GET LOST IN A FABULOUS STORY FOR KIDS!
Claudia Osmond is an only child, wife, and mother who loves caramel apples, hates snakes, stands for social justice, sits at the feet of her Muse, accepts the fact that she’s getting older, denies the idea that her best years are behind her, reads voraciously, writes passionately, sings only when no one’s listening, and admits that she wrote her very first novel in a closet ~ both literally and figuratively speaking.
“With a shaky hand, I laid the brass key on the paper flat side down, and slid it over top of the sketch. It fit the shape exactly. Then the line circling the key uncurled and reformed itself into two words: FIND IT.”
Simon is a fourteen-year-old Orphan with No Options: an O.W.N.O. And “Oh no” pretty much sums up his life. He’s stuck in Grimstown with his prank-pulling grampa and a housekeeper-slash-nanny from you-know-where. Worse, Simon can’t remember a thing about his childhood. Then one night a bizarre dream unlocks some of those forgotten memories, leaving Simon with half of a key in his pajama pocket and a growing awareness that he’s in the middle of a dangerous plot that threatens to destroy Emogen, a hidden realm connected to Earth. In order to save Emogen – and his best friend – from a deadly curse, Simon needs to find out who he really is. But can he discover his true identity before it’s too late?
GET TO KNOW THE AUTHOR
Maureen: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Claudia: Fried Green Tomatoes. I was even inspired to make them once. Key word: once.
Maureen: Ha! Love that movie, too, but have never tried the delicacy. Where do you most like to read and how often?
Claudia: In bed, every night before I go to sleep. And if I happen to have a free Saturday or Sunday I love to read all day long on the couch in the living room.
Maureen: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Claudia: Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss. I loved that book so much I read it over and over. I even tape-recorded myself reading it so I could hear it being read back to me.
Maureen: Oh, I love that you recorded yourself reading. ☺ What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Claudia: The Bremen Town Musicians by the Brothers Grimm. When I was little, there was a show about it that was cast with puppets, I think – it wasn’t animated. It scared the bejeebies out of me, but I watched it every chance I got. I’ve loved it ever since.
Maureen: I remember that show! So, onto more important things: Hiking boots or high heels?
Claudia: Hiking boots. Definitely hiking boots.
Maureen: What was your first boyfriend’s name? Would you want to meet him again?
Claudia: Herbie Hunter. Uh, no. No offense, Herbie.
Maureen: I'm sure Herbie is crushed. If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
Claudia: Not so much of an interview as a conversation: I’d love to talk to both of my grandfathers. I didn’t grow up around my grandparents, and I’d love to hear their stories. I’ve heard bits and pieces about both of them and it sounds like they were very interesting characters. So much so that Smudge’s grampa in my book SMUDGE’S MARK is based on one of them. Well, from the image I’ve conjured up of him, anyway.
Maureen: What do you like on your burger? (and do you take your burger veggie or beefy?)
Claudia: Veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers, mustard, ketchup, mayo. Mmmmmm … my mouth is watering!
Maureen: Mine is now, too. **Note to self: Do not post interviews when hungry. ** Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Claudia: I do read reviews, and always tell myself not to: Especially after reading a bad one. And, yes, bad reviews affect me and get me down and sometimes even make me question my ability. Even reading a good review doesn’t completely erase the bad feelings caused by bad reviews, especially if the last bad review I read was particularly nasty. But I figure if I quit reading reviews in order to avoid the bad ones, then I’ll miss the good stuff people have to say, too. You can’t seem to win either way.
Maureen: I'm just starting to get some early reviews and totally relate to this, already. What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Claudia: Funny thing about quirks is you don’t know you have them! I had to ask my husband to answer for me. His response: I leave glasses half-full of water all over the house.
Maureen: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise and why? Most?
Claudia: Least: In the stereotypical future. I imagine lacquered gold and silver head-to-toe body-suits, a la Black Eyed Peas, would be a literal pain in the derrière (and everywhere else).
Most: Today. I love my jeans, t-shirts, and moccasins.
Maureen: *snort on the clothes-in-the-future image* What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Claudia: This might sound obvious, but my biggest dream was that kids would love SMUDGE'S MARK - especially kids who read reluctantly, those who wouldn't normally choose to pick up a book on their own. And I'm thrilled to say that dream has been realized as I've been told that Smudge is being used in tutoring sessions where the boys in the group don't want to do their school work, they just want to read. They just want to read! I've also been told that Smudge has been the first book some kids have read all the way through; that Smudge was the book that sparked an interest in reluctant readers to read more; that Smudge has made kids laugh, get up early to read before school, even read under the covers with a flashlight! I've also been told that a single, dog-chewed copy of SMUDGE'S MARK is currently being passed around from child to child in a small village in Malawi, Africa. What more could I ever ask for when I hear these kinds of things?
Maureen: That's so amazing!!
GOTTA ASK -- GOTTA ANSWER ☺
Maureen: What’s your favorite kid joke?
Claudia: I can never seem to remember jokes, but for some odd reason I can retain a fair number of Chuck Norris jokes. :/ This is a good one I heard recently:
Superman and Chuck Norris were in fight. The loser had to wear his underwear over top of his pants.
Maureen: Oh! Why do I find that so funny???? Do you have a question you'd like to ask your fans?
What's more important to you, as a reader: good writing or a good story? Can you overlook one for the sake of the other?
Claudia would like to offer a signed copy of SMUDGE'S MARK to a lucky random commenter!
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
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Make sure you come back tomorrow when Heather hosts Katy Madison!
Make sure you come back tomorrow when Heather hosts Katy Madison!