Hello, everyone! This week I'm excited to blog about the first in a fairly new book series that encourages readers to not take life for granted, and to enjoy the outdoors and their loved ones. I'm also thrilled to post an interview with the author, conducted via email. As always, a huge thank you to Mary Conley for being willing to answer all my questions.
This is my sixth author interview. To look at all the other ones I've done (including two featuring Tara Grayce and Jen Calonita), click HERE.
While listening to one of Grandpa’s stories, the cousins are surprised to learn about the freedom he had growing up and wonder why they don’t have the same. Their grandparents decide to give it to them. The kids learn that along with freedom comes responsibility.
What inspired you to write?
When I was in grade school, my favorite part of the day was when our teacher read to us after the lunch hour. Never underestimate the value of that. In high school, my English teacher encouraged me to write.
What are some of your favorite books?
My first real love of reading books myself was when my mother brought home from our small town library the Little House On The Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can imagine my delight when a friend likened my book to that series.
You mentioned in the book that the characters are based on your grandchildren, but with a few differences only friends and family would notice. What are some of these changes?
In real life, our nine grandchildren are strung out in age. To make them closer to the same age and good playmates, I made Josh the oldest instead of Allison. Then siblings Katie and Caleb became twins, and their sister, Molly, was adopted out to their cousin’s family. It worked. They didn’t seem to mind, but thought it all rather funny.
Is there a theme in the story that particularly resonates with you?
I hadn’t planned it, but a theme of being out in the great outdoors was appearing in my book quite naturally. While writing the stories, I read that the youth of today are nature deficit. That is so sad. Our children had to be told to come in the house while many of the present youth have to be told to go outside to play. I realized that the interesting things happening on our little farm were a perfect avenue to stress the importance of nature on our bodies and minds, and entice the young readers outside to play and explore. Also, the grandma teaches them how to be observant and tells them to always have an adventure.
Do you have a favorite character?
I guess my favorite character would have to be Elliott because he is the youngest of the grandchildren and tries so hard to keep up with the others.
Do you have a favorite scene or chapter?
My favorite scene is when Elliott gets lost and later tells the others that they were doing nothin’ and he wasn’t good at it. My husband, who always read each new part out loud and with enthusiasm, says his favorite is when Grandpa and Elliott go pick up the new puppy.
What age group did you write this book for?
Reading skills very so much with elementary students, but I believe third grade on up. Our big surprise when marketing it was that older adults liked it. They remembered going to their grandparents' farm for Sunday dinners when all the cousins were there, working on their grandparents' farm, or even growing up on a farm.
What do you want to accomplish as an author?
I was told by both parents and librarians that children’s books where the kids aren’t smart mouthed and sassy were needed. I want to always have good family values and kindness taught naturally in my stories.
What do you do other than write?
I’m the grandma in the book so I love to garden and preserve the harvest. I read, crochet some, play the piano, and teach myself Spanish.
What advice would you give to other authors?
Write for the fun of writing. The publishing isn’t so fun!
I hope you enjoyed reading about First Cousins on the Farm. I, personally, found the book delightful, and definitely want more people to check it out.
What about you? Have you read First Cousins on the Farm or similar books like it? After reading this review, would you want to read it?
Join me next week for yet another Week of Book Memes! The Week of Book Memes is a fairly new event I've started on this blog, as a way to interact more with the book blogging community. During the Week of Book Memes I post several times a week, posting Top Ten Tuesday lists, rambling about unreleased books, and answering Book Blogger Hop questions, to name a few things. (You can find all of the book memes I participated in last time HERE.)