Tag Archives: interview

Author Interviews

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If you would like to be interviewed as part of this blog, please follow the submission guidelines below. Then e-mail me at treewithroots@gmail.com with answers to the questions below.

Submission Guidelines:

1) Provide a link to your book(s)

2) Provide a very brief author bio

3) Note any other links that you want included

4) The subject line of the e-mail should say “Author interview”  followed by your name and book title.

These answers may be embedded in the bio:
1) Where are you from?
2) When and why did you begin writing?
3) Is there a message in your work that you want readers to grasp?
4) What books have most influenced your life?
5) Are there any life experiences that influence your storytelling?
6) What are your current projects?
7) What is the hardest part of writing?
8) What are some of the most interesting things you’ve learned while writing?
9) What do you do in your spare time?
10) How can your readers get in touch with you?

I look forward to posting an interview with my fellow writers each Friday.

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Interview with Amber Harvey by Bill Maylone in July 2011 MayneLiner Magazine published by Alea Design & Print

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It is a very strange feeling to read about oneself.  As it brings others into my life story, I find it distances me from myself.   I wonder if everyone feels this way when they read about themselves, or if I’m just different.  Let me know what your experience has been I’d really love to know.  Amber Harvey

TCAC The MayneLiner, July 2011 Art on Mayne 

By Bill Maylone

Amber Harvey’s third book in her series of mystery novels for young readers has just been published. Set locally once again, “Mayne Island Skeletons” follows the continuing adventures — and growing up — of her young protagonist, Magda Sommers.”

Besidesbeing fun reads, Amber’s first two novels in the series dealt with the challenges of maturing. “Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery” investigated the feelings that result from the death of a loved one. The second book, “Mayne Island Aliens”, deals with the consequences of rejection.

“Skeletons” is again about internal struggles, concentrating on the issues involved in keeping~ secrets. Kids often protect their peers by not revealing trouble they may be in or when they do something dangerous. In the story, Magda must deal with the aftermath of a friend who ends up getting hurt, and who would have avoided injury if Magda had revealed a secret. Developing stories is a two-part process for Amber. First, she works out much of the “internal landscape”

Magda’s internal struggles as she grapples with ethical and moral questions such as trust and betrayal or  compliance with adult demands and independent decision-making. In developing a story, Amber considers what she experienced as a young person and how she viewed the world and responded to it at that time. The plot – the external situation that allows her characters to express their internal struggles, comes later. Amber enjoys the process of looking for real-world situations and events that allow the internal landscapes to play themselves out.

The real world in her stories is also full of the kind of unique fun, adventure and friendship that growing up on a small island offers. It’s an environment that also offers safety.  “Kids possess a real sense of freedom, and I try to capture that in Magda’s exploits. She’s a tomboy, and she really engages with the world around her. She likes to have fun.”

Writing is also a lot of fun for Amber. She finds the process of weaving the internal and external together to be an interesting one. “Sometimes the stories write themselves. When I’m working on a story, I’ve got a kind of “perception screen” that alerts me to situations or environments that may be useful in constructing the story. A lot of incubation happens too — somewhere deep in my mind, a part of it is still working on the story even though I’m not consciously thinking about it.”

As with many local artists, Mayne Island provides a lot of the inspiration for her novels. She uses familiar local settings: the ferry terminal, Miners Bay or a particular store or business, but she also uses island locations in a more ambiguous way.  “I don’t always specifically ID a particular existing clearing or trail, because I want kids reading the story to make some of the places their own. I’ll write about Magda going down to “the beach”, for example, so that it becomes for the reader, the beach they want it to be. It’s important to give the reader lots of room to put themselves in the story.”

Before she and her husband, retired to Mayne Island six years ago; she had done some writing, but retirement – and a beautiful environment – gave her the time and inspiration to write novels. Previously, she had written a few articles that were published in Parents Magazine or Teachers Magazine. Those articles grew out of her experience as a teacher and counsellor in both conventional and non-conventional school settings.

“My first teaching job was in Montreal in 1966. I walked into a multilingual classroom of forty students. It was so regimented; it was like working in a strict military camp. The kids were allowed little creative freedom, and they could still be strapped if they broke the rules.  I said to myself, ‘I can’t be part of this anymore!”, and I walked out.”

She had earned a reputation by then as a promoter of unconventional teaching techniques, and she was subsequently offered a position in an unstructured school. There, she was able to relate to students in a way that could transmit her sense of wonder, community and spirituality.

“By “spirituality”, she explains, I don’t mean religion. It’s something bigger than that. It’s about seeing how beautiful the world is, how important it is to have friends and family, to behave ethically and to cherish life.”

Her novels express that belief, using the fun and the challenging situations of growing up as a framework. However, she has one regret. “It takes me two years to write a Magda story, but I only age her one year in each book. I’ve become really fond of her, and I don’t really want her to grow up. I’ll miss her.”

My First Ever Interview

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Okay, it wasn’t the New York Times, but here on Mayne Island and interview in the MayneLiner Magazine is a very big deal.  The editor, Bill Maylone, asked me if he could talk to me about my creative process when writing my Magda series of books with the intention of publishing the interview in the July MayneLiner.  I agreed, but with trepidation because I had no idea what he would ask me or what I would say.  I really had never thought about how I wrote; I just wrote.  The interview revealed to me a few things about my creative process, and these were that my own experiences have a great influence on what I write about and that my professional background in teaching and counselling influences how I approach my characters.

Bill Maylone was able to engage me in conversation about long-ago decisions and experiences that I was only vaguely aware of.  I was quite surprised when I read the article for approval, that he had focused on parts of my life I had mentioned in passing but when examined I realized were influential in creating my mystery stories of Magda and her friends on Mayne Island, their adventures, their friendships, their goals, their inner struggles, and their values.

If you would like to read the complete interview, it’s in the July issue of the MayneLiner Magazine.