When I was asked to participate in the Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish: Making Fishy Friends Blog Tour, I was thrilled. I adore both Sea Monster's First Day and Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish. And Kate Messner is an amazing author who writes picture books and early chapter books and middle grade novels and is one of my favorite authors. Today, I am excited to welcome author, Kate Messner to Kid Lit Frenzy. Thanks Kate for stopping by and chatting.
The Sea Monster books are wonderful and funny and have great lessons. What inspired you to write about a Sea Monster of all things and did you have someone in mind when you created the character?
Aw, thanks! The inspiration for Ernest the Sea Monster actually came from the legendary lake monster where I live: Champ of Lake Champlain. I’m not making this up…really. We have a Loch-Ness-Monster-esque lake monster that people have reported seeing since the 1600s. I always thought the people who reported those sightings were a bit over-imaginative until my family saw a big, unidentified something swimming through the waters near our house about eight years ago. What was it? I’m still not sure, but whatever it was, it got my writer’s brain churning, and the first sea monster book was the result!
Now that you are a full-time writer, what is the hardest thing or the thing you miss the most about the start of the school year?
The smell of new pencils. Confession: I have a bit of an office supply addiction, so I still pick up a few school supplies for myself when I do my kids’ fall shopping. I love teaching, and I’d miss it like crazy if teaching weren’t still very much a part of my job. These days, instead of showing up in the same classroom each morning, though, I’m visiting schools around the country to give presentations and writing workshops for kids, and I love it.
If you can spend the day with your favorite book character (not a character that you wrote) who would it be and what would you do?
Albus Dumbledore. I’d ask him to teach me everything he knows and share his lemon drops.
What is one book that you read over and over again as a child? What book did you never return to the library because you loved it so much and couldn’t let it go?
Oh, gosh…there wasn’t just one! I was a voracious reader as a kid and remain one today. My favorites growing up were Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books and Judy Blume’s TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING.
What was the book that turned you into a reader?
Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. My parents joke that they had to stop having dinner parties because I’d follow their guests around lugging a huge pile of books and looking pathetic until someone put down his or her drink and read to me.
What new projects are you working on?
I’m super-excited about my next picture book with Chronicle, which comes out in the spring. It’s called TREE OF LIFE, and it’s about Costa Rica’s almendro tree – a rainforest giant that provides food and shelter of various sorts to more than a thousand different kinds of organisms. In addition to exploring biodiversity, this book plays with numbers, too, as the animals multiply from page to page. I’m also putting the finishing touches on the third title in my Marty McGuire chapter book series with Scholastic (MARTY MCGUIRE HAS TOO MANY PETS!) and working on a new middle grade novel called ALL THE ANSWERS – my first book that involves magic! That one comes out in 2015.
What is the name of your favorite Indie bookstore and where is it located?
Oh dear…I’m not sure I can choose just one because there are SO many amazing indies out there. But a few of my beloved local favorites are Flying Pig Books, Phoenix Books, and Bear Pond Books in Vermont and the fabulous Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid, which handles signed book sales for my Skype classroom visits. All of these stores have incredible, book-loving people behind the counters and are truly special places for readers.
What are you reading?
My TBR pile (and currently reading pile) is always an eclectic mix of kids’ books and research, mixed in with the occasional grown-up book. Here’s what’s on the table by the couch right now…
Anything that you wished I had asked you about? Or anything else that you care to share with the readers of Kid Lit Frenzy?
Just a big thank you! The readers of SEA MONSTER’S FIRST DAY are the reason that our lovable Ernest is back. I so appreciate everyone who loved this book and shared it, and I hope you’ll enjoy SEA MONSTER AND THE BOSSY FISH just as much!
Teachers, Librarians, and Parents - Chronicle has provided a "Friend Fish" Pledge.
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To check out all of the post for the Sea Monster Blog tour, check out Chronicle Book's Interview with Kate Messner, here.
Thanks to Chronicle Books for providing a copy of Sea Monster and the Bossy Day by Kate Messner to one lucky reader. Please enter the rafflecopter form below. Participants need to be 13 years or older and have a US or Canadian mailing address.
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