Back to School Blog Tour 2013 Featured Authors: Scott Pixello and Becca Price

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Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: Scott Pixello and Becca Price

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6 Featured Authors: Scott Pixello and Becca Price

Welcome to day four of the Back to School Blog Tour 2013! I’d like to thank everyone that has stopped by, participated, and spread the word about this blog tour during the week. It has been a big success budding from the idea on Kboards.com to a full, fledged blog tour. Thanks everyone! If I have the energy, let’s do it all again next year. 😉

**Note: The winner of the Back to School Giveaway Bundle will be announced on Monday, Sept. 9. You still have time to enter until 11:59pm PST.

The 2013 Back To School Blog Tour Big Book Giveaway

For a list and link to all the authors participating and tour giveaway, link to the Back To School Blog Tour Page here.

Today’s featured authors are Scott Pixello and Becca Price.

Our first author is Scott Pixello.

1) Who was your favorite teacher, and how did they influence your writing?

I had a couple of inspirational teachers but probably key for me was a lovely lady called Mrs Beatty, who really encouraged me to write. Most important for me was that any praise on offer was not unconditional and from behind her steely-rimmed spectacles she would point out areas to improve too so I knew she’d definitely read what I’d written and tried to ‘connect’ with it. This was when I was in the upper year of Junior School in Britain, so I’d have been about 11 then and although I didn’t necessarily write much in the years immediately after that, the idea that I could write, that somehow I had ‘permission’ to use words like this, stayed with me into adulthood.
I also took great inspiration from a visiting poet, who seemed immensely brave to me, not just for earning a living through the power of his words but for being prepared to open himself to be judged by new people every day. He was also (& probably still is!) black and I grew up in a predominantly white area and this man’s stories of little children staring and pointing at him an the street as if he was a space alien, only made him even more amazing to me.

2) What advice would you give children for the beginning of school?

I’m sure plenty of parents and teachers say this but ‘do your best’. What they don’t often add is no-one knows what this is- not even you! Some of you are growing so fast that teachers won’t recognize you between years and the amazing thing is NO-ONE knows what you’re capable of (in every sense) so go out there and AMAZE people. That doesn’t mean get top grades for everything (although that would be nice, of course). It means be the best you can be in every way- the most thoughtful, the best friend, the most reliable.

3) Did you have any role models growing up? Who were they? Why did you admire them?

I think it’s important to have people around you who may be family, friends, characters in books, it doesn’t really matter, but people with whom you can identify and who offer you potential paths to follow. It doesn’t have to be a matter of wanting to be like someone, just the sense that you do have options, often many more than you realize. For boys, who may not always have fathers in the family home, this is particularly important, so male teachers carry a special burden of responsibility. For me, my father who was a teacher, was more of a touchstone than I ever realized at the time. And it’s worth remembering kids that however much you fight it, however depressing a thought it is, eventually you turn into your parents.

4) Do you do anything to help organize your writing or inspire a story?

I always have a notebook with me as my memory is very bad and as soon as I think of something I have to scribble it down or it’s gone.

5) What is the kernel of wisdom you have learned about writing?

Stick at it and keep doing it. It took me many years to get my first book published and I was rejected countless times. So was JK Rowling (not that I’m saying I’m that good).

6) What other projects or books are you working on right now?

I’m writing several different books- one is a love story about a school exchange (From Brighton to Berlin), one is about a boy forced to ‘go undercover’ as an actor in a Shakespearean theatre (A Boy Called Juliet) and another is about the last three members of the human race, stuck on the dark side of the moon (Losers in Space). These are not part of a series.

Rainbow is a new book release for the author Scott Pixello.

Rainbow is a new book release for the author Scott Pixello.

Mr. Pixello has recently released the book Rainbow.Taking place in Scotland, a Highland calf is born that is unlike any ever seen before. It seems the animal can predict football (soccer) scores. In the eye of a media storm, Jess must fight to keep Rainbow safe from frenzied outside interest, a life-threatening illness and even a gang of ruthless kidnappers.

Potential study questions on Rainbow

(Some points for parents/teachers to consider/discuss in school)

Rainbow is quite short (33,000 words) but it’s a serious-minded book and raises a number of

issues:

• What difficulties does Jessie have living on a farm and how is she different to other

students at school?

• Although Rainbow cannot talk, she represents a number of ideas about what ‘normal’

means. Can you think what they might be?

• The main character, Jessie, has a close relationship with her dad- can you find

examples of when she feels close to her father and how does this change/develop over

the course of the story?

• Do you really know where all your food comes from?

• Research examples of celebrity animals, especially surrounding the prediction of

sporting results.

• Highland cattle are a very specialized breed- what can you find out about them?

• Jess meets a group of rugby players- how do you play this game and how is it different

from American football?

• How does the British English in the book differ from American English in terms of

grammar, especially spelling?

• Why is the cow called Rainbow?

• Has the book made you feel differently about life on a farm? Is it a lifestyle you would

like yourself? If so, why?

**For more information on Scott Pixello and his books, link to his Facebook Page.

Our second featured author is Becca Price

1) Who was your favorite teacher, and how did they influence your writing?

I had several favorites.

My 7th grade English teacher was, I believe, Mrs. Roeder, although I may be misspelling her name – it was a long time ago. She recognized that my reading and comprehension levels were way beyond the class, and she let me write my stories and poetry in class, as long as I gave it to her to read when I was finished. She encouraged me to submit various (bad) poetry to the school magazine, and some of it was even published, although most of that was pretty much doggerel – I never submitted the good stuff, it was too personal for me.

I forget my 10th grade English teacher – he started out the school year by having us write a list of everything we’d read (even magazines) over the summer. My list was 63 items long, because I’d just discovered Sherlock Holmes, and not only read everything I could by Conan Doyle, but everything about him, and about Victorian London and the history of the era. My teacher took me aside, and told me that when ever he assigned a book report, I could ignore the assignment, and could read anything I wanted in class.

I took creative writing in high school, as well, and got a lot of encouragement from my creative writing teacher. I never had the courage to submit anything, in those days, however – I was never sure that anyone would ever want to read the sorts of things I wanted to write. Of course, I’m still not sure that anyone would ever want to read the fairy tales I write, and I’m always touched and gratified whenever somebody that doesn’t know me buys a copy of Dragons and Dreams, or downloads The Snarls.

2) What advice would you give children for the beginning of school?

Two pieces of advice: read, read, read everything that interests you. Don’t let anyone tell you that the books you like to read aren’t worth reading – read and enjoy it!

The other piece of advice is to always be open to opportunities – don’t let anyone scare you or discourage you. I had my share of bad teachers (one of whom I had for 2 years, and who really didn’t like me for some reason and did everything she could to try to convince me that I was stupid.). Take risks, be creative. Don’t just use school to mark time, but take the opportunity to take as many unusual classes as you’re interested in. There’s no such thing as wasted information, only information you haven’t had a reason to use yet. You’ll never know when an odd piece of information, picked up casually on your way to something else, may come in handy. It always seems to for me!

3) Did you have any role models growing up? Who were they? Why did you admire them?

I think I’d have to say my parents. They never discouraged me from reading anything I wanted, even when they feared it might be too old for me. My mom especially was always there to answer questions I had about something I read, or to discuss my latest book. They never asked me “what use is it?” when I wanted to take classes like creative writing or shop or Latin – they always encouraged me to follow whatever enthusiasm I had at any given moment.

4) Do you do anything to help organize your writing or inspire a story?

When my kids were little, I would make up stories to tell them at night, when I’d get bored with the 17th time re-reading Goodnight Moon or whatever. Many of those stories are the roots of the stories in Dragons and Dreams. One of my stories (“Sunflower”) was inspired by a particularly much loved toy cat my daughter had. Inspiration is everywhere.

When I get a random idea, I sit and sketch it out – I used to keep a notebook for such things, now I have a computer file. It might be only a random title, or a paragraph notation of how a story might start or something in the middle of another story, but just a little something to help me remember an idea I had. I’ve got a whole list of story titles that I wish I’d written down a bit more on, because I can’t remember the story that went with the title!

5) What is the kernel of wisdom you have learned about writing?

Oh, this is hard to boil down into one thing! I guess the main thing about writing is to write, and write, and write some more. And read everything you can, and then write still more. Don’t worry about how good it is at first – first drafts are made to be revised and re-written. I’ve heard it said that you have to practice something like 10,000 hours at any one thing to be good at it, or to write over a million words before you start to be good. Don’t be discouraged by that, but also don’t be discouraged if you read something you’ve written and don’t like it. Don’t let anybody – anybody! not even yourself – discourage you.

6) What other projects or books are you working on right now?

Well, right now my day job is being particularly demanding, but I’ve been asked by one of my beta readers to write a sequel to “Sunflower” and so I’ve been working on that (it will be called “Pussy Willow”). I’ve got two longish fairy tales written out, one that is still being revised, and two more in sketches that I need to write out. I’m hoping to have my second collection of fairy tales pulled together by Christmas, but it all depends on how the day job goes. I’m a professional writer of non-fiction in my day job (see, I still get to write, even though it’s not always my fairy tales!) and I love what I do, but that’s the job that pays the bills, and so I have to give it first priority before I can sit down and work on the next collection. That collection will be called Heart of Rock and Other Stories.

Dragon and Dreams is a collection of bedtime stories by Becca Price.

Dragon and Dreams is a collection of bedtime stories by Becca Price.

Dragon and Dreams is available at Amazon.com. For more information on Becca Price, visit her website at: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com/.

***For all of the featured author blog links and blog tour giveaway information, link to the Back to School Blog Tour 2013 Page.

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