Behind the Book - Back-to-School Bookshelf Tour


Behind The Book

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Jennie K. Brown

Jennie_Brown_PicWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?

The idea actually came to me when I was stopped at a red light in my hometown. I glanced up at the Starbucks on the corner across the street to see a young girl tossing a ball into the air. From the angle I watched, it looked as if the girl was controlling the ball with her mind. At pretty much the same time I asked myself, What day of the week is it? (I have a tendency to lose track of the days over the summer!) And then I put those thoughts together – What if a person had certain powers depending on the day of the week? Or what if a person had a special power specific to the day of the week in which they were born? And that’s where I got the concept for Poppy’s town of Nova. Inspiration can strike anywhere!

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters?

Well … Poppy’s dog Pickle is based off of my own yorkie – Gia. Also, I have a brother named Willie, and Poppy’s brother Willie and my brother definitely have some similarities! As for certain scenes – some of the conversations between Poppy and Ellie and Poppy and Veronica are similar to conversations I’ve overheard my students have.


Wade White

Wade_White_PicWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?

The inspiration for my book came from a combination of things: I love adventures, I love humor (especially British comedy), and I thought it would be really cool to write a story that mashes together fantasy and science fiction. Plus, I had this idea for a wizard with a platypus for an arm, and how could I not write about that?

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters?AdventurersGuideWadeWhiteCover

Several elements in my book were inspired by real life. First, the world in my book is made up of millions of islands that float in the air, and in part that idea originated based on where I grew up. Nova Scotia is a peninsula, and Iused to day dream of it breaking off from the rest of Canada and sailing away like a pirate ship (I’m still disappointed that’s never happened). Second, the characters in the story are required to follow a lot of arbitrary rules as they embark on their quest. This came from my observation that pretty much every type of government, no matter what other label is used, is essentially a Bureaucracy at heart. Finally, there’s an orange and white cat in the book, and I based her description on my own cat.


Casey Lyall

Casey LyallPic

What was your inspiration behind your book in general?

My life-long love of the detective genre was the main inspiration for Howard Wallace, P.I. Everything from The Maltese Falcon and the Toby Peters series by Stuart M. Kaminsky to Veronica Mars and Pushing Daisies. As long as it’s got a hot case and snappy banter, I’m there.


Howard Wallace, P.I. Casey Lyall Cover
What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters?

Blue, Howard’s bike, is actually inspired by two of my own bikes. She looks a lot like my current bike, but acts like my old bike who tried to destroy me on a regular basis. There were frequent, heated debates over who was in charge of steering.


Sarah Schauerte

Reida_PicWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?

I've always loved Jumanji, and Halloween, and that morphed into my idea - kids who use a board game to navigate their escape from the monster home of Down Below. Also, anything "horror" (even if it's MG and funny) DOES follow monster movie rules (i.e., don't look behind you!), which was the seed to having Lissa as the main character be all about film-making (so she could be an expert on these monster movie rules). Monsterville_Reida_Cover

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters? 

I grew up in southern Illinois, and I used four towns (Freeburg, Millstadt, Waterloo and Red Bud) as the inspiration for what became Freeburg, Pennsylvania. Also, my husband's Eagle Scout ways came in handy when I was writing the character of Adam (described as "literally a giant Boy Scout" - my husband is 6'5").


Bridget Hodder

BridgetHodderPicWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?

Well the obvious inspiration for THE RAT PRINCE was "Cinderella", but there are elements of Frances Hodgson Burnett's A LITTLE PRINCESS and THE SECRET OF NIMH in there, as well. Now that my book has been released, readers are finding influences in the text that I hadn't even realized were there...but I can see them when they're pointed out. Like THE RESCUERS, for example. Though at other times, readers see "influences" of books I never read, so that's interesting, too! It's a really fun and unexpected part of being published.

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters?Rat Prince Bridget Hodder Cover

If you noticed that the relationship between Prince Char and his Royal Councillor, Swiss, was a little like Sherlock and Watson as played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on the BBC're not imagining things! Don't worry, though: Sherlock may be ratlike with his ruthless intelligence, but Prince Char is NOT a sociopath.

I guess Sherlock and Watson aren't real-life people, though. This may tell you something about my experience of "real life".


Erin Petti

Erin_Petti photoWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?

It's a bit hard to pinpoint a single source of inspiration for The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee because there are so many elements that influenced the book! There's my love of ghost stories, the old and haunted places in New England that I love to visit and read about, and a desire to write the kinds of characters I would have wanted on my team as a middle schooler.  But the location of the story, Riverfish MA, was most definitely a driving factor - I modeled it after the quirky river town I was then living in and really let the place of the story become a character itself. When I was drafting the book I lived in a house that directly abutted the Assabett River, and it was an source of tremendous inspiration!

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters?Thelma_Erin_Petti_Cover

Aside from the town of Riverfish, there are a couple of real-life elements that I integrated into the story. My grandmother's name was Thelma - so she inspired the intrepid girl scientist at the center of my story. Also, at one point Thelma and her friend Alexander try to build a full scale Viking Longship...that, interestingly is taken directly from my childhood. My hometown's mascot is the Viking, and when I was in high school there was an amazing teacher who took a group of kids under his wing and actually tried to build a full scale Viking Longship. It was such a cool endeavor. For years the 20 foot model graced the lobby of Winthrop High School.


Mike Grosso

Mike Grosso PicWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?
My inspiration started with the idea that being an artist of any kind can be lonely. You're often surrounded by people who don't get what it's all about, and trying to verbalize it can be a frustrating experience. The story was inspired by the idea of an artistic kid trying to make it happen I-AM-DRUMS-R4without the necessary support structure to keep them afloat.

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters? 
Pete, the drum teacher, is loosely based on my real drum teacher growing up. My real teacher was a tad more delicate, but he had a similar "Do you want to be good at this or not?" approach that is so important for kids with unique interests.


Kathleen Burkinshaw

Burkinshaw, Kathleen picWhat was your inspiration behind your book in general?

My mother and my daughter were my inspiration to write THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM. My daughter’s request that I speak to her 7th grade history class about the people, like her grandmother who were under the “famous mushroom cloud” motivated my mother to share more details of that horrific day. I wanted to tell my mother’s story because I have always admired her courage and compassion. She lost so much that day, yet she never lost her ability to love.Last Cherry Blossom_Burkinshaw

What real-life events/people/items inspired certain scenes or characters?

The events of the last year of WWII in Hiroshima and the atomic bombing of August 6th. But I also took some family events in my mother’s life prior to the bombing to form her character and the characters of her Papa and best friend Machiko. In addition, I also used the memories my mother had of her favorite occasion, the cherry blossom festival.


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