Sunday, April 28, 2013

Author Spotlight Kimberley Griffiths Little

Welcome all to my first Author Spotlight feature where you will get a chance to meet a well known author and learn about the writing process. 



 1) What were your favorite children books, when you were growing up? 

I read practically every Nancy Drew there was, plus Harriet the Spy, The Little White Horse, and I gobbled up all of Phyllis Whitney’s mysteries, A Wrinkle in Time, etc. I could go on, but I won’t. Basically, I read a book a day all during elementary school.Maybe that’s why I love writing for the middle-grade audience.  

2) What was the inspiration behind writing your book? 

Several things! The magical, mysterious world of butterflies . . . spooky Louisiana swamps, old plantation houses, islands in the South Pacific . . . and a girl who is connected to all those things through her Grammy Claire.

I love mysteries; too, as you can tell from my childhood favorite books, and I wanted to try my hand at writing an actual mystery that didn’t have ghosts or paranormal elements. Just a girl with a brain and secret letters and keys in a mysterious house, trying to help her grandmother who died in an untimely way and who slowly gives her secrets from beyond the grave to figure out the people who are trying to destroy the seunusual butterflies.

It was also very rewarding to write about a very smart and very cool grandmother because I never knew my own grandmothers,(and I hope I can be a very cool grandma too someday!).

3) How many Drafts and rejections did you have before your book was published? 

Since this isn’t my first book and it was already under contract to Scholastic through a proposal I sent to my editor, I didn’t have any rejections—but I racked up hundreds in the year’s previous to selling my first book. And, after my first three books were orphaned, and before I landed a three-book contract with Scholastic, I had a period of 8 years where I was writing like crazy, but not selling anything.Rejections come with the territory of publishing. Now I do about 3-5 drafts of a new book, and two more with my editor and one with the copy editor so each book goes through a lot of hand and eyes.

4) Why Butterflies? 

Butterflies are inherently mysterious. They start out as a little tiny egg on a leaf, turn into a creepy-crawling green caterpillar, then become a white chrysalis or cocoon –and finally, almost like magic, this gorgeous, colorful creature hatches from a white blob and can FLY! And they look like dancing flowers.

Some of the most fun I had writing this novel was researching the butterfly quotes at the beginning of each chapter and putting them in a spot where they reflected what happened in a particular chapter. But two of the quotes do not come from *famous* or well known scientists or movies. One is from my daughter and the other is from Tara’s Grammy Claire herself.

5) What can "When the Butterflies Came" teach our children? 

I write a lot about families with secrets; families who are going through tough times and upheavals and changes—and show how that affects my 11-12 year old main characters. The heart of every story is the knowledge that families are important and they love each other in the end. They can be crazy sometimes, but their core belief is that they work together despite difficult and heart-wrenching events. They stand up for each other, pull together, and can come through hard times stronger than ever.

6) Can you see your book on the Big Screen? 

Not yet - and movie rights are still available! I’m hoping Hollywood—or even some small director—will hear my secret wish, or discover my book when his child brings it home from the library or the Scholastic Book Fair. . . a director that has always loved butterflies and falls in love with my book. I can always dream, right?

7) What future book plans do you have? 

I just turned in my fourth manuscript to my editor at Scholastic for publication summer of 2014. She’s reading it now while I wait chewing my fingernails that she will like it and I won’t have to shred it and start all over (that’s actually happened to me before so I know first-hand how crazy-making it can be). This new book is middle-grade as well and has time slipping and a cursed doll and a girl who lives in an antique store.

Fall of 2014 will be my Young Adult debut with Harpercollins for a book I’ve been researching and writing for nearly ten years so I’m pretty thrilled about finally selling it. It’s an ancient Middle Eastern story about the roots of belly dance in the women’s world, including goddess temples, tribal warfare, camels, and frankincense.

Thank you so much, David, for a great interview and featuring me on your blog!
Here are a few links for your readers:
(I have some awesome book trailers on my website on the Home Page with on location filming in the swamps as well as original music by some friends of mine. Scholastic liked the one for The Healing Spell so well; they commissioned the music to put on their website.)

Twitter: @KimberleyGLittl

And I’m very active on Facebook so come findme!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Middle Grade Voices

 Middle Grade Books

1) “Children of the Lamp (The Akhanaten Adventure) - by P.B Kerr, published by “Orchard books, and imprint of scholastic Inc.  New York 2004.  What if you find out that you are descendants from a long line of Dijon, human-like  beings created from fire.  They are able to grant wishes, and take on different animal forms.  This is exactly what happens to two twelve-year-old twins, John and Phillippa, after they get their wisdom teeth pulled.  The children are sent to London to their Uncle Nimrod's home where their amazing adventure begins. This venture takes the reader on a magic carpet ride through a fantasy Middle Eastern World.  This journey teaches the twins that granting wishes is not only dangerous for themselves, but for people who desire wishes as well.

2) “Peter and Star Catchers”-Written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, illustrated by Greg Call.  Published by Disney Hyperion paperbacks for children New York 2004.  How was never-land discovered?  How did Peter Pan become a boy forever? This book helps the reader find answers to those questions and many more.  Peter Pan is a never aging boy, who visits children at night and takes them to fantasy island called Never-Land where magic lives.  Through the use of vivid language and pencil illustrations, the authors introduce us to how Peter Pan became a part of a world, full of amazing creatures, and magic. This story reveals the mystery of magic dust and how Children can make it real by looking within and tapping into their own imagination.

3) “Infinity Ring book three the trapdoor”- written by Lisa McMann, published by Scholastic Inc.  New York 2013.  The next book in this interactive serious takes our heroes Dak, Sera and Riq to Maryland in 1850 just before the Civil War.  The main character in this book travel back it time and fix History Breaks, that has been caused by an evil corporation with intentions to take over the world. The time period in this book describes how new law has been passed that allows any white American to report free blacks, and then make them slaves. The children's mission is to stop this law, and to save the civil right leaders from a prison Dream like landscapes, humor and adventure take the seriousness of the topic at hand, and twists it into a fun read for everyone. 

4) “The 13th Reality, the Journal of curious letters. - Written by James Dashner, illustrated by Bryan Beus, Published by Shadow Mountain Press an imprint of Worzalla Publishing Co.  Stevens point, WI. 2008. One day a nerdy boy, Atticus Higginbottom receives a strange letter from Alaska.  After this boy’s life changes from a boring one to life full of mystery and questions that, need to be answered.  Twelve clues guide him to an event, after which he will find out the world he lives in is one of many parallel worlds, still need to be discovered and saved.  If a child likes to solve problems through clues, they would love this book.  As the story progresses Atticus grows from zero to hero.  The pencil illustrations, and secrets surrounding his life will keep your middle graders turning the pages.