Book Nerd Interview
Red Rover, Red Rover
I knew I was a creative child the minute my first grade played Red Rover, Red Rover Send [color] On Over and I chose “Avocado Green” as my color. I, naturally, wasn’t picked to break through the lines and into the game because seriously, who picks their mom’s kitchen decor color? Trying to fit in in other ways, I had a moment of Harvest Gold but I saw my future before me in more ways than a 70s plaid had color. My path as a student dwelt not in numbers but in language. I devoured books, wrote in the margins, dog-eared pages and did vile things to spines as they jostled in the nether regions of my backpack. When asked for a simple five-page paper on a favorite writer, I chose Shakespeare and turned in twenty. My high school English teacher’s lower lip trembled a bit when I handed it over, I thought it was from excitement that one of her students cared enough about the Bard to write part of it in iambic pentameter but know now she was probably wishing she hadn’t polished off that fifth of whiskey in her desk drawer the period before mine.
The most valuable thing I learned in school was how to channel angsty teenage emotions into really bad poetry. Without that teacher with questionable drinking habits, I wouldn’t have thought to express myself through writing and would probably be doing interpretive dance in a subway tunnel this weekend. School also taught me how to do research. As a nonfiction writer, getting the facts straight is essential, thus why I didn’t become a political speechwriter. I’m never happier than digging through old books and somewhat forgotten corners of the Internet to track down a source or learn something new. In my book, The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide, I used those skills to make a handy how-to for kids to learn the basics of ghost hunting without the running and screaming. An emphasis on deductive reasoning and investigative skills round out the book along with games such as table tipping and psychometry, recipes, and how to write their own ghost stories, helps readers to get their ghost groove on and explore the dark corners they’ve been avoiding.