Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Gail Shepherd's Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook #20Questions at Operation Awesome

Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd

1- What was the best and worst part of being a middle-grader (or a 12-year-old) for you?

Twelve was a big year. I broke up with my best friend. Went steady for the 1st time. Got my period. Smoked my 1st cigarette, rolled up my skirt, wore my sweater backwards, stuffed my bra with socks. I was trying to grow up. But what an awkward, hellish year. My teachers hated me. I was always wondering if I smelled.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Figure out what has the deepest, most resonant meaning for you in life. Write that.

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

Enthusiastic encouragement from my fourth-grade teacher. Teachers and other adults should never underestimate the power of mentorship on children.

4- The car nicknamed The Blue Bullet sounds interesting. Would you please tell us a little more about it?

The Blue Bullet is Lyndie’s ticket to adventure—it speeds her away from the oppressive rules and manners of her southern grandmother. Riding in it with her daddy is like being shot out of a canon.

5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

@dgephartwrites @stacieramey and @joycesweeney have been my life support. There are so many, though!

6- Would you share a picture with us of your book with the flag?

7- In your opinion, how could people better support teachers?

Lay off with the constant carping—teaching is *really hard*. Lobby your legislators to pay teachers a really good salary.

8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

Word of mouth recommendations, reviews, and lists. I try to read as many new middle grade and YA books every year as I can.

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: @jackiewoodson
Title: Harbor Me
Love because: we desperately need to provide safe harbor for kid humans in this moment.

10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?

My wife. Now and always. She loved most about my debut: how many of her jokes I stole.

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

Empathy. You never know what another person is going through. I most love the scenes where Lyndie is taken aback by what she failed to see or understand even about her best friends and close family.

12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?


13- Shows like Homecoming, and books like yours, are shining a light on veterans. Is it getting any easier for veterans to get help these days, and is there less stigma now for needing help?

Yes, absolutely. My book takes place in the mid-80s, when most people barely had a name for PTSD. Now we know so much about the causes, the physical changes induced by trauma, ways to treat it. Particularly when veterans can help veterans, there is far less stigma attached to seeking treatment.

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

DB has heterochromia, his eyes are different colors.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Alternative question: What's your favorite book with a diverse main character?


Because it can be impossible to think of even one, that's why we need more diverse books. Anyway...
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I’m pretty fond of Middle Grade Mafia.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I’m traditionally published. I don’t have hutzpah or the confidence to market myself in the way self-published authors have to do.

18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

Ideally, so they’ll have to really think about the books that they’re reading in some depth. At least, that’s why I write them.

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

I’d love to know what expectations readers bring to a book. Do you read to feel more deeply? To have an adventure? To escape? To learn about worlds or things that are foreign to you? To fall in love with a specific character?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

Middle grade. Pub date: March 26, 2019.
“A one-of-a-kind voice lights up this witty, heartwarming debut set in 1985 Tennessee about the power of homespun wisdom (even when it’s wrong), the clash between appearances and secrets, and the barriers to getting help even when it’s needed most.”

Twitter: @gailshepherd

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd

1 comment:

Gail Shepherd said...

I missed the "alternative question" when I was reading Q15! Of *course* I have favorite diverse characters: Hothead Paisan; Ivy Aberdeen; Mia in Front Desk; George; Caroline in Hurricane Child; every character that Edwidge Danticat ever wrote; Lily, in Lily and Dunkin; every character Matt de la Pena ever wrote; Merci Suarez, and so many of the marvelous characters in YA and MG 2019 debuts this year! The #weneeddiversebooks movement has brought limitless joy to my reading life.