Shaun has just finished reading Anna's Blizzard by Alison Hart. A dual review of it can be seen here. This is a dual interview, Shaun has questions about Anna's Blizzard, and I'm just plain nosy ;p
Alison is also giving away a copy of her newest book, Emma's River, which you can enter after the interview. Thank you, Alison, for agreeing to come over for a chat. Shaun's got some questions for Alison about Anna's Blizzard....
Shaun -how long did Anna's Blizzard take to write?
Alison - Research takes the longest especially when writing historical fiction. It took me almost a year to research--I read lots of books, of course, but I also visited Nebraska and saw a real sod house. The actual writing part took several months.
Shaun -my favorite bit is when John Jacob was found safe what's your favorite bit?
Alison - I love the part when Anna is ready to give up and then hears her Papa.
Shaun -Top is my favorite character who is yours?
Alison - I am a horse lover, so Top is my favorite, too!
Shaun -do you have rattlesnakes where you live?
No rattlesnakes, thank goodness. I read many old journal about life on the prairie and all mentioned how many snakes there were!
Michelle -When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
I wrote and illustrated my first 'book' at seven and never stopped. I especially loved to write during Latin class in seventh grade, much to the dismay of my teacher.
What was the first book you wrote?
The first book I published was in 1988 in the Linda Craig series called The Silver Stallion. Wow, that was decades ago, making me, um, old.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your characters and story?
Research is key for me, especially if I am writing historical fiction. In Emma's River a tour and trip on the steamboat Louisville Belle helped cement my story. In my Racing to Freedom trilogy (Gabriel's Horses, Gabriel's Triumph, Gabriel's Journey) I researched for over two years. As I read and visited places, the characters and story developed in my mind first.
Of the books you've written, which one is your favorite?
Each one I write has to be my favorite at the time. I loved writing Emma's River because the story was not just about privileged Emma who traveled on the plush cabin deck, but also about the immigrant Patrick who lived below with the livestock on the main deck.
Which character from your books is your favorite?
I love all my characters, but Gabriel's story, because it spanned three books and because it involved slavery and war, was the toughest to write.
When you're not writing, which books do you read, and do you have any favorite authors?
I read a wide variety of genres from YA to adult. When I am researching, I read a lot of nonfiction. Right now, I am reading about criminal investigation.
Chocolate or books?
They go hand in hand!
What plans have you got for future books?
I have a YA thriller with my agent, who is shopping it around. In 2011, Risky Chance, book seven in the Horse Diary series (Random House) and Dive Right In, from the InnerStar U series (American Girls) will be published.
Alison Hart is the author of over twenty children’s books. Her newest titles are Emma’s River, historical suspense (Peachtree Publishers), Whirlwind, the sequel to Edgar-nominated Shadow Horse, (Random House) and Taking the Reins (American Girls). Gabriel’s Horses, Gabriel’s Triumph and Gabriel’s Journey (Peachtree) were chosen as Junior Library Guild Premiere Selections. Gabriel’s Horses has been nominated for over twelve state readers awards including the 2008-2009 Texas Bluebonnet, Keystone State (Pennsylvania), Horned Toad Tales (Texas), West Virginia and Flicker Tales (North Dakota) awards, and the 2009-2010 Lamplighter and Young Hoosier (Indiana) awards.
In addition, she has written over forty books as well as educational materials under her own name, Alice Leonhardt. Titles include the easy-to-reads The Mystery of the Missing Leopard and One Special Dog (Steck-Vaughn), and novels in the popular series Nancy Drew Mysteries, Thoroughbred, and New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley. Summer 2007, she worked for the Monticello/Thomas Jefferson Foundation on the Monticello Digital Classroom project.
****This giveaway has now closed, the winner was Zoe, post #5***
Emma's River will be sent out promptly on January 4th 2011 to avoid getting caught in the Christmas post.
Emma's River Synopsis:"Horse-crazy girls and Titanic fans will love this action-packed adventure story set on a steamboat on the Missouri River in the nineteenth century.
The year is 1852. Ten-year-old Emma Wright and her mama have boarded the Sally May for a steamboat journey that will take them up the Mississippi River to the Missouri River and finally to St. Joseph where Papa will be waiting. The pair is being escorted by Dr. Burton, who is tending to Mama’s fragile health.
But Emma doesn’t like that Dr. Burton treats her like a bothersome child and bosses her around. And she is used to getting her own way. When concern over her beloved pony, Licorice Twist, lures her below to the main deck—a place that she has been forbidden to go—Emma is shocked by what she encounters. Here is a world completely different than the pampered one above with its comfortable stateroom and fine food. Here livestock and poor immigrants huddle together—underfed, unclean, and exhausted.
Soon Emma is making regular trips below, ferrying food to Patrick, an eleven-year-old stowaway who recently emigrated from Ireland. Slowly, Emma and Patrick develop a friendship that spans classes and ship levels. When the boiler explodes and the steamboat starts sinking, Emma fights her way through the black smoke to find her friends and family. But is it too late?"