Tag Archives: ghosts

An Interview with Beverly McClure, Author of ‘A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat’

Bev_mediumWhen Beverly Stowe McClure was in eighth grade, her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. Today, Beverly is a cum laude graduate of Midwestern State University with a BSEd degree. For twenty-two years, she taught children to read and write. They taught her patience. She is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices in her head tell her. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps photos of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. She also enjoys visiting with her family and teaching a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Her articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. Two of her stories are in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ANTHOLOGIES, and she has nine novels published, two of them award winning novels at Children’s Literary Classics and other competitions.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a children and teen’s author?

A: Haha. I’m not sure you’d want to look inside my mind. I think, though, I’m still a child at heart. I taught in elementary school for twenty-two years. My thoughts are often like a child’s/teen’s thoughts: the insecurities of life and wanting to be popular.

I don’t know about other writers but like many children/teens I’m insecure at times. Instead of worrying about homework and dates like kids do, I worry if I’ll ever be able to write another story. If I manage to do so, will it be published?

I also want my writing to be popular, or at least to be liked. Instead of worrying about my best friend now having another best friend or all the cute guys ignoring me, I worry over whether readers will buy my story. If they read it, will they enjoy it?

Q: Tell us why readers should buy A PIRATE, A BLOCKADE RUNNER, AND A CAT.

pirate-blockade-runner-cat-333x500A: The novel is a paranormal novel for MG/Tween readers that enjoy reading about pirates and ghosts, mixed with a bit of history and adventure. The novel also is about family and what happens when parents split up. Many of the readers will relate to Erik as he tries to make sense of why his father left home and his mother moved Erik halfway across the country. Star, one of Erik’s new friends, is a great character because she can read mind dreams (she calls them.)This makes for some interesting clashes with Erik.

Q: What makes a good MG paranormal novel?

A: Good question. It’s hard for me to say why one story attracts the reader’s attention and another one doesn’t. One thing I discovered with my latest novel is to make sure you have the historical facts and ghostly facts straight. Kids are smart and will catch a mistake, even a small one. Then they may not believe anything else you say in the story. Do the research to make sure your facts are accurate. Also, the characters must be realistic, with good points and bad. To me, the characters make the story. The main character should have a realistic goal or problem that he/she struggles to solve. I think young readers want characters they like and can even relate to.

Q: What is a regular writing day like for you?

A: After breakfast, I check email, visit my blogs, Face Book and other sites, and then I write, usually from 9:00 AM until noon. I might work on a new story or do a second, third, or more revision on another story. In the afternoon, I edit work if I have a new book coming out. If not, I play around with ideas for new stories and do more Online stuff. At night, I enjoy reading and writing reviews.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?

A: When a child says they loved my story, or it helped them with a similar problem to the girl/boy in the story, I am happy. I don’t write to teach a lesson, but if a reader can relate to the character(s)and find hope in his/her life, what more could I ask for?

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Interview with YA Author Kim Baccellia: ‘Growing up I had major attitude with a capital “A”’

Kim Baccellia has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families’ love for such things such as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother’s copies of the daily horoscope. She even had her own horoscope column in middle school, which was a big hit! Kim’s other works include the poem, “My Father”, which appears in the anthology Mind Mutations, published by The Sun Rising Press. Her essay about the adoption of her son, Finally, Our Turn, appeared in Adoptive Families magazine. Her YA multicultural fantasy, Earrings of Ixtumea, is published by Virtual Tales and available now at Amazon. A member of SCBWI, Kim is currently writing the sequel to Crossed Out, her latest paranormal young adult fiction novel. She’s also putting the finishing touches on an upper MG fantasy No Goddesses Allowed. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Kim. Can you tell us what your latest book, Crossed Out, is all about?

Sixteen year old Stephanie Stewart has a little gift she’s hesitant to share with others.  She’s a rescuer—someone who makes crosses to help murdered girls cross over.  She’s been doing fine until one rescue goes terribly wrong.  Add a mysterious boy at Sutter High and a former rescue that warns her of danger.  Nothing will be the same.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Stephanie isn’t too happy with her ability.  She feels isolated from others and only wishes she could belong.  She also has major trust issues. Dylan is the next door neighbor who wants to be more than just a friend.  He has his own secret. Mark is the mysterious new guy at Sutter High who might share a similar gift.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A lot of my characters come from my very vivid imagination.  I do admit I share some of Stephanie’s ‘tude.  I often heard growing up that I had major attitude with a capital “A”.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I usually map out my story first using a story paradigm which is similar to a screenwriter’s model.  That doesn’t mean I don’t change things.

Q: Your book is set in Sacramento.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

North Sacramento.  I’m from Sacramento.  I also thought it would be very cool to have a paranormal based around the McClellan deserted airbase.  Some parts are still deserted.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Sometimes.  Mostly I try to make my story more character driven.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Stephanie is on the dance floor with Dylan.  Emotions swirl through her.  What’s going on?  Then Mark shows up and makes the comment, “I didn’t know you two were together.”  In which Stephanie replies, “As if.  That would be like dating my brother.”  Major ouch factor for Dylan.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. I dropped my black Sharpie. Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger. A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper. “Stephanie…careful….” The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice! I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I’d spent my summers. Allison! Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time. I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the “other” side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn’t know what to do. “Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke. She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled. “Careful…danger….” Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl. “No… another….” Someone else? “Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?” Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi-transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they’d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff. Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about. I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn’t deal with this. Not now. “Careful….” The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison. I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she’d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless. “Allison, what’s it like to be…?” The wind howled drowning out her answer. And just as quickly, Allison left. I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape. What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kim.  We wish you much success!


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