Monday, June 29, 2020

Kristin L. Gray Author Interview


Photo Credit: Brooke Robinson Photography

Kristin L. Gray is the author of Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book, the forthcoming The Amelia Six: An Amelia Earhart Mystery, and the picture books Koala Is Not A Bear and Rover Throws A Party: Inspired by NASA’s Curiosity on Mars. She lives in Arkansas with her family, dogs, cat, and pet lizard. Her first novel was called “a humorous, poignant, realistic debut story” by Kirkus.

        
  


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling is a safe way to explore the world. By telling our own stories, we can process complex thoughts, feelings, and figure out what it is we want to say.

Tell us your latest news.
Well, I’ve been quarantining with my husband and five kids. My daughter is using my computer in the mornings for school. I’ve Zoomed with some classrooms which has been fun. I wasn’t able to read or write much at first, as concentrating on anything beyond a grocery list has been hard, but I am happy to have plowed through some research on what I hope will become my next novel. Fingers crossed!

Of course, I’m very much looking forward to introducing Millie and her friends from THE AMELIA SIX to the world soon.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
It was in middle school when I fell head-over-heels in love with reading, devouring all the Nancy Drews then the edgier Case Files. I loved smart adventure stories which made me think or problem solve, but I also loved to laugh. Like most of my friends, I admired the savvy entrepreneurship of The Baby-Sitters Club and loved getting spooked by tame ghost stories such as The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. I couldn’t—still can’t—handle horror, but middle-grade ghost stories felt safe.

Growing up in the South, classic Southern voices such as Deborah Wiles and Kate DiCamillo felt like home to me, like honeysuckles and iced tea. When I sat down to write my first novel for kids, Vilonia’s voice spilled out.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Definitely seeing my books for the first time—especially on a library shelf—and hearing from young readers. J

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Oh goodness, I’m lucky to have so many. We camped at the lake every summer. It was probably a ton of work for the adults in my life, but looking back it was such a happy, carefree time. With lots of love, sticky Rice Krispie treats, and bug bites.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The greatest thing I learned at school was to love learning. I’m curious about so many things, and between the library and the internet, you can find answers to most any question. Just remember it’s important to use trusted sources. You can’t believe everything you read online.

In your new book; THE AMELIA SIX, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it
Sure. Six girls spend the night at Amelia Earhart’s historic home in Atchison, Kansas, and get swept up in a robbery.

Here’s the publisher’s summary:
Eleven-year-old Amelia Ashford—Millie to her friends (if she had any, that is)—doesn’t realize just how much adventure awaits her when she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to spend the night in Amelia Earhart’s childhood home with five other girls. Make that five strangers. But Millie’s mom is a pilot like the famous Amelia, and Millie would love to have something to write to her about…if only she had her address.

Once at Amelia’s house in Atchison, Kansas, Millie stumbles upon a display of Amelia’s famous flight goggles. She can’t believe her good luck, since they’re about to be relocated to a fancy museum in Washington, DC. But her luck changes quickly when the goggles disappear, and Millie was the last to see them. Soon, fingers are pointing in all directions, and someone falls strangely ill. Suddenly, a fun night of scavenger hunts and sweets takes a nosedive and the girls aren’t sure who to trust. With a blizzard raging outside and a house full of suspects, the girls have no choice but to band together. It’s up to the Amelia Six to find the culprit and return the goggles to their rightful place. Or the next body to collapse could be one of theirs.

What part of Amelia did you enjoy writing the most?
Hands down the research. Amelia Earhart and her pilot friends are endlessly fascinating. The biggest hurdle was deciding what facts about Amelia and the Ninety-Nines (the organization of female pilots she founded) to leave in or out.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ooh, this is an interesting question! Millie, my main character, is a shy Rubik’s speedcuber and a collector of vintage Nancy Drews, so she would be over-the-moon excited to meet the teenage super sleuth herself.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?

Oh, I love ridiculous facts! Let me pick one about Amelia. Her husband, George P. Putnam, publisher and movie exec, proposed to her six times before she accepted.

What did you do for your last birthday?
Tacos and margaritas with the family!

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?
The 80’s! I loved growing up then! No cell phones but there were plenty of bike rides with friends and old school video games and not having to be home until dark. It was very much like Stranger Things minus the creepy monsters.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
What I hope to accomplish the next day.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Hey, I once barefoot waterskied.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
I traveled solo to Stockholm and a part of Finland last summer, and I still daydream about it. It was pure magic.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your young readers. What would it be?
Pay attention to the world around you. If you want to write stories, keep a notebook and record what you see, hear, and feel. But most importantly, remember there is only one you. And your story matters.

Thanks so much for having me! J

TEN REASONS TO READ THE AMELIA SIX
  • 1) You love fun sleepovers with friends.
  • 2) CLUE is your favorite board game.
  • 3) You want to be a detective and long to solve a big mystery.
  • 4) You remember the first time you flew on an airplane and still have your wings pin.
  • 5) You secretly want to spend the night in a museum.
  • 6) Amelia Earhart is one of your favorite heroes.
  • 7) You are obsessed with science, history, or little-known-facts.
  • 8) You can solve a Rubik’s cube. Bonus points if it’s in thirty seconds flat.
  • 9) Ghost stories don’t rattle you.
  • 10) You’d start a YouTube channel with your closest friends.

Amelia Earhart’s famous aviator goggles go missing and eleven-year-old Millie has to find them before the night is over in this girl-powered middle grade whodunit.

Eleven-year-old Amelia Ashford—Millie to her friends (if she had any, that is)—doesn’t realize just how much adventure awaits her when she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to spend the night in Amelia Earhart’s childhood home with five other girls. Make that five strangers. But Millie’s mom is a pilot like the famous Amelia, and Millie would love to have something to write to her about…if only she had her address.

Once at Amelia’s house in Atchison, Kansas, Millie stumbles upon a display of Amelia’s famous flight goggles. She can’t believe her good luck, since they’re about to be relocated to a fancy museum in Washington, DC. But her luck changes quickly when the goggles disappear, and Millie was the last to see them. Soon, fingers are pointing in all directions, and someone falls strangely ill. Suddenly, a fun night of scavenger hunts and sweets takes a nosedive and the girls aren’t sure who to trust. With a blizzard raging outside and a house full of suspects, the girls have no choice but to band together. It’s up to the Amelia Six to find the culprit and return the goggles to their rightful place. Or the next body to collapse could be one of theirs.


You can purchase The Amelia Six at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KRISTIN L. GRAY for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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6 comments:

  1. The human brain is 60% fat, making it the fattiest organ in the body.

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  2. A single sneeze travels 100 miles per hour and shoots 100,000 germs into the air.

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  3. It's Illegal to Sell Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night.

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  4. Ahhh I don't know! How about a group of crows is called a murder!?

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