Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Divergent!”

 

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another book review. The book on the agenda this morning is “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. I must say that when I first bought the book I was skeptical. I’ve been reading a lot of Contemporary Young Adult Fiction and I was into all the teenage angst that comes with that type of story. So when I picked up this dystopian novel and started reading I didn’t think it would suck me in.

At first it didn’t. It took a couple of chapters before I had the desire to get to know the characters, but when I did, I had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed the relationship between Tris and Four and I love how their relationship develops. I became interested enough in the story to buy the next book, “Insurgent.” I’m reading that one right now.

I’ve also become interested in learning what happens to the five factions, Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. This is a unique story and I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series.

However, I must say, it hasn’t drawn me in nearly as much as the Contemporary Young Adult books that I’ve recently read have. That said, I admire the author’s imagination. She has certainly created a unique world for this story. I’ll be reviewing the second book in the series soon. Thanks for stopping by! If you’d like to share your thoughts regarding “Divergent,” feel free to do so. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in promotion

On Sale at Smashwords! Check it out!

 

 

 

Photo: Happy Birthday Lisa!!  Hope you have a fabulous celebration!!  :-)
Isn’t this an awesome Birthday Cake? A friend shared it on my Facebook page and it looked so yummy, I thought I’d share it with all of you! 🙂

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an exciting weekend. It was my birthday yesterday and although I don’t feel it, I’m another year older. Because of this and the fact that I’ve been editing my fourth book, I didn’t spend much time on a blog post for today. I know! My bad!

What I do have for you is a sale going on the entire first week of March! Almost all of  Astraea Press’ books are on sale at Smashwords! They’re half off this entire week! That’s 50% off!

You must use the code REW50 to get your discount!

Remember Astraea Press only publishes Clean fiction, which means no swearing or questionable content! The covers and blurbs for my books are below. I’ve also included the buylinks for Smashwords!

One last thing before I go, The Super Spies are geared toward the Upper Middle Grade/Lower Young Adult Age group. 🙂

Happy Reading!

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission.  The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer, or die trying…

Buylink:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/144170

TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

Buylink:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/209072

TheSuperSpiesandthePiedPiper 500x750Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when their missing parents’ cell phone is traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the investigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah finds out he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can the Super Spies stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Buylink:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/320907

Posted in Guest interview, Health, Teen

I’ve got Psychologist Gary Cole here and he’s talking about Dealing with Teen Addiction

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Psychologist Gary Cole here today and he’s talking about Teen Addiction. He’s a Clinical Supervisor of Community Based Services and he deals with adults who started out as teens with issues. He’s here to provide some insight for parents so their teens don’t grow into adulthood with the problems that he sees in his work everyday.

So, without further ado…here’s Gary!

How does a parent know the difference between normal teen angst and the actual warning signs of a problem?

  1. I would say there are two areas to focus on. 1. If you see a significant deviation on their past behavior and mood. Everyone has “bad days” but this would be more long standing and persistent. If the parent starts to become worried they need to ask questions or offer the help of someone who the teenager would feel more comfortable with. Many teens will not talk to their parents about these issues. 2. The circle of friends and interests seems to change significantly.  An example would be that kid who loves to play sports, but this year decides he/she isn’t going to play on the team. The answer isn’t to make them play, but to ask what is going on and what has brought about the decision. As kids become more involved in drugs their interest in these types of activities drops considerably.

What are the actual warning signs and what should a parent do?

  1. There isn’t any one sign that if a parent notices this it would indicate drug use. The parent has to be involved in their children’s lives from day one so they know what a change is for this teenager. I would say there are things to watch for and when seen, it should prompt the parent to have discussions with this teenager. The parent will need to remain persistent because it is likely the teen will not just jump into the conversation willingly. It helps if the parent has had a history since the teen was young about talking openly with them and asking their input. If the parent is noticing the “signs” too late and there is extensive drug use going on, talk with a professional and do not be afraid to set limits with the teen. What I notice is that the parent is often either not paying any attention to obvious things or they are uncomfortable asking these questions, so they just avoid it until the problem becomes worse.

Some of the signs might be:

  1.      -Lying about where they have been. Check up on them, and pay attention to their normal habits. The more you know about your child, the better equipped you will be to know when something is going wrong.
  2.      – Type of friends change. They may keep the friends somewhat hidden from you. So when they come to the house to pick up your teen, make ALL of them come in the house so you can see who they are and if they are under the influence of something. Do not lie to yourself, if the friends look like trouble, they probably are.
  3.      – Using their temper to control you or others in the house. This does not mean trying to get their way, I mean when they have people in the house  and you are uncomfortable with asking questions etc…because you are afraid to “set them off.”
  4.    – Criminal behavior. Pay attention to what is coming in and leaving the house or their car. If they all of a sudden have a nice new gaming system and they do not have a job, something is wrong. When they tell you their friend gave it to them because the friend has a new one, make phone calls and find out what is really going on.    – LISTEN to your kids. Even when they are young. If you see a change in their attitudes and beliefs through things they say, you should be concerned. The teenager will always show you prosocial behavior and say prosocial things when you are talking with them directly but listen to what is being said when they do not know you are listening. Then do not be afraid to ask about things or restrict their access to certain people that seem to be leading them in a wrong direction.– Pay attention to what you are role modeling to your children. It is never too late to “stop doing the wrong things.” Live a controlled life in which you are not using drugs or overindulging in alcohol use. Get up in the morning and have a schedule. Provide fair and consistent discipline, this includes for a teenager.3.     When should a parent seek outside professional help for a problem teen?
       As soon as the problem becomes apparent. Most parents feel like they can handle it and they can, but there are probably things going on that the parent needs help with. So the professional help is not only for the teen, but also for the parent. Do not wait until it becomes an addiction and the struggle becomes much harder. Once an addiction is apparent, the parent needs help also.

4.     When is it too late?

It is never too late, but life will never be the same either. What usually happens is, at this stage, the parent needs help for themselves. Usually this is to look at how they respond to the behavior they see from the teenager, how to hold them accountable and how to cope with the feelings they are struggling with. Usually accountability is the key. An addict usually only changes when the pain of using outweighs the benefits of using. Where people often have trouble is holding that person accountable and allowing the pain of using to happen.

5.     Is there a point when rehabilitation is impossible?

No, never. People overcome addiction every day. It takes a lot of work and dedication on their part. It may require medical help. There are systems in place to help people with physical addiction and counseling to work through the emotional issues that are at work. Part of the problem with working with teenagers, is often they have not had a lot of negative experiences due to their use yet. Also, their brains are still developing so even without the drugs or alcohol use they are impulsive in their decisions. Unfortunately, jail could be a good thing for a teenager. This might be the first negative experience they had because of their use.

6.     Is there anything that an outsider can do if a parent is unwilling to address the problem? When I say outsider I’m talking about someone like a teacher, or someone from the extended family.
Yes, but it is likely not enough. Providing the teen with someone who will listen without judgment is helpful. Being supportive and offering to help them with anything that is positive would be another thing that could help. Do not get caught up in providing a place to sleep etc…unless their use is because of things going on in the home that you feel are unhealthy for the teen. Do not be afraid to include the system if something harmful to the teen is occurring in their home. Everyone feels uncomfortable with making such a call, but it is the right thing to do.

7.     What steps should a parent take to bring the problem behavior under control? Whether it’s a drug problem or criminal behavior.

Accountability is the one thing that helps motivate people to make changes. It is harder in the beginning as all of the past behaviors that have worked are now being challenged. It is important that the parent do this in a caring manner though, as this is when the teen usually lashes out and try’s other tactics to get the parent to return to their old behaviors also. If the behavior is severe enough, a professional should be brought in to help both the parent and the teen.

8.     Are there any types of organizations that can help straighten out these issues and if there are what are the names?

There are many. Each city and town have their own resources. The best thing to do is call 211 and get a list of the agencies in your area. If the first agency or counselor does not seem to “fit” for you, keep looking around. The more information you gather, you will be surprised at the options out there for help.

9.     Who are the teens most likely to run into problems? Are there any common denominators that make a teen more susceptible to choosing negative behaviors?

Addiction and criminal behavior can be found in all homes, races and socio economic classes. But, having a home that is safe, secure and stable helps considerably. Many of the clients I have worked with, there is significant dysfunction occurring in the home. Often addiction is present in the teen’s life before they ever picked up or experimented. Teens who have dealt with issues of abandonment or lack of proper supervision as a child often struggle later in life.  It should be noted that being raised in a broken home, having a parent with addiction etc.. do not mean that child will become a teen and have the same struggles.  There are certain movements within communities which affect the culture of drug use. In Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities there seems to be a rise in the use of heroine and the use of pain killers (pills). As this becomes more prevalent, there is just more opportunity for teens to have access to this. Parents should be aware of what is happening in their specific area.

10.   Of the teens who are having problems which ones are the ones who have the best chance of being rehabilitated and which ones are likely to be repeat offenders?

I have no statistics on this, but the sooner the behavior and addiction is dealt with the better. Unfortunately America seems to put a lot of money into corrections when it is extremely difficult to change the behavior. More money should be going into the child welfare system as well as early childhood intervention. I would say, the clients that seem to have a sense that their behavior has become unhealthy and unmanageable are a step ahead and will often do the work toward becoming healthy. If they remain in denial, and do not think their use has become as problematic often struggle more toward really getting healthy. Also, if the same unhealthy dynamics are occurring in the home and do not change, it is difficult for a client to make changes without leaving.

Thanks Gary for being here today. I appreciate your time and your insightful information. And thanks to all of you who stopped by to read this interview! Leave some comments on your thoughts! I’d love to read them!

Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please welcome Author Heidi Nicole Bird as she shares her New Release “Ontario” with us!

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Heidi Nicole Bird with us today and she’s sharing her new release “Ontario” with us! But wait there’s more! She’s also sharing her thoughts on bringing characters to life, so you’ll want to keep on reading until the end! She’s got some great stuff for us! 🙂

Take it away Heidi!

Ontario final ebook cover“Don’t worry, Ontario, I’ll never leave you. You will always have me here to protect you and your brother.”

Those words from a childhood memory would haunt Ontario Stratton for the rest of her life. Losing her father had been difficult enough, but her life would change even more drastically at the beginning of her senior year of high school. Only weeks into the school year Mrs. Stratton abandons her two children for a more carefree way of living. Suddenly thrown into a very different life, Ontario clings to her brother Eddy, her new legal guardian, and to no one else. Could she trust anyone anymore? Even her best friend isn’t there for her. . .

In order to feel like less of a burden on her brother, Ontario gets a job at the local fifties-style diner. It is there that she meets her new “family,” including the oh-so-intriguing Austin, the only one who can help her truly heal. In time, Ontario discovers that Austin has his own demons, and that he needs her just as much as she needs him. Some things in Ontario’s life begin to come together again, but others continue to fall apart. Though her world seems to be breaking, she is introduced to a kind of happiness she has never known before, and her new found friends show her that maybe, just maybe, she can learn to love again.

Keep reading and learn how Heidi brings these characters to life!

                               Bringing Your Characters to Life

One of the things that really makes a book for me is a good character. Maybe that sounds like a “duh” sort of thing to say, but hear me out. I have read fabulous stories with fabulous characters, but I’ve also read some really great stories that didn’t quite make it to the “fabulous” category because the characters had something lacking. For me, the story could be fantastic and the author could be well known, but if the characters in the story aren’t that great, then it’s likely that I won’t pick up that book again.  Here’s the thing: characters make the story. Even if you have a great story idea it won’t seem great to your readers if your characters aren’t memorable. Creating great characters that my audience will love is one thing I really try hard to do, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on just how you go about creating a great character.

  1. Name – Okay, let me share my philosophy on names for a second. I like creating new and unique names as much as the next author, but I also think you can go way too far with that. If there’s one thing that distracts me during a story it is a writer who makes all the names so different that I can’t remember who the characters are. I do like unique names, I do! But, if every single character in your book has a name nobody has ever heard before it gets hard for your reader to keep them all straight, especially when the name doesn’t make it clear that the character is male or female. You probably won’t run into this problem as much if your book has few characters, but lots of characters with unique names = bad stuff.
  1. Looks – Another thing that bothers me is when I make it through a book without ever knowing what the author intended the main character to look like. Honestly, I may not even make it through the book if that happens. As the author you already know what all of your characters look like, but don’t forget that your readers don’t! This doesn’t mean you should randomly stop the flow of the story to give a detailed description of each character, but it does mean that you need to incorporate details into your narration. This goes the same for gender as well. Make sure you establish the gender of your characters, especially if your main character is telling the story.
  1. Personality – For me this is the biggest thing. Your characters have to be different. They have to have quirks. Maybe one character likes to make fancy little doilies and another one likes to watch pro-wrestling when kids are asleep. Whatever it is, your characters need to have depth. They need to have identifying characteristics or they won’t be memorable. Think about people in your own life. I bet you could pick someone, anyone, and think of personality traits that are unique to them, things that set them apart. That’s what you need to do with your characters. It’s great to have a character who is confident and happy all the time, but think about how boring it would be if all your characters were like that! Unless your story is about clones then make sure your characters are different, identifiable, and memorable.
  1. Flaws – This is another thing I think is very important. Sure, everybody likes a Super Man, but honestly, even he had his flaws. Your characters can’t be perfect or they won’t be believable, and neither will your story. If everything goes flawlessly for your character then there is something wrong. Nobody’s life is like that, so your readers will have nothing to connect to. Create weaknesses in your character. As bad as that sounds, you need to do it. They can’t be rock solid. Something has to make them breakdown, make them seem human.
  1. Keep your Readers Learning – Let me explain. When you first experience a character you need to know some basic things about them, as was discussed in point number 2, but you can’t, and shouldn’t tell everything about your character right from the get go. Well, I suppose you could if you really wanted to, but that would make for a rather interesting beginning to your story, which would start to sound more like a biography. You don’t want to go too far in the other direction either though. If your character can be completely described in a few sentences then you definitely have some fleshing out to do. Do your initial introduction at the beginning of your story, or wherever they enter the picture, and then throughout the story let your readers get to know them better. It’s just like when you first meet someone who later becomes your best friend. By the time you are best friends surely you have learned more about then than you did during your first meeting.

I’ve only covered five things in this list, but I think each of them are important to consider. I also think there are many other things that need to be thought about when creating character. As overwhelming as it seems, making a great, believable, relatable character isn’t that hard. Just try it out, using these tips, or other ones. As an exercise, think about your favorite book character. Analyze that character and make a list of why you like them so much, then try making a character of your own. The better your characters are, the better your story will be.

 

***Sorry about the numbers above, I copied and pasted this from Word and I can’t seem to get the numbers corrected in WordPress….thanks for your patience! 🙂

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Author Photo 300 DPIAuthor Bio

Heidi Nicole Bird has been writing for as long as she can remember and it is her favorite thing in the world. Heidi is a regular NaNoWriMo participant and is mostly a young adult fantasy writer, but also likes to write juvenile fiction and other genres. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University and she looks forward to exploring the genre of historical fiction. Heidi lives in Utah with her family and three dogs, and loves working from home as a full time writer.

Also by Heidi Nicole Bird, Through the Paper Wall

http://www.amazon.com/Through-the-Paper-Wall-ebook/dp/B00BF1MNT4

Links:

www.facebook.com/HeidiNicoleBird

www.twitter.com/HeidiNicoleBird

http://heidinicolebird.blogspot.com/

Links to Ontario:

Paperback                                       Kindle Store

Ontario on Goodreads

Thanks Heidi for sharing your wisdom with us and being a guest today!

Please leave a comment for Heidi and share your thoughts with us! We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Teen

Why Don’t Schools have Relationship Classes?

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today! I’m back after being extremely ill for the last week.  Boo! My whole family had this cold/flu bug that’s been going around, but we’re on the mend this week. Well…enough about that. Today I wanted to talk about teen relationships.

During the teen years there are a lot of firsts. First feelings…first dances…first kisses…etc.  Since this is a period of a lot of first times, there are many new emotions that teens haven’t felt before and therefore are inexperienced in handling.

Because of that inexperience some teens may use controlling or manipulative behavior to try and avoid the painful feelings of rejection.  This is unfortunate but true. This kind of behavior can take teens down a destructive path both for the controller and the teen that’s the object of control.

Now, keep in mind the person who’s attempting to control the situation is not trying to be manipulative in any way…they are trying to avoid the pain of rejection. However, his/her controlling behavior does have a detrimental effect. If the teen who doesn’t want to be in the relationship can’t break out of that controller’s grip, he/she’s in a relationship that is no longer working for them. This is where, in my humble opinion, the relationship becomes unhealthy and could even become abusive.

Unfortunately, I see this in many young adult relationships and as a result there’s decreased self-esteem for both parties involved. So what is the answer? I have one…but you knew that didn’t you? 🙂

I think all teens should have to take “Relationship Classes” or “Relationship Workshops.” That’s right; in my opinion these classes should be a requirement of the school curriculum…just like sex education. 🙂

In these classes we can teach teens what an unhealthy relationship is. We can show them what negative behaviors should not be tolerated.  I feel this is important for our kids. These classes will help them maintain healthy self-esteem; and what better place to learn about relationships than in school next to their peers. 🙂 The same peers they are having relationships with.

We can give them tools to cope with unhealthy situations. One that comes to mind is what can a young girl do when she wants to end a relationship with a young man and he threatens suicide? Or the other way around? These situations have spun out of control and are too much for any teen to handle. An adult has to be involved…but how many teens talk to their parents at this stage of the game? Very few.  I say let’s give them the tools they need, so  they can recognize these unhealthy situations. We could even take it a step further and teach them healthy communication skills. They will be better adults in the long run.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. As always, I’m sharing my personal opinion and would love to hear some of your ideas! Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Teen

Let’s raise Internally Oriented Kids! Another tool to help beat Peer Pressure

Hello Everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today talking about teen issues. The issue I’d like to talk about is “External Orientation”. Now, you’re probably wondering what the heck is “External Orientation.”

Well…what I mean by this is when someone looks outside themselves for validation. They are “Externally Oriented”. Why is this a problem? I mean we all need a pat on the back once in a while, right?

I agree a pat on the back is awesome and everyone needs one. However, the problem arises when a teen becomes dependent on others for validation. And I see this more and more in our youth today.

They look to their peers for approval instead of looking inside themselves and asking does this behavior agree with my own belief system? It’s my humble opinion that when a teen acts in a way that is at odds with their belief system the result is lowered self-esteem. And we all know that low self-esteem is at the root of many of the problems in our society today.

We as parents need to teach our children to be more internally oriented. Teens need to work in conjunction with their own belief system and stand up for their own beliefs when they’re challenged by their peers.

So, how do we do this as parents? That is a good question and I have some answers. 🙂 Again, parental involvement is a major factor and it starts years before children reach their teens.

First of all, parents need to help their child develop a realistic belief system and this starts from day one all the way up to adulthood.  I’m talking about moral development not religious beliefs.

I know what you’re saying…yeah…we know that…but how do we do this?

We do this by helping them develop good habits in their childhood. For example, I don’t want my children to abuse alcohol and drugs when they’re older. So, I teach them healthy habits for their body now. I tell them … they shouldn’t do things that are bad for their body, like smoking and drinking. I tell them the negative effects of these vices. I know what you’re thinking…they’re too young…but they’re not. Now is when they’re listening to their parents and if parents can embed this into their sponge-like brains…they will develop the belief that drinking is bad for our bodies therefore, I’m not going to drink.

Is it really this simple? The answer is yes and no. 🙂 It is this simple if parents act in conjunction with what they’re teaching their children.  But problems arise when parents instruct their children one way and then behave in the opposite manner. This confuses the child and when they become teens…if they don’t have a strong belief system in place they’re more likely to look to others for validation. The more they look to others for validation the more likely they will fall prey to outside influences.

Children need to get validation from their parents. If they don’t get it from their parents they will look for it outside the home. It’s that simple. So please give your child praise when they do something right.

Whenever, I catch my kids eating something that’s good for their body. I give them lots of hugs and make a big deal about it. They’ll remember this and when a friend offers them that beer when they’re underage…they’re more likely to turn it down.  Because I’ve taught them that it’s not good for your body.

Being “internally oriented” is a great way to combat the many self-esteem issues that plague our young people today. Of course, this is just my opinion. 🙂 I’d love to hear yours, please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

On a side note, I’d just like to let you know that my books are now available as Audiobooks! So, if you’re interested in listening to them here are the links! 🙂

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http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00BGBSLCG&qid=1362406805&sr=1-1

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http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_2?asin=B00BIRIEDO&qid=1362406906&sr=1-2

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Posted in Fantasy

Interview with Sharon Ledwith author of The Last Time Keepers Series

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Sharon Ledwith here today answering some questions about herself and her new series! Take it away Sharon!

What inspired you to write a Time Travel Book?

I’ve always loved the time travel genre. I guess what got me back to thinking about it was reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I haven’t read them all yet, just the first four thick books because the series is quite an investment in time (no pun intended!). When I pondered the idea of writing for young adults, I went with what I loved. Plus, I had a dream in 1998 where I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an “Indiana Jones”feel to it. So, I thought I’d challenge myself and write a novel—a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience, so I imagined the arches I saw vividly in my dream as time portals. And the rest is history – pun intended!

Who is your favorite character and why?

Really? That’s like asking who is your favorite child! Woot! Okay, if I had to pick one, I’d have to say Treena Mui, only because she’s a lot like me humor-wise. I used to crack off like her when I was a kid, so I guess it comes naturally. I wish I had her sense of confidence back then!

Why should readers read your book?

I think The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis is a timely book. I believe kids need to read what my characters have got to say. That everyone has a purpose, a talent, a gift to be shared with the world. That we all have the power of choice, and we create our reality. And that we really do need to pay attention, and then take action in our lives to make our dreams come true.

Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

You would ask that, Lisa. I have many notebooks and pads and sticky notes at my disposal. I also have a file full of ideas. I guess I start with the characters and build the story around them. The characters, my characters, must carry the story to completion, give readers closure. It’s a must. In order to do this, I begin writing out character tracking sheets (stats on characters appearances, clothing, likes and dislikes, etc.) which have served me well throughout the writing process. Then the fun begins. Research, research, and more research. When you’re writing time travel, you’ve got to know your facts to create the fiction. I love this part of the journey too. Only when I have enough facts, and I feel my characters are fleshed out sufficiently, then I begin to start the novel. Sometimes I’m a panser (writing by the seat of my pants), sometimes a plotter (outline entire storyline)—it all depends on the tone of the book and where my imagination directs me.

What’s next for Sharon Ledwith the author?

Currently, I’m working on the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, entitled The Legend of the Timekeepers. I also have a completed manuscript of the second book in the series entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, but there’s the fun job of revising it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view. I’ve written a master plan for the series with possible titles and premises, and I’m in the process of putting all this information together in a series guidebook, so I’ll be one busy gal!

Fun questions:

Tell us something that no one else knows about you.

Well my hubby and I used to own a graphic trade company called Box Office Graphics in the early 80s to 2004. I enjoyed every aspect from thumbnail to final product, but the technology grew so fast you had to keep up or get out. We had our fill in 2003 and sold in 2004. I was very grateful for that time in my life and learned so much about the aspects of owning a business, which is one of the hats an author has to wear.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Silly question! Time travel, but also like a broad range of reads, especially self-help non-fiction, and paranormal romance, some dystopian, and young adult fantasy. Presently, I’m reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (finally!) and finishing The Tempest by Julie Cross.

Who’s your favorite author?

I would have to say Diana Gabaldon, but I like Rick Riordan just as much. Both are very different authors who write in different styles but each have to do a lot of research for their books.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Single. Malt. Scotch.

If time travel were actually possible, where would you go?

That’s an easy one. Atlantis. I believe it was a real place and not a myth. I’ve done too much research to know this. My gut tells me Atlantis existed. However, I wouldn’t want to go back there when things, let’s say got little shaky and wet, for the Atlanteans!

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.

Here’s the Blurb for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:

 

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website

Sharon’s Blog

Sharon’s Facebook Page

The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page

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