1. What inspired you to write fiction? I taught 4th and 5th grades for several years. I’d read what I saw my kids reading- Harry Potter, Fablehaven, Leven Thumps, Goosebumps, Roald Dahl, etc. I think reading and re-reading those books reignited my imaginative spark that’d gone during college 🙂 I imagined how cool it would be if I could influence reluctant readers, especially boys, to pick up a book in place of the game controller. I decided to write a fiction book that I would’ve enjoyed as a fifth grader and something I hoped kids would enjoy today as well.
2. Which other artists have influenced you? I love Jerry Spinelli’s books- his characters are so vulnerable and real. I was also influenced by Brian Jacques, Gary Paulsen, Louis Sachar, and Neil Gaiman. Of course, J.K. Rowling is a master of children’s literature.
3. Did you have to do any sort of research for you book? If so, describe what you did. I used a lot of local folklore to paint the back story. My grandpa would always tell me stories about Spaniards coming to the Western U.S. to mine gold from the Rockies. He’d show me books, maps, and relate tales of epic battles between local Indians and the foreign invaders. I read Footprints in the Wilderness (a very rare book that my grandpa passed on to me after he died) and Lost Gold of the Uintah. I didn’t use the same locations or stories, but they helped me create my own.
4. Where did the idea for this book come from? When my grandpa passed away, I inherited a box of his belongings. Inside were some of his personal effects and these letters about his search for lost Spanish gold. I read them and got excited. My friends and I ventured into the mountains to follow in his footsteps. Needless to say, we didn’t find gold, but those memories of camping out and hiking through the wilderness with friends are some of the best I have- real treasures! A few years later in college, I started thinking up the story of Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure. A few more years after that, I actually started to write it.
5. What sorts of things do you wish you saw more in books? I really like historical fiction. As a teacher, I found a dearth of that particular genre and would like to see more books like Johnny Tremain and Across Five Aprils.
6. What are you working on now? What are your plans for your future writing? I am working on Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado which will be released October, 2012. I’m not sure what my future plans are for writing. I definitely have a passion for it, but it’s difficult to do while balancing life and work. I suppose as long as people want to read what I write, I’ll keep doing it.
7. What advice would you give aspiring writers? The biggest trap I fell into at the beginning (and still do at times) is using the verb, “feel” or “felt.” A reader should know what the character feels without the writer having to tell them.
9. Anything else you’d like to add? Please check out the fundraiser I’m doing for my amazing, twelve year old neighbor Alyssa. All profits from pre orders and book sales during the first two weeks of launch will be donated to her family- www.treasureforalyssa.com
Thanks B.K. and good luck launching your book! You can watch a book trailer by clicking on the following link: