Wednesday, May 07, 2008
BLAM! Tour Featuring Meghan Rose Series by Lori Z. Scott
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Since 2000, Lori Z. Scott has published over fifty short stories, devotions, puzzles, poems, and articles for children, teens, and adults in publications such as Focus on Your Child, MOMSense Magazine, Spirit Led Writer, Pockets, and Devozine. She is the author of Busy Moms’ Devotions to Go and four Meghan Rose titles. In addition, Lori has contributed to over a dozen books including Real Moms, Cup of Comfort Book of Prayers, and 2007 Eppie Award winner InfiniteSpace, Infinite God.
A graduate of Wheaton College, Lori has worked with children for over twenty years, both as a teacher in the classroom and as a volunteer for local churches, museums, and schools. When she’s not busy driving her two children to various church, sporting, and artistic activities, she moonlights as a speaker for women’s groups and schools.
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I suspect that most people secretly harbor a dream of writing a book. The idea seems irresistibly romantic. Growing up, I wanted to write either a picture book or a cartoon strip, but as I pursued a teaching career, I let my unspoken yearnings pass by like seeds in the wind.
It was after teaching elementary school for nine years and then retiring to raise my children that writing reentered my life. One day when the kids and I were at the library and I saw a flyer for an amateur science fiction/ fantasy writing contest. For some reason—perhaps rekindled desire—I decided to enter…and in the process of writing my tale, something sparked to life in my heart. My pulse raced, my mind wandered, and a whole new world opened up to me! I was hooked.
I won second place in that contest. Encouraged by my success, I entered a MOPS International story writing contest…and WON! After that, I joined a writer’s group, started learning more about the publishing industry, and eventually landed a contract for my children’s fiction series.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
Because I love kids, I love visiting schools and talking to kids about my books. I show children a few drawing tricks and teach them how to develop writing ideas, but most of all we just have fun. Sharing my stories and encouraging children to share theirs is one of the things I love most about being an author.
Believe it or not, I also love revising. I have a lot of fun playing with words. I can spend hours on a single poem!
I dislike not having a set schedule to write. I work full time, so finding time to write often proves difficult. And yet I can’t stop. Ergo, sleep has become a luxury.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I’m a mommy first, a teacher second, and a writer third. Sometimes those priorities shift when I face a deadline, but I try to keep the main thing—my faith and family—the main thing.
That means I do most of my writing from ten until midnight each night and take advantage of my children’s play dates to write some more! Some days I focus on just one aspect of the whole writing package—like reading Writer’s Digest to keep on top of the industry or marketing my books in some way.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
Wow. That varies for me. For the Meghan Rose books, I often start with a title. The title gives me an idea for an overall theme, and from there I write out a loose outline with two or three sentences explaining each chapter I anticipate writing. Once that’s done, I start with chapter one and work my way to the end.
However, I often find that as I write the characters take over and the original plot changes. I’m not above taking a story in a whole new and unanticipated direction.
For poetry or puzzles or jokes, I’ll often brainstorm a list of related words. Then I play with my list and see what kind of connections I can make.
I do a more detailed outlining when I write articles. That’s because in general I’m not much of a non-fiction writer, so I need that structure to keep me focused.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
Although I call myself a children’s author, I’ve actually done quite a bit of devotional writing. I’ve contributed to over a dozen books, many of those devotional in nature. My first published book was a devotional book called Busy Moms’ Devotions to Go. And I’m a regular contributor to DevoZine, a devotional magazine for teenagers. If you google my name, several of these entries come up.
I have also written some science fiction. I contributed a story to 2007 Eppie Award winning sci-fi book Infinite Space, Infinite God.
But overall, my teaching experience and my love of comic book heroes makes me best suited to write children’s stories.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
Most people think authors make a large amount of money. Maybe some do, but I’m certainly not one of them! I write because I love writing…but I keep my day job.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
This is a tough question to answer because I think whether or not I have a real person in mind when I create a character, there’s still a little bit of me in all of them. In the Meghan Rose Series for example, a lot of my personality is reflected in the teacher, Mrs. Arnold. Then Ryan shows the jokester side of me, Kayla has the goofy side, Lynette has the rule-following, show-off side, and Meghan’s Mom has the practical side. The Meghan character herself is about 80 percent of the “real” Meghan, 10 percent of me and my creative musings, and 10 percent total fiction.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Hmmm. Well, the first character I remember creating was Super Cat. I sketched a whole Super Cat cartoon series up and down the margins of my high school science notebook (and still got an A in class). Super Cat was never fully developed, but he still managed to show up in my first publication for MOPS International, my first children’s short story publication, and in the Meghan Rose series. I hope someday my illustrator and I can bring him to life.
In the Meghan Rose series, I have several favorites. Meghan, of course, is number one just because she’s based on my daughter. But Kayla and Ryan crack me up and give the books a fun slant, so I love them too. Even so, Meghan takes the cake.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
If I could, I’d have my own children do the acting. They are both involved in the local children’s theater! In fact, it would be fun to have the whole theater group on stage just because I know them all.
But if I had to go Hollywood…hmmm…is there a younger version of Miley Cyrus available?
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I wanted my stories to do more than entertain. Although I want readers to laugh a lot, I want them to learn something too. That’s why each book has a message that is very subtle but still evident. While Meghan Rose on Stage! talks about discovering your talents, it’s ultimately about friendship. Meghan Rose Has Ants in Her Pants explores the idea of patience—a difficult area for most kids to deal with. The newest two books—Meghan Rose All Dressed Up and Meghan Rose Has a Secret—address inner beauty and kind words. But none of the stories are preachy. They are heavy on the humor and very, VERY light on the lesson…yet neither quality is lost on the child.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Join a critique group or an online writer’s group. Then read an article I wrote with tips for new writers.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a LOT of favorite authors! In children’s general market picture-type books, I like Helen Lester, Mark Teague, Helen Oxenbury, Graeme Base, Shel Silverstein, Doreen Cronin, Chris VanAllsburg, David Wiesner, Dav Pilky, Kevin Henkes, and Jan Brett. For general market chapter books I like Lemony Snicket, Mary Osborne Pope, Ron Roy, Eoin Colfer, and Cornelia Funke.
In children’s Christian market picture-type books, I like VeggieTales, Max Lucado, Angela Elwell Hunt, and Michelle Medlock Adams. In the Christian chapter book market I like J.R.R. Tolkien, Bryan Davis, Bill Myers, R.K. Mortensen, and C.S. Lewis. My favorite adult Christian writers include Ted Dekker, Randy Ingermanson, and Dorothy Sayers.
I also have my favorite author friends who have been a great encouragement to me…Carolyn Scheidies, Jewel Sample, and Trish Berg.
What are you reading right now?
I enjoy reading YA novels. I think the most recent books I’ve read include Nim’s Island, which my daughter was reading, and Where the Red Fern Grows.
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
This new series from Standard Publishing introduces Meghan Rose, the bounciest first-grader in the world! Young readers will share Meghan’s adventures, laugh, and learn important life lessons. Each title also includes a bonus section with discussion starters and fun activity ideas.
Meghan Rose on Stage!
Meghan Rose wants to take part in the school talent show, but she can’t sing or dance or even burp very well. Will her braggy classmate Lynette steal the show?
Purchase the book   HERE!!!
Meghan Rose Has Ants in Her Pants
Meghan Rose wants a pair of gravity defying shoes called Kangaroozies, and she just can’t wait to get them. How will she deal with the ants in her pants?
Purchase the book   HERE!!!
Meghan Rose Gets All Dressed Up
Meghan Rose doesn’t own Pickle brand socks, Pickle brand shirts, or Pickle brand ANYTHING. How can she be pretty for picture day wearing her plain old clothes?
Purchase the book   HERE!!!
Meghan Rose Has a Secret
Meghan Rose buys a nice diary at the school book fair, but writes some not-so-nice secret thoughts about her friends in it. What will happen if her friends find out?
Purchase the book   HERE!!!
Meghan Rose Series by Lori Z. Scott
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 96 pages
Illustrator: Stacy Curtis
Publisher: Standard Publishing Company