Hello again! As you may remember, I reviewed a lovely little book last week titled Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China. Today I am back with an interview from the Author, Sherry Ellis!
From your biography on your website, it says that you are a musician. Does music play an important role in your writing process?
It does. But it’s not about listening to music as I write. I prefer silence, so I can hear the voices of the characters in my head. (Crazy, right?) It’s about the rhythm and flow of the words. Sentences need to have a certain cadence. My musical background helps me choose the right words to find that flow.
Speaking of writing, what does your writing process look like?
You’ll laugh. I do the old-fashioned pencil and paper routine. I come up with an idea, characters, setting, problem, etc. and begin outlining. I am not a “pantser.” I need to have a clear idea of what’s going to happen. Then I do research, which I’ll talk about more later. I literally write each chapter in a notebook, erasing and revising as I go. After I finish each chapter, I type it into the computer as a Word document. Inevitably, I revise more as I do it. When the entire thing is done, I read it and make additional changes. Of course, after the critique group looks at it, it needs more revision. I keep revising until everyone who reads it thinks it’s good. This takes a very, very long time!
What inspired you to set this book in China?
When I was a kid, I tried to dig a hole to China. Maybe because my parents said I couldn’t and I wanted to prove them wrong. Since I lived in Florida at the time, I got nothing but a hole full of water. But, what if you could dig a hole to China? What might happen? I bet a lot of kids wonder the same thing. So, I made a story that starts with a hole to China.
How much research was put into the writing of Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China? A lot! One of my goals in writing the story, was to teach kids a little about the history, culture, and language of China. I read many books and took several pages of notes. China is a fascinating country. I enjoyed learning about it! I’m currently working on creating discussion questions and activities that teachers can use in their classrooms that go along with the book. Another fun thing I did, was research Chinese ghost stories and superstitions. Kids like those kinds of things.
The end of Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China made it seem as if there was a possibility for a second book. Are you planning on continuing the series?
I would like to. It really depends on how the first book does. I’m working on the second: Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Treasure. Hopefully kids, parents, and teachers will like Bubba and Squirt and want to read more of their adventures.
What’s your favorite thing about writing for kids?
I’d have to say my favorite thing is going out to meet the kids through library, school, and bookstore visits. I enjoy creating the characters and stories in my books, but the best thing is seeing that kids enjoy what I have written and are inspired to write their own stories and read more books.
Thank you for your time!
Thanks for having me as a guest!