Author Spotlight

An Interview with Deborah Hopkinson

Author Deborah Hopkinson shares her process of writing Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen and the role children’s librarians play in supporting the dreams of their young patrons. What motivated you to write a book about Jane Austen for young readers?     I’ve been an Austen fan for a long time. I was perhaps in sixth grade when I first discovered her books. I still have a few old battered paperbacks from those days. And I once took my daughter on a “literary pilgrimage” in England. And yes, we went to Bath. I don’t anticipate young readers to rush out and devour Pride and Prejudice, of course. But I think it’s wonderful to give readers the chance to discover accomplished women of the past from all cultures. And Austen offers a model for an ordinary person determined to follow her own path, which seems especially relevant in our celebrity-focused culture.  What do you…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author Bridgette R. Alexander

Author Bridgette R. Alexander reflects on the mystery genre, her first book in a new series, Southern Gothic, and the influential impact of librarians and libraries. I received a complimentary copy of Southern Gothic: A Celine Caldwell Mystery in preparation for this interview. How would you describe your novel Southern Gothic: A Celine Caldwell Mystery? It’s intriguing. It’s passionate. It’s a contemporary urban Nancy Drew meets The Da Vinci Code. Southern Gothic introduces the reader to Celine Caldwell and the world of fine arts. Celine attends a private school on the Upper East Side, but more importantly has an internship in the Archives Department of the mighty Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her life suddenly changes with an explosive uncovering of an art theft; and in which her mother, the powerful curator of modern art at the Met, is accused of stealing paintings from her upcoming exhibition. How did the idea…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author Julie K. Rubini

In her latest work for young readers, Missing Millie Benson, author Julie K. Rubini discusses the influence of Nancy Drew’s most prolific author. Rubini also describes her family’s efforts to celebrate children’s books through Claire’s Day, in honor of Rubini’s late daughter. Recently, Ohio University Press sent a free Advance Review Copy of Missing Millie Benson to me in preparation for this blog interview.       Please share about your background as a writer of children’s books.  How have public libraries and reading impacted your professional and personal life? I have loved both reading and writing since I was a child. As I lived out in the country, the Lucas County Public Library’s bookmobile was my gateway to worlds beyond my backyard. I would fill my bike’s basket up from the mobile collection every week. Reading encouraged my writing in a variety of forms, from essays, to short stories, newsletters, and eventually…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author Michelle Houts

Michelle Houts, author of Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek, shares how her book highlights Kamenshek’s life of integrity alongside her professional achievements.  Houts, also the editor of Missing Millie Benson by Julie K. Rubini, reflects on the role nonfiction plays in shaping children’s reading interests and how librarians serve these readers, researchers, and writers.  I received a complimentary copy of these two books in the Biographies for Young Readers series published by Ohio University Press before this interview.      1.  How did you first learn about Dottie Kamenshek, the famous baseball player loosely based on Dottie Hinson from the popular movie A League of Their Own?  What inspired you to write your book for young readers, Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek? I first read about Kammie in a one-page entry in the book Profiles of Ohio Women. As soon as I read about her, I knew she would be a…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author E.K. Johnston

E.K. Johnston has set her fictional world on fire in THE STORY OF OWEN: DRAGON SLAYER OF TRONDHEIM.  Receiving recognition as a finalist for the 2015 William C. Morris Award, the author discusses the relationship between libraries and young readers.  She gives us a glimpse into her latest novel, PRAIRIE FIRE, scheduled to be released next month. I received a complimentary copy of THE STORY OF OWEN before participating in this interview as part of a blog tour.    THE STORY OF OWEN has broad appeal for readers with varying interests. How do you briefly summarize this book for the audience not familiar with these characters and their adventures?   I usually tell people that THE STORY OF OWEN is about a dragon slayer from Southwestern Ontario, who moves from Hamilton to a small town called Trondheim, and has to adjust to slaying dragons in a rural environment. You know, passing algebra. Getting…

Author Spotlight

Interview with Author Dori Hillestad Butler

    Ghosts add spooky suspense in this new mystery series, The Haunted Library, written by Edgar Award author Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Aurore Damant.  In this interview, Dori Hillestad Butler shares the role libraries have played in shaping her work and the background behind these haunting books for young readers.  I received a complimentary copy of the first two books in this series before this interview.          As children’s librarians, we often share just a little bit of detail about books with audiences to get them interested in checking out material.  What information would you share with children interested in learning more about The Haunted Library series?              It’s a series about a ghost boy named Kaz and a “solid” girl named Claire who work together to solve ghostly mysteries. Each book is a stand-alone mystery, but as the series goes on Kaz and Claire are also trying to find Kaz’s missing family. Kaz was separated from his family when their…