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 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.