Category Archives: Uncategorized

Q&A with Dori

Standard

I used to live in Humboldt County, California where a ghost named Ralph is reported to haunt the Carnegie Library in Eureka, down in the basement. Apparently he likes to throw books off shelves. I don’t know what it is about books and ghosts, but it seems like ghosts like to mess with them.

Today I’m reviewing the first two books in a series about ghosts in a library that I’m sure any ghost will want to read rather than throw. And so will you!

Haunted_2

About The Haunted Library A brand-new young chapter book series from Edgar Award winner Dori Hillestad Butler! When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a “solid” girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?

You say you’ve never seen a ghost. What’s your interest in them? I’ve always loved ghost stories. Funny ghost stories, serious ghost stories, scary ghost stories…you name it, if it has a ghost in it, I’m probably a fan. I don’t think you have to believe in ghosts to enjoy a good ghost story.

Do you like scary movies? I do! I don’t like scary/gory…but I love scary/suspense. I always have. When we were teenagers, my best friend and I used to watch scary movies together and then we’d walk each other half way home. At night. When it was dark. I remember one time the movie had scared us so much that when we got to the halfway point between our houses, neither of us wanted to walk the rest of the way alone. So we scurried back to my house and she called her mom for a ride. When her mom came, she just shook her head and said, “I don’t know why you two watch those movies!”

If you knew a hotel was haunted, would you want to stay there? Sure! I’ve stayed at bed and breakfasts in Wisconsin and Michigan that were rumored to be haunted. If there were any ghosts, they didn’t come out while I was there.

What’s your concept of a ghost in this series because I noticed that they don’t seem to have any carry over of having been a human such as Kaz not knowing what a pencil is. Are your ghosts a separate “life” form or a transformed human? It’s true…the ghosts in my series are not your traditional ghosts. They’re not dead people. They’re more like transparent people with super powers. But even in my world, some ghosts are familiar with pencils. Kaz isn’t because he’s simply never come in contact with one before.

I like Kaz’s ability to shrink and become flat. But he is leery about going through solid material such as walls. Was it your intention to “humanize” Kaz by giving him a fault and something he can hope to overcome? Yes, the intent there was definitely to “humanize” Kaz. I hadn’t really thought about it as “giving him a fault” before, but I can’t say that’s wrong. I want kids to relate to his struggles. Every other ghost can glow and wail and pass through solid objects. Kaz wants very much to master these skills, too, but it’s so hard. Any kid who’s ever struggled with anything (and what kid hasn’t?) can relate to that, can’t they? I also want readers to cheer when Kaz masters one of these skills. I want them to realize that if Kaz can learn to pass through a wall, for example, then they can overcome whatever difficulty they might be struggling with, too.

Kaz

Who is the inspiration for Claire? Claire is a completely fictional character. She is a compilation of a lot of girls/women I’ve known over the years, but no one person inspired her. I just needed a strong female character to balance the more cautious Kaz.

claire

Is Cosmo the family dog based on any dogs you know and how?

This is the real life Cosmo:

Cosmo

I know…he doesn’t really look like the Cosmo in the books, but I never described Cosmo in the books. I left it up to the illustrator to decide to draw Kaz’s dog. (Natasha’s note: He reminds me of Scooby Doo!)

cosmoghist

The real life Cosmo belongs to one of my closest friends. When I met Cosmo, I assumed my friend named him after Cosmo Topper from the old Topper movies (I LOVED those movies!), but she says he was named after a character on the Fairly Odd Parents. While Cosmo Topper wasn’t a dog, he was a ghost. And now I knew a dog named Cosmo. So I knew right from the start Kaz’s ghost dog’s name was Cosmo. I knew that even before I knew Kaz’s name.

Why did you pick a library to haunt versus an old house, say? Because I’m not just someone who likes the library, I LOVE libraries. I love them so much that I did an entire blog post on this subject for my agent’s blog on Sept 9, 2014. I also wrote about my appreciation for libraries on my own blog in February 2011 after one of my other books was publicly challenged.

What’s your favorite part about writing a series? Least favorite? The best part is being able to stay with the same characters and watch them grow beyond one book. Kaz has grown quite a bit over the five books I’ve written so far. My least favorite part of writing a series is I am limited by everything I’ve already written. Sometimes I get a great idea in book 2 or 3 or 4, but I can’t use it because it contradicts something I’ve established in a previous book.

Did you start off writing this as a series or was that something that grew out of your first story? No, my intent was to write a series right from the start. A series about a ghost boy and a “solid” girl who team up and solve mysteries together. I can keep going as long as there are readers and as long as my publisher is interested in continuing the series.

dori

About Dori Hillestad Butler – Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of more than 40 books for children. Her books have appeared on children’s choice award lists in 18 different states. Trading Places with Tank Talbott won the Maryland Children’s Choice Award in 2007. And The Buddy Files: Case of the Lost Boy won the 2011 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery.  In 2013 she chaired the Juvenile Edgar Award committee. Dori has also been a ghostwriter (not to be confused with a real ghost who writes!) for the Sweet Valley Twins, Unicorn Club, and Boxcar Children series, and a children’s book reviewer for several publications. She’s published numerous short stories, plays, and educational materials, and has served as the Iowa Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ Regional Advisor. She grew up in southern Minnesota, spent the last 19 years in Iowa, and has just recently moved to the Seattle area. She is on a quest to do an author visit in all 50 states (14 down, 36 to go!).

The review copies of The Haunted Library (Book 1) and The Haunted Library: The Ghost in the Attic (Book 2) were appropriately donated to the Old Town library in Fort Collins, Colorado.

 

Advertisements

Birthday Bash Gift Set Release!

Standard

Birthday Gift Set

The Night Before My Birthday Gift Set

September 4 was the birthdate of a special Night Before – The Night Before My Birthday gift set! It not only contains my book which is illustrated with happy pictures by Amy Wummer, but it also comes with a banner, a birthday crown, a cake decoration and stickers! What a fun way to get ready for a child’s birthday! And Amy cleverly made the main character gender non-specific so it appeals to both boys and girls. Can someone please drop the confetti? Let’s party!

The Ninth Book of Christmas

Standard

This is the ninth day of my “The Twelve Books of Christmas” blog series. Each day through December 12 I will showcase a book written by a Colorado author who lives in the Fort Collins area. Please spread the Support Local Businesses love by purchasing a book by a local author at a local bookstore. That way your purchase will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Two independent bookstores that I recommend in Fort Collins are: Old Firehouse Books in Old Town, and Reader’s Cove on Harmony Rd. You can also find books at JAX Outdoor Gear on North College, Clothes Pony in Old Town, and the Northern Colorado Writers Studio at 108 East Monroe Dr. (Across from Tres Margaritas). Ask if they have any autographed copies in stock.

If you like how-to books for writers, you’ll love…

SEIZE THE STORY: A HANDBOOK FOR TEENS WHO LIKE TO WRITE is an award-winning book jam-packed with info and exercises for teens who want to write that novel. Dive into characterization, dialogue, setting, plotting, point of view, and other topics, including suggestions for how to break free of writer’s block. Interviews with dozens of YA authors such as TA Barron, Joan Bauer, Lauren Myracle, Todd Mitchell, and Laura Resau add perspective and encouragement for those starting out on the writer’s path.

Victoria Hanley

Victoria Hanley loves to nurture emerging writers. She is an award-winning YA novelist published in thirteen languages around the world. Growing up, Victoria lived in California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Oregon. She now lives with her family at the foothills of the Rockies. www.victoriahanley.com

The Eighth Book of Christmas

Standard

This is the eighth day of my “The Twelve Books of Christmas” blog series. Each day through December 12 I will showcase a book written by a Colorado author who lives in the Fort Collins area. Please spread the Support Local Businesses love by purchasing a book by a local author at a local bookstore. That way your purchase will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Two independent bookstores that I recommend in Fort Collins are: Old Firehouse Books in Old Town, and Reader’s Cove on Harmony Rd. You can also find books at JAX Outdoor Gear on North College, Clothes Pony in Old Town, and the Northern Colorado Writers Studio at 108 East Monroe Dr. (Across from Tres Margaritas). Ask if they have any autographed copies in stock.

If you like true heart-warming story collections, then you’ll love…

Actual kids' letters from Fort Collins

Letters From Katrina is a coffee table book that draws inspiration from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. Mississippi children share their Katrina survival stories and are inspired by thousands of pen-pal letters from students around the United States. Peek over the shoulder of our children, read their heartwarming letters, and discover the magic that occurs when we ask life’s most magical question…Will you be my friend?”

Note: Another wonderful book about Hurricane Katrina to pair this book with is Two Bobbies. It was written by my writer friends, Mary Nethery and Kirby Larson, and is true story about a cat and dog orphaned in the hurricane who help each other survive.

Mark Hoog

Mark Hoog is the author of the Growing Field children’s leadership series, a sought-after motivational speaker, the Executive Director of the Children’s Leadership Institute and a Captain with United Airlines. Speaking throughout the world, Mark is inspiring youth, business organizations and corporations to live life without limit through his message of Conscious Leadership.

The Sixth Book of Christmas

Standard

This is the sixth day of my “The Twelve Books of Christmas” blog series. Each day through December 12 I will showcase a book written by a Colorado author who lives in the Fort Collins area. Please spread the Support Local Businesses love by purchasing a book by a local author at a local bookstore. That way your purchase will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Two independent bookstores that I recommend in Fort Collins are: Old Firehouse Books in Old Town, and Reader’s Cove on Harmony Rd. You can also find books at JAX Outdoor Gear on North College, Clothes Pony in Old Town, and the Northern Colorado Writers Studio at 108 East Monroe Dr. (Across from Tres Margaritas). Ask if they have any autographed copies in stock.

If you like comic books, you’ll love…

Book 4 in the Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series

Back at school after summer vacation, Aldo meets Danny—a deaf boy who will be a new student at Aldo’s school. Danny challenges Aldo from day one, and it will take a lot of back-and-forth to figure out if they can get along. But Danny’s not the only new fly in Aldo’s bacon grease. Aldo soon meets his cute new art teacher and finds himself doing crazy things, like losing the ability to speak when she’s around. Embarrassed about his artistic abilities, Aldo has always underplayed his talent at school, but there’s something about art class this year that spurs him to go all out in a brazen attempt to win the school art contest. All this and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dungeons & Dragons, Dagwood sandwiches, the continuing adventures of Bacon Boy, oodles of divine D words, and so much more YOU might just find yourself dumbstruck. In a good, laugh-out-loud kind of way.

Karla Oceanak, Karla Spanjer

Author Karla Oceanak is a public speaker for childhood literacy and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. Illustrator Kendra Spanjer is a studio artist and cartoonist. They both live in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Fifth Book of Christmas

Standard

This is the fifth day of my “The Twelve Books of Christmas” blog series. Each day through December 12 I will showcase a book written by a Colorado author who lives in the Fort Collins area. Please spread the Support Local Businesses love by purchasing a book by a local author at a local bookstore. That way your purchase will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Two independent bookstores that I recommend in Fort Collins are: Old Firehouse Books in Old Town, and Reader’s Cove on Harmony Rd. You can also find books at JAX Outdoor Gear on North College, Clothes Pony in Old Town, and the Northern Colorado Writers Studio at 108 East Monroe Dr. (Across from Tres Margaritas). Ask if they have any autographed copies in stock.

If you like edgy humor, you’ll love…

2011 Colorado Book Award Winner

James was the guy no one noticed —another fifteen-year-old living in a small town. So when he gets into the American Science and Mathematics Academy (or ASMA), James decides to leave his boring past behind. In a public boarding school made up of nerds and geeks, being cool is easy. All it takes is a few harmless lies to invent the new James: rebel, punk, street fighter. Everyone’s impressed —except for the beautiful Ellie Frost, whose icy demeanor holds an inexplicable attraction for James, and the mysterious ghost44, an IM presence who sees right through his new identity.

But James is riding high —playing pranks and hooking up with the luscious Jessica Keen. Things seem perfect until he begins having strange dreams of a dark city haunted by demons. As the line between dreams and reality blurs, James begins to wonder: What’s the price for being the coolest guy around?

Funny and real, Todd Mitchell’s debut YA novel takes readers into a school for the intellectually gifted and socially awkward, as readers discover the secret —and consequences— to lying.

Part character driven drama, part romance, part psychological thriller with a twist of paranormal weirdness and a dash of humor.  Teens and adults who are interested in edgy YA fiction (especially reluctant male readers) will dig this story.

Todd Mitchell with his daughter

Todd Mitchell was most likely a squirrel in a previous life. Now he’s the award-winning author of The Secret to Lying (Candlewick Press), The Traitor King (Scholastic Press), Backwards (forthcoming from Candlewick), and A Flight of Angels (co-author, Vertigo). He spends his days in Fort Collins writing, hoarding acorns, teaching at CSU, and leaping from tree top to tree top with his two wily daughters. You can visit him at www.ToddMitchellBooks.com

The Fourth Book of Christmas

Standard

This is the fourth day of my “The Twelve Books of Christmas” blog series. Each day through December 12 I will showcase a book written by a Colorado author who lives in the Fort Collins area. Please spread the Support Local Businesses love by purchasing a book by a local author at a local bookstore. That way your purchase will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Two independent bookstores that I recommend in Fort Collins are: Old Firehouse Books in Old Town, and Reader’s Cove on Harmony Rd. You can also find books at JAX Outdoor Gear on North College, Clothes Pony in Old Town, and the Northern Colorado Writers Studio at 108 East Monroe Dr. (Across from Tres Margaritas). Ask if they have any autographed copies in stock.

If you like multicultural stories, you’ll love…

For ages 12 to adult

Co-written with Maria Virginia Farinango, this novel based on a true story begins in an impoverished Andean village where seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her indigenous family to be an unpaid servant in a mestizo household. For the next eight years, she struggles to hold on to her spirit. After escaping as a teenager, she must build a life for herself and reclaim her identity.

* “[A] riveting tale… by turns heartbreaking, infuriating and ultimately inspiring.” – Kirkus, STARRED
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2011

Maria Virginia Farinango, Laura Resau

With a background in cultural anthropology and ESL-teaching, award-winning author Laura Resau has lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe. Her experiences inspired her novels for young people– What the Moon SawRed GlassThe Indigo NotebookThe Ruby NotebookStar in the Forest, and The Queen of Water. She lives with her family in Colorado.www.LauraResau.com