Tag Archives: adventure

Mile 108 Elementary Interviews Linda Bailey

Students from Mile 108 got more than they bargained for when they sent interview questions to Linda Bailey, author of the pirate tale Seven Dead Pirates.  Linda was joined by a…. ummm…. special guest in answering their thoughtful questions.

Ahoy, Lynn McArthur and her pirate crew!  I hear ye be a scurvy band of scoundrels, bold and brave and quick with a sword, afeared of nothing on land or sea, excepting maybe  . . . them things that goes so fast on the roads?
CARS! Aye! Stay away from them carrrrrs, mateys. That’s my advice. I says ye should xfpr z ttt

LB: Dear Mile 108 readers,
Oh gosh, I am SO sorry! That was Captain Crawley, taking over my computer again. I just kicked him out of this message. So now you can talk to me — Linda Bailey, the author. Whew! I am so glad to meet twelve Red Cedar readers from Mile 108 Elementary, and I am very happy to answer your questions.

Pirate Name TagM108E: How did you come up with all the pirate names?

LB: Naming pirates is so much fun. (Try it! You’ll see.) But the truth is — I had help from my boyfriend. Just before I started writing Seven Dead Pirates, Maurice and I went on a long driving trip and spent hours sitting in the car. I told him I needed pirate names, and we started to brainstorm. He had some fantastic suggestions — including my favourites, Barnaby Bellows and Jack the Rat. If you look at the last paragraph of the last page of the book (in the acknowledgements), you will see where I thanked him.

M108E: What inspired you to write the book?  Where did you get your idea from?

LB: There were a lot of inspirations. When I was a kid, I was shy — not quite as shy as my character Lewis, but I almost never spoke up in class. So that’s part of it. Later when I was in my 20s, I traveled by ship across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and I came to love the sea. And that’s in the book too. Also, I have always wanted to write a ghost story. All these bits came together in Seven Dead Pirates.

Pirates of the Caribbean M108E: Why did you chose pirates?

LB: Arggh! Who doesn’t love a good pirate story? But actually, I have often wondered myself about why that is true. Why are pirates so interesting in books and movies? I think it’s because they’re rebels. They break the rules. In our everyday lives, we have to obey dozens of rules every day, right? Brush your teeth, wait in line, stop at stop signs. This is good because it helps us to survive and have friends. But sometimes we get tired of rules — and that’s when we love to read about a rip-roaring pirate who never brushes his teeth, never waits in line and knocks over all the stop signs. A rebel story allows us to break the rules . . . in our imaginations.

Glace Bay, Nova ScotiaM108E: Was the setting based on a real place?

LB: Not really. The setting is a little town in Nova Scotia called Tandy Bay. I did travel in Nova Scotia, driving along the coast and stopping in small towns. And here in Vancouver where I live, there’s a museum with a huge ship inside that gave me the idea for the Tandy Bay Museum. But a real Tandy Bay? No, I made that up.

Linda BaileyM108E: Are any of your characters based on people you know?  Where did Lewis come from?  Where did Abbie come from?

LB: My characters are never based on people I know. Except maybe . . . me? I feel that I have to get inside all my characters to write them. I have to feel what it’s like to be them. So Lewis was easy because I used to be a shy, sensitive kid. Abbie was more the girl-I-wanted-to-be (outgoing and sociable). But the most fun I had was writing Jack the Rat — I had to imagine how it would feel to be constantly out of control and in a sputtering, foaming rage.

Stanley's PartyM108E: How long did it take you to write The Seven Dead Pirates?

LB: Years and years! About 18 years altogether from the time I started till the time it was published. I wrote it in dribs and drabs, off and on, while writing other shorter books — the Stanley-the-dog stories, The Farm Team, Goodnight Sweet Pig, If Kids Ruled the World, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur and so on.

M108E: When did you start writing?

LB: Not till I was about 30. Before that, I was too busy reading. In fact, I liked reading so much, and admired writers so much, that I was afraid to try writing myself. What if my stories were terrible? I had to creep up on it. (And here’s a secret. My first stories were kind of terrible. But they got better. Writing is a skill that, like piano playing, gets better the more you practice.)

Stevie Diamond, Book 1M108E: When was your first book published and what was it called?

LB: My first book was How Come the Best Clues Are Always in the Garbage? It was a humorous mystery novel about a girl named Stevie Diamond, and it was the start of a seven-book series.

M108E: How many books do you write in a year?

LB: That depends. I’m usually working on a number of different books in any year — some longer, some shorter. So in a year, I might finish one? Two? Even three? But they are different kinds of books.

M108E: Where do you do your best writing?

LB: On my couch. I have a big comfy couch with lots of interesting pillows. I LOVE my couch!

M108E: What do you do when you get writers block?

LB: I don’t get writer’s block. I think writer’s block is when you can’t think of any ideas. My solution to that is to always be watching for ideas and to collect them in a computer file as they come along. Also, if I ever get stuck in the middle of a story, I just start asking myself questions. My favourite questions are the ones that start with “What if . . .?” They usually get me going again

M108E: How many rough copies do you generally have to do before your book get published?

LB: Oh gosh, so many. Probably at least 10 to 20 drafts before a book is ready to go to the publisher. And then the publisher asks for changes, and that is 3 or 4 more drafts before we’re done.

Thank you for writing, Mile 108 Pirates/Readers. It’s been fun talking to you! Happy reading!

Lynn McArthur, Teacher-Librarian, Mile 108 Elementary School and friends

South Sahali Elementary Interviews Kevin Sands

Students from South Sahali Elementary in Kamloops had some pretty interesting questions for Kevin Sands about his novel The Blackthorn Key.

SSE: What gave you the idea to write this book?

KS: It occurred to me that apothecaries were pretty cool: they used potions, and poisons, and secret codes, and so on. So I thought that background, combined with a secret people were willing to kill for, would make for a really good story.

SSE: How did you do the research for your book?

KS: A lot of time in and out of libraries. Most of my research came from books, though I found some things online as well. Each of the Blackthorn Key adventures takes about five weeks of full-time research.

SSE: Can you tell us about the process you go through for publishing your books?

KS: The Blackthorn Key was my first book published, so it was a longer process. After I’d written the manuscript, I queried agents, which is a fancy way of saying I sent a bunch of people I didn’t know some emails asking if they’d be interested in reading my book and representing me. Once I had an agent, he submitted my manuscript to a number of editors at different publishing houses. Several of them liked it, and I ended up selling it to Aladdin (Simon & Schuster).

After that, the process has been the same. Write the manuscript, then an editor suggests any changes needed. You rewrite what you need to, then once the “final” manuscript is done, it goes to a copy editor, who checks for factual errors or things that don’t make sense. After that, the book is laid out and goes to a proofreader, who checks the final version for typos. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, there’s the cover design, and marketing, and so on. All in all, it this process usually takes anywhere from 1-2 years. A long time!

SSE: Why did you choose to write your book in that era?

KS: I ended up choosing 1660s London because it had so many cool elements to it: the return of the king to his throne; the conflicts, plots, and conspiracies; the level of technology; the liveliness of the city; and so on. Basically, it was too good a time to pass up!

SSE: When did you start to write novels or stories?

KS: In January 2009. I wrote three other manuscripts (all of which were terrible) before I started on The Blackthorn Key. I sold that in September 2014, so it took more than five years of writing before I sold my first book.

SSE: What inspired you to create the different characters? Were the characters inspired by people you know?

KS: The characters all came from my imagination. I never base characters on people I know—I don’t want to get sued!

SSE: Does this book tie into your life in any way?

KS: I wouldn’t say there’s any direct connection to my life, except that I wrote The Blackthorn Key the way I did because adventures like that are my favourite kind of books.

SSE: Is writing your only career now?

KS: Yes. Since selling The Blackthorn Key, I’ve become a full-time writer. It’s tough, sometimes, but it’s the most fun career I’ve ever had.

SSE: When you wrote this book did you have it all planned out before you wrote the book or did you think of it as you were writing?

KS: Planned out, completely. I plot everything in as much detail as possible before I write a single word. Changes get made during revisions, of course, but if I ever try to just start writing and see where things will go, I end up with a giant mess. I don’t know how people do that—though there are many successful writers who have!

SSE: Did you come up with the codes on your own?

KS: Yes. Some of the codes are based on real symbols and ciphers; the symbols in chapter 20, for example, were used by real alchemists. Others, like the puzzle cube, were my own invention.

SSE: Where did you go to research the recipes?

KS: There are a few really old books by apothecaries and herbalists from Christopher’s time that we have today, so some of the recipes came from those. Others, like the smoke bomb, I’ve known how to make for a while. (Just don’t ask me how I know.)

-Melisa Hunter, Teacher-Librarian at South Sahali Elementary and friends

Ecole Heather Park Elementary Interviews Kenneth Oppel

Students from Ecole Heather Park Elementary in Prince George had the opportunity to interview the wonderfully talented Kenneth Oppel, author of The Nest. 

EHPE: What inspired you to write the book, The Nest?

KO: A whole bunch of things. I had a title, and I wishlist of creepy things I wanted in my story: a toy phone that allowed you to talk to a mysterious person; a knife grinding van that kept returning to your street again and again; a person called Mr Nobody – and a wasp nest that was growing a human baby.
 
 
EHPE: Does anything in The Nest relate to something you experienced?
 
KO: The biggest influence for The Nest was very personal: the birth of our third child 11 years ago. She was born with Down syndrome, and it really made me re-evaluate how we look at what normal is and what that means. Is it possible for anyone to be truly normal? Is it a certain model of behaviour we must all try to live up to? All of us have weaknesses, flaws, things that make us “less than.” It made me think about how we value people, and how we look at who’s worthy, who’s lovable. For sure I was drawing on my own experiences for the emotional core of this book, because at the beginning when you have a baby who’s “different,” there’s so much you don’t know. There’s surprise, there’s worry, there’s questioning about what her prospects were going to be.
 
I now had this notion of a baby born into a family with something that’s very worrying. And in the book, the oldest child in the family, Steve, who’s 12, starts having dreams about an angel creature who offers to fix the baby, offering him a perfect baby to swap for the original baby. Steve just wants things to go back to normal. He wants them to be safe. We’re all trying so hard to get perfect bodies and partners and lives, and I think sometimes it can lead us to make choices that aren’t beneficial to ourselves and to others. Kids really want to fit in. They want to be part of a pack, and they want to be accepted. It’s very lonely to feel like you’re outside of normal. I wanted to show that no one is really normal, and we’re better for admitting that we’re flawed.
 
EHPE: Why did you dedicate The Nest to Julia, Nathaniel and Sophia?
 
KO: They’re my three kids – they’ve actually had quite a few books dedicated to them over the years!
 
EHPE: You have written many different kinds of novels.  What genre of books do you prefer to write?
 
KO: I don’t have a favourite genre. I just write the idea that most excites me, whether it’s fantasy, or gothic thriller, or historical fiction, or contemporary fiction. With each of my books there was something about the idea or subject matter that grabbed hold of my imagination, and took my thoughts in all sorts of directions.
 
EHPE: How long does it take you to write a book?
 
KO: For a novel, between 12 to 24 months.
 
EHPE: Do you have a new book coming out soon?  Can you tell us something about it?
 
KO: Well, I just had one come out called Every Hidden Thing, about two teens who discover the first T-Rex fossil. And the next thing you’ll see from me is called Inkling – which is a big rollicking adventure with lots of humour and magic.
 
EHPE: Who was your favourite author when you were a kid?
 
KO: Roald Dahl!
 
EHPE: What are your hobbies?
 
KO: I like to travel, read, watch movies, spend time with friends, go for long walks, sail, go on train rides!
 

 

The Red Cedar Club (Everett, Charlotte, Nina, Jasmine, Breanna, Emily, Maya, Abby, Tayler, Braden, Morgan, Wynter, Trinity) and Maria Weisgarber, Teacher-Librarian, Ecole Heather Park Elementary, Prince George, BC

 

Seven Dead Pirates

Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey

sevenLewis Dearborn is a painfully shy eleven-year-old boy in sixth grade.  On his great grandfather’s birthday, Lewis is the only one to hear him whisper two mysterious words, “Libertalia. You!”

When his grandpa dies he moves with his overbearing parents into Shornoway, a ramshackle mansion by the sea.  Lewis is quick to notice  LIBERTALIA carved into his bedroom door in the Tower room and soon discovers the room has a surprising secret.  It is haunted by Captain James Crawley and his crew who died tragically almost two centuries ago. 

The dead pirates want Lewis to help them get to the local maritime museum on the other side of town where their restored ship is.  Lewis starts reading Peter Pan to the ghostly pirates who really only want to hear the “Hook” parts.  He eventually comes up with a clever plan to reunite the pirates with their beloved ship, Maria Louisa.

Towards the end of this delightful and humorous ghost story Lewis is given a letter that reveals a very surprising long kept family secret.  Arrgggh!  I loves me a good story, I does!

-Reviewed by Sylvia Nurse

Eco Warrior

Eco Warrior by Philip Roy

Eco Warrior is a wonderful tale about a sixteen year old boy named Alfred that pulls you in right away and keeps you reading from page one to the end. Alfred is traveling to Australia in a 28413939homemade submarine with his pet seagull and dog to learn how to be an environmentalist and save the oceans. On the way Alfred learns many life lessons and meets new friends for life. After Alfred gets to Australia he gets mistakenly accused of sabotaging a tanker and has to make a daring escape with the help of a friend. Because of that Alfred makes his way over to Tasmania to see if he can help the Sea Shepherd Society battle tankers that supply Japanese whale hunters with fuel for their ships.

Eco Warrior is short book that outlines the dangers that our oceans are in and shows that it’s still possible for us to make a change. You do not need to read the previous six books in the series to enjoy this one.

Overall, Eco Warrior an engaging book that never leaves you in a dry spot.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is real! Take a look at this site to find out more: http://www.seashepherd.org

-reviewed by Johanna Ahn