Feb 19 - Mar 5, 2014
Hosted by readnowsleeplater.com
Join us for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaways!
Thank you Alethea and Maria for organizing the blog tour and sponsoring the giveaway!
Time to Geek Out!
By Maria V. Snyder
An aspect of writing that I've discovered to be lots of fun is research. I'd never would have thought that when I was in high school and college, searching through microfilms and smelly ancient books for a research paper on a topic I had no interest in. Back then I hated the R word :). But now I can research things that I'm interested in and the knowledge can be incorporated into my novels. Bonus!
My research is done in one of three ways: the Internet, books/magazines, and hands-on. If possible, I'll do as much hands-on as I can. There is no better way to learn and translate that experience for the reader. Some examples of my hand-on research are learning how to ride a horse, how to fence, and how to blow glass. The books I use are usually juvenile non-fiction because I usually only need a basic understanding of the subject (for example bats) and they have big color pictures, which help when I'm describing things (like bats) in the story. Doing research has also sparked ideas for stories or helped with a plot problems. Fist pump!
However, fiction writers just can't dump in all this cool information we've learned. No that would be boring. I've learned that the needs of the story come first. I learned how to blow glass and work with molten glass after deciding Opal Cowan, my main protagonist in the Glass series would be a glass magician. She works with the equipment and the glass during the story so I needed to know how to do this the correct way. Her actions teach the readers about glass blowing. And I want to get it right. A reader once emailed me after she visited Murano, Italy (known for their glass artists). She went on a tour, but already knew everything from reading my books. Score!
With Storm Watcher I had a great deal of prior knowledge. I'd earned my BS degree in Meteorology from Penn State University and I worked at a dog kennel for four months. Again, I didn't want to dump in all this technical knowledge about storms and weather instruments and put my readers to sleep. Instead, the main protagonist, Luke is a weather geek and he mentions a few facts to his friend during a bad thunderstorm. He also builds weather instruments for a science fair project, which helps him re-connect with his father. Awww...
One of the fun things for me was putting together the appendix for Storm Watcher. It's called, Luke's Weather Notebook and I was able to geek out and put in a ton of cool weather information, facts, quizzes, and doodles (I drew about half of those graphics). The appendix also includes an article my sixteen-year-old daughter wrote on why hurricane's have names. Sweet!
Writers do a ton of research for their stories, and we have to be careful not to spend all our time researching and not writing. I'll research the big stuff like glass blowing first, but then I'll start writing and will make a list of research topics as I work through the story. I'm not going to stop to find out what an indigo plant looks like while I'm in the middle of writing. That's something that can be added in during revisions. Yes!
So I'm finally enjoying research and I use it as an excuse to do new things all the time. Ziplining? Research for a clan of people living in the tree canopy. Participating in a mud run? Research for a character being chased through a swamp. Photography class? Needed for a story about a fashion photographer. See how easy it is? I'd bet you can come up with a number of “research” topics, too. Boo Ya!
Storm Watcher is Maria V. Snyder's first middle grade novel. It was released on October 19, 2013 with Leap Books.
Description from GoodReads: Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke's mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother's death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke's spirits. He would rather have a different breed - a petite Papillon, but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.
When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean's daughter, Megan and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?
To check out all of the interviews, guest posts, and reviews, see the schedule below...
Wed 2/19 - The Book Monsters - review & giveaway
Thu 2/20 - I Am a Reader - interview & international giveaway
Fri 2/21 - Unleashing Readers - guest post & giveaway
Mon 2/24 - Bookalicious - review & international giveaway
Tue 2/25 - Kid Lit Frenzy - guest post & giveaway
Wed 2/26 - Sharpreads - review & giveaway
Thu 2/27 - The Mod Podge Bookshelf - guest post & giveaway
Fri 2/28 - The Windy Pages - review, interview & giveaway
Mon 3/3 - Teenage Reader - review & giveaway
Tue 3/4 - Read Now Sleep Later - review & international giveaway
Wed 3/5 - The Brain Lair - review & giveaway
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of Storm Watcher and see how Maria put all of her research to use in creating this great story.