Monday, September 17, 2007


It is exciting to have another young adult author visit my site and share a little bit of herself with us. We have a lot in common and I am pleased to introduce this week's interviewee: young adult author, Grace E. Howell.

True Friends is Grace's latest YA novel and is available from Echelon Press at or via e-book from Fictionwise at .

Also, coming soon from Echelon Press is Grace's fiction e-book, Severed Bond, a short story for grown-ups.

Check out her website at to find out all the latest on this wonderful YA author.

I am thrilled to welcome Grace to my website.

Check out our interview below:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, the genre you write, and about your latest project.

I have loved reading and writing since my earliest school days and would curl up in the corner of the couch lost in a book until my mother said, "Get your nose out of that book and . . ." Naturally when I thought about writing for publication I knew I wanted to write for children and young adults because I want to share with young readers the same joy that I had reading a good book. As a classroom teacher and a school librarian nothing gave me greater pleasure than finding the right book for the right reader. My first published novel, is True Friends released in 2005 by Echelon Press. It is the story of 1918 Annie who must give up her tomboy days with the boys and become a proper girl. As she worries about her brother overseas in the army, Annie must deal with accusations and prejudice at home until the Spanish flu unites the neighborhood with tragedy and loss.

2. Did you choose your present genre; or did the genre choose you?

In a way True Friends which is historical fiction chose me. I had heard many stories of World War I and the flu epidemic from people who had lived through it, or their parents had. This became a story I had to write. I don't think I prefer one particular genre because I like to read and write in various genres. I still have a number of historical stories in my head, but now I am working on a contemporary, realistic fiction series about three seventh grade misfits who reluctantly develop a friendship.

3. What would be a typical day for you, as a day in the life of a writer?

I like to get to my computer early, after breakfast and exercises. I may get there on time, but then they start, the interruptions by phone, family, doorbell, etc. until all creative thoughts are battered and bruised trying to compete for my attention. What I would like to say is a typical day would begin with answering emails, then writing undisturbed for a couple of hours when I would break for a walk outside in my garden with a cup of coffee or tea. Back to the computer, writing until hunger pangs announced lunch time. After lunch would be another undisturbed time of writing. Is that a dream or what? That's my schedule, but it seldom happens that way.

4. Have you always wanted to write?

Yes, since the day I learned to read.

5. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?

Ideas spring up from everywhere constantly, so many I can't begin to pursue them all. I get ideas from whatever I see, hear, read, experience in some way, a person, an animal, a newspaper article, an overheard conversation, on and on.

6. Are any of your characters based on real people?

Most of my characters are strictly invented using bits and pieces of people I've seen or met combined with my imagination. But the Bolman family in True Friends is patterned after my grandparents and their children. My mother would have been Rose.

7. If you could be any one of your characters, which one would you be and why?

I know and love all my characters, but I'm not sure I would want to be any one of them any more than I would want to be somebody else I know. I would like to meet and interact with the characters I write about. But invented characters as well as real people have problems and quirks that may be harder to handle than what I'm blessed with. So I guess I'll have to be my characters, and they are part of me, only as writer and reader.

8. Do you do research for your novels? What was the most interesting person, place or thing you have researched?

I do a lot of research, especially for historical fiction, but a contemporary story also involves a great deal of research. Before writing True Friends, I pictured people listening to the radio for news of the war. A little research taught me that radios did not exist for the public during World War I. The story I'm working on now is a contemporary story, Unlikely Alliance—DOGS!, and I studied Siberian Huskies, phobias, dogfights, cerebral palsy, and many other topics for it. In Severed Bond, a short story with a touch of the supernatural soon to be released by Echelon Press as an e-book, I had to research mounted police and nursing homes. I may do more research than necessary, but I have a horror of a reader finding a mistake in one of my books and losing respect for me as a writer.

9. Have you ever had writer’s block? And what do you do to overcome it?

Not really. If I start wondering how I should write a scene I can either take a walk or a shower and the ideas and words begin to flow.

10. Do you have any advice for the young writer just starting out?

Write what you know and have fun with your writing.

11. And just for fun, if you could be a Transformer, which would you be? An Autobot (the good bots) or a Decepticon (the evil bots)?

As I want nothing to do with machines smarter than I am, I would avoid Transformers with all my power. But since you asked, I'm always on the good side in the battle against evil so I'd have to be an Autobot.

Thx so much, Grace!

Stay tuned! And check back regularly for a new interview!