Thursday, November 10, 2016

Meet English Author G. L. Wilson

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes English Middle Grade author Geoff Warwick. He writes for kids as G. L. Wilson. Geoff is one of my favorite type of authors to interview because he's also an educator.

First, a bit about Geoff:

I’m a playwright and author. I’m also an English and Drama teacher. When I was younger I took some time out and worked in theatre, TV and radio. I live with my family in a chocolate box little village just outside the City of Cambridge where I’ve set most of the action in my MG series The Campion Quartet. I studied Italian and that got me travelling. Since then I’ve been all over the world and only have a China and Russia left on my wish list. Before and during College, to pay my way, I had all kinds of crazy jobs, the worst being in a factory where they cut up animals and skinned them. I had to hang up the skins.Yuk. The best job was running a disco in Florence. Very cool.

Why did you pick to write Middle Grade books?

I first started writing for children when I was teaching. I wrote plays for kids and adults. Later I had one idea that I tried out with my pupils and was lucky enough to find that an agency that liked the writing. I stayed with that agency for a few years but then went off to write adult novels. However, a couple of years ago I came back to Campion’s Choice, something I’d worked on with publishers but never got round to fully developing. Writing for an MG readership means that I can focus on storytelling. I hope I’ve managed to come up with a fast paced, funny, original, series. I hope your readers think so too!


What types of books do you like to read?

Everything. I did an English degree and then taught English so books have been my life. We had a motto, ‘To give children words is to give them the World’.  Books have given me many different worlds! I’ve have always been mad about books from Just William stories, through to Tolkien, on to Jane Austen and Shakespeare, with Terry Pratchett and JK Rowling thrown in for good measure. I like different books for different times – good stories for beach reads, thoughtful writing for the winter.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Traveling, cooking, growing vegetables, watching films, going to the theatre, visiting galleries, attending concerts, angrily shouting at soccer matches on the TV. There’s always something new and exciting (and frustrating) just around the corner to enrich my life.

Tell us about Campion’s Choice and how the story came to be.

It all started out with a blurry photograph. I looked at it and pieces seemed to be moving. I thought then that it looked like time passing had been captured. That gave me the idea for ‘How to take a picture of the future’ – a kid finds that, when he takes a photo, he can use it to look at the past or look into the future. To begin with my main character was going to be a teen detective, but that idea had already been taken so Campion’s Choice went its own way. Before I knew it, I was writing about aliens living in thatched cottages and being in charge of a famous Cambridge College.

Here's a peek at Campion's Choice:

After the Dadster’s accident Jack didn’t have any choice. He had to be good; he had to help out; he had to keep hope alive.

After the coins arrived everything changed.

When the universe turns upside down, when the world goes crazy, when you never know who are the bad guys and who are your friends life is suddenly full of tough choices.

If you had to save your father or save the planet what would you choose?

This is Jack Campion’s choice.




Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

My children’s books were all part of a collaborative series that schools used. My adult books were very different and that’s why I went for the pen name G L Wilson.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’m putting the finishing touches to Campion’s Change – Book Two in the Campion Quartet. I guarantee you will never guess what the change is. I’m also making notes for a new adult novel set in 1975 about a boy who is bullied by a teacher and decides to take revenge.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Enjoy writing. Accept that it’s something very, very important to you, something you love doing. Don’t write to be successful or famous. You spend a lot of time, on your own, when you are writing, and you should only do it if it makes you really happy. Otherwise you can waste an awful lot of your life, being alone and feeling miserable.

Anything else you want readers to know?

It’s been great to talk to you. When you’ve read Campion’s Choice please get in touch with your views. I’m running a competition for a local school, and the kids there are coming up with brilliant 140 word tweets and character sketches. I’d love to see anything like that and promise I will post them on my website. It’s here - www.takethecoins.com
Thanks again for having me, now get back to reading a good book.

Where can readers find you and your books?

MG readers can find the ebook/paperback versions of Campion’s Choice on Amazon
My website also has my books.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meet Children's Author Marti Dumas

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes from the Big Easy children's author Marti Dumas.

First, a bit about Marti:

Marti Dumas is a native New Orleanian with a passion for storytelling. When she is not teaching or parenting, she is reading or writing. She prefers to do some combination of the above within view of ancient oak trees or the banks of the river. Or both.

Why did you pick to write books for children?

I loved to read as a child. My fondest memories are of being in some unlikely nook or cranny reading The Swiss Family Robinson or The Chronicles of Narnia and the like. As I grew up, my taste expanded but, much to my own surprise, I’ve never stopped reading or loving children’s books. So when I started writing I didn’t even think about it. Stories for children are just what come naturally from my brain.

What types of books do you like to read?

I love fantasy stories, particularly ones that feature plucky and/or bookish girls.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

When I’m not writing I love going on adventures with my children. Sometimes we’re traveling to new places. That might mean discovering a new part of the zoo together or a new part of the country (last summer we went to the Smoky Mountains—spectacular). But other times adventuring means that we’re all curled up on the sofa reading together or discovering new digital worlds in role playing video games.

Tell us about Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest and how the story came to be.

Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest is series of stories that I’m writing for my son with a character that is roughly based on him. Jaden is a kindergarten genius who uses science and ninja dancing to solve his problems. They’re pretty funny and perfectly suited for kids who are old enough to feel wiser than Jaden Toussaint, but young enough to still see where he’s coming from.

Here's a peek at Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest, Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time:

Giant Afro. Even Bigger Brain. Animal Scientist. Great Debater. Master of the art of ninja dancing. There's nothing Jaden Toussaint can't do. A 5 year-old scientist and all around cool dude, Jaden is on a mission to convince the grown-ups that he needs more SCREEN TIME. His only weapons are science, ninja dancing, and his super-powered brain power. Can Jaden Toussaint get the grown-ups to change their minds?

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Yes! I have also written a fantasy story about a little girl who gets sucked into a mirror and becomes a wolf on the other side. It’s called Jala and the Wolves, and it’s a great starter book for young people who might be interested in fantasy.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

Also, yes. Right now I’m co-writing a fantasy series with another writer. These stories are meant for older kids—say 8 to 13—and are filled with lot of action and cool fantasy elements. Hint: In this series humans and faeries are technically the same species.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write because you love it. Write even when you don’t love it. And never doubt that you can make a living doing what you love.

Anything else you want readers to know?

If you sign up to my mailing list you can check out a couple of my books for free. Sign up at: http://www.martidumasbooks.com/#!meet-marti-dumas-fb/n6lh5.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Everywhere books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And if your local bookshop doesn’t have them in stock, please ask them to order them!

My website
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Writing Tips & the 80th Kid Lit Blog Hop

Carpinello's Writing Pages is back with writing tips on this final 2016 Hop. As with many, the holidays get hectic with families. Me, as well as others writers, are also trying to finish projects before year's end. We invite you to join us and Hop with us this month. We will be back in January with familiar and new faces and a heck of a lot more energy!

But now, here are those writing tips from authors interviewed in November and December 2015. Please feel feel to leave your own advice in the comments.

Succeeding in the field of writing comes down to three things: Practice, Patience, and Persistence. Without those, you’ll never make it. As writers, we never stop learning, and we never stop practicing our craft and trying to improve. We learn early on to be patient with ourselves and our stories and this crazy business of writing and publishing. We also learn to be persistent and to never give up on the projects we care about, even if that means multiple rewrites, multiple submissions, a radically different approach to publishing or marketing, etc. We are strong people, we writers, and we love what we do. We’re lucky

Just write and don’t let anyone else decide what success meansWilliam Stuart, author of



And Now,

Welcome to the 80th Kid Lit Blog Hop. This exciting Hop, now monthly, is where we develop an engaged group of people who love everything that has to do with children's literature.

 


On this Hop, Carpinello's Writing Pages interviews
MG author Steve Griffin

and
Children's author Marti Dumas

 

Fall is here and Halloween is in a mere two weeks...WOW! There are some really great Halloween and Autumn books out there for children. We have seen some listed already. We invite you to share some of those on our monthly hop or for that matter, any great kid's literature. We love it all!


Have you seen the Kid Lit Blog Hopper Facebook fan page. This page has all the news and information related to the hop plus ongoing posts, giveaways, news articles, etc. related to Kid's Lit. Check it out and of course, please like the page.


This monthly hop, is designed to engage a group of people who love everything that has to do with children's literature. Everyone is welcome to join us: bloggers, authors, publicist, and publishers!


So for our hop, please make sure that your posts are related to Children’s literature only and add it to the linky. (Please make sure to add your direct post only) If you are an author, feel free just to link to your blog.


Once you are done, then hop around to visit others. Please follow the co-host and visit at least the one or two people above your link. Please leave a comment when you do visit, we all like those.

Also, it would be appreciated if you grab the Kid Lit Blog Hop Badge and display it on your blog and/or your post. Note: Make sure you have the newest badge as the old one goes to the wrong page.

We would also be grateful if you tweet and/or posted on Facebook about the blog hop. Let’s grow this wonderful community.


Remember our next hop will be January 18, 2017.

Thanks for sharing your great children's books with all of us! The hostess will be around to see you.

Happy Hopping!

Reading Authors, Host

The Bookshelf Gargoyle

BeachBoundBooks

Cheryl Carpinello

Pragmatic Mom

The Logonauts

Spark and Pook


Meet MG English Author Steve Griffin

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes MG author Steve Griffin from all the way across the big pond!

First, a bit about Steve:

I grew up in Warwickshire, England, and at school I used to write all the time – action adventure stories involving my friends as heroes and villains, which got passed around the class. I was sure I was going to be a writer, but somehow it all got lost during my college years in Southampton and Stirling, in Scotland. I began writing poetry in my twenties at the same time as working for environmental organisations, first in the old industrial valleys of south Wales, then in London. I was spurred on by getting poems published in poetry magazines and for schools. Then a few visits to a lovely garden in a remote part of Herefordshire gave me the idea for a new adventure / mystery series, The Secret of the Tirthas, and I began writing adventure stories again. I now work part-time for a charity in London and live in the Surrey Hills with my wife and two young boys. I write whenever I get the chance!

The City of Light, Book 1, is currently FREE on Amazon.

Why did you pick to write books for MG?

I write mainly for the older middle grade / teen audience. There’s a huge flourishing of imagination and independence at this age which makes it possible to believe in heroes who deal with things that adults and even older teens would struggle to cope with.

What types of books do you like to read?

I read very widely—a lot of contemporary fiction—but I also like contemporary fantasy, things where the supernatural infringes subtly on everyday reality. A lot of the best of this is written for younger readers (The Dark Rising, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, more recently The Lie Tree).

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I live in a lovely area of rolling pine-clad hills just 25 miles south of London, so I love getting out and rambling. When I lived in Scotland I did a lot of proper hill walking, but it’s going to be a while before I can get my two small boys up a mountain! Thankfully, there’s nothing too high for them here in Surrey. I also love reading, and socializing and going to gigs with friends in London. And of course messing around with the boys…

Tell us about The Dreamer Falls and how the story came to be.

The Dreamer Falls is the third book in the adventure mystery series The Secret of the Tirthas. The series was inspired by a fabulous garden my parents-in-law used to own, deep in the Herefordshire countryside, which was made up of two dozen hedged ‘rooms’ full of curious statues, fountains, and artwork. When I stayed there, I had the idea for a story in which each ‘room’ contained a portal to a sacred place on the planet. From there it didn’t take long before I had my heroine, Lizzie Jones, a resolute and thoughtful girl who inherits the house from her great-uncle. In the first book, The City of Light—currently FREE on Amazon—with the help of her great-uncle’s little dog, Lizzie soon discovers the portal to the sacred Indian city of Kashi, where street children are being killed by the notorious ‘Pisaca of Kashi’. She comes to suspect that the killer is an intruder in her garden, using the portal to evade capture. What will she do?

Here's a peek at The Dreamer Falls:

A mysterious garden full of portals in the English countryside.

An ancient book, warning of supernatural beings preying on humankind.

A missing boy – and a girl who has seen too much.

Living with the secret of the tirthas is getting too much for Lizzie Jones. Even when her friend Xing warns her of the plans of the evil beings using the portals, she decides she’s had enough. After all, they’ve defeated all the demons, haven’t they?

Then Lizzie finds a discarded phone by an African mask in one of the gardens. The phone of local village boy Thomas Bennett, who has recently disappeared. She enlists the help of a teenage shaman and his sister to track the boy, who has been kidnapped by bandits. The adventure takes Lizzie deep into the rainforest. When she is furthest away from home she encounters one of her oldest and most deadly foes.

Once again, Lizzie must act – but what can she do?

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

Yes. Each book in The Secret of the Tirthas focuses on a new portal in the garden, which leads to a new adventure, whilst also building towards an overarching story in which a group of demons and humans intend to corrupt the power of the tirthas for their own evil ends. In the second novel, The Book of Life, Lizzie is chased by half-crazy men and boys to an isolated villa on the Louisianan bayou, where a sickly girl and her helper are trapped. There she has to solve the mystery of the house’s grisly past before she can get back home.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

Yes, I’m working on the next book in this series, which has a working title of The Lady in the Moon-Moth Mask.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Keep going, keep learning, keep developing. Manage your expectations. Only do it if you love it and want to do the best you can.

Anything else you want readers to know?

I’ve had over fifty poems published, in magazines such as Poetry Ireland, The New Welsh Review, and Poetry Scotland. You can check some out on my website, or by searching #stevegriffinpoems on Instagram.

The City of Light, Book 1, is currently FREE on Amazon.

Where can readers find you and your books?

My website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads

Ebooks and paperbacks:
AmazonUK
AmazonUS
The ebooks are also available at most ebook retailers including Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo etc.