2017 debut author Katie Slivensky recently interviewed Shari Schwartz about her contemporary middle grade novel, TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, which was published on April 12th, 2016 by Cedar Fort.
About the Book:
An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the map, even if it means risking his life and lying to his grandpa while they’re on their wilderness backpacking trip. Bryce must work together with his difficult big brother, Jack, or they…and the treasure…may never see the light of day again.
About the Author:
Shari and her husband live in Colorado with their four boys and love to spend time hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is her debut MG adventure out April 12th by Cedar Fort. When Shari’s not reading or writing, she can be found weight lifting, gardening or spinning awkward dance moves in her kitchen.
Katie: How did you come up with the idea for TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, and your main two characters, Bryce and Jack?
Shari: This was two-fold, but the ideas came almost immediately when I sat down to write a book. First, I wanted to write a book for my preteen/teenage boys, so I picked two brothers who were about the same age as my boys so they could hopefully relate to them. Second, I wanted to write an adventure, and, since I’m a huge fan of adventure and survival books by authors like Gary Paulsen, Avi, and Roland Smith, I naturally gravitated toward a backpacking adventure in the mountains–also something both my boys and I know and can relate to.
Katie: There’s great information about wilderness survival in your book! How much research went into learning that all? Is any of it from experience?
Shari: Some of it is from experience, but I’m not a hunter or trapper, so I had to do research on how to set traps, how to skin animals and how to cook them. I do have experience with backpacking, climbing, fishing, and foraging a bit. I’ve plucked open pine cones to get at the nuts inside and have eaten wild strawberries that taste unreal.
Katie: What, if any, surprises did you discover during revisions about your plot and/or characters?
Shari: I had a lot of surprises along the way. The biggest thing I learned from those surprises was that if you can’t write an effective tagline where you whittle your entire novel into one sentence, you probably have some major plot issues including stakes that aren’t high enough or clear enough and/or low or unclear character motivation.
Katie: How did you find your editor, and what was it like learning that your publisher wanted to put YOUR book out there on shelves?
Shari: I found Ashley Gephart (acquisitions editor for kidlit at Cedar Fort Publishing) through an #MSWL on Twitter and contacted her on Twitter before submitting to Cedar Fort. I was shocked and honored to be offered a contract for publication just a few weeks later. It is still amazing to me that they want to put my book out there! I keep pinching myself to make sure this is real!
Katie: Music you write best with?
Shari: Sadly, only silence. I wish I could listen to music when I write.
Katie: Favorite writing snack?
Shari: Almond latte.
Katie: Any siblings of your own?
Shari: I have one amazing younger sister!
Katie: Favorite time of day (or night) to write?
Shari: After the kids go to bed.
Katie: Favorite season?
Shari: I love May in Colorado. Everything is so green and fresh!
Katie: Weirdest/scariest thing to happen to you in the wilderness?
Shari: Getting stuck while rock climbing without any gear and thinking I was going to fall and die.
About the Interviewer:
Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does presentations with alligators and liquid nitrogen (not usually at the same time), and runs the rooftop observatory program. With an academic background in paleontology, she only began dabbling in astronomy when she joined the Museum in 2009. It soon became a major passion, and spilled straight over into her writing life. Her debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for Summer 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.
Katie lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. You can find Katie at her web site, twitter, her blog, and goodreads.