Howdy, Kelly! Welcome back to We Do Write! Tell us about CURSE OF THE GRANVILLE FORTUNE.
Find the fortune, break the curse!
The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entire family will suffer.
To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.
So fun! In CURSE OF THE GRANVILLE FORTUNE, your main character is a middle-school aged boy. Did you have any trouble identifying with him?
Oddly enough, no. Even though J.B. is a boy, I really identified with him. Like a lot of kids his age, he worries that he’s different, a freak even. I think we all have felt that way at some time or another. J.B. struggles to find himself and protect the people he cares about, and the fact that he has mind-numbing visions makes everything that much more difficult. While I’ve never had visions, I do believe in ESP and think kids are more in tune with it than adults.
What challenges did you face writing this story?
This was the first book I didn’t write linearly. I wrote the final chapter first, and then went back to the climax, and then to the beginning. I was all over the place because there were key scenes I needed to get down in order to tie all the pieces of the puzzle together. Once I had them drafted, the rest of the story came much more easily, but it was definitely a challenge to break free from my usual pattern of starting from chapter one and writing to the end.
I also write linearly and would probably feel the same way, if I had to break that mold. Who would you say your biggest influences have been?
I feel like I talk about Rick Riordan a lot, but he was a huge inspiration for this book. The Percy Jackson series was by my side while I wrote Curse of the Granville Fortune. I was constantly rereading my favorite parts of those books to make sure I had the voice and pacing right for middle grade readers. I owe Riordan a big thanks for mentoring me through his novels, so to speak.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you? Any unusual hobbies, interests, talents?
I’m such an open book I’m not sure what I haven’t shared online. I can recite the alphabet backwards, I can run a 5K race in 18 minutes, my fingernails grow insanely fast, and I was 34 before I ever dyed my hair. How’s that?
I know you have quite a few published books under your belt, but think back to the beginning and tell us a bit about your journey to publication. What was your experience?
Curse of the Granville Fortune was actually the book I queried agents with. It wasn’t the first book picked up by a publisher though because I ended up going out on submission with my YA novels first. But CotGF did land me my first agent after years of rewriting the book. It went from an adventure story to a fantasy and saw a tense and POV change. Basically, I rewrote EVERYTHING. But it was worth it in the end.
Plotter, or pantser?
Plotter, but the extent to which I plot depends on the book. I have to know the beginning and the end at the very least. Sometimes I’m good with just that. Other times I need pages and pages of notes before I start drafting.
E-books, or hard copies?
Both. I’m always reading two books, one on my Kindle and one paperback or hard cover. I love both formats.
White chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or no chocolate?
Dark chocolate! LOVE it.
I'm with you on that one! Is there anyone you would like to thank for supporting you in you journey?
Oh wow, so many people. My family, critique partners, friends, agent, publishing team, my street team, the bloggers who are helping to spread the word about my books, and of course my readers.