Monday, June 27, 2011

Celebrating the Book Launch of Montezuma Intrigue


Montezuma Intrigue
The Adventures of John and Julia Evans

The search for Montezuma's treasure, mysterious events, a good-looking rogue, and family secrets! When a leather parchment of Montezuma’s map is found in great-grandfather Evans’ old chest, April and the twins know this summer is going to be a memorable one. The girls want to search for it but their father is against it for some mysterious reason. With Julia’s help, she and the girls convince John to go on a treasure hunt. Is Montezuma’s treasure a legend or reality? Whatever the case, John insists on keeping their little treasure hunt a secret. If certain people find out about it, the family could be in danger.

While searching for Montezuma’s treasure, Matthew is trying to get the courage to tell April how he feels about her. How does he tell his kindred friend that she means more to him than just a friend? Oblivious of Matthew’s feelings for her, April is gradually learning the importance of her heritage. Who were her ancestors and why have they kept a certain “secret” all these years?

Suko’s Notebook wrote, “In the latest book by Linda Weaver Clarke, Montezuma Intrigue, the mysteries continue as this author entrances us with life-like characters and electrifying adventures. The search for Montezuma's treasure is both exciting and memorable. I enjoyed the adventure and suspense in her latest novel, which kept me reading well into the night.”

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview with Author Karey White

Karey White grew up in Utah, Oregon, Idaho and Missouri, the oldest of eleven children. She attended Ricks College and BYU. She’s married and is the mother of four children. She sews, has made wedding cakes for several years, and enjoys reading and writing.

Hello, Karey. Being an Idahoan myself, I attended Ricks College and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Please tell us about your new book.

Gifted is a very special book to me. It centers on family, friendship, love and sacrifice. After years of wanting to be parents, Brent and Susan adopt Anna, a beautiful baby whose parents died in a car accident. As she grows they discover there are unusual things about her and they’re torn about how to handle these special gifts. The book is relatable to parents because we all face challenges. We walk a fine line between protecting our children and preparing them for the world. It’s also a great story for teens because of the friendship between Anna and Kelsey, her neglected and abused friend. The story spans sixteen years and we see how Anna’s gifts impact the lives of those around her.

This sounds like a wonderful story. I love the book cover. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Our neighbors had a grand-daughter who was nine months pregnant when she died in a car accident. The doctors were able to save her baby and so my neighbors had to deal with the difficult task of finding a home for this great-granddaughter. I went to bed thinking of them and had an incredible dream about this baby girl. When I woke up, I wrote down the dream. That day, I couldn’t get it off my mind and ideas started coming. This was on a Saturday. When the kids left for school on Monday, I started writing. In the book, Anna’s mother has a dream that helps her understand her daughter. It’s the same dream I had that night.

What are Anna’s gifts and why are they not only a blessing but a challenge, also?

The first gift that Anna’s parents discover is that everything looks better when Anna’s around. The world is more beautiful, things are brighter and clearer. They also discover that people learn better when she’s around. This seems wonderful at first, but once Anna starts school, comparisons are made between classes. With those comparisons come unhappy parents and teachers who are blamed.

Also, Anna doesn’t get sick or injured. While this is a blessing most of us would enjoy, it makes Anna feel like an anomaly and she wants to experience life, even the hard parts.

A Reviewer wrote, “Karey White employs the miraculous to illustrate the impact of one mortal's existence the way Capra did in ‘It's a Wonderful Life.’” I loved It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and how an angel helped him to realize that life was worth living. Tell us your thoughts about this comment. How does your novel compare with this movie?

I’m flattered that someone would think of my book in the same way as “It’s a Wonderful Life” because that is such a classic. I loved this review because it put into words exactly what I hope people take away from Gifted. In the movie, the angel shows George Bailey the impact he had on other people’s lives. In Gifted, we see a special girl and the impact she has on the people around her, and it’s significant. Many people who have read the book have said that it made them think about the effect they can have on others. I think that’s so important—making a positive difference in the lives of the people around us. 

A positive difference in the lives of others…what a wonderful concept of life! Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I hope my characters are more memorable than me because I’m not sure I’m that memorable. I guess an interesting thing would be that when I was a child, my parents bought and remodeled an old schoolhouse in Wallsburg, Utah and that was our home for almost ten years. We had a gymnasium, a principal’s office and boy’s and girl’s bathrooms. I still miss that house.

AWESOME! You actually lived in a schoolhouse? Wow! And I suppose that you ate in the cafeteria for all your meals? What was your bedroom like? Was it a classroom?

We used the old school kitchen and eating area for the first couple of years that we lived there, then my parents remodeled and put in a new, modern, family-style kitchen. At first I shared a bedroom, but when I turned twelve, I moved into the library and it was my own room. It was a pretty narrow room, but it had floor to ceiling bookshelves. I loved it! It was a perfect room for someone who loved books as much as I did.

What a cool house!!! Thank you, Karey, for such a fun interview. I not only learned about your new book but I learned a few things about you. Now we know the real you! An Author who once had a library for her bedroom! Ha! Wonderful!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Interview with Children’s Author Nancy Stewart

 Nancy Stewart developed an appreciation of stories for young people as a university professor specializing in children's and young adult literature. She travels throughout the world and her love of nature inspired her to write One Pelican at a Time, Bella Saves the Beach, and Sea Turtle Summer.

Hello Nancy. Please tell us about your new book, One Pelican at a Time.

Bella and Britt think it’s so cool living by the beach, and they particularly love the old crooked beak pelican that they’ve known all their lives. (Pelicans live up to forty years, by the way.) But when an oil spill occurs, everyone’s life changes, especially the pelican’s. The girls try to do something. But what?

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? Do you get any ideas from real life experiences?

My husband and I bought a condo on the water in Clearwater Beach, Florida, three years ago. Although I didn’t know it would, that decision had a profound effect on me. I watched the marine life on our daily walks and quickly grew to love it all, particularly the brown pelicans.

Bella’s name came from one of my early morning walks. I noticed a heart drawn in the sand, and the name in the heart was Bella. The tide was just beginning to take it away. About a week later, I saw a beautiful African American child playing in the surf with her parents. Britt! And Pelican was not just a wisp of an idea anymore. It was Britt and Bella, and they were coming to life.

On my beach walks, I’ve heard children ask their parents some really great questions about ecology, particularly during the spill, although Tampa Bay was mercifully spared. Many kids are more educated about green issues than their parents. I suppose there’s both good and bad in that statement. 

Each of your books teaches us a lesson about saving nature. In One Pelican at a Time, the children are trying to save the pelicans from an oil spill. What will we learn in Bella Saves the Beach?

In Bella, we learn about beach trash and what a horrible problem it is for coastal areas. Bella and Britt see what’s happening to their beautiful beach and spring into action. Again, I wanted it (and the others) to be a kid empowering book, letting children know they can not only help, but lead by example.

What lesson do we learn in Sea Turtle Summer?

Sea Turtle Summer is quite dear to my heart. In coastal areas, there is so much attention given (finally) to the plight of sea turtles, particularly with their nests being disturbed. Knowing that, it seemed natural to put the girls on the case. And again, it was written with kid empowerment in mind. When the girls see an endangered nest, they take matters into their own capable hands. The lesson? Respect marine life. The sea turtles were here before the dinosaurs. It’s human intervention that is causing their populations to decrease, and ironically, it’s human intervention that can save them.

I think everyone should know that Pelican is in Amazon's Hot New Releases and Most Wished For. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Something about the real me…hmmm. A tough one, but here goes. When I was in Kenya with my family, we were up in the Rift Valley at a place called Lake Turkana. I try to run several times a week, and I wanted to run along the shore. I noticed many crocodiles on the shore, sunning themselves. Our friend, a native Kenyan, had flown us up there in his small plane. I asked him about the crocs, and he assured me they were well fed on Nile Perch in the lake and wouldn’t bother me. So I did it, and he was right. They simply slithered into the water as I ran. Would I do it again today? Probably not. But in the moment, with the sun shining and the birds calling…Well, I was in Africa, after all.

That was great. Wow! You were quite daring, if you ask me. Now I know the real you! The daring author who runs alongside crocodiles without a care in the world!