness in myself, so I made it a goal to try to help develop confidence in my own children and my students.  Kids have vivid imaginations.  I’ve found that if kids can tap into their own creativity and develop ideas – without judgment – they will develop more confidence.
  • Teach tolerance!  Everyone, kids and adults, all of us, have gifts and talents.  Our interests and abilities vary.  We are not the same.  I believe that we have all come here to share our gifts and talents, and to share our differences.  How boring we would be if we were all the same!!  Each one of us is an integral piece of a gigantic universal puzzle.

 

What do your grandchildren think of Grammy Pags the Author? Storytime with Grammy Pags

Our grandchildren are young – ages 7 to 1.5.  The younger ones don’t know what an author is.  However, our oldest grandson, Orion, totally gets it!  Orion was the inspiration for the story, “Three Little Gnomes and a Boy Named Orion.”   The story has changed from the original version I wrote in 2009.  It’s longer and beautifully illustrated by Ratna Kusuma Halim of Indonesia.  I had a book launch birthday party for “The Three Little Gnomes” book and Orion came to the event and signed books too!  He was a star for the day and loved it!!

 

What can we expect from Rhonda Paglia in the next 12 months? 

Writing, writing, writing!

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?  Thank you for asking.  Here’s the contact info for GRAMMY PAGS STORIES

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Leana's book signing 2

  1. Have fun!  Do what you love!
  2. Frustration is part of the game.  Figure out why you are doing what you do, then figure out your goals, the reach for them.  What happens if you don’t reach?  A big NOTHING!   But if you reach, anything can happen!
  3. The kid’s book market is crazy huge.  Try to find your niche.  I’m still searching for mine!
  4. Write what you like and HAVE FUN!  For me, that’s my goal!  Girls just want to have fun!!  Well, this Grammy just wants to have fun too . . .  and maybe give my readers a few smiles!!

Wow! Thanks for sharing with us today Rhonda. I love the fact that you’ve been honest and just loving the journey. I love your advice about writing what you like and having fun. Rhonda and I would love to hear any questions or comments you may have. I hope her zest for life has been an inspiration for you as it has for me. Remember to share this interview on social media using the social buttons and grab one of Rhonda’s books at the link below

Rhonda Paglia Books on Amazon

 

5 Comments on Interview with Children’s Book Author – Rhonda Paglia, last added: 11/28/2014
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22. In the Limelight with MG Author: S. J. Henderson...

I want to thank and welcome magnificent middle grade author, S.J. Henderson for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. S.J.’s book DANIEL THE DRAW-ER can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: Stay tuned for a chance to win an ecopy or audiobook of DANIEL THE DRAW-ER at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview started…

How long have you been writing, Jen?

I think I learned to write just about when everyone else did… kindergarten. Which is funny, because I remember sitting down at my desk the first day and being told to do something—I didn’t hear the teacher because I was probably talking. So I peeked over at my neighbor and copied his work (I know, I know!).When I was done, I looked down and discovered I’d written “Nathan” on top of my paper. We were practicing writing our names! I still struggle with putting the proper name on my papers. Just kidding.

But, seriously, I’ve been writing stories since elementary school. I used to fill hundreds of wide-ruled notebook pages with my nonsense, then the nonsense would make its rounds in my classroom when all of us were supposed to be listening to lectures. I let writing go for a while in favor of family obligations, but one day the absence of words really got to me. That was about 3-1/2 years ago, to make a short answer very long…

I see. So, Nathan, er S.J., where did you get your idea and inspiration to write DANIEL THE DRAW-ER?

I got the idea for DANIEL from my kids. Last fall I participated in an online writing course called The Story Cartel Course (http://my.storycartel.com/join-course/), and one of our assignments was to write something for our audience. At the time, I didn’t really have an audience besides myself, so I decided to write a story for my three youngest boys. In fact, my seven-year-old son sat next to me while I wrote the very first draft of what would eventually become chapter one of DANIEL THE DRAW-ER. He picked out the name “Daniel” and laughed at all of the funny parts. He was the best beta-reader. Haha.

Kids are the best critics! What sets DANIEL THE DRAW-ER apart from other books in the same genre?

Wow, tough question, Sharon! There are so many fantastic books in my genre. But, if I had to try to pinpoint it, I think my book is unique because it awakens the imagination of the reader. I’ve had so many people tell me their child picked up a pencil after reading my book just to see if their drawings would come to life. Another person sent me a photo of two pages of ideas her son had written down for my next book. That’s not exclusive to my book, but, as someone who reads a lot with my own kids, it’s few and far between.

It would be awesome if you helped shaped the minds of a few future artists, S.J.! As a children’s author, what is your writing process?

Writing process? What writing process?

Basically, I just sit down and write. Some people know how to outline and take neat and orderly notes, but not me! I write down messy notes including any ideas I might have before I start writing, but my creative process doesn’t work quite as well when I plan each step of the story out in advance. It’s hard to outline allllll this weirdness, ya know?

Once I have a good first draft I like to have a couple of friends read it and offer suggestions, which I may or may not follow depending on how much coffee I’ve had that day. I repeat the revision/critique process about a gajillion times until someone begs for mercy (and it’s usually me).Then I release the monstrosity to the world, ready or not.

If, by “process”, you really mean what gets me into the writing mood… then the simple answer for that is coffee and super mellow music. And being by myself. Do you know how hard that is to achieve with four kids and a husband? Ugh.

Four kids and a hubby? Kudos for getting the book written! How long did it take for you to start and finish DANIEL THE DRAW-ER?

The original concept for DANIEL (what is now the first chapter) took shape within a couple of weeks last October, but I didn’t really add to it until March of this year. I spent two weeks eating, sleeping, and breathing this book until it was ready for publication. Just so you know, I wouldn’t recommend that particular strategy to most people.

Amen. Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, S.J.?

Kids are the ultimate litmus test for authors. They won’t beat around the bush or lie to save your feelings because they’re still developing those filters. So have fun with your story. If you don’t enjoy it, it’ll show, and your young readers will call you out faster than Gordon Ramsay in a McDonald’s drive-through. (Gosh, I hope everyone gets that joke!)

LOL! Got it! What’s next for S. J. Henderson the author?

I hope to have the sequel to DANIEL THE DRAW-ER published by the end of the year. Then I’ll dive into editing and releasing my many Young Adult novels. Ridiculously excited about my YA paranormal, which is next in line.

Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Probably back to the Garden of Eden so I could make a pair of cowboy boots out of that darn serpent.

One last thing!  I’m so excited to share with you that DANIEL THE DRAW-ER is now an audiobook, available at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. My narrator for the book, Jay Prichard, did a great job bringing the characters to life. I think kids will really enjoy listening to Daniel’s adventures on long car rides or at bedtime.

As a thank you to your readers, I’d love to offer a chance for one of them to win a copy of either the Kindle ebook version or the audiobook of DANIEL THE DRAW-ER.

Blurb:

"This is no ordinary pencil,” says the cat sitting on the end of nine-year-old Daniel’s bed. "It's magic." 

Everything Daniel draws with his pencil--flying dragons, Octobears, and pizza-loving aliens from the planet Beezo--comes to life. It’s pretty awesome until the pencil draws a line between Daniel and his best (and only) friend Annie. 

Come along with Daniel and his fantastic creatures on this fun-for-the-whole-family journey as he discovers that friendship is the greatest magic of all.

Bio:

S. J. Henderson is the author of the children’s book DANIEL THE DRAW-ER, as well as several
not-yet-published Young Adult novels.
S. J. lives in Michigan with her husband and four wild boys. When she is not writing about talking cats and magic pencils, S. J. can usually be found riding one of her family’s horses or drinking a little bit of coffee with her creamer.

Buy Links:



S. J.'s store (autographed paperbacks):  www.sjhenderson.net/store/



Social Networking Links:







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23. Interview with Children’s Book Author – Claudine Gueh Yanting

Wow! Its Author Interview Thursday and I have to say that the authors in the hotseat these last few weeks have really been inspiring.Claudine Gueh Yanting Well, guess what? I think we might be taking it to another level with today’s special guest. I got introduced to our special guest by Stephanie Ward who organised a brilliant giveaway for children’s book authors back in Summer. She has a successful blog which she’s ran for about four years. What really intrigued me about her blog is that most of her posts attract a steady stream of comments from her loyal blog readers. She’s written several books that have received worthy mentions and reviews in high places. She has such a big heart and I know you’ll love meeting this children’s book author from Singapore. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Claudine Gueh Yanting.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written. 

Thank you for this opportunity, David! It’s always good getting to know more authors and their books.

I’m a picture book and middle-grade fiction writer and an English tutor in Singapore. When I was 15, I wrote about my encounter with a spirit-medium. My teacher praised it and even read it out in class. That was a defining moment for me! 

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Claudine Gueh Yanting?Brightness Sailors - Cover 

Quieter protagonists who don’t realize how strong they can be, and (hopefully) lyrical writing.

My picture books: My Clearest Me; Brightness Sailors, Bit by Bit

My middle-grade fiction: Little Orchid’s Sea Monster Trouble

More about them here: http://www.carryusoffbooks.com

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your books? 

It’s all about exposure, reaching potential readers and keeping old ones up-to-date with your next book. Although social media isn’t the sole place an author can build her platform, it is possibly an indispensable one these days. 

For me, social media has been useful for gaining exposure while blogging has been effective in gaining loyal readership (for the blog, not my books). Once readers trust my reading taste and writing style, they might be willing to take a chance on my books. Sales can’t be guaranteed, but credibility can be built and what it leads to can be amazing. 

 

What tips would you offer other children’s authors with regard to working with an illustrator? 

Pick one whose style fits what you seek instead of approaching any illustrator and then requesting them to paint in the style you want. 

Be clear with the fee, the number of revisions you need from her, and the deadline up front. Everything is negotiable, but you must only begin the project when both sides are comfortable with the terms. 

Be fair and respectful. Most illustrators are just as dedicated to the project as we are.

 

What in your opinion makes a great children’s book?

One that tells its story honestly (i.e. doesn’t talk down to children or try too hard to impress) and has great illustrations.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?  Art from Claudine's Book

My sisters and I devoured Enid Blyton’s books then we’d act out some of the scenes and pretend to be good friends with the characters. That’s why we were pals with an almost-deaf man who wore a saucepan on his head. On other days, we were best friends with a naughty, obstinate girl and her friend who could whistle like a kettle. “The Faraway Tree” and “The Wishing Chair” series were our favorite. I also enjoyed boarding school stories tremendously.

  

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

Mark Helprin writes excellent dialogue. I was particularly stirred by his “Winter’s Tale” and “A Soldier of the Great War.” I can’t think of a film right now, but a TV series that I watch over and over again for its dialogue is “The West Wing.”

 

How do you reward yourself once your book is published? 

Cake. (Usually Black forest.)

 

Toy Story or Shrek? 

Toy Story. I’m a Studio Ghibli and Pixar fan.

  

Your blog’s been running for about four years and has a loyal fanbase. Any tips for us on how to build and grow a good blog? Facing Moon

I’m always surprised and extremely thankful that people actually read and follow my blog! Most of them are fellow writers and bloggers and we visit one another every week. As for tips on blogging, I’ve heard many and will just focus on these:

1) Blog on what you’re passionate about. (Wait, wait, don’t roll your eyes yet. I understand it sounds like “duh” but I do know of quite a few authors who blog on topics they think their readers want to learn about instead of what they themselves are excited about, so they end up sounding forced and quit blogging after a while.) Ask yourself: Is it books in particular? Which age category or genre? Is it about bridal hairstyles? Is it about relationships? You don’t have to limit yourself to just one category, but you do need a rough picket fence so readers would know if your posts fit their taste or not. 

2) Blog on what your readers want to know. Yep, this upsets whatever I’ve written in 1). But this suggestion might come in handy once you have a blog running for some time and you’ve built yourself to be a credible source on your topics. Ask your readers if they have any questions they’d like you to address. You’ll be their go-to expert.

3) Keep it short. 

4) Add pictures or quotes.  

5) Be consistent in posting. (This is something I still need to work on.)

  

What three things should a first time visitor to your home town do? Little Orchid Cover

1) Try our local breakfast: toast with thick butter and kaya (a coconut jam), two soft-boiled eggs and a cup of local coffee. 

2) Visit both hawker centers (our marketplaces and food centers) and independent cafes/restaurants.

3) Visit our libraries, especially those in the lush, neighborhood area.

 

What can we expect from Claudine Gueh Yanting in the next 12 months? 

Another middle-grade novel, short stories plus a few paintings. I have a budding interest in painting and hope to explore it more next year.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? 

Blog: http://www.carryusoffbooks.com/blog

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/CarryUsOff

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarryUsOffBooks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/carryusoffbooks/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107307586955978074011/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6937945.Claudine_Gueh_Yanting

If you enjoy picture books, middle-grade stories and picture-and-quote inspirations, do drop by my blog some time. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? Waiting - Final

If writing makes you happy, keep going. Learn to market yourself and your writing, but don’t let sales, reviews, rankings and what-not affect you too much. Keep working hard. Let go of the rest.

 

Thanks for taking out time to be with us today Claudine. I like your encouragement for us never to allow sales or rankings  affect what to do. Also, while its a word most authors don’t like, the truth is we need to learn to market ourselves and our books better to reach that audience that will find great delight in our writings. You can connect with Claudine at one of the links she offered and do drop by her blog to read one of her insightful posts. We’ll be glad to read your comments or questions and remember to share this interview using the social buttons below. One of Claudine’s books will definitely be a great addition to a loved ones’ library, so grab a copy at the link below.

Claudine Gueh Yanting Books on Amazon

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24. Interview with Nancy Viau and The Kid Lit Authors Club!

I first met Nancy Viau at a workshop she presented for the NJ chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in 2011.  Her middle grade book SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD (Amulet 2008) had been published.  She, along with some fellow authors, were talking about their books and the group they’d formed called the Kid Lit Authors Club. Here’s Nancy:

First give me some of your own background and how you came to be a children’s book author.
I started writing down ideas and creating silly rhymes when my youngest was about three. I wasn’t sure what to do with the picture books (I use that term loosely because they weren’t even close to being picture books!) that rolled out of my head onto paper, so I joined SCBWI and sat in many, many sessions where I soaked up info on how to write, what to write, and where to send manuscripts. Early on I had success with Highlights, Highlights High Five, Babybug, Ladybug, etc. but no picture book acceptances. A friend encouraged me to write for an older audience so for a while I wrote Op-Ed articles for the Philly Inquirer, popular anthologies, and a mish-mash of parenting magazines. An idea for an older character lead to my middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, and even after that was published, I never let go of the dream to be a picture book author.

Where and when did the idea for KIDLIT AUTHORS CLUB originate? What’s the philosophy/premise behind the group?
A year after my middle-grade novel came out (2009), I came to the realization that it’s not easy to promote a book and get author gigs. Publishers do not do a lot (*sigh), especially if your book is not a best-seller. Another author, Keri Mikulski, and I thought it might be a good idea to band together with a diverse group of picture book, middle-grade, and young adult authors to help spread the word about our titles. We wanted a book-signing or a general visit to be fun and interactive, an event the entire family could enjoy, and that we could enjoy, too. We wanted to make an irresistible buzz for our books, and never again find ourselves sitting alone at a book signing.           KidLit-logo jpeg

How many members and from what genres?
Membership fluctuates every year, but we try to keep a balance between PB, MG, and YA. Some years we have 20; sometimes we have as many as 26. We try not to go over 25 or 26 because what happens then is that people step back and let a select few do the work. We all work to find opportunities for signings and presentations by reaching out to librarians, booksellers, teachers, conference directors, festival organizers, and others.

How has being a member of the group changed the way you present and promote your books? What are the advantages of such a group?
I feel like I have a marketing team behind me. Whereas I am one individual who may find a way to promote my books, with the KidLit Authors Club behind me, I have 20+ others who are also promoting my books. Sure, I still do events by myself, but at those events I talk up members’ books, and hand out the club’s bookmarks and marketing materials. We share the love. Big time. A picture book author may come across an event suitable for YA authors and will pass it along. A middle-grade author may find an opportunity to appear on a panel, but picture book authors are needed as well. Voila, we’ve got that! We provide a multi-author resource for bookstore owners and conference or festival organizers looking to fill program spots.

Nancy Viau and Alison Formento, members of the Kid Lit Authors Club

Nancy Viau and Alison Formento, members of the Kid Lit Authors Club

What advice would you give other writers looking to collaborate and form a similar club?
Find others who enjoy getting the word out about their own books, but would be open to helping others do the same. Get together and hash out a plan of action. A marketing group made up of authors can take many forms. Look at groups such as the Liars Club or the “Class of” groups that started with the Class of 2k7 and continued on with the Tenners, Elevensies, and so on. I saw how successful my class was–the Class of 2k8, but felt that limiting a group to authors of novels was not in our best interest. Members of our club all benefit when seasoned authors mentor debut authors, older titles are mentioned in the same breath as current ones, and new titles are celebrated and given a presence.

Any final thoughts?
Working with a group of wonderful people who have the same passion and vision as you is priceless. (I sound like a MasterCard commercial…) It’s really hard being an author—harder than most people think, but it’s much more enjoyable when you don’t have to go it alone.

http://www.kidlitauthorsclub.com
Making every event a celebration of children’s books!     

Some Kid Lit Club Authors

Some Kid Lit Club Authors

Nancy Viau
Nancy Viau is the author of City Street Beat, Storm Song, and Look What I Can Do! (nominated for the 2014-2015 Keystone to Reading Book Award). Her middle-grade title, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, was published in 2008. Viau enjoys presenting assembly programs and writing workshops, and along with the young writers she meets, she finds inspiration in nature, travel, and her job as a librarian assistant.
Website: http://www.NancyViau.com

Facebook: Nancy Viau
Twitter: @NancyViau1


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25. The Wolf Chronicles: Guest Post by Dorothy Hearst

Thanks to Dorothy Hearst for answering some questions about her Wolf Chronicles series today! Stick around and check out the giveaway as well as the other stops on the blog tour. 


Five most common questions about The Wolf Chronicles

I often get questions from young people who have read The Wolf Chronicles. Here are answers to the questions I hear most:

Talking wolves? How did you get that idea? 

One day, I was thinking about dogs, and how remarkable it is that we’re so drawn to them and they’re so drawn to us. I wondered how that came to be. And I thought about wolves—about how so many people hate and fear them. Then, a voice in my head said “I should write about how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view.” No one else was in the apartment, so I took the idea for my own. I didn’t have much choice. The wolves really wanted their story told, and they can’t type, so it was up to me.

Was it hard to write a wolf narrator?

It was easy in some ways and challenging in others. I’d been trying to write for about ten years when I got the idea for TWC.  As soon as I started writing, Kaala’s voice was there. I realized that I had written about three pages in her voice ten years earlier. So I had a dog-like narrator in my head already. Then the work began.

I did my research on how wolves perceive the world, then experimented with different ways to make Kaala seem wolflike, but not so unfamiliar that she would be hard for readers to relate to. I played with it until I got it just how I wanted it.  

Which character is most like you?

I think that Kaala and Tlitoo are two sides of me. Kaala takes things seriously and is a bit of an outsider. Tlitoo is a jokester and impulsive, and can’t resist chaos. I found it interesting that these two parts of my personality came out in two very different characters.

How did you come up with the names?

Some characters just came with names, like Tlitoo (ravens deliberately chose difficult-to-pronounce names). I had to work at others. I would start with a name and write about that character for a while. Then, often, something about the name wouldn’t match the character, so I’d try another. Eventually I would find the right name.

Then, I needed to make sure that readers would know right away whether a wolf, raven, human or Greatwolf was talking. So I developed naming conventions for each one, an idea I got from Anne McCaffrey. All the wolves have double letters in their names, the Greatwolves’ names end in “dra” and “dru” (in honor of their ancestor, Indru), and the humans have their villages at the ends of their names.

How do you write a whole book?

Keep on going. Most people think that if their first drafts aren’t good it means they can’t write. People also think that if it’s hard, they’re doing it wrong. Both are untrue. You have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff, and writing seems hard because it’s hard. Just keep working at it.  It’s the only way to get to the end.


About Promise of the Wolves

WHAT IS THE PROMISE OF THE WOLF?
NEVER CONSORT WITH HUMANS
NEVER KILL A HUMAN UNPROVOKED
NEVER ALLOW A MIXED-BLOOD WOLF TO LIVE

At least that's what the wolves of the Wide Valley believe. Until a young wolf dares to break the rules--and forever alters the relationship between wolves and the humans who share their world.

This is the story of such a wolf. Born of a forbidden mixed-blood litter and an outcast after her mother is banished, Kaala is determined to earn a place in the Swift River pack. But her world is turned upside down when she saves a human girl from drowning. Risking expulsion from their pack and exile from the Wide Valley, Kaala and her young packmates begin to hunt with the humans and thus discover the long-hidden bond between the two clans. But when war between wolves and humans threatens, Kaala learns the lies behind the wolf's promise. Lies that force her to choose between safety for herself and her friends and the survival of her pack--and perhaps of all wolf- and human-kind.

Set 14,000 years ago, Promise of the Wolves takes us to a land where time is counted in phases of the moon, distance is measured in wolflengths, and direction by the scent of the nearest trail. Years of research into the world of wolves combines with mythical tale-telling to present a fantastical adventure set in a world filled with lore.


About the author

Before the wolves barged in the door, demanding that their story be told, Dorothy Hearst was an acquisitions editor at Jossey-Bass, where she published books for nonprofit, public, and social change leaders. She loves dogs but doesn’t have one, and borrows other people’s whenever she gets the chance. After seven years in New York City and nine years as a San Franciscan, Dorothy now lives in Berkeley, California.

Spirit of the Wolves, the third and final title in The Wolf Chronicles, will be released December 2. For more information, and to download free CCSS-aligned discussion questions for all three novels, visit her website www.dorothyhearst.com.


Giveaway

Simon & Schuster is pleased to offer a complete set of The Wolf Chronicles--PROMISE OF THE WOLVES, SECRETS OF THE WOLVES, AND SPIRIT OF THE WOLVES--to one lucky winner! (U.S. addresses only.) Giveaway ends December 20, 2014.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Check out all the stops on The Wolf Chronicles blog tour!

Mon, Dec 1 - Novel Novice

Tues, Dec 2 - The Book Monsters

Wed, Dec 3 - SLJ Teen

Thurs, Dec 4 - I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

Fri, Dec 5 - I Read Banned Books

Mon, Dec 8 - Library Fanatic

Tues, Dec 9 - YA Book Nerd

Wed, Dec 10 - Read Now, Sleep Later

Thurs, Dec 11 - The Brain Lair

Fri, Dec 12 - Unleashing Readers

Sat, Dec 13 - The Children's Book Review

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