Author Spotlight: Amanda Hosch Talks About Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying

Author Spotlight | Amanda Hosch Talks About Mabel Opal Pear } www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Amanda Hosch and her debut novel Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying.

Title: Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying

Genre: Middle Grade Mystery

Age Range: 9 to 12

Launch Date: October 1, 2017


Please tell us a little bit about your book.

Fifth-grader Mabel (code name Sunflower) wrote the Rules for a Successful Life as an Undercover Secret Agent, so when her parents leave town abruptly she is not too worried–but when her beloved Aunt Gertie is arrested, and her objectionable Uncle Frank and Aunt Stella (Frankenstella) and her annoying (but clever) cousin Victoria take over her house and the family’s private museum, Mabel begins to smell a rat and she is determined to find out what her suspicious relatives are up to.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’ve always loved mystery and detective stories. Mabel’s voice came to me one summer. It was very strong and very sure. Her parents were secret agents, she knew their secret, and was struggling with balancing their secret and trying to live a normal fifth-grade life.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

Usually, I write the first two or three chapters to see if the narrator has a story to tell. If I find it interesting, then I plot out the rest. Mabel’s voice was so strong in the first few chapters that I was able to outline the book in a day since I knew exactly what she would do. The short outline had perhaps two or three sentences for each chapter. The first draft took about six weeks. After I was done the first draft, I double-checked some of the fact and trivia, and then revised (of course) and revised some more.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

How much time do you have? Seriously, so many people encouraged my love of reading and writing, starting with my mother.

Miss Linda from the Nix branch of the New Orleans library system. She let me hang out in the “teen” section, which was only two bookshelves and always recommended new books for me. She taught me about the wonders of interlibrary loan. In fact, I was a library volunteer during the summers of my middle school years.

Mrs. Lee Klebba and Mrs. Sandra Fassnacht at Mercy Academy both encouraged my writing.

 What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

Mabel is a typical fifth grader and she’s studied US geography and state capitals (which come into play for the plot), but her secret super power is observation. She really sees what’s going on and trusts her instincts. I’d love to see MOPRS used as a way for students to strengthen their own powers of observation.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

When I was about three, we brought home a shaggy black street mutt from Audubon Park. His real name was Reginald, but I called him Puppy. He was the smartest and most loyal dog ever. He was a street mutt at heart so he would eat anything (crayons, rubber bands, bananas, loafs of bread, frozen whole fish). However, he was also super-obedient. One day, my brothers and I put our full lunch plates on the kitchen floor, told him “no,” and walked into the other room. He sat next to the plates, quivering, but not eating a bite. My mother was not pleased with our experiment, and we had to give Puppy the ham from our sandwiches as reward for his restraint.

Author Spotlight | Amanda Hosch Talks About Mabel Opal Pear } www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight | Amanda Hosch Talks About Mabel Opal Pear } www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI’m an EFL/ESL teacher (English as a Foreign Language/English as a Second Language) and taught abroad for almost a decade: Canada, South Korea, Czech Republic, and Taiwan. Originally from New Orleans, I now live in Seattle with my husband, our two daughters, and a ghost cat. We recently added two former shelter cats to our family. When not writing, I volunteer at the school library or work with struggling readers.

https://www.amandahosch.com/

https://twitter.com/AmandaFaeremom

Thanks, Amanda!

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Author Spotlight: Kim Ventrella Talks About Skeleton Tree

Author Spotlight | Kim Ventrella Talks about The Skeleton Tree | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Kim Ventrella and her debut novel SKELETON TREE.

Title: Skeleton Tree

Genre: MG Fantasy

Age Range: 7-12

Launch Date: September 26, 2017


Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Twelve-year-old Stanly knows the bone is a little weird, but that’s okay, because now he’ll have the perfect photo to submit for the Young Discoverer’s Competition. With such a unique find he’s sure to win the grand prize.

But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see. There’s just one person who doesn’t find any of this weird—Stanly’s little sister. Mischievous Miren adopts the skeleton as a friend, and soon, the two become inseparable playmates. When Miren starts to grow sick, Stanly suspects that the skeleton is responsible, and does everything in his power to drive the creature away. However, Miren is desperate not to lose her friend, forcing Stanly to question everything he’s ever believed about life, love, and the mysterious forces that connect us.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I started by asking what would happen if a boy discovered a finger bone growing in his backyard, and the rest of the story evolved from there. I had no idea where my spooky skeleton story would go, but it ended up helping me through a difficult situation in my life.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I write fast and revise slow. By necessity more than by choice. I wrote the first draft of Skeleton Tree in two weeks, but the entire revision process took over a year.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

J.K. Rowling! No, she wasn’t my actual teacher, but she did inspire me to start writing. And books are great teachers!

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

Skeleton Tree would be a great book to spark conversations about losing someone you love.        

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My favorite dog is my dog, Hera! I even mention her in my acknowledgements. She’s super sweet and smart, loves to run in the snow and is great at spooning. She’s a rescue dog who was seized by the police from her original owners and is now what they call “severely damaged.” Despite being very fearful of people and dogs, she loves life and is a fantastic co-writer.

Author Spotlight | Kim Ventrella Talks about The Skeleton Tree | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
When she’s not writing, you might find Kim Ventrella working as a children’s librarian, hanging out with the best dog ever, or dreaming of snow.

 

 

 

You can find Kim on the web at:

https://kimventrella.com/

https://twitter.com/kimventrella

https://www.instagram.com/kimventrella/

 

Thanks, Kim!

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Author Spotlight: R.M. Romero Talks About The Dollmaker of Karkow

Author Spotlight | RM Romero Talks About the Dollmaker of Krakow | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on R.M. Romero and her debut novel THE DOLLMAKER OF KRAKOW.

Title: The Dollmaker of Kraków

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Age Range: 8-12

Launch Date: September 12th, 2017

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

 The Dollmaker of Kraków is a historical fantasy novel that follows Karolina, a living doll who arrives in Krakow, Poland on the eve of World War II. It chronicles her friendship with a veteran of the Great War and a Jewish man and his daughter, and what happens to them during the German occupation of the city from 1939 to 1943.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I never would have written The Dollmaker of Kraków if I hadn’t traveled to Poland when I was a teenager. (I’ve been back twice since.) At eighteen, I was struck by the beauty of the city of Kraków and shattered by the horror of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It took me almost a decade to be able to be able to write about those things, though the form it took was quite unexpected…

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

For better or worse, I am what is known as a “pantser.” I don’t outline my books; I let my characters lead me through the story while I’m writing the first draft. Then I go back and revise, cutting out threads that fizzled out and making sure the plot unfolds in a more coherent way. I draw inspiration from music, art, reading nonfiction, and traveling.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

In middle school, most of my teachers were annoyed by how I was more interested in writing fiction than paying attention in class. But my 8th grade English teacher Carrie actively encouraged me to keep writing. During our graduation ceremony, one of the teachers would say a few words about a student they’d grown close to. When my turn came, Carrie told the audience that one day, they would see a book I’d written on the shelf in Barnes and Noble. It meant the world to me. And happily, her prediction has come true!

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

In a time when hatred and xenophobia are on the rise, I think that it’s valuable to look back at history and see not only how such things can lead to tragedies, but how to actively resist them. The Dollmaker of Kraków is about doing just that.

I wanted to write a book that gave a historically accurate and sensitive depiction of the Holocaust and the German occupation of Poland during the Second World War, and I think that it could be paired with lessons about WWII by teachers and librarians. I even have a series of blog posts containing more historical information paired with photos from my trips to Kraków that I plan to put on my website in September. I also wanted to let young readers experience the beautiful and unique city of Kraków and give them a window into Polish folklore and mythology, which is fascinating!

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers  about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

This is Tucker, my family’s dachshund. If you’ve seen Up! and remember Dug, that sums up Tucker quite well…

Author Spotlight: RM Romero Talks About the Dollmaker of Krakow | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight: RM Romero Talks About the Dollmaker of Krakow | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
R. M. Romero the author of fairy tales and children’s fiction. She lives with her family and a menagerie of pets in Colorado. You can visit her online at rmromero.com, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr.

 

 

Thanks, R.M.!

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Author Spotlight: Jonathan Rosen Talks About Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

Author Spotlight | Jonathan Rosen Talks Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Jonathan Rosen and his debut novel NIGHT OF THE LIVING CUDDLE BUNNIES.

Title: Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies

Genre: MG Humor/sci-fi/horror

Age Range: Ages 10-13 or Grades 6-8

Launch Date: August 1, 2017

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

It’s about Devin and his cousin Tommy, who think a witch has moved into the neighborhood. Nobody believes them, until strange things start happening. Things like reports of the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life all around town. Devin and Tommy have to prove the new neighbor is behind it, while at the same time being forced to fight the cutest little monsters ever.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

The story had always been in the back of my mind. I wanted to do something with evil stuffed animals and make it quirky and funny. And then the right timing struck. I had just had a couple of really close calls with a previous manuscript, but get stopped at the very end both times. Both places gave me different reasons why they ultimately passed, but the common thread with both of them, was that they loved the humor. So, with that fresh in my mind, I returned to that evil stuffed animal manuscript, and set off to make the funniest book that I could. I think it lived up to that and the characters were sort of organic. They have their own quirks, which fit and grew into the situation more and more as I went along.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I’m such a bad person to ask about this. Writing, I get in whenever I can. If I have a spare half-hour here and there, I’ll jump into write. Mostly, I write at night when the house is quiet and everyone is in bed. What helps me, is having a weekly critique group. I feel the pressure to have a chapter ready for Tuesdays, so I make sure to have something to read then. It doesn’t always happen, but most of the time, I’m ready for Tuesday.

As far as research goes, I do a TON. I look up almost everything I want to use. Even if I think I know it all, I look it up to make sure, before I put it in a story.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I like this question. I do always remember one teacher who inspired writing. Ms. Spurny back in high school. I’d had writing in my English classes before, but she had fun creative writing exercises, which I loved. I’d never had things like that before. I even took some of the exercises she did when I started teaching. Her class was one of the first ones I had, where it wasn’t just learning the proper format of writing. She let us be as creative as we wanted and take a story wherever we wanted to go.

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d  like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

 My book is funny. Honest! I do think kids will get a big kick out of things in there and there are plenty of jokes for their parents as well. Besides looking up certain references the book makes, I think it will just be entertaining for kids. My kids loved when I did the voices and dialect for the characters, so this is something to reward students for working. I’m sticking to that.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My favorite dog is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever (mostly) mutt named Parker. He’s less than a year old and is about the biggest lapdog there is. He’s so loving and loves to cuddle. Oh, I didn’t mention…he’s mine! Love that dog and he’s made an impact on everyone in the house.

 

Author Spotlight | Jonathan Rosen Talks Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight | Jonathan Rosen Talks Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comJonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time being a volunteer coach and chauffeur for his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. He mostly writes middle-grade, because he finds that he shares the same sense of humor as that audience. Jonathan proudly represents diversity by way of being half-Mexican and half-American, though to be fair, neither country is really willing to accept responsibility.

You can find him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/houseofrosen?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JRosen18

FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, The Tuesday Writers and has own website, WWW.HouseofRosen.com

Thanks, Jonathan!

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Author Spotlight: Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Greene Comes Clean

Author Spotlight | Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Green Comes Clean | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Melissa Roske and her debut novel KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN.

Title: KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN

Genre: Contemporary MG

Age Range: 8-12

Launch Date: August 22, 2017, from Charlesbridge


Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Eleven-year-old Kat Greene has a lot on her pre-rinsed plate, thanks to her divorced mom’s obsession with cleaning. When Mom isn’t scrubbing every inch of their Greenwich Village apartment, she’s boiling the silverware or checking Kat’s sheets for bedbugs. Add friendship troubles to the mix, a crummy role in the school play, and Mom’s decision to try out for Clean Sweep, a TV game show about cleaning, and what’ve you got? More trouble than Kat can handle—at least without a little help from her friends.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I first got the idea from a fortune cookie. It said, “A winsome smile is your sure protection.” I wasn’t sure what it meant quite honestly, but I liked the sentiment. So I started freewriting, and Kat Greene – a smart, kind, funny 11-year-old – popped out!

In terms of the mom’s character, that is more complicated. As you know from reading the book (thanks, Trish! J), Kat’s mom suffers from a cleaning compulsion—a symptom of her OCD. She’s also afraid of germs and contamination. It wasn’t until I was done writing the book that I realized that the mom is actually based on my dad. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me, at least on a conscious level. My dad, however, is the opposite of Kat’s mom. He is extremely messy and keeps everything. I actually found a datebook in his apartment from 1973! He also hasn’t been diagnosed with OCD, although his behavior certainly points to it. He’s a checker, for instance, which means he can’t sleep until he’s checked the front-door locks at least three times. I too have some OCD symptoms, including the need to have my window shades fixed at a certain level, but I wouldn’t say they adversely affect my life. They’re just annoying—to my family, and to myself.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

I try to write every day, even if it’s for 15 minutes. That’s not to say I actually do it, but the operative word is try! I also like to do a little prewriting before I sit down to work. I have a special journal for this purpose, and I use it to test out ideas, explore plot points, and to ask myself plenty of “What if” questions. For instance, there’s a scene in my book where Halle is blabbing on and on about her crush, Michael McGraw.  I wasn’t sure how Kat should react, so I asked myself: “What if Kat told Halle to put a lid on it?” From there, the scene developed fluidly. Also, I don’t work from an outline, but I do write a synopsis before I tackle a project. I like to have a roadmap, even if I don’t follow it. It keeps me focused, and on track.

In terms of research, I had to do quite a lot, because I wanted to make sure that the mom’s OCD was portrayed fairly and accurately. Therefore, I read many books on the subject—including Traci Foust’s excellent Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD—and I interviewed psychologists and psychiatrists. I wanted to be respectful of those who suffer from this disorder, as well as family members who suffer as a result.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

I can’t choose one teacher because there were so many (!), but I can say that my love of writing was definitely nurtured and encouraged by my teachers at the City and Country School, the century-old progressive school, in New York’s Greenwich Village, on which Kat’s school is loosely based.  City and Country taught me to think outside the box, and to work independently. We didn’t have homework, or tests, or grades—yet we managed to “learn by doing,” the guiding principle of the school, coined by C&C’s visionary founder, educator Caroline Pratt.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I think KAT works well in a classroom, because most of the action takes place in the classroom—namely, the Village Humanity School, Kat’s ultra-progressive elementary school. That’s not to say that Kat’s classroom experience will mirror that of a more traditional classroom, but there are certain themes that are universal: coping with conflict; working out differences; respecting others; kindness.            

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I am a huge fan of my friend Irene’s bulldog, Bo Hwang. He has a sweet disposition, a cute wrinkly face, and a fierce sense of style. He has his own Facebook page too.

Author Spotlight | Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Green Comes Clean | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Author Spotlight | Melissa Roske Talks About Kat Green Comes Clean | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comBefore spending her days with imaginary people, Melissa Roske interviewed real ones, as a journalist in Europe. In London, she landed a job as an advice columnist for Just Seventeen magazine, where she answered hundreds of letters from readers each week. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest, and got certified as a life coach. She lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, daughter, and the occasional dust bunny.You can find Melissa on the web at:

WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram

Thanks, Melissa!

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Author Spotlight: Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Khullar’s Mustache

Author Spotlight | Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Kullar's Mustache | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Kristi Wientge and her debut novel KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE.

Title: KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE

Genre: Contemporary

Age Range: MG

Launch Date: August 15, 2017


Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Karma is entering middle school and is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend, or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima, or that her daddy is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mom to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone preoccupied, Karma has no one to turn to, and must figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

Being a hairy girl, I’ve always wanted to read about a hairy girl, but no one ever wrote a book about this topic. It was only after I attended a master class at a writing conference in Singapore that I was inspired to come up with an interesting character name and once I had the name Karma Khullar, the rest of the story fell into place!

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

For a story to really take off for me, I have to start with the voice. I just tried to put some voice into a manuscript that I love, but lacked voice and it didn’t work. I pretty much struggled for a year trying to squish voice into it. For me, I can have the plot, the emotional arcs, even know the ending, but if I don’t have a strong voice, I’m not going to be able to do the story justice.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

This question is so easy for me. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Clark, was fresh out of college and brimming with ideas. She encouraged creative writing and let me and a friend put on plays for the class. She submitted my work to a publication for children’s writing. My short story Salt and Pepper was accepted and I just knew I was on my way to a Newberry!

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I’m not sure if the topic of facial hair is classroom worthy. As much as I wanted to read a book about another girl with facial hair as I was growing up, I would have been mortified if we’d read a book about it in class. I’m sure everyone in the classroom would be staring at me! What I would like to see teachers do is share this book with the girls they think it would help. Karma is dealing with more than just facial hair, she’s got family problems and friend problems and even if a girl isn’t hairy, I think it’d make the reader more empathetic towards girls they notice with hairiness issues.           

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

I had a very dog-eared copy of BENJI by my bed for years and years growing up. I can still picture it in my head!

Author Spotlight | Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Kullar's Mustache | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

Author Spotlight | Kristi Wientge Talks About Karma Kullar's Mustache | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comKristi Wientge is originally from Ohio, where she grew up writing stories about animals, including (her favorite) a jet-setting mouse. After studying to become a teacher for children with special needs, she spent several years exploring the world from China to England, teaching her students everything from English to how to flip their eyelids. She’s spent the last twelve years raising her family in her husband’s home country of Singapore, where she spends her days taking her four kids to school, Punjabi lessons, and music class. You can find her at kristiwientge.com and on twitter at @kwientge

Thanks, Kristi!

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2017 Debut Book Love – One Shadow on the Wall

Fellow Class of 2k17 Books member Leah Henderson’s gorgeous MG debut, ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, released last week. This is a middle grade book you want on your shelves.

2017 Debut Book Love | One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAn orphaned boy in contemporary Senegal must decide between doing what is right and what is easy as he struggles to keep a promise he made to his dying father in this captivating debut novel laced with magical realism.

Eleven-year-old Mor was used to hearing his father’s voice, even if no one else could since his father’s death. It was comforting. It was also a reminder that Mor had made a promise to his father before he passed: keep your sisters safe. Keep the family together. But almost as soon as they are orphaned, that promise seems impossible to keep. With an aunt from the big city ready to separate him and his sisters as soon as she arrives, and a gang of boys from a nearby village wanting everything he has—including his spirit—Mor is tested in ways he never imagined.

With only the hot summer months to prove himself, Mor must face a choice. Does he listen to his father and keep his heart true, but risk breaking his promise through failure? Or is it easier to just join the Danka Boys, whom in all their maliciousness are at least loyal to their own?


One Shadow on the Wall is about love and loss, family and friendship, and creating your own future—even if it’s hard to do.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is simply gorgeous in every way. I cannot wait to share it with everyone I know.

One Shadow on the WallOne Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books I’ve read this year. Leah Henderson’s debut novel is simply captivating. A beautifully written tale of a young boy in Senegal who is determined to keep his family together – despite the very real dangers that come his way. Young Mor is faced with one tough decision after another, but with the help of his neighbors, his friends, and his family, Mor finds the will to not only survive, but to thrive. A gorgeous debut that is a must for every school and library collection.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A relateable hero.
  • Wonderful sibling and community relationships.
  • An action-packed story.

For teachers

  • A beautifully drawn setting.
  • Vivid details of everyday life that are compelling.
  • Discussion about doing what’s right even in the face of danger.

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL is available now. You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or online at:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells

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Author Spotlight: Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves

Author Spotlight | Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on fellow Class of 2k17 member Alexandra Ott and her debut novel RULES FOR THIEVES.

Title: Rules for Thieves

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: MG

Launch Date: June 6, 2017!

 

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

Rules for Thieves is about a 12-year-old orphan who tries to join a legendary band of thieves in order to get the cure for the curse that’s killing her.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I’ve loved heist novels and books about thieves ever since I was younger, and I always knew I wanted to write one of my own. Parts of the book are even inspired by thief stories I invented when I was a kid. But it wasn’t until Alli Rosco’s voice popped into my head one day, full of sarcasm and stubbornness, that all of the pieces fell into place. I knew right away that she was the perfect character to tell this story.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

So far, the process has been a little different for each book. But what generally happens is that I get pieces of an idea—a character or a premise or a spark of something that interests me—and I spend some time developing it. I research things that may be important, jot down a few notes about the characters, and put together a very loose outline of major plot points. But I leave lots of room to explore during the first draft, letting the characters and the story take me in unexpected directions. Once the first draft is down, I do more research. Then I revise again and again and again until the manuscript finally becomes a book.


We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

In the acknowledgments of Rules for Thieves, I thank three teachers. One taught me in middle school, one taught me in high school, and one was my creative writing professor in college. Each of them gave me valuable advice about writing craft and, more importantly, encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. Their support was so important to me as a young writer, and I’m very grateful for it.           

What makes your book  a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

I want Rules for Thieves to be a book that’s fun and engaging for young readers in the same way that my favorite books were for me at that age. I hope it’s accessible enough to young readers that teachers (and librarians) can pass it on to their reluctant readers or those who haven’t yet been introduced to fantasy books. I hope it’s a book that instills a love of reading in young students.         

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about  your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

My favorite dog is, of course, my own:  an eight-year-old Lhasa Apso named Penny. She’s described as my tiny canine overlord in my author bio because she completely rules my house. She’s a very small dog with a very big personality. 🙂

 

Author Spotlight; Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves penny-20161

 

Alexandra Ott Talks About Rules for Thieves
Alexandra Ott holds a B.A. in English from the University of Tulsa. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her tiny canine overlord. Rules for Thieves is her debut novel. Visit her online at alexandraott.com and on Twitter @Alexandra_Ott.

 

 

Thanks so much, Alexandra!

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2017 Debut Book Love: I Am Fartacus

2017 Debut Book Love | I Am Fartacus | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comI AM FARTACUS: The title kind of says it all.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book with this many bathroom jokes in it. Maybe never. Still, the ARC of Mark Maciejewski’s middle grade debut, I AM FARTACUS, had me laughing right out loud more than once.

I’m pretty sure classrooms full of kids are going to be cracking up in 2017.

Mark gives us an interesting character in his bald, anti-hero Chub. Bent on revenge against Alanmoore Middle School’s most popular boy, (yep, Alanmoore – and that’s not the only reference to The Watchmen which only adds to the fun) Chub and his cadre of mischief makers plan and prank their way toward justice. But sometimes it’s hard to tell where the good guy ends and the bad guy begins.

I Am FartacusI Am Fartacus by Mark Maciejewski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A funny middle grade debut with a great cast of secondary characters. It’s tough not to like this short, bald anti-hero and his Cadre of Evil.

View all my reviews

A funny middle grade debut with a great cast of secondary characters. It’s tough not to like this short, bald anti-hero and his Cadre of Evil.

View all my reviews

For readers

  • A fun cast of secondary characters. The Colonel may be my favorite adult ever.
  • Pranks, fart jokes, and more pranks.
  • Fun references to comics and movies.

For teachers

  • A anti-hero worth studying.
  • Discussion about the fine line between heroes and villains, bullying and getting even.
  • A main character who happens to be an immigrant.
  • A cast with a diverse set of family situations.

Another April debut, I AM FARTACUS is released April 18, 2017. It is available for order now at Amazon.

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Author Spotlight: Allison Hymas Talks About Under Locker And Key

Author Spotlight Interview | Allison Hymas talks Under Locker and Key | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comToday I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Allison Hymas and her debut novel UNDER LOCKER AND KEY.

Title: Under Locker and Key

Genre: Middle Grade Crime/Mystery

Age Range: Ages 9-13

Launch Date: April 18, 2017

Please tell us a little bit about your book?

UNDER LOCKER AND KEY is about a 12-year-old “retrieval specialist” named Jeremy Wilderson who steals back things for the kids in his school. Since doing his job requires a certain amount of lying, cheating, con artistry, and straight-up burglary, Jeremy has made an enemy of the school’s private investigator, a girl named Becca Mills, who has made it her mission to personally take Jeremy down. When Jeremy accidentally places the key that opens every locker in the school in the hands of an aspiring eighth-grade kingpin, he must team up with Becca Mills herself to get it back.

What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?

I actually started this story as part of a class for writing for children and adolescents. I had to come up with a character and write a one-page introduction for the character in his or her voice. At the time I had been reading a lot of middle grade mysteries and watching TV shows about thieves and criminals. I realized that I had found many books about middle grade detectives, but not as many about the criminals they chased. That led to me thinking about what a criminal protagonist would be like, whether he would see himself as a thief or as a hero, why he’d do what he did, etc. I decided he’d see himself as a hero, not a thief, so I wrote the sentence, “First off, I am not a thief,” and Jeremy Wilderson jumped off the page. From there, it was easy to develop Becca, the straight-laced detective antagonist who opposes Jeremy but maybe has more in common with him than she thinks. It has been fun writing a story with a good-guy thief protagonist because I can have him opposed by both the law and by bad-guy thieves.

Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?

When I’m starting a new story, I tend to think about it a lot before I sit down to write the first page. I’ll do lots of prewriting, which I find very fun because it feels like solving a mystery to me. I’ll write up profiles for my characters and experiment by imagining them in different situations and seeing how they’ll react. I’ll start basic plotting for the novel before I write it by listing possible events that could happen in the story and why they would, based on my characters’ personalities and motives. Before I start writing, I will develop a very basic outline for the story; I know major events that need to happen, but am less sure about the details in between. Then I sit down to write, and when I write, those details come. I’m okay changing the major outline if the story works better in a different way.

My first draft is very rough. I write it fast, just to have something to work with later. Most of my good writing comes in revisions as I shape the story to fit what I want it to be best. I tend to discover more about my plot and my characters as I write, so that first fast draft is important for me to understand better what my story is about. As for research, I will do some preliminary research during the prewriting stage, but will research again as I need it during writing. For example, I may learn a little about picking locks before starting the story, but as I write the lock-picking parts I may look for research about what it takes to pick a certain kind of lock or try picking a lock myself so I know how it feels to do it.

We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?

My parents have always been very supportive of my writing, so I think they deserve a nod here. There were two teachers, my fifth grade teacher and my sixth grade Language Arts teacher, who encouraged my writing and told me I was actually good at it, so I credit them with the change from thinking, “I’d like to be a writer, but that’s just a dream,” to “I might actually be able to write as a career.” In college, Dr. Chris Crowe was a professor who really mentored me as a writer and encouraged me to eventually publish my work.

What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?

Well, since my book is about preteen criminals, this question is a little hard to answer! Jeremy has an elevated vocabulary for a 12-year-old, though not overly so for the age group, and he’s fond of language and words, so it could work as a book used to teach vocabulary to a middle grade audience. I’d prefer, though, for the book to be used more to discuss crime and justice, doing the right thing, and interacting with people who have different views on subjects than you do than just for vocabulary. The book deals with these things in a way that is (I think) appropriate and entertaining for young readers.

I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?

Growing up, I had a dog named Snoopy. He was a beagle-basset hound mix and was very energetic and affectionate. We ended up giving him away, but I loved him and learned a lot about caring for another creature from having him. My favorite story about Snoopy was the time I came home to find that he’d caught and killed a rabbit in the back yard. We didn’t want him killing anything, and I had to clean up the mess, but Snoopy looked so proud of himself and was leaping around with a doggy smile on his face, so thrilled that he’d hunted a rabbit for me, that I couldn’t bring myself to say anything but a half-hearted, “Good job, boy,” as I disposed of the poor bunny’s remains.

 

Author Spotlight Interview | Allison Hymas talks about Under Locker and Key | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

As a middle schooler, I was a law-abiding citizen (except for the occasional offense of reading under my desk when I should have been listening). I now hold an MFA from Brigham Young University and currently live in Utah. Under Locker and Key is my first novel. I’m hard at work writing Jeremy Wilderson’s further adventures.

You can learn more about Allison and UNDER LOCKER AND KEY at her website, and you can visit with her on social media at the following links:

Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
Instagram

Thanks so much, Allison!

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