Hop! Hop!

No, it’s not Easter, but I’m hopping anyway. My fellow writer and good friend

Michelle Houts

has invited me to join in for a Blog Hop! Michelle lives in Ohio, and we have been friends through a wonderful group of writers who meet every summer in Maine. Michelle writes fiction and nonfiction for kids. You can learn more about Michelle, her books, and see her answers to our Blog Hop questions on her blog http://michellehouts.com/wordpress/

To play our little hop, I need to answer the same questions, so here goes:

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the first draft of a new novel! It has some of the same characters from A Voice for Kanzas, but it is the story of a different main character. It’s a story with a lot of action, and I’ve enjoyed working on it. But even though I’ve finished the draft, I know it isn’t really done. Right now, I’ve sent the draft to several writer friends for their comments. Soon, I’ll begin revising it. And revising is my favorite part!

How does it differ from other works in the genre?

I’ve used a narrative style for this book that is very different from what I’ve done in the past. It’s written in first-person point of view, in present tense, and told in the voice of a boy. All those are new for me, although they are not entirely unusual for the genre. One thing that is different from most books is the very short chapters. I’ve made each scene its own chapter, and I think it keeps the reader turning pages faster.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m fascinated by history, and I like imagining what it would be like to live in the historical eras I write about. Sometimes, a character steps out and begins whispering a story to me, and I just can’t resist it. What often emerges is a story that, even though it takes place in 1856 in my novel, could just as easily be a story of a person today. The inner struggles of that character, his hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, are the same as those of any other person. And even though the story takes place in 1856, it has themes that are relevant to readers today: family, loss, violence, peer pressure, etc. I love exploring characters and telling their stories.  And I love helping readers experience history through my books.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Writing the first draft is always the hardest part for me. I struggle with plotting the events of the story. It’s hard for me to write without at least an outline of the story, but sometimes a chapter will take a really unexpected turn and then I have to throw the outline away and make a new plan. Once in a while I take a wrong turn in the story and wind up on a dead end. Then I have to back up and figure out where it went wrong. No matter what I think the story may be, my characters seem to have their own ideas about it. They are usually right, and so I have to go along with them for the ride.

So now it’s my turn to tag some writers!  I’ve asked a couple of my writer-friends to share their answers to our questions.

Hop on over to http://www.sherrylclark.blogspot.com/  To learn more about Australian writer

Sherryl Clark

I met Sherryl at Hamline University, where we were students. Sherryl has written lots of books for kids of all ages, and she also teaches writing. You’ll enjoy exploring her blog and her website.

And one more hop will land you at  http://anningallswrites.com/blog/ to visit

Ann Ingall

Ann and I have been friends for many years. She’s a poet and has numerous books and magazine publications to her credit. She’s one of the most prolific writers I know! While you’re there, click around and enjoy Ann’s website!


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