September 16, 2013

Author Interview - Patricia Reilly Giff +GIVEAWAY!

This is also running on my student blog Hooked on Books!

Today I'm very excited to welcome Patricia Reilly Giff to Hooked on Books!  She is a favorite author of mine.  I loved (and now teach) her book Pictures of Hollis Woods.  

Today she's here to share a new series she's started - Hunter Moran.  This is a fun MG series about twin brothers and all the adventures they get into.  My review will be up soon!

About the book
This fall, she brings readers an uproarious follow-up to the middle-grade novel Hunter Moran Saves the Universe with Hunter Moran Hangs Out. The lovable twin brothers Hunter and Zack are back with more hilarious antics, new neighborhood problems to solve, and enough misinterpreted suspicions to keep readers chomping at the bit.

When Hunter and his twin brother, Zack, hear from Sarah Yulefski that there is going to be a kidnapping in Newfield, they are on alert. They highly suspect that Steadman, their younger brother, is the kidnapper’s target. After erecting a rickety lookout tower high in a tree in the nearby werewolf woods, they discover all sorts of suspicious activities going on around town: a probable ax murderer is hiding in the cellar of a formerly empty house, Bradley the neighborhood bully is probably keeping dead bodies in the pond, and a suspicious letter arrives in the mail for Mom.

This irresistible novel, filled with comical characters, lots of mischief, and plenty of heart, will have readers cheering for this dynamic duo and have fans begging for more.

PATRICIA REILLY GIFF is the author of many highly acclaimed books for children, including Lily’s Crossing, a Newbery Honor Book and Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book; Pictures of Hollis Woods, a Newbery Honor Book; and Nory Ryan’s Song, an ALA Notable Children’s Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Golden Kite Honor Book. Her works for young readers include the best-selling Kids of the Polk Street School series, the Ronald Morgan books, and her memoir, Don’t Tell the Girls.

Please welcome Patricia Reilly Giff!

Please tell us a bit about the book.
The HUNTER MORAN books are told in first person, with Hunter and his sidekick twin, Zack, as the main characters. It’s a middle grade mystery, and I hope both boys and girls will have fun reading them.

You write primary for middle school children (ages 9-13).  Why did you choose that audience? What are some of the challenges for writing for that age group?
I remember my middle grade years so clearly: what made me happy, or worried, or sad. I remember my mother’s smile, my house with the cherry tree in back, the school, and my fourth grade teacher, Sister Ramonda. We wrote often in her class, and she told me I was a writer…a heady feeling. It was natural for me later, as a teacher, to want to work with kids that age, and then to spy on my own three children when I began to write. Strange, but it’s hard to think of challenges in writing for that age. I want to write books that kids will love, whether they’re serious books or humorous, and maybe the challenge is to try to make that happen.

I LOVE Pictures of Hollis Woods (we use it in lit circles!).  This book– Hunter Moran - is much more light hearted and fun.  As an author how do you switch gears in your writing like that?  
I wrote Hollis Woods for my mother, just after she died. The characters and setting were all people and places she knew and loved. It was a serious time in my life, a serious book. But the two Hunter Moran books were different. I wrote them on happy summer mornings, reminded of my children’s antics…and wanting to make my friend and editor, Mary Cash, laugh. 

What part/character/event are you most excited about or proud of in Hunter Moran Hangs Out?
The relationships were the most fun to write about: Hunter and Zack who forge ahead, clueless most of the time, Sarah Yulefski who tells the whole class that Hunter loves her, (sheesh) Linny, who thinks she’s the alpha dog of the family, and oh, five year old Stetson, the smartest of the bunch. 

Hunter and Zack come from a rather large family that is wonderfully full of noise and action.  Did you have, or do you have a family like that now?  
I had only one sister, Annie, who was enough fun for a large family, and three children, Jimmy, Billy, and Alice. But my husband Jim was one of five and I loved their stories.

Hunter Moran is a mystery.  I’m always in awe of authors who write mysteries because of how the pieces come together.  What planning do you do ahead of time to help this happen?
I wish I could say I plan ahead, but I don’t even know what will happen in the next sentence. “Then how…” you say. And I say, “It’s a mystery.” Actually what happens is that half way through when I’m in total despair, something comes to me about solving the mystery. I go back and thread in pieces here and there, which I hope make sense. (It’s always the mystery element I have to work on in revision.)

Ok now for just some fun questions based on things my middle schoolers like and do!

When you were in midde school what were you like?
In school, I spent my days with a book under my desk, reading, reading.

Did you chew gum?
Gum wasn’t that satisfying…ah, but candy. Every cent I had went into chocolate.

Do you text?
My son Bill is teaching me to text, so my grandchildren won’t think I’m totally out of it.

Was school lunch just as yucky then as it is now?
My school was in back of our yard. I’d wait until the bell rang, dash down what we called the secret passageway, and was the last one in line as we snaked in. Having school so close meant that I came home for lunch every day. It was wonderful. We were allowed to read at lunch, not dinner, and my mother read too. The only sound was chewing our sandwiches.

Thank you so much for joining us today!!! I still can't believe I was able to ask questions of an author I admire so much! And I love finding out she doesn't plan ahead too much in her writing because then I don't feel so bad when I write that way!

Now for the giveaway
The publicist has offered up SIGNED copies of the first two books in the series!
To enter:
Fill out Rafflecopter
Must be at least 13
Must be a US resident

The "BE A FOLLOWER" is for my student blog Hooked on Books!  To get those entries points please follow there not here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This is a really fun series. I've read the second book, but have given mine away, so this is a great giveaway for me. Thanks for the chance to win. I am a follower of Hooked on Books.

  2. I am so with you on chocolate. Can never have enough. I also found your comments on writing mysteries interesting. Thanks.