Category Archives: Middle Grade Author Interviews

Interview for Brooke Stevens

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Brooke Stevens is the author of Planet Zero, the third book in the Super Science Squad series.

Summer is a time for freedom and fun. But if you’re looking for something to keep your child engaged in some active learning and support their reading for pleasure learning, here is a great find. The Super Science Squad is a science adventure series that should hook many kids into reading for fun while learning about science. In the new series book, Planet Zero, the squad helps the king of Planet Zero.

The author, Brooke Stevens, has created a fantastic combination of reading and science in her series including fun at home science experiments. I had a chance to interview Brooke about her childhood memories, writing routine, and what writing means to her.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Brooke Stevens: I used to love when my mom read me bedtime stories. Story time was uninterrupted bonding time. I used to write and create my own stories and characters. I thought creating books would be a great job when I grew up, and here I am, a published author creating stories for kids all over the world.

2) Do you have a writing routine? What works for you?

Brooke Stevens: I have a little secret that helps me write. The secret is to write a terrible story first. Even a terrible story can have good ideas and trigger creative ideas. When you know it can be terrible, the pressure goes away. It’s amazing how a terrible story can turn into a beautiful story over time.

3) What subject(s) would you like to write about in future projects?

Brooke Stevens: In the future I would love to write about time travel. I have always had a passion for history. I have always wondered what it would be like to visit another time period, so this could be a really fun project. I could bring this dream to life in a story.

PlantZeroCVRPlanet Zero: Book 3 in the Super Science Squad series is an innovative story about kids using real science to help in fun, filled adventures. Join the squad as they help out the king of Planet Zero. Enjoy the fun twists and the real science experiments that you can try at home too. Maybe you can help save the universe with science.

Planet Zero: Super Science Squad Book 3 is available at Amazon.com. This is a Kindle Unlimited title.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Jacqueline Stokes

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For the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring authors and their books for your child’s summer reading list. It’s good to keep the academics going through the summer months to maintain reading levels and add to literature skills. My next summer reading find is a book by the author, Jacqueline Stokes. It’s got a great attention grabbing title, The Stinkies. This middle grade novel will be a treat for any child looking for a sci-fi/fantasy action adventure to read.

Jacqueline Stokes is an author and screenwriter. She’ll soon be starting her own publishing company to help other writers reach their dreams. In her spare time, she enjoys exercising, taking long walks, and broadcasting on her own podcast called “Champion”. I had the chance to talk to Jacqueline Stokes about her childhood reading memories, her writing inspirations, and what she has in store for us in future projects.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Jacqueline Stokes: My favorite book as a child was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Jacqueline Stokes: Dr. Seuss. I loved his imagination. His writing makes you feel like you’re one of his characters.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Jacqueline Stokes: When writing, I am usually inspired by an idea that will just pop into my head, and I write from there. I have no set routine. Routines can feel like “work.” Writing allows me to experience the adventure of the content that I am writing which never feels routine.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Jacqueline Stokes: I have another children’s book that I will be publishing in the near future. I am skilled in multiple genres.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Jacqueline Stokes: Writing is an ADVENTURE.

stinkiescvrThe Stinkies is a sci-fi, action adventure that will take you out of this world. It’s filled with tons of action and most important, baseball. Spencer Cummings loves baseball, but his little league team is one of the worst teams in the league. Instead of being called the Meteorites, they’ve earned the name of “The Stinkies”. After making a wish for a better baseball field and to win at the championships one day at the county fair, Spencer and his whole family find themselves on a whole new planet.

Suddenly, he must blend in with these aliens or be revealed as an Earthling. Can Spencer and his family avoid capture and find out the secret to wishes that will allow them to go home? And will that secret help turn the Earth he once knew into something completely different.

The Stinkies is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Interview with Shirley Martin

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Shirley Martin is the author of the middle grade novel, Kateri O’Leary and the Computer Mouse.

Looking for a wholesome, middle grade novel for your child? Want to bring them some stabilizing reading during this pandemic? Shirley Martin has a fabulous middle grade book called Kateri O’Leary and the Computer Mouse. It reminds me a lot of a cross between Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary.

Shirley Martin lives in Canada along the rugged coast of Ucluelet BC. She’s taken some of her childhood experiences and created a relatable spitfire of a main character similar to her younger self. I had a chance to ask Shirley about her memories reading, growing up and writing, and what future projects she has in store for us.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Shirley Martin:  My favourite memory from reading as a child is that delightful sensation of being transported to a different reality. (I still love that about reading!) I was enthralled by ‘The Wind in the Willows’. I loved the adventures in the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series by Arthur Ransome. I was one of those kids who read late into the night, flashlight under the covers, after being told to turn out the light and get some sleep. Once I was of school age, I’d rush home after school and dive back into a book.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Shirley Martin: One of my favourite authors was Lucy Maud Montgomery. I identified with Anne because of her red hair, and was inspired by her feisty spirit and sense of drama. I also liked the rich descriptions of her environment.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Shirley Martin: I have a specific writing area and try to work there for several hours every afternoon; that being said, I also wander around the house sporadically during the day, writing in various spots. And sometimes life gets in the way and I go for chunks of time without writing. Then I really miss it!

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Shirley Martin: There are so many subjects I would like to write about! I am working on a local history book, which is a subject I am passionate about. I plan to continue writing books for kids of varying ages, covering many different topics: friendship, creativity, the environment, adventure….the list goes on and on.

  • Did you have pets as a child?

Shirley Martin: When I was kid and we lived in a logging camp, we had two pets, a Calico cat named Judy and a Springer Spaniel named Punch. When we moved the five miles into town, Judy kept returning to the logging camp, so eventually we found her a new home there. It made me sad, but it was obviously what she wanted. Punch loved the water, and flourished in our new home on the bay. We later had another Springer Spaniel named Skipper; he also loved the water. Then I was given a Ginger cat named Gus and an Irish Setter named Belle. Pets were a big part of my growing up experience!

  • Did you have a best friend move away when you were younger?

Shirley Martin: I had a best friend named Penny who moved away with short notice when I was a little girl. Her family left to start a new life, and we never kept in touch. Years later we met up at an out of town Brownie camp, and were thrilled to be reunited!

  • How did you deal with bullies in school?

Shirley Martin: I was never bullied in school. I was teased a lot because of my red hair and freckles; sometimes it upset me, but mainly I just smiled and carried on.

  • What is your favorite thing to do at the beach?

Shirley Martin: My favourite thing to do at the beach is to just sit on a log and take it all in….calm seas or stormy, sea life and birds, boat traffic or silence, I love it all.

  • Do you plan to write more books for the middle grade audience?

Shirley Martin: Yes! I have already written a second book about Kateri O’Leary and plan to publish it later this year. Kateri has captured my imagination and inspired a series.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Shirley Martin: Writing is a challenging adventure, and a path to fulfillment.

Kateri O'Leary Computer Mouse by Shirley Martin coverKateri O’Leary and the Computer Mouse finds an eleven-year-old girl trying to settle into a new home, school, and fitting into a new life. It doesn’t help she has red hair and freckles that make her a prime target for Clive, the school bully. Luckily, she has a pet mouse to confide in until he escapes at school one day. Can she ever get used to her new home, finish her school project, and avoid Clive? Can she survive the pressure of being the new girl? Can things get any worse?

Kateri O’Leary and the Computer Mouse is available at: Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

For more information on Shirley Martin, visit her website at: ShirleyMartinWrites.com.

Interview with Mark Even

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Mark Even is the author of the children’s book, “The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol”.

As we move into a time where many schools are taking early Spring breaks or closing for 3 weeks for protection against spreading the corona virus, I’ll be helping out with recommendations, interviews, and my own lesson plans for parents during this time. I know it’s hard to find activities and lessons for your child. So, I’ll be featuring author interviews, book deals, and other ideas to help with this interim.

I’m starting out with an interview with a fabulous children’s fantasy author, Mark Even. Mr. Even lives in Minnesota, and worked for IBM for thirty-seven years. After he retired, he got the idea to write a children’s book from a local children’s book fair. Combining his love of comic books, superheroes, science fiction and Harry Potter, he created the book “The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol”. Written for his granddaughter’s and all children’s enjoyment, it’s a children’s fantasy with dragons, wizards and a magical parasol with special powers. I got a chance to talk to Mark Even about his childhood reading memories, writing routine, and what he plans for future projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?
Mark Even: The first real book that I read was a biography about Babe Ruth. I was really into baseball as a kid (still am) and played through college and even after college. And I was also a big fan of baseball. But as a kid, I also remember how the nuns at the school would bring TVs into the classroom for the World Series since there were very few night games back then. Baseball was a big part of my life and that book sticks in my mind as part of that whole passion.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Mark Even: To be totally honest, Stan Lee is my favorite author. During my teens (even through college), about all I could afford for entertainment were comic books. I found the whole Marvel Comics Universe so interesting and creative. And now, technology has caught up and these stories can be told in films. But I think the whole creativity of making impossible things seem real and natural while working in stories of family and relationships along with the battles of good vs evil — this is what I strive to portray in my stories as well.

3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Mark Even: First I start forming a plot in my head and then even “write” chapters or sections in my head as well. This will go on for weeks — keeps me awake most of the nights thinking through plot lines and dialogue. Next, I jot down the major plot points in a notebook and various particular items, like a name of a character or the distance between Earth and Mars, so I don’t forget these or have to look them up again. Finally, I’ll sit down and just start writing on the computer. Probably just a chapter at a time, but I often go back and rewrite or enhance the writing with new items or plot points that tie to the next chapter.

4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Mark Even: I’m pretty much set on developing more stories about magical persons and creatures.

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Mark Even: Being retired, writing (or more accurately, making up stories), is one of my favorite pastimes!

WPP pic (2)“The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol” is a children’s fantasy adventure that brings to mind Harry Potter, superheroes and every day kids with a magical purpose. Two cousins find a magical parasol that unlocks a world to discover their magical heritage. Mistakenly releasing an evil magician leads to the cousins working together to save their wizard ancestor, the parasol, and their families. This is a magical adventure that children from upper grade elementary to middle school will enjoy.

“The Wonders of the Peculiar Parasol” is available at: Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

For more information, visit Mark Even’s Amazon Author Page at: https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Mark-M-Even/e/B082HYFKXP.

 

Interview with Fantasy Children’s Writer: J. Edwards Holt

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J. Edwards Holt is the author of the children’s epic fantasy Little Men, Big Treasures.

I’m a total fan of Tolkien. So, when I find a story that is a worthy fantasy adventure, I like to recommend it and talk to the author. J. Edwards Holt has written a children’s fantasy epic adventure called Little Men, Big Treasures. After getting a degree in education, he followed his dream to be a children’s author. Now a full-time writer, illustrator and blogger, Mr. Holt spends his time spreading his Christian message through his passion of telling stories.

I had a chance to talk to J. Edwards Holt about his inspirational stories from his childhood, what he liked to tackle as subjects, and what writing is to him.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
  • J. Edwards Holt: C. S. Lewis has always been my favorite author. From the very first time I opened “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”, I fell in love with his style. After that, I read the remaining Narnia books and, of course, enjoyed all of them. As a Christian author myself, I appreciate the messages that Lewis communicates in his novels. While there are many authors that I like (J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Rick Riordian are just a few examples), C. S. Lewis is the one that I mold myself after the most.

 

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
  • J. Edwards Holt: Both of my current books are fantasy-themed (“little Men, Big Treasures” and it’s sequel “The Summoner’s Gem”), so in the future I hope to write more fantasy fiction, and maybe even some science fiction at some point. I also wouldn’t mind writing at least one non-fiction book as well.

 

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?
  • J. Edwards Holt: If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say that, for me, writing is a way of teaching and spreading a message.

 

littlemencvrLittle Men, Big Treasures is a fantastic epic tale of grand adventure, incredible battles, and sacrifice. O’Balin, son of Blorn is an eager young dwarf and native to the mysterious Mountain Realm. He’s been a treasure hunter his whole life. So, when he hears that the King of the Mountain Realm is offering a reward for whoever finds the Lost Treasure of Undur, he’s ready to take the challenge. Going against warnings from his family and friends, O’Balin gathers a company to go on the journey of a lifetime. What sacrifice will it take to find the treasure? Get lost in the battles, talk of kings and dwarves, and dive into this tale of adventure.

Little Men, Big Treasures is available at Amazon.com and is a Kindle Unlimited title.

First Interview of 2019: Helen Gibbs Pohlot

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I enjoy a good pet or animal story. Here is a good one for you to start your child’s 2019 reading list. Lucky’s Will is an inspirational book based on a true story. The author of this extraordinary tale is Helen Gibbs Pohlot. Helen was a reporter for more than fifteen years before she started writing children’s books. She uses telling stories to her son as inspiration and lives with her family in Pennsylvania. I was able to interview Helen about her writing process and what writing means to her.

1) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works with you.
Helen Gibbs Pohlot: My routine is to write at least 2000 words a day. Consistency works.

2) What subject would you like to write about in future projects?
Helen Gibbs Pohlot: I want to write a fabulous series with interesting characters involved in thrilling situations as they travel around the world.

3) What is writing to you in on sentence?
Helen Gibbs Pohlot: Writing to me is an expression from the heart that informs, entertains and comforts the reader.

a new luckys willLucky’s Will tells the story of a dog who is stranded outside their rural home in the bitter cold and snow after her owner dies suddenly. Lucky survives for 18 days guarding her beloved Will. When rescue arrives, Lucky faces an uncertain future until a young boy stands up and fights for her life.

Lucky’s Will is available at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LGFZYFV

Author of Middle Grade Mystery Series: Interview with Stacy Bourns

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If you want a good mystery series to give for Christmas this year, I’ve found one. As Cold As Charity is the new installment in the Ghost Club Mystery series. This weekend, Dec. 15 & 16 only, it will be free on Amazon! I was lucky to be able to interview the author, Stacy Bourns on her childhood memories, her favorite author, and what she plans for future projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Stacy Bourns: My love of books started early in life, so I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hand. I can still recall the night I began reading The Hobbit, though. I was in bed in my bedroom, which thanks to the slanted ceiling, was particularly cozy. As I read about Bilbo’s adventures, I listened to the Commodore’s Greatest Hits on my cassette player – this tells you how long ago it was! So now, whenever I hear one of the Commodore’s songs, I always think of The Hobbit and that carefree time in my life.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Stacy Bourns: One of my favorite authors is Maud Hart Lovelace who wrote about her own early 19th century childhood and coming of age in her Besty-Tacy series. My aunt, writer Barbara Bartholomew, gave me the first book of the series, and from that moment on, I was smitten. These books are dear to me, because I grew up alongside Lovelace’s protagonist Betsy. Because her writing is so vivid and nostalgic, it almost felt like I was part of Lovelace’s family. Books have so much to offer to a growing child—companionship, adventure, and guidance—and as I wrote my middle elementary Ghost Club series, I hoped to provide many of the same experiences for my own readers. In my most recent Ghost Club book, As Cold As Charity, the young protagonist is struggling with her parent’s possible divorce.

3) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Stacy Bourns: I have one more Ghost Club book in mind, but I am also working on a YA Book about a young woman who travels to Great Britain to learn more about her English roots. Since I adore paranormal fantasy, my protagonist will of course find herself encountering the paranormal. To me, there’s no better way to represent the challenge of growing up than with monsters. In a way, the imaginative act of slaying a monster is psychologically easier than say, dealing with family dysfunction, bullies, or any number of problems that children and teens experience. Ultimately, a monster is just a symbol of a problem that feels insurmountable. And, the most satisfying thing about fiction is that most of the time, the hero defeats the monster and saves the day.

ascoldascharityAs Cold As Charity is the third book in the Ghost Club series. The Ghost Club girls are investigating another case. This time at a luxury inn where sinister laughter is heard, a self-playing piano, and ghostly cries of a child are scaring customers away. They soon discover that they may have taken on more than they can handle and will have to rely on their strength, sleuthing power, and paranormal experience to save themselves.

As Cold As Charity will be free Dec. 15-16 at Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title.