Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rebecca Caudill Voting Results

The results of the Rebecca Caudill Book Award was announced on Friday, March 13, on Facebook and Twitter.  The winner was Legend, by Marie Lu.  The voting, (how many votes each book got) can be seen here:

I am very happy for the winner!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Caroline Starr Rose, New Historical Fiction Book, entitled BLUE BIRDS!

The cover of Caroline's newest novel!
Caroline, I know all of your fans are so excited for your new book, entitled, BLUE BIRDS, which will be published in March of 2015. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Its 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldnt be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two dont even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

I know this is another historical fiction book.  How much research did you complete to write this?  How did you organize this information?  Did you make timelines or keep the information in a folder? 

I never seem to approach writing the same way twice. For Blue Birds I researched for six to nine months, keeping notes in a journal, before I started any writing. I also had a folder full of photocopies of Elizabethan clothing, timelines, jumbled notes on scraps of paper, and the 1587 Roanoke voyage manifest, as well as website articles. Here’s a blog post filled with my “behind the scenes” work on Blue Birds.

How long did it take you to write the book?

The first idea came to me in 2008. I began my research in 2010, started writing in 2011, sold the book in 2013, and finished everything in 2014.

What does your typical writing day look like?  What time do you start writing?  What time do you usually stop writing?

I’m not sure if I have a typical day! Mornings start with getting my two middle schoolers out the door. Then I head to the gym or on a run. After that, I settle down to work. I aim for two hours of writing a day. Of course, I usually work beyond that, especially when on deadline. Writing can be very tricky, so an attainable goal helps keep me moving in a positive direction.

How do you manage raising your two boys with your writing career?

When the boys were babies, I used the same gentle approach to goal setting that I still use today. Back then, though, I aimed for three writing sessions a week. Sometimes they lasted 10 minutes, sometimes as much as two hours. While I didn’t produce mass quantities of writing, it was doable and fit with being a stay-at-home mom.

I returned to teaching just after both my boys entered school. Those few years were probably the hardest as far as maintaining the writing, as I felt like my creativity was spent by the end of the day (and rightly so! My students deserved it). During those years, I mainly drafted during holidays and revised while school was in session.

It’s much easier to write regularly now that I do it full time and both guys are in school. I try to do the bulk of my work while they’re away. Of course, the writing life means I have plenty of days my head is in the clouds. I might not be working at that moment, but my mind is elsewhere. My family puts up with me during these seasons, and I try to remember to be as present as possible!

Do you ever miss your teaching position? 

Yes! I miss those long-term relationships with kids and getting to talk about the things I love with the hope kids fall in love, too. School visits feed some of this for me, as does the writing itself. I just tell myself I still get to connect with kids, but now it happens a little differently.

Caroline and me, at the summer SCBWI conference.

It was so nice to meet you at the summer SCBWI conference.  And I wish you every wonderful success with your new publication!

Thank you, lovely Kathryn!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A letter from a young reader.

A letter from a young reader.  I erased his name and address.

Every so often, I receive a letter from a young reader.  I usually do not give out my home address, but, sometimes, I do.  I do if I think this young person can be trusted, if they seem honest, if they ask me and then need it for some reason, like a homework assignment. 

And so a few days ago, I received this letter.  I have taken out the person’s name and address and the name of his sister.  He has read A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT.  He has analyzed the book and related to his own life.  He is only twelve years old, but he seems, to me, very much older by how he understands certain parts of his life.  For example, in the last paragraph, he says, After I think about the words, “I forgive you” and show care for others.  And then he says, “It is true, is it kind, is it necessary, would Jesus say or do it.”

And in the second paragraph, where he states when Tetsu had the choice of a baseball tournament or staying with his family because Kimi is sick, but Papa made the decision that Tetsu should play in the baseball tournament.  

I don’t think I thought that way when I was twelve. 

I don’t think I was that mature.

But this boy is. 

He is amazing. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Completed Manuscript, but waiting….

Hugh Robinson, Nana, and Frank Robinson, 1936
I have just completed my current work in progress, NAVAL AVIATOR 6463, but I am not going to send it to my agent, Jennifer Rofe, at the Andrea Brown Agency, until my critique group has gone through the entire manuscript.  They are extremely picky (about grammar, tense, etc., etc.) and I know it will help me if I wait until they have read the entire manuscript. 

I have learned that it is best to have several sets of eyes to look through a manuscript before sending it on. 

This is fine with me.  I am willing to wait. 

No problem!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas!

In Amsterdam, summer 2014

This past summer, we took a trip to Paris and Amsterdam.  I always take a photo of Sam and Hugh before they go back to school, but in October, I realized I had forgotten to.  I went through my phone and found this photo of them standing on a bridge in Amsterdam.  I asked them both if I could use it and they said SURE!

Merry Christmas and have a lovely New Year!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sam's Service Assignment from the United States Naval Academy

Sam Fitzmaurice, home to do a little recruiting for the Naval Academy.

Sam and his roommates of four years, Ryan, Patrick and Tyler.

Last week, my oldest son, Sam, received his service assignment from the United States Naval Academy. He will be a Marine Pilot.  He will go to Quantico, Virginia, for training to be a Marine. When he is finished with that, he will then go on to Pensacola for two years so he can learn how to fly a plane. 

This is a twelve-year commitment because the military trains these pilots for three years, and then expects them to serve for another nine years.  It costs a lot of money to train the pilots.  I can see why they expect this kind of commitment. 

Sam will graduate from the Naval Academy on May 22, 2015.  The entire family is traveling to Maryland to see Sam stand on the open field and throw his hat in the air.  (My mother, Ann, her husband, John, my sister-in-law, Kathleen and her husband, Fred, my son, Hugh, my husband, Brian, my husband’s older brother, Tom, and his wife, Melinda, and my Uncle Hugo and his wife, Susie.)

Sam is on the far right, upper corner.

Before a tournament.

While attending school there, he has been the Captain of the Club Water Polo Team.   He has been the XO (second in charge) of Company 24.  He will graduate with a degree in Quantitative Economics.  (I don’t even know what that means…but he does.)  He is finishing his Capstone Project right now, a very long paper that explains things about the economy.  I don’t understand a thing in it because in college, I received my teaching credential, and after a few years of teaching, then went on to be a middle grade author. 

Sam says he has learned a lot, attending the Naval Academy.  He has made many life long friends.  And now, he is ready to start his new life, in May of 2015, as a Marine Pilot.