Friday, June 24, 2011

Author Interview with Mattie Richardson

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Mattie Richardson, author of Appaloosy and Dusty's Trail. I'm sure a couple of you bloggers out there will know Mattie Richardson from her blog, Appaloosy Dreams. And if you don't know her, be sure to click on the link and check out her blog! She's really cool!

1. When did you first start writing?

I'd have to say I first started writing when I was about 8 years old. I went to public school at that time, and while the other kids were finishing their assignments I would write tablets full of stories, most of them involved animals of some sort.

2. Is life any different now that you're an author?

Yes life is different. It is so cool to be able to say, "I'm an author" to people and watch their response. I do get tired of explaining the details over and over, though. One thing that is definetely different now too: I have no time! Who has time to be bored in this world? Every minute when I'm not doing something else I'm thinking that I should be writing.

3. How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your first book? How long did the first draft take?

The first book definetely was a long process. It took me the entire summer of my 13th year to write Appaloosy. Editing took about three months, the saving up money for the first round of publishing is what took the longest. I worked about a year to earn enough to publish it, the publishing process itself took about a month and a half.

4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?

I love to ride horse! Wanting a horse is what inspired me to write Appaloosy. Now that I actually have a horse reality has hit me a bit. =) I also like to write, play the fiddle and the electric guitar, work on 4-H projects, and hang out with friends.

5. What/who most inspired your writing?

My want for a horse really inspired the writing of Appaloosy. When I was 13, I didn't have a horse yet and dreamed about owning a beautiful Appaloosa. Add a little history, a character modeled after myself, and a little bit of special aspects to a normal horse, and there you have Appaloosy.

6. Are you working on any books right now? How many books do you have out?

Currently I have two books out, Appaloosy and Dusty's Trail. Both are historical fiction told from a horse's point of view. I am working on my third horse book, Golden Sunrise, and a longer teen novel I have entitled "Blackberry Blossom".

7. Did you always want to be an author? What did you want to be when you were little?

I don't think that I always wanted to be an author. I kind of wanted to be a veternarian or horse trainer when I was little. I always have written stories, but I didn't think about it until I heard a few stories about teen authors and thought, "Hey, I could do that!"

8. Do you have a favourite writing quote?

I love all kinds of writing quotes! Everytime I read one, I can relate to it so much usually I hurry and put it on facebook as my status, only to find out that not everyone thinks like a writer. :) Here's one of my favorites:

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window. ~Burton Rascoe
Change "wife" to "parents", "friends" or "coworkers" and this quote is amazing to me!

9. What was your first reaction when you found out your first book was going to be published?
It was a long time coming for me, but you wouldn't belive how excited I was to hold the first copy of Appaloosy in my hands. I had put so much time, effort and inspiration into writing my first novel, and here it was, a real book!

10. Who is your greatest support in your writing?
I'd like to say my parents, but because they are so busy in their lives they don't have a lot of time to support my writing so they usually leave me on my own in writing, publishing, earning money to publish, marketing, etc. I think the greatest support would be my blogger friends! I do have to say that my uncles on my mother's side have been very helpful too, helping with editing, marketing and stuff like that.

11. Do you have a favourite book? Author?
I love the book Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, and I like Louis L'amour books too. But I'm not sure on my favortie author yet. I guess I haven't read enough books out there to decide yet!

12. What's your best tip for beginning writers?
Keep plowing along, and don't have too high of expectations. Being a writer is hard work and there really isn't a lot of glory in it unless you hit the bestseller list (very unprobable). It takes a lot more time and work than you would think to write a  book so don't start it thinking that it will be easy. It never is.

13. What's the best part of being an author?
I think the best part of being an author is sharing your work with others. It is so scary having your writing out there for the whole world to read, but also it is very thrilling, especially when people like it. Of course though, I think my favorite part was always being locked in my room typing away, not having to listen to any voices except for the characters that are in my head.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Waterfall by: Lisa T. Bergren

What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in another world?

The Betarrini sisters decide to explore an ancient tomb during their visit to Italy with their archaeologist mother. They are bored out of their minds, so it takes Lia very little convincing from her sister Gabi to check out the tomb, not matter how dark and uninviting it may look.

While in the tomb, Gabi places her hand in a hand print, and finds herself transported to fourteenth-century Italy. And worse still, she arrives in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. All she wants to do is get out of there, but one side - the good side, she hopes - takes her with them to their castle.

It doesn't take long for Gabi, who isn't afraid to get in on the action, to make a name for herself. She believes her sister was transported with her, yet she cannot find her. The search begins. The knight who rescued her from the fight, Marcello Forelli, will do everything in his power to help her find Lia, her sister. Maybe too much? Marcello, after all, is already betrothed, to Lady Rossi, a flirty girl who doesn't want Gabi to get in the way.

Even though they are betrothed, there is no true love between Marcello and Lady Rossi. On the other hand, could there be some between Marcello and Gabi? But how could that ever come to be? Gabi is from the twenty-first century, while Marcello is from the fourteenth. Why does Gabi always seem to fall for the guy she can't have?

At a ball, her partner tells her he knows where her sister is, and he only requires one thing. Something she would be a traitor to give.

My thoughts:

Argh! I hate cliff-hanger endings! This book is so cool, I just have to know what comes next! I want to go get the next book, Cascading, right now! Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

I love the cover!!! Though I'm still wondering what the book has to do with waterfalls.

I fell in love with Gabi. She's so strong and smart, and I love the way she always wants to get in on the action, and she wants to fight her own fights, though all the other girls think it's scandalous.

Objectional Content:

Language: A few uses of the word "heck" and one other word that I can not remember.

Romance/Sexual Content: Marcello and Gabi kiss a few times. Luca falls in love with Gabi's sister, but it is rarely mentioned.

Violence: Some sword fighting, and some nasty wounds.

Drugs/alcohol: They drank some wine at the feast

Here is the book trailer:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Author Interview with Dandi Daley Mackall

Author Dandi Daley Mackall has agreed to do an interview with me! She is the author of around 450 books, which is way too many for me to mention here. :)

Her webite is HERE.

1. When did you first start writing?

I think I was “writing” even before I could hold a pen. I made up characters and stories in my head. I’ve always written—which is a good thing because I’d hate to have to keep all those characters stuffed inside my head. When I was in high school, I wrote letters to the editor and got them published in newspapers and magazines. In college, I wrote articles for national magazines. Then I turned to books, first to grown-up books, then to children’s books and teen novels. Now I get to write for all ages.

2. Is life any different now that you're an author?

Hmm…It’s been a long time since I wasn’t an author. But I’m pretty sure that, even if nobody ever published my books, I’d still write them. That’s my calling, and I love it…most of the time.

3. How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your first book? How long did the first draft take?

I took a year to write my first book—probably half on the writing, and half on editing it and rewriting.

4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?

I do! I love to ride and hang out with our horses, play with our dogs. I walk around our lake (5 miles) about 5 times a week, play tennis when I can. In the past, I’ve painted and done all kinds of craft, though I don’t seem to have time lately.

5. What/who most inspired your writing?

Inspiration is everywhere, but I do believe God is behind it. I think if we see what’s in front of us and around us, it’s not that hard to be inspired.

6. Are you working on any books right now? How many books do you have out?

Right now I’m working on a new horse series, BACKYARD HORSES. I’m also finishing a young adult novel, THE SILENCE OF MURDER, a middle-grade novel, DREAMS OF A DANCING HORSE, two picture books, LISTEN TO THE SILENT NIGHT and THERE’S A BABY IN THERE! I’ve written some I Can Read chapter books. And I’m “playing around” with another mystery, a new novel set in the sixties, an adult novel set in WWII, and ….

I’ve had about 450 books published. I know—it’s crazy! I feel very blessed.

7. Did you always want to be an author? What did you want to be when you were little?

I have always wanted to be an author, although I didn’t think I could make a living at it. So I’ve been a college teacher, too. I did toy about being a horse trainer at one point.

8. Do you have a favourite writing quote?

Here are a couple: Proverbs 18:20 20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.

I John 1.4 joy We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

9. What was your first reaction when you found out your first book was going to be published?

I called everyone I knew and told them I was an author! The funny thing is that I didn’t know enough to get everything in writing, and they never sent me a contract. Months later when I asked when the book would be out, I was informed that my editor had died of a heart attack, and the publisher wouldn’t be following through on the promise. Can you imagine? But I thought I was an author, so I’d gone on to write another book, which I’d sold as a proposal. And I was well into my third book. Later, that first book did get published and was much better than it would have been. The title was: When the Answer Is No.

10. Who is your greatest support in your writing?

My husband is my greatest supporter and cheerleader, and he’s also my first reader and editor. He writes adult nonfiction, and we’ve both edited professionally. So we’re lucky to have our own in-house editors.

11. Do you have a favourite book? Author?

I still love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. If you haven’t read it, you must.

12. What's your best tip for beginning writers?

Write your heart out. Don’t worry about what happens after that.

13. What's the best part of being an author?

For me, it’s picturing a reader at the other end of the process, reading my book and seeing something in there that connects, that will make a difference. And then best of all, it’s getting a letter or email from that reader.

14. Do you usually start your stories on the computer or on paper?

Although I usually do start stories on the computer, I’ve written entire books by hand when I had to—three books in the hospital, in fact. And I always keep a notebook on me just in case.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Golden Road by: L. M. Montgomery

In this book, you will join a lively group of children who share the triumphs and falls of growing up together on Prince Edward Island. You can always be sure their leader, Sara Stanley, or the "Story Girl," is always cooking up beautiful enchanting stories and planning their next adventure. In her group of willing accomplices are Cecily, Felicity, Dan, Felix, and Beverley King. Also in the group are homely Sara Ray and gentlemanly Peter Craig.

Beverley has a plan for the cold, boring winter ahead. He thinks they should start a magazine! Each person gets a section in it. Sometimes, though, they go a little bit overboard with it and end up printing things about each other that aren't true. Ah well, such is the way of a reporter.

But one things is for sure, they are never bored. One time they even get to spend the night with the local witch, an experience they will not soon forget. Or the time when Felicity put tooth powder instead of baking powder into a recipe for potatoes when an important person was visiting.

And there's always the time when someone they thought was a horrible old relative came to visit, and it turned out to be the governor's wife! They said all sorts of horrible things, thinking their deaf relative could not hear them, when she was hearing...and enjoying... their every word.

Peter is always trying to get the attentions of prim, proper Felicity. Sara Ray is always worried about getting in trouble with her overly-protective Mother. Sara Stanley finds a hidden romance in the town they live in, and Peter's father turns up out of nowhere!

But if things are getting slow, Sara Stanley is always ready with a plan or a story. Sometimes it can take months for her to get the story just right, but there's always one there.

Unfortunately, nothing can ever stay the same. The friends are growing up and everything is changing. New people are entering their lives and they are experiencing new things...fame...romance...sorrow...adulthood. Their lives can never be the same.

My thoughts:

I love all of L. M. Montgomery's books, especially this one and the Anne Of Green Gables book series. These books are true classics! Some people might say that in a review, I should find all the bad things in the book, but there are none in this book - at least, that's what I think.

Objectional content:

Language: None that I remember.

Romance/Sexual Content: Peter tries to get Felicity's attention all the time, but that's it.

Violence: Unless you call spending a night in the local witch's house "violent," then no. No violence. At least, that I remember. I've learned not to rely on my own memory when it comes to these sorts of things.

Drugs/alcohol: None that I remember.

This book is for all ages, though I think ten or eleven and up would appreciate this book more than, say, a nine-year-old would. :)