Tag Archives: interview

Kathleen Cherry, Author of Everyday Hero Visits BC Schools

Kathleen Cherry at a school visitRecently Kathleen Cherry, Red Cedar-nominated author of Everyday Hero had the opportunity to work with students in the Red Cedar Club at Spruceland Elementary School and also to present to several classes at Southridge Elementary School.  She is very enthusiastic about the experience, saying it was “So exciting to witness the student’s enthusiasm for books and reading!”

Everyday Hero bookmarksKathleen has kindly offered that any Red Cedar groups who schedule an interview with her by Skype or print will receive these beautiful book marks.  Interested groups can contact Kathleen through us, her website, or Facebook page.

 

-Patricia

 

École South Sahali interviews Gabrielle Prendergast, Author of Pandas on the Eastside

 

Pandas on the Eastside coverHow did you come up with your characters?

Usually I start with a situation or a premise and I slot in a character who is very much like me to start with. As I write I kind of carve away my own personality and carve in a new personality if that makes sense. Sometimes giving a character a name tells me a lot about them. What kind of parent named a child “Journey” in 1962? How does Journey feel about her name? When I add appearance details like hair color and age and size I get to know them more. Then I choose clothes for them. What kind of clothes do they like? Why? Most of my characters maintain some key characteristics of me. I love animals, for example. I love reading and learning.

panda

from wikipedia.org

Have you ever experienced anything like what happened to the characters?

I’m a little younger than Journey would be today, but I did live in a city in the 1970s so I remember what that was like. And I HAVE seen pandas (in a zoo). The only animals I’ve helped are my pets and occasionally a bird if it gets stunned from flying in a window.

Gabrielle PredergastHow long have you been writing for?

I started writing my first (unfinished) novel when I was about 11. I still have it!

Are the characters based on real people?

My brother-in-law, Ben thinks David is based on him and that’s pretty much true. The rest of the characters are made up.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve tried pretty much every other job and this is the only one I’m good at that doesn’t make me sad.

What difficulties did you encounter when you were writing the book and how did you solve them?

Sometimes I’m not sure what is going to happen next. Sometimes when that happens I just wait and work on something else until I get a good idea. Other times I just write any old thing and fix it later.

Harvest Writer

from flickr.com

Do you have any tips for young writers?

Write something short enough to finish. Start with poems. Then short stories. Always try to finish. Then revise your draft to see if you can make it better. Writing is rewriting.

Did you have a plan for the novel or make it up as you went along?

I made this one up. Sometimes I use a plan because it’s faster that way.

How long did it take you to write Pandas On the Eastside?

I started writing it in 2010 and sold it to my publisher in 2015. So about five years. But I was working on a bunch of other things at the same time and published four other books.

JK Rowling

from wikipedia.org

If you could have added anything else to the book, what would it have been?

I don’t know! What a good question! Maybe Journey could have met the president or something.

Who is your favourite author?

I really admire Margaret Atwood and J.K Rowling.

-Melisa Hunter, Teacher-Librarian, and students from École South Sahali, Kamloops, BC

Manoah Steves Elementary Interviews Tanya Lloyd Kyi

We are super excited that Tanya Lloyd Kyi, author of the fascinating book DNA Detective, will be at the Red Cedar Gala at Vancouver Public Library on May 6. Ahead of her appearance, students from Manoah Steves Elementary interviewed her and asked her some thought-provoking questions.
MSE: Did you know any of these facts before?
TLK: Before I began this project, I knew very little about DNA. And when I started my research, the science of genes and heredity seemed really complicated. It took a long time to sort through the information overload to find great stories about the way DNA affects our daily lives. Right now, DNA research is changing the way we eat, the way governments and police forces track criminals, even the way we choose our pets! Stories about these sorts of implications and changes were really what inspired me to write the book.
MSE: How long did it take to research all of these facts?
TLK: For each of my books, I spend three or four months on research. Once I’ve gathered enough information, I begin to write… and I always, always discover that there’s a lot more to learn. The first draft of DNA Detective took six to eight months of research and writing combined, then a little MORE research once the editor started asking questions and pointing out gaps. Good thing I love research — I like hunting for the best stories and the best ways to explain tricky scientific concepts.
MSE: Why did you name the DNA Scientists Genetic rock stars?
TLK: Like contestants on The Voice, the scientists who made major DNA discoveries were completely obsessed with success. One of them studied fruit flies for a decade before he discovered one teeny, microscopic mutation. And since these scientists changed the world in ways no pop song has ever done, I think they deserve the “rock star” title.
MSE: How did you come up with all the funny names on p. 23?
TLK: Once I started searching for silly names on the internet, there were zillions. Ever since the book was published, I keep stumbling across other great pun-names and thinking, “oooh… I wish I’d included that one!”
MSE: Why did you start writing books?
TLK: I’ve been writing stories since elementary school. I still have an unfinished novel from high school sitting in my crawl space. My first published book was Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World, which came out in 2000.  It was all about girls who’d accomplished amazing things before they turned 20.
MSE: Did you get to choose who did the drawings for your book?
TLK: The publisher always chooses the illustrators for my books, but I’ve never complained — they make amazing choices. Seeing the illustration sketches is one of my favourite parts of book-creation. By that time, most of my work on the project is finished, and I get to sit back and relax while someone else interprets my stories and facts in ways I might never expect. My favourite illustrations in DNA Detective are the genetic rock stars and the detective dog.
MSE: Where did you get the idea to write a non-fiction story combined with a fiction story?
TLK: The entire subject of DNA seems to lend itself to mystery solving. And when I read the story of the twins in Germany who couldn’t be charged with a robbery because the police couldn’t prove which twin committed the crime (that story’s at the back of the book)… well, then I just HAD to include the mystery.

Image credit: worth1000.com

MSE: Did you know anything about DNA before you wrote this story?

TLK: Very little! I wrote a book a few years ago called Seeing Red, which was all about blood. In that book, there was the story of two Chicago families who’d taken their babies home from the hospital only to find the babies were labelled with different last names. So, had the babies been switched, or were the labels wrong? The hospital didn’t know, and the Chicago Commissioner of Health called in a panel of experts. No one could tell which baby belonged to which family! Finally, a pathologist who understood blood types tested the blood of the babies and of all four parents, and figured out the babies had gone home with the wrong families. It was the first time blood types had been used to figure out paternity. That story — which is really about genetics and heredity — helped me get excited about the idea of a DNA book.
MSE: Is it possible to mix DNA  eg. frog and snake  – Can I make a froggy-snake?
TLK: Probably not… yet. But if scientists get that far, I’d like a pet cabbit. (You know: half cat, half rabbit.)

-Lauren Craze, Teacher-Librarian at Manoah Steves Elementary and friends

If you want to see Tanya Lloyd Kyi at the Red Cedar Gala on May 6 please RSVP to redcedaraward@gmail.com Hope to see you there!


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