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Let me tell you a quick story before I introduce Lisa Ann Sandell. 

I go to Florida every year, and the past couple of years I have done what I affectionately call "The Book Tour". My mom and I find out all the bookstores and thrift stores near the area, and we quickly drive there. Of course we buy TONS of books! Well, we went to a little church thrift store (some people get rid of the BEST books).
As I was happily scanning the book shelf, I saw an interesting book called Sparrow Alone. I wasn't sure if it was a good one, but being a female, I was attracted to the girl's hair on the cover (I admit I am shallow when it comes to book covers)! I saw that it was published by Scholastic, so I figured it was a good book! I took it home, read it, couldn't put it down, and loved it. I know many people say they 'can't put a book down', but this really happened to me! Anyway, without further ado:


                  Lisa Ann Sandell

I checked out her website (which is amazing, by the way) and she seemed like a very interesting, and nice person. Now, I live in constant fear that, after I read a good book, the author turns out to be weird, or crude. But not with Lisa Sandell. She very nicely emailed me back with answers to my book questions, and we kept emailing until I asked about an interview, and she agreed! Here's a link to her website:
 http://www.lisaannsandell.com/index.html

And here's a link to her About Me page, considering I didn't really do a good job writing an intro:
 http://www.lisaannsandell.com/about.html

Here's the interview:




1. When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?


I have always wanted to be a writer--I think since I learned to read, I always knew that this is what I wanted to do. 




2. What genre are your books? What age group do you usually write to?


My books are fiction, and they are categorized as young adult, which technically means for readers 12 and up. I hear from some younger readers, so I'd say like ten and up. I'm not sure how to narrow down the genre beyond fiction. Song of the Sparrow might be classified as fantasy, but the others are contemporary, realistic stories.
 

3. Can you tell us a little bit about the theme of each of your books?


The Weight of the Sky is loosely autobiographical, and it is the story of Sarah, an American teenager who travels to Israel on her first trip away from home by herself. In Israel, Sarah comes to appreciate what really matters to her in life, what she wants to do and who she wants to be. This is definitely a coming-of-age story about self-discovery.
 
Song of the Sparrow tells the story of Elaine, a young woman who, with her father and brothers, lives in a military camp led by Arthur ofBritain. The men fight against invaders from many directions, and Elaine does what she can to help the Britains by learning the healing arts to tend to wounded soldiers. There is romance and lots of adventure. What I love best about the stories of King Arthur are the themes of friendship, equality, and justice--I think these ideals are what make the human race noble. I also tried to inject this novel with the notion that girls can be as strong as men, even if they aren't doing the same things. We all have a role to play and the role of girls and women is just as important as that of men.
 

In A Map of the Known WorldCora Bradley's older brother has died in a car crash. Now she finds solace in drawing maps of and envisioning herself in exotic locales. Then, as she begins high school, Cora begins to spend time with Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, and she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life, and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. The themes of this novel cover the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love.

 

4. I've read, 'Sparrow Alone' so many times, and I love it! How did you do all the research for the King Arthur story?


 First of all, thank you!! I'm so glad. :) I did tons of research for this book--I read as many books about King Arthur as I could find, including Nennius'sHistoria BrittonumThomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain, Volume 1 ofWinston Churchill's The Birth of Britain: A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, and Chretien De Troyes's Arthurian Romances, and other sources. I also looked at old maps and listened to recordings of birdsong to learn about Elaine's world.



5. Do you have any tips for young writers?


Read. Read as much and as widely and broadly as you possibly can. Read voraciously. Great readers make the very best writers.



6. What are you working on right now? (or aren't allowed to say?)

Well, I can't say too much, but I'm working on a historical romance/adventure story that is sort of similar to 
Song of the Sparrow.


Thanks again for allowing me this opportunity. Your questions are great! ~ Lisa Ann Sandell

Your welcome, Lisa! Thanks for agreeing to the interview! ~ Katie 




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Dandi Daley Mackall has written over 450 books for adults, young adult, and children. Her website is:http://www.dandibooks.com/  
Her blog is: http://dandimackall.wordpress.com/
I own one of her book series for young adult titles, 'Winnie the Horse Gentler'. It's a great book series for Christian girls who love horses, and, more importantly, God! Here's the interview:


1. Did you grow up in a Christian home?


I grew up in a wonderful home that was very Christ-like, but none of us had actually found that personal relationship with God through Christ. We operated under a works system: If I’m good enough, I’ll go to heaven (which didn’t work and didn’t result in any kind of peace). It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered grace and accepted what Christ had done for me in dying on the cross. At first, my parents thought I was crazy, and so did my big sister. But within 5 years, God had led them all to himself, giving me the Christian family after all.
 

2. What is the genre of your books?


 Ha! I’ve written for absolutely every age group (over 450 books—You can see some of them on my website: www.dandibooks.com. I’ve written nonfiction and fiction for grownups and teens and little tykes. I love writing teen novels, like Winnie the Horse Gentler and Starlight Animal Rescue series, and the BlogOn series, and I love writing I Can Read books, like Ali Cat. I also write a number of young adult books for teens, aiming at the general market, instead of the Christian reader, hoping to draw in teens who don’t know Christ yet.
 



3. What are you working on now (if you're allowed to say)?


 I’ve just finished a young adult mystery, and I’m waiting for a YA novel to come out: MY BOYFRIENDS’ DOGS (Check out the book trailer—fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoxDy-vMCag; and my book-specific blog: www.dandimackall.wordpress.com. )   My secret prayer is that this one gets made into a movie (all prayer warriors welcome to join in that one!). I’m also working on an all-animal devotional, with cool animal facts and what they show us about our Creator. It’s a one-year devotional with Tyndale House, so that’s 365 chapters! This Christmas Tiny Baby Jesus comes out with ZonderKidz, a beautiful new picture book; and next year, It Was Not Such a Silent Night will come out. I’m finishing up some new I Can Read books, a series: Bob the Horse, to follow the Ali Cat Books. And I have a fun new series, Natalie Books, or That’s Nat! She’s like a Junie B. Jones, but with consequences and even more heart. I did just have another horse book come out, a nonfiction for teens on how to be a horse whisperer, even when you don’t own a horse: YOU AND YOUR HORSE. I’m probably forgetting some….
 


4. Are any characters from your books based on any of your family members?


 Most characters have a piece of me in them—even the bad ones. Winnie the Horse Gentler may be the closest to my personality at that age. I thought too much and got along with horses better than I did with my classmates.
 



5. Do you have any tips for young writers? 

Read! Listen to God and realize that God is building truths and stories and ideas into you that nobody else on earth will have—unless you write them. That’s inspiration! You have stories to tell.
 


 6. What is your favorite Bible verse? 


 I have so many favorites. The entire chapter, John 14, is one I’ve memorized, just in case anybody ever took away my Bible.



Thanks again for agreeing to the interview!~Katie



P.S. This is a copy of her reply when I asked her for an interview. I know that Winnie the Horse Gentler readers will like this! Dandi is a nice, gracious, Christian woman!

Hi, Katie,


I love your site—great dogs, too! 

You’ve got to read Starlight Animal Rescue. It’s a spin-off from Winnie. The new characters email Winnie and the gang on the Pet Helpline. PLUS, in the 4th book, Catman and Winnie travel to the rescue to help—and they’re now graduating from high school. So you get to see what’s happened to everybody. It was fun to write.


 Sure—I could work in a short email interview, and I’d be honored to join your website. Thanks for asking--Dandi
 
 
This paper was written by my friend, Andrea Joy, for our Composition class. I really enjoyed reading this, and she graciously agreed to my request to put this on my website.

                            My Grandparent's House
                                   by Andrea Joy

            My Grandparent’s house smells of peppermints. The rich, warm smell of African autumn tea and freshly brewed coffee seeps pleasantly through the house. It smells of books and soft, cozy leather couches, which sink down in a comfortable way when you sit down in them. It has a seasonal smell of Yankee candles. When it is spring it smells of the lively buds of flowers. In the summer it smells of the most fragrant flowers. In the fall it smells of spices and autumn leaves and pies of apple and pecan. During the winter, it smells of mints and pine trees. When it is Christmas time red and green decorate the living room. The house has many decorations. There are red berries and lush green leaves that hang down from over the fireplace. While it snows outside, when it is cold, there is always a roaring fire to warm the house. Then there’s the soft, lulling of the clocks. Delightfully warm, the white carpet rolls comfortably beneath your feet throughout the house. Hanging above the hearth there are wreathes of red, brown, and white.  

Note: If you enjoyed this paper, please let me know, so that I can pass that on to her. I'm sure she would appreciate it! ~Katie

 

Papers

10/06/2009

0 Comments

 
I wrote a paper about my grandfather, who passed away in 2006. It was written for my Composition class, and I uploaded it in 'My Works'. Also, I uploaded a paper my friend Andrea Joy wrote for the class. It's a really good paper, so please check it out at the 'Book Pond'!
 
 
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Christian teen author, Wayne Batson wrote one of my favorite series, "The Door Within". He is the author of five fantasy/adventure books. To check them out (and his funny blogging style), visit his website at:
http://enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com/
Here's the interview!


1. Did you always want to be a writer?

Not always. I wanted to be a tennis pro, lead guitarist in a heavy metal band, and an artist. But then in High School, I began to write poetry and song lyrics. By my senior year, I wrote in my yearbook that I would one day be either a commercial artist or a novelist.

2. Did you grow up in a Christian home?

Not at all, really. My parents were very morally upright and raised me well. But they were supremely private about what faith they had. I heard Jesus' name during grace at dinner and that was about all.

3. What is the genre of your books?

Young adult fantasy adventure.

4. Do you think reading about magic can give people the wrong idea?

For very young children, perhaps. But most kids know how to separate make believe from real. There are some fantasy books (with and without magic) that should be avoided because of the worldview they reflect. Phillip Pullman's series comes to mind. It's just dark, dreary, anti God stuff.


5. Are any characters in your books based on any family members?


Antoinette is a bit of my wife. Tommy Bowman in my new series is like my son Tommy in some ways.


6. What is your writing schedule? (Mornings, at night, etc)

I wish I could have a set schedule. But alas, my days are too random to count on. So I write when I can. Evenings mostly.

7. Do you have any tips for young writers?

Tons. See my blog: www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com and click on the link in my sidebar "Writing tips." You'll find much of what you need there.

 
 
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Cindy Coloma writes for teens and adults. She is a talented Christian author, and a good influence to teens through her writing. 'Ruby Unscripted' deals with many controversial issues that are in our world today. Her website is: www.cindycoloma.com, and her website made specifically for her new book 'Ruby Unscripted', is: www.cindycoloma-ya.com.Here's the interview:

1. What is your goal by writing books for teens?
When I write, I guess I don't have a true "goal." Instead, I explore and unearth stories - at least that's how it feels. My teen years were very tumultuous, so I hope that the stories that I write for teens provide the sense that they aren't alone, they are of great worth and value, and that their dreams can most certainly come true. I'm from a small town and still live 20 miles from my childhood house (my parents are still there). I've had so many dreams come true, and I continually am in pursuit of God's purposes for me. It's truly "if I can do it, you can do it." So I hope my books helps teens experience the wonders of life, God, art, dreams, purpose, and especially the beauty and wonder that is in each individual. And maybe my readers won't struggle as I did or make TOO many mistakes along the way (and to learn from the ones they do make).
2. What is the genre of your books?

I have books that are general fiction, women's fiction, literary fiction, and now my Y/A novels (that are mostly dramatic with at least a thread of a love story - if not a lot). I've also coauthored 2 nonfiction books.  
3. What is your most recent book?

Ruby Unscripted just came out! The main character, Ruby, moves from her small town to a much more elite area of California, and while she's getting closer to her dreams, she's torn between her old life and the new. Her father lives back in her hometown (the family is divorced with parents remarried). It's a lot about how dreams take courage and faith to come true, and how God is with us in the journey. There's also a cute mysterious guy, of course! : ) I have another Y/A novel coming out in October called Beautiful. Ellie and Megan are two sisters who don't get along and are very different (Ellie has everything going for her, Megan is rebellious and artistic). Then one of the sisters experiences a tragedy that shapes both of their lives, forcing them to each face their worth and the question of what is "beautiful." I think it touches subjects all of us females struggle with. 

My most recent in the works -- I'm writing a more classic love story. The two characters are true kindred souls who face huge challenges that often destroys such love or dilutes it into nothing. I'm in the beginning stages of this one.

  4. Did you grow up in a Christian home?

I did, but I went through some rebellious teen years. It was a transition from my childhood faith to questioning that faith and feeling discontent (and confused) to finally rediscovering God (and that was really just the beginning of the adventure of growing closer to God). 

5. What is your writing schedule?

Crazy! : ) I usually read and write a lot every day, but there are a lot of things that try dividing my time. I'm naturally a very unorganized procrastinator as so many creative people are. I work hard to stay focused and work on my schedule (sometimes I have to bribe myself - you can go see that new movie if you reach your word count goal, etc). Sometimes I work very early in the morning, other times late at night (I'm a night owl mostly). I always work during the day too - but sometimes that's on writing coach projects or marketing or articles or something. I'm always working to improve my schedule, but it's not easy for me. I'd have a tough time going to a job that didn't let me where my fuzzy slippers in the morning. It's after midnight as I write this and I play to be up for hours more tonight. : )
  6. On some of your books, you name is spelled 'Cindy Coloma', and on others 'Cindy Maritnusen'. Why is that?

I got married 2 years ago! So I'm in the transition of changing my books to my new name -- not an easy task! Some of my first books are written under Cindy McCormick Martinusen (tricky indeed!).   

Thanks!


Your welcome! I'm glad that you could come and do the interview!



 
 
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Bryan Davis writes Christian books for teens! Check out his books at: www.dragonsinourmidst.com


1. Did you always want to be a writer?


 
No. Growing up I enjoyed sports, math, and science. As an adult, I started writing as a way to teach my kids how to write. That process ignited a passion to become an author.
 


2. What is the genre of your books?

 
Most of my books are Christian fantasy for youth. One series, Echoes from the Edge, is more mystery/suspense, but it still has some fantasy elements.
 
3. Do you think reading about magic can give people the wrong idea?

 
Reading about magic when it is described in a positive light can give people the wrong idea. The only magic in my books is performed by the “bad guys,” so that’s not a problem. I also think “magical” abilities can be allowed if the story is set in another world where the rules are different, especially if the abilities are given by God rather than an evil force.  
4. Are any characters in your books based on your family?  
There are no characters that match anyone in my family. I have borrowed a trait here and there, but there aren’t any exact matches.
 
5. What is your writing schedule? (In the mornings, nighttimes...)
 
When I’m in a writing season, I write all day and sometimes into the night. I also have promotion seasons when I go on book tours. On those days I don’t write at all.

  6. What is your goal in writing books for teens?

 

My goal is to inspire readers to be heroes for God, to believe in the power God provides for holy, courageous living.

Thanks for agreeing to do the interview! God bless!



 
 
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This is my first interview with an author! Her name is Kat Heckenbach, and she's a Christian who writes books for young adults! Please check out her website at:
 http://www.findingangel.com/ 
The first chapter of her book 'Finding Angel' is really good, so check it out! Also a must see is her blog:
http://kat-findingangel.blogspot.com/
Ok, here's the interview!


1. Did you always want to be a writer?

 Well, yes and no. I actually grew up wanting to be an artist. I drew all the time and was very good. But, when I got to college (after deciding I'd like to teach art), I lost some of my interest in it. I had some phenomenal science teachers at the community college and ended up changing my major from Art Education to Biology. I never really went into science as far as work. I ended up teaching and tutoring (mostly math) until I had my son. Then I became a stay at home mom and eventually started homeschooling. Then, a couple of years ago I was overcome with the desire to write. I love reading Young Adult fiction--became completely addicted to the Harry Potter books and movies and Cornelia Funke's InkHeart series--and decided one day I just had to give it a try. Memories came streaming back that showed me it was a desire I'd always had. I read all the time from the time I was very young, but never thought I could do what those authors do, so I pushed the idea out of my head for so long. But, I suddenly remembered sitting on my bed when I was in highschool trying desperately to start a novel. I also remembered writing fourteen-page notes to my friends all the time, which should have been a clue that I like writing :). And I always got A's on my papers and essays. I just think I was so focused on my art and never had the self-confidence in writing. I didn't think I was interesting enough to come up with any grande and creative ideas. And, I was too young back then. I didn't have enough life experience. Now, I've been through a lot and all of that comes out in my writing.

 2. Did you grow up in a Christian home? 

I did, but my parents divorced when I was fifteen and I turned my back on the church we attended. I never lost my belief in Jesus as God's Son, but I pushed my relationship with Him to the side for years. It took me having kids of my own to realize how important that relationship was to me, and I rededicated my life to Christ a few years ago. 

3. What is the genre of your books?

 Young Adult fantasy. It's my favorite genre to read, so it comes naturally to write. 

4. Do you think reading about magic can give people the wrong idea?

 That is a touchy subject, isn't it? I was really shocked at how many parents prohibited their kids from reading Harry Potter because of magic. I had never given it a second thought. I'd grown up reading books with magic in them, and watching TV shows like "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched" (you've probably never heard of those, have you?). I pretended to be able to do magic all the time as a kid, and fantasized endlessly about other worlds where magic is normal. But I never thought of it as being evil. I never thought of it as something un-Christian. To me, it was an ability. THAT it where the difference lies. There is a HUGE difference between having an ability to make an object fly across a room and summoning evil spirits with Ouija boards and such. I make that VERY clear in my books. The problem is when that line gets confused, and someone steps into the occult thinking it is the same as fairytale magic. They are not the same at all. 

5. Are any characters in your books based on your family?

 That is an even touchier subject :). Just kidding. Actually, most of my characters are based on people I've known, but it's only bits and pieces of them, often mixed in together with other people and other characteristics that are completely made up. Angel's little brother, Zack, for instance, has a lot of the traits of my son. But, he's also very different. I have a character that has a lot of my dad in him, but also bits of other people. I think all writers draw on people they know for inspiration, but you can't just make a character wholly derived from someone you know. I let my characters develop on their own a bit, too. I've started with basing a particular character on someone I know, but as I write they seem to transform in my mind into someone quite different. 

6. What is your writing schedule? (In the mornings, nighttime....)

 I don't really have a schedule. I write when the inspiration hits. Often that is first thing in the morning. And sometimes I'm up way past midnight. I do my best plotting in the afternoon. I've spent many afternoons pacing around my garage and yard while my kids bike ride in front of our house. The neighbors probably think I'm nuts, walking in circles and looking like I'm talking to myself, with a notebook in my hand, scribbly madly. I also tend to write in spurts--I may go days or even a few weeks without working on something specific, but then sit down for an entire day or more and do nothing but write. 

7. How do you pronounce your name? : ) 

 Kat, just like "cat." Kidding. Heckenbach. Heck- like "oh, heck."  -en- with a short e.  -bach like the composer. It's German. And almost everyone pronounces it wrong :). I've considered using a pen name because of that, but I like my last name. 

Thanks for answering my questions! I can't wait to read your book! 

Hey, this was really fun! Thanks, Katie!


 

C.T.T. 2

04/22/2009

9 Comments

 

My friend, Josiah DeGraaf wrote this really amazing testimony. He's an author, and has a website on Weebly. Please check it out at: aratrea.weebly.com


A man walking up the hill strains underneath the weight of his burden and falls down, unable to carry it.  Another man carries it up for him.  The man is then pierced with nails through the palms of his hands and his feet.  Nailed to a cross, he looks down at the crowd below him and...prays mercy for them.  This is my Lord Jesus Christ on Golgatha on that day.  Stricken, smitten, and afflicted.  Now dying on the cross.  A painful, shameful death on the cross.  Why?  So that those who hate him might be reconciled to him and not live in torment forever more.  This is my God, of whom I serve.  This is my Savior, who died for me.

 

C.T.T.

04/03/2009

1 Comment

 

My friend Deanna Y. wrote this great C.T.T. (Christian Teen Testimony). This is a really great lesson for us all.


I enjoy writing. It’s what I do. Reading is also a great hobby of mine. I also have a hobby that is not so common, memorizing. It doesn’t matter what it is, numbers, quotes, poems. I love memorizing. I once found a twenty minute long poem by Lewis Carroll, called Phantasmagoria and decided to memorize it. I spent hours memorizing this pagan poem. Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice poem, but I spent all this time on it for no particular reason other than the fact that then I could say that I have a twenty minute long poem memorized. I was praying one day and all of a sudden it hit me, why was I spending all that time on a stupid poem when I could be putting God’s Word in my heart. Why would a silly little poem be more important? The Bible says to hide God’s Word in you heart, and from that day I knew I should be doing that. From then on when ever I found a verse that really spoke to me I memorized it. It never takes me long, five minutes if the verse is short, a week or so if it’s a whole chapter. Then I can be riding the bus or walking down the hall, and suddenly one of my verses pops into my head, and guides me in my day. You want to know the one that pops up the most? “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure; children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars of the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15. Think about it. How many times a day do you complain? How often do you get involved in arguments that don’t really matter? God tells us right there not to do it, yet somehow I find a way to violate that verse almost everyday, but memorizing it makes it stick. Why do you think that you had to memorize the Ten Commandments when you were little? So you KNEW them. You weren’t just told them or referred to them. They are tangible in your mind when you know them inside and out. Spread your mind over the Word and find verses that really mean something to you. Get to know the Bible. I was just telling Katie earlier today about a test I’m going to have on Julius Caesar, the play by William Shakespeare. The test consists of 100 quotes from the play. I have to write the Act they are in and which Scene they are in, who said them, and how they are significant to the rest of the play. Do I know that many quotes from the Bible as well? Enough to say their exact location, who said them, and why they are important? Maybe. Do you? I challenge you to know God’s Word inside and out. Hide the Bible in your heart and never let it leave you. Use your talents, whether it be memorizing or singing or talking or doing things with your hands or listening, to learn more about Him and spread his love in the World. I challenge you, and I hope you challenge yourself as well.