For me, this year has been the time of the middle grade reads. The range and depth available blows my mind and one of the books I enjoyed earlier this year was Story Magic by Laurel Gale. It was a tale of hope and it made my heart warm. You can find my review HERE.
To celebrate the release of Story Magic, I’ve been lucky enough to chat with the author, Laurel Gale.
Hi Laurel, thank you for taking the time to join me today. Congratulations on the upcoming release of Story Magic. Can you tell us a little bit about Story Magic and where the idea came from?
Thanks! Story Magic is about Kaya, a twelve-year-old girl who learns story magic from her older brother—even though only members of the Story Magicians Guild are allowed to do story magic, and girls are never allowed to join. Then her brother disappears, and she has to find and rescue him.
One of my favourite things about Story Magic is Kaya. For me her strength is her ability to keep moving forward and not lose hope. Do you see yourself in her at all?
I think hope is very important for everyone, but just hoping isn’t enough. We also need to take active steps toward achieving our goals and improving our lives. I have to admit I’m probably not nearly as brave as Kaya, but I do tend to be persistent, so maybe we have that it common. It takes a lot of persistence to succeed in writing!
As someone who has zero creative skill, I’m always fascinated by the writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser? What is your writing routine like?
When I started out, I was more of a pantser, but I’ve become more of a plotter over the years. I still don’t like to use strict outlines, and I discover a lot about the story as I write, but I think it’s helpful to have a clear idea of the plot (including the ending!) as well as the characters, themes, hook, setting, etc. before I start writing. I usually start with a one- to two-page synopsis, which I’ll revise as I draft the story and some of the details change. I also like to write a query early on because I think that helps with identifying the main hook. I always write in order, from the beginning to the end, no skipping around.
What do you love to do outside of writing?
I spend a lot of time with my pet ferrets. If you check out my Twitter feed, you’ll see pictures of them. I also like going on walks and looking for birds and other wildlife. I live in eastern Washington, and we have a lot of deer in the area. I like playing board games, too. And I enjoy reading, but that’s probably a given.
I may have went hunting for pictures of your ferrets after this, and I’m a little in love. They look so cheeky.
Ferrets!! They aren’t the most common pet, so I was wondering what they are like and if you have considered including them in a story?
Ferrets are amazing pets. They’re also a lot of work, though, and they’re probably not a good fit for everyone. They can be very mischievous, and they’re probably a little too fearless for their own good. I have toyed with the idea of including ferrets in stories before, but those stories never seem to go anywhere. Maybe someday!
Continuing on the animal theme, if you could become any animal for a day, what would it be and why?
A river otter. They always seem to be having so much fun. (They’re also related to ferrets! Both ferrets and otters belong to the Mustelidae family.)
Have you read anything amazing lately?
In adult literature, I really enjoyed Circe by Madeline Miller. In children’s literature, I recently started reading Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier, and that’s been great so far.
Lastly, are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, can you give us a little hint as to what it’s about?
I’m always working on something new. Recently, I’ve been working on new middle grade projects as well as picture books.
Thank you Laurel.
Laurel Gale writes books for children. Her middle grade novels include Dead Boy and Story Magic. She lives with her husband and their ferrets in Washington. In addition to writing, she enjoying hiking, playing board games, and reading. She loves animals and is easily distracted by squirrels. You can visit Laurel online at laurelgale.com or on Twitter at @laurel_gale.