Dear LA Teacher,
I would like for my students to be exposed to a variety of authors writing for the YA audience. Also, since you have a few books published for this age group, I have a few questions I’d like to ask you. Are you game?
Dear Curious Teacher,
A great way to get to know new authors is to follow the literary chain letter known as “The Blog Hop”. This is a virtual event that helps readers discover writers they are unfamiliar with. First, I’d like to thank the writing team of Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson who gave me the idea for this article.
Now, let’s get to your questions:
1. What is the working title of your newest book? A few months ago I submitted Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback to my publisher, Solstice Publishing. It is the sequel to The Legend of Koolura.
2. Where did you get the idea for The Mystery at Camp Saddleback? After I wrote The Legend of Koolura, I visited my daughter, Koren, at her college in Santa Barbara. We spent the day at a beautiful lake nearby. I thought Lake Cachuma would be the perfect backdrop for a story about Koolura spending her summer at a sleep-away camp.
3. What is the genre of your book? Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback is a middle school novel. It is a fantasy about a girl with remarkable psychic powers. At camp she wakes up after a restless night sleep weak and disoriented. She soon realizes that her amazing abilities have all disappeared.
4. What actress would you have play Koolura? I think Ariel Winter who played Alex Dunphy in “Modern Family” would be the perfect Koolura. She has the kind of sweet face that I envision for my character.
5. Provide a one-sentence synopsis of your book. Koolura, a girl with amazing psychic powers, attends a summer sleep-away camp in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara only to discover that her powers have evaporated and crude boys are making devilish pranks against her cabin.
6. Will your book be self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? The same publisher who published The Legend of Koolura, Solstice Publishing, will publish Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback.
7. How long did it take you to write your first draft of your manuscript? Since I started working on it after I retired from teaching, it took less than a year to write the first draft.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I guess the closest one I can think of is Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator. It is one of a series of mystery stories by Jennifer Allison about a girl who loses her father. She’s determined to sharpen her psychic skills to communicate with him and other ghosts she encounters during her investigations.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? When my oldest daughter was in sixth grade she was a reluctant reader. I asked her, “If I wrote a book about a very cool sixth grader, would you read it? Channie agreed and I wrote The Legend of Koolura. When Koren and I visited Lake Cachuma I got the idea for a sequel. Currently, I’m working on the third installment, Koolura and the Mayans.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interests? Koolura meets a very cute CIT, she learns American Sign Language from a deaf camper, and a jealous camp hand tries to do her harm.
Like most YA and MG writers, I read other YA and MG books. Here are a few of my favorite authors and their books:
Anne Loader McGee’s Civil War YA novel, Anni’s Attic, is a historical novel providing a heart-wrenching look at the atrocities of the Civil War and its affects on the lives of the people living in the Savannah countryside.
Jessica Tornese, author of Linked Through Time and Lost Through Time has written a series of time travel books about Kate Christenson, a spoiled 21st Century girl, transported back to the 20th Century to an agrarian lifestyle where she must uncover a mystery or die trying.
Older readers would love KC Sprayberry’s YA novel, Softly Say Goodbye, set in a Georgia high school where a group of teenage alcoholics rule. It’s up to senior Erin Sellers to fight teen drinking and save the lives of those she loves.
Jeanne Bannon, author of Invisible, created a marvelous story about a teenage girl having the power to make herself invisible. It’s a tale of a teen feeling apart from her peers and learning that self-acceptance is the key to happiness.
Penny Estelle wrote At What Price, a heartwarming story of a grandmother and the hurdles she had to leap in protecting her granddaughter.
I think that gives you a good start. You now have the names of five fine YA authors and the superb books that they have written.