These spotlights are a lot of fun, and I can already tell Emily has a super cool MG story that I hope I get to read someday! Just wait, you're gonna want to, too. Promise. :)
Also, at the end of the interview I've posted her query and first page. PLEASE help her out and give some of your invaluable support and advice! That's what we're all here for, right?
Now heeeeeere's Emily......
What category/genre do you write?
Middle grade--specifically mystery, adventure, and historical. In this book, Maggie's modern-day adventures parallel 's life. The two stories interweave (Maggie's story is told in the odd chapters and Butch's in the even.) For example, Butch is in a town after a bank robbery in 1901 and then Maggie and Jake go to that same town looking for the loot in 2012. At the climax, the two stories come together. I have loved doing research about Butch Cassidy. My family and I visited the house where he was born, his parent's gravestones, and the Best Western Butch Cassidy Inn (talk about friendly folks.) We even visited the town in Scotland where his grandparents lived.
How many books have you written? Tell us a bit about them.
RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD is my first work of fiction. My WIP is up to 10,000 words. It's another mystery involving Maggie, Jake, Grandpa Jim, and of course, their beat-up Winnebago, Blue Bessie.
Do you outline or write from the hip?
I outline. But it's my slave, not my master.
(Haha! Love that!)
When do you find time to write?
I have five children. Yep, you read it right, FIVE children :) Ages twelve down to thirteen months. That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing. So I mostly write when everyone's at school and the baby's napping. And occasionally I stay up wayyy too late.
Have you had anything published or other credentials?
I have my Master's degree in Elementary Education (which may explain my love for middle grade.) I have three published magazine articles and I created a marketing website, Giveaway Today. Writing daily posts for the website was a lot of fun. A few years ago I published a daily inspirational calendar called One Heart, Many Voices.
Is there anything/anyone that has changed the way you write or look at writing?
I'm part of an amazing writing group. We meet twice a month. I couldn't have written this book without their incredible feedback. And although receiving feedback stung at first, I've developed thicker skin and I'm a much better writer because of what I've learned from them.
The feedback I've received from entering contests (like yours ;) has also been invaluable.
Do you have a favorite book(s)/author(s)?
A few of my favorite children's authors include Roald Dahl, E.B. White, Beverly Cleary, and JK Rowling is a genius. Ready for some complete nerdiness? The last Harry Potter came out right before my anniversary. My husband and I went to dinner and spent the night at a hotel. As a gift, I gave him Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and brought a copy for myself. We spent part of the night reading (I said part of the night--we're not that nerdy ;)
(LOL! That's awesome!)
What's your favorite music to listen to while writing? And writing snack food favorite?
I've tried to listen to music and it just doesn't work for me. I've had to quit buying chocolate chips because if I get stuck while writing I head to the freezer and grab a handful--not good for the hips.
Anyone you want to give a shout out too?
Dee over at www.writeforapples.com, Brenda Drake, Kat Brauer, and I met Julie Decker through your "Come and Get It" contest. Their feedback and encouragement has been amazing.
Anything else you'd like to share:
Three random facts about me:
I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in less than 20 seconds.
I was born with a deeply-grooved geographic tongue. The first time my mom saw it, she rushed me to the hospital because she was afraid I had some sort of strange illness.
I met my husband on the first day of 8th grade. He had a mullet, I had 5-inch high bangs.
Alright, that interview made me laugh more than once! Super curious about the tongue thing now. lol And I totally had to switch to semi-sweet chips so I'd stop sneaking into the freezer. :)
I've posted Emily's query and first page just below, because you guys are awesome and helpful and she could use some of your priceless critiques!
Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy wants to be brave and spontaneous. But she's not. Especially when it comes to school bullies and flying by the seat of her pants. So when she and her fearless cousin Jake stumble upon century-old clues leading to gold coins hidden by Butch Cassidy—farm boy turned infamous bank robber of the Wild West—she crumples her "to-do" list to prove she really can be daring and impulsive.
And at first, searching for gold with Jake and their quirky Grandpa Jim in his beat-up Winnebago is the grand adventure she's always wanted. But Maggie's newfound courage falters when she learns they must outsmart and outrun a dangerous thief who is also after the treasure.
The race is on. But just as Maggie and Jake think they've solved the mystery, Jake is captured and all the "to-do" lists in the world won't save him. Maggie’s his only hope…if she can find the courage.
RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY'S GOLD is a middle grade mystery in which Maggie's present-day adventures parallel Butch Cassidy's past until mystery and history collide. This book stands alone, but can open the door for a series that exposes readers to fast-paced adventures across the fifty states.
With a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, I have taught both elementary and middle school. I am a regular attendee of writers’ conferences and have three published magazine articles. I created the successful marketing website, Giveaway Today, with an apex of 176,000 page views per month.
Twelve seconds until summer vacation. Maggie stared at the classroom clock, counting down the last seconds of sixth grade. Someone in the back of the room began chanting, “Ten, nine, eight—”
Everyone else joined in, “Seven, six—”
Almost time! Maggie thought, sitting at the edge of her seat.
Just a few more seconds.
RRRRINGGGG!! The class erupted into cheers.
Maggie jumped out of her seat, slung her pink backpack over her shoulder, and slipped out the classroom door. As she ran down the school’s rickety old steps, she pulled the “to-do” list she had carefully prepared the night before out of her back pocket.
Five minutes. That’s how long she’d given herself to make it to Slotz Convenience Store. She studied the large crowd in front of her and took a deep breath. She examined her bright green digital watch, pushed the start button, and took off running.
“To your left,” she called, pushing past a circle of fifth grade girls in a group hug.
“Watch out.” She darted around a curly-haired girl rummaging through her backpack. Just a few more steps and Maggie would bust out of the crowd. She glanced at her watch again. One minute down, four to go. So far, so good. She thought she just might make it in time.
“Coming through.” Maggie sidestepped a large boy picking gum off the bottom of his shoe.
Boy, was she wrong.