Welcome to the first day of the Back to School Blog Tour. We have three fabulous children’s authors featured today, Becca Price, Margit Elland Schmitt, and Dan Mclaughlin.
I’ll be introducing them in a moment. But first, I wanted to put up our list of GIVEAWAYS and Discounted Books. Everything runs through the blog tour this week, Sept. 10-14. So enter and pick up your goodies soon!
Becca Price is the author of Heart of Rock, a children’s fantasy middle grade novel.
And now without further adieu, here are our featured authors for today. After reading their interviews, please visit their websites to find out more about these wonderful authors and some exciting blog posts relating to the blog tour.
Becca Price is our first featured author of the Back to School Blog Tour. Ms. Price started writing fairy tales when she couldn’t find the stories her children enjoyed for bedtime. She wrote them down and self-published them at the beginning of the self-pub revolution. Nine books later, she’s been working on her first adult fantasy. Becca Price lives on ten acres of weeds, swamp and trees with her husband, two children, and four cats.
I had the chance to chat with Becca Price about her childhood memories growing up, her writing process, and what upcoming projects are on the way.
1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
Becca Price: There were three books that were most meaningful to me growing up. I loved Lewis Carroll – his play with words, made up words, making nonsense sound like sense (I’m thinking of Jabberwocky here). I also really liked The Little Engine that Could. When I’m stressed or unsure where to go, I still hear that voice saying “I think I can. I think I can.”
But I think the book that had the greatest impact on me was one of the Dick and Jane books. I was looking at it, when all of a sudden it clicked in that the letters C A T spelled cat, and meant the picture of a little black cat above the words. That was when reading really clicked in for me.
2) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Becca Price: It’s not a routine, exactly. I’ll start mulling over a story in my mind, until I’m pretty sure I know the story and how it should start. Then, all I have to do is write it out. I’ll let it sit for a few days, make some corrections, and then send it off to my editor, Martha Hayes, for a final tune-up.
If it’s a short story, sometimes I simply sit down to type. I’ll have a character in my mind, and let him or her tell me their story.
3) What is writing to you in one sentence?
Becca Price: One sentence? Wow. Let’s see. Writing is my life. I’d write even if nobody ever read it. Yeah, that’s it. Writing is my life.
4) What projects are you working on right now?
Becca Price: Right now, I’m working on a novel, The Boy Who Loved The Moon. It’s quite a complex structure, so I’m having to think out loud on paper before I actually start writing it. It’s morphing as I go. It started out a simple middle grade myth, and now I think it’s an adult level book with lots more characters. I’m having to do a lot of research into the Hero’s Journey for that one.
7) What advice would you give young writers?
Becca Price: Read. Read everything you can. If it’s a good book, read it twice, and look at what the author did. Read outside your main genre. Read classics. Just read.
Becca Price is the author of fabulous fantasy middle reader books. Heart of Rock is her featured book for our blog tour.
Booktrailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrgZJanzXIw
“In the distant past, a city of wizards was menaced by horrible Night Mares. The wizards carved hideous gargoyles out of stone, bringing them to life using the magical Heart of Rock, to defend their city.
Now the Heart of Rock is needed to save another kingdom, and one brave cobbler must find it. But the gargoyles cannot live without their talisman; will the cobbler’s quest to save his kingdom doom theirs?”
Heart of Rock is available on Amazon.com.
For more information on Becca Price and her books, please visit her website at: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com
PLUS—especially for this blog tour, Becca Price has posted a behind the scenes article on the writing process.
My second interview of the Back to School Blog Tour is with co-authors of the newly released book, The Dragon, Lucinda, and George. Margit Elland Schmitt and Dan McLaughlin co-authored the book. It started as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project and proceeded from its first 50k to its current 90k. It is a new spin on the legend of St. George and the Dragon. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and the discussion I had with these two about their writing, school memories, and future projects.
Margit Elland Schmitt is the co-author of the book, The Dragon, Lucinda, and George.
1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
Margit Says: I loved the Matter-of-Fact Magic series by Ruth Chew, and would read them every chance I got. It absolutely tickled me that the author was able to find such funny stories about how magic messes with people in the normal world, while avoiding the cliché where people are surprised to see flying brooms or sparkly sparks in the air. “Of course, there’s magic,” her characters would say. “I already knew that.” I wanted to live in a world where you could expect to see magic any day of the week.
Dan McLaughlin is the other co-author of the book, The Dragon, Lucinda, and George.
2) What is your most memorable school moment?
Dan Says: In high school, I was an indifferent student (mostly c’s and b’s with the occasional d or a). The most memorable moment came in chemistry (A class I was destined from birth to get a d in). For some reason, the teacher thought that having the students get up and give the answers to questions facilitated the pedagogical process. While I had been attentive to the mechanics and form of the lectures, I had absorbed very little of the actual content of the subject matter. The last time I was called upon to speak in class, I produced an impressive looking equation sprinkled with various terms (only two of which I now recall, “valence” and “rate determining equation”). I delivered my answer like the good serious student I was. It took the teacher a minute or so to realize I had no idea what I was saying with such authority. It was the first time I got a laugh from an audience and I realized my writing/performing style was to subvert conventional norms and clichés.
3) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?
Dan Says: Chemistry, specifically. Anything involving learning a rigid routine leading to only one correct answer, in general.
Margit Says: Trigonometry was my nemesis. In fact, a lot of math made no sense to me, but it’s interesting (to me) that when I went back over those subjects as an adult, I was able to find new ways to see the problems and the patterns, and I’ve made my peace with math.
4) What advice would you give young writers?
Dan Says: Figure out the “why” or question you are interested in of your story first, and then figure out a story to answer that question. Why do people believe in religion when prayers are often not answered? (Answer in my book Gott Mit Uns – There is a bureaucracy that balances things out). What are the consequences of being more polite to strangers than to family and friends? (My book, Pass the Damn Salt, Please traces a relationship entirely through dialogue and illustrates the destructive nature of “honesty”).
Another interesting idea is to take a well know story and tell it from another character’s point of view. I wrote a book called Ice Girls about the story of The Little Match Girl from the point of view of management, and with Margit Schmitt we retold the Story of St. George and the Dragon with a happy ending for the dragon. The advantage of reworking a story already known is that the basic characters and plot are already established, and you can concentrate on the elements of style that interest you.
5) What is your typical day as a writer?
Dan Says: All my books and projects were written when I had a full-time job (librarian). So, my typical days as a writer consist of me coming home from work, being nice to my wife and then retreating to a place where I can write. And then checking in periodically to see that everything is still OK.
6) What was your favorite book growing up and why?
Dan Says: Arthur Schlesinger’s 3 vols. on the New Deal. History backed up by footnotes that told a story the explained the present and gave guidance to the future with fascinating stories and personalities within the main story.
7) What inspired you when you were younger?
Dan Says: Not to be a total cliché, but my parents. My mom, who said after another devastatingly mediocre IQ test result, “That’s OK, Danny, they just haven’t figured out a way to measure your intelligence yet.” (and I believed her); and to my dad an incredibly talented independent experimental filmmaker who never made the same film twice. From him I learned that any creative art is about solving questions or problems or passions that interest the artist.
Margit Says: I joke a lot about one teacher who said I’d never make a great writer, but the truth is, I was really lucky to have support at home and at school. When I was young, I was always writing stories and plays with my friends and family, and I’m still amazed at how often people gave me the opportunity to perform those works in public. There’s nothing like reading before a live audience to really cue you in to the weak places in your story! And nothing as rewarding as getting a laugh or a sigh at just the right moment.
Their book, The Dragon, Lucinda and George, can be found at Amazon.com. It’s a book with a quirky new look at the old legend of St. George and the Dragon. Dive right into a new adventure where fantasy isn’t always so cute and dry. Knights and Princesses are not always so easy to understand, especially when your new friend is a dragon.
Visit Margit Elland Schmitt’s website at: https://margitellandschmitt.wordpress.com.
Dan Mclaughlin’s website is: http://danmclaughlin.info/index.html.This is their first collaborative novel. I hope there will be more. Hint. Hint.
Thank you for stopping by the Back to School Blog Tour Day 1. Please be sure to continue your tour by visiting the author’s websites and checking out their fabulous books! I hope you’re able to fill up your Back to School reading lists this week.
Check back for more author interviews and their featured books tomorrow. And for more information about my new release, The Lost Secret of Time: Bk 4 in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles, please check out its listing on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.