Today, I'm embarking on a series of meet the author interview posts. We'll cover middle grade on up to Explorer Momma reads. Starting off for us is the author of the Pameroy Mystery Series, Brenda Felber.
I'm so excited to get this series started! As a lover of books, stories, and learning, I'm always fascinated by what goes into the writing of a book.
What does the author think about? How do they prepare? Do they have certain things that are always a special way?
Our first Meet the Author
For our first Meet the Author, I was priveledged to learn about author Brenda Felber. I've thoroughly enjoyed finding our more about her writing process!
I first saw her books mentioned in a Facebook group and was immediately intrigued. She writes a middle grade mystery series filled with history with a main character named Lillia who has paranormal "gifts".
However, what struck me the most was the idea of having each mystery in the series set in a different state. 50 books for 50 states.
In fact, the teacher in my head cheered, "Yes! Combine stories and learning!"
And after reading a couple of the books in the series, I do think the best way to read them is while traveling to the location discussed.
I do it myself with other books when traveling to other countries.
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So, without further ado, it's interview time!
(To enter the FREE SIGNED COPY BOOK GIVEAWAY, scroll to the end of the post and complete the Rafflecopter form.)
Meet the Author Brenda Felber
Brenda Felber is author of the Pameroy Mystery Series for middle-grade readers.
Brenda loves a good road trip. By the end of the series she plans to take readers along with imagineer Lillia Pameroy to all fifty states.
In each story Brenda takes threads of local history and twists of paranormal to weave a mystery that encourages curiosity in young readers.
1. What is your current writing project?
Currently I’m working on the 9th book in my middle-grade series, Mystery
Island. It will be set in the state of Michigan, on Mackinac Island.
I’m super excited to be writing this one…but then again, I guess I feel that way about each setting I’ve chosen for the books in my series.
There’s something unique about islands and in this story, mysterious!
2. How do the places you travel influence your writing?
I’ve always loved travel, whether a good road trip or a cruise…whether camping or staying at a luxurious resort…whether across oceans or to a neighboring state.
I’ve found my happy place with this series because it involves the protagonist traveling to a different state for each book. My travel now involves taking in specific details to add to my capture journal for future stories.
I also take note of general vibes I get, and the senses of the area.
For instance, the Alamo being in the middle of a busy tourist area helped me to decide to write in tourist type of things like ghost tours in addition to the historical significance of the place…the juxtaposition created a unique storyline.
By bringing this series to my young readers I hope they take away the powerful significance of each part of America and look forward to experiencing travel in a new way, with fresh eyes.
My books share small histories and big ones.
I write different scopes of stories using the settings…like the intimate history involving a family in Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.
But then also I write bigger scope stories including larger histories like the Gold Rush in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
3. Favorite travel destination:
Up front I’ll let you now I’m bad with picking favorites…always have been, LOL! Part of what I enjoy about travel, is the travel!
Like a train trip through the mountains, or a road trip along the California coast, or a pontoon boat on a beautiful lake, or a hike to a hidden waterfall.
4. Go-to writing snack or drink:
A jar of jelly belly’s or a bowl of M&M’s have often seen me through writing sessions. However, now I try to put those temptations out of easy reach!
5. Where do you prefer to write (nook, coffee shop, office, etc.)?
Love my office space, but I find it productive to mix it up and move out of
doors or to a coffee shop occasionally.
6. Something you must do or have to write:
A yellow legal pad and a writing notebook.
I’ve kept what I call capture journals with me since the beginning. A place to collect the little notes I’ve jotted down on an envelope, or transcribe the voice memo I recorded while driving, or the information from a quick scribble of a dream on my bedside note pad.
In fact, the silver vanity set crafted by Paul Revere in Whispered Graves was a from a dream years ago. It was one of those random things that stuck with me, and now I’ve checked it off in my capture journal as having found its home.
As I progress through the writing process of a book, I use a journal / notebook I’ve already created for it.
I have one for the next two or three books too.
I create baskets to hold the notebooks, along with research materials for the story. To help focus and pull daily thoughts together I love yellow legal pads. I like the feel of physically writing thoughts, answering those why and what and when questions, and working with descriptive passages this way.
One necessary tool for me, and I’m becoming more adept in using it, is the writing program Scrivener…love it!
7. Most useful writer resource:
Scrivener, which I mentioned above is one. A good thesaurus is priceless!
I also turn to my bookshelf full of books about the writing craft. See again how hard it is for me to narrow things down to one favorite or most useful!
8. What book is currently on your night stand?
I’m researching for a new adult series I will be writing under a pen name.
9. When you walk into a bookstore, which section do you head for?
Bargain books section is fun for me. Love cookbooks though I never buy
one anymore unless for a gift…I just don’t cook enough. And last but not least, the new releases.
10. Do you prefer hard copy, e-reader, or audio book?
Hard copy I’d say. Though more and more I’m reading on e-readers,
especially when I travel.
They are so convenient to use.
I think it’s a matter of getting used to it.
11. What was the inspiration behind Broken Curse?
Broken Curse is my most recently published book. It is set in Apache
Junction just outside Phoenix, at the base of Superstition Mountain. There is
such a mystical feeling to the area, a powerful pull that created a physical
sensation in me.
The book takes the reader into the Superstition Wilderness and across the Superstition Mountain Range.
I drove the Apache Trail, toured the Indian Cliff Dwellings, hiked in the area, bought fudge at the Mercantile in Goldfield Ghost Town…research can be such fun.
It all came together in this mystery, that speaks to how physical places can acquire lasting tales, legends, maybe even hints at being cursed.
This area is well known for the tales of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine and to this day, old treasure maps of the area are researched.
This huge wilderness area, held in state and federal hands so as to be preserved, has its share of unexplained deaths, but even so gold seekers still search for that mysterious lost mine.
(BONUS! Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Broken Curse! Scroll to the end of the post to enter!)
12. What do you see as the ideal recipe to go along with your Alabama mystery, Watched Places?
Watched Places, set in the coastal area of Alabama, included a restaurant
and the woman who ran it.
So that brings to my mine the wonderful Cajun food of the area.
While there researching it was fun to try the dishes, and I learned to love
many of them…so different than what I grew up with…another good reason to travel! Black beans and rice, jambalaya, blackened sea food…
13. Most difficult part of writing Haunted Hills?
I love the research, because I enjoy travel and history. But I realized that
to accomplish my goal of writing books set in every state, one thing I’ve learned is that I need to cut back on time spend on researching.
Also, it’s difficult to cut out fun things I see or read about in the different settings.
For instance, there are so many attractions I visited when researching Haunted Hills, set in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’ve been there several times and there is just so much to do and see.
Add in the history of the Native Americans and the Gold Rush era..too much to fit in 200 pages!
There were many things that started out in the book, but ended being cut.
It’s probably this process of cutting out things I’d like to include, that is the most difficult part of writing this series.
14. If Whispering Graves was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
Hmm…interesting question. Let me cast the book Whispering Graves, set
in Concord, Massachusetts.
I’d like to see McKenna Grace as the actress to play Jo, the young girl who can hear whispers coming from the grave.
For the British spirit I’d like to cast Colin Firth.
The ladies at the old folk’s home would be fun…maybe Dame Judi Dench, Diane Keaton, and Angelica Houston.
Kittie coming in from for a visit to help solve the mystery...Meryl Streep. Helen Mirren for Grauntie Nora. But for Lillia, I’ll take suggestions from casting directors!
Thank you Brenda Felber!
Thanks so much to our first author! I especially love hearing how the places visted have influenced or inspired events in the books. Research can definitely be fascinating and one of my favorite parts of the process.
Just take a look at this family photo that inspired a character in Felber's book Locked Doors. Love it!
Would you like to find out more?
Connect with this month's Meet the Author
Contact info for Brenda Felber:
Do you have questions, comments, or have ideas for future settings? Comment on the blog post or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website: www.brendafelber.com contains photographs used for inspiration in each of the books. Also, want her to let you know when new books come out? Sign up for the newsletter!
- Facebook: @brendafelberauthor
- Instagram: @brendafelber
- Pinterest: @bbfelber
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Do you need some more book inspiration?
- Best Middle Grade Books to Inspire Wanderlust
- My Cozy Christmas Books: A List
- 40 Next Books Reading Challenge
Meet the Author Book Giveaway
Are you ready to meet up with Lillia Pameroy and go on a mystery adventure? Enter today! (Due to several factors, the giveaway is only available to those with a valid U.S. address to which the prize can be mailed.)