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  • Amy Shannon

Featured Author: Karl Beckstrand

Q: In three words, describe yourself.

A: Organized sharing learner

Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

A: I have about thirty finished stories, twenty-two are published.

Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.

A: Well, it’s a ways off (isn’t illustrated yet), but Agnes’s Rescue should be out next year. It’s the true story of an immigrant girl who walked about 1,000 miles across America (mostly in bare feet) into blizzards in the Rockies.

Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

A: Sometimes the title comes first (as with Sounds in the House or The Dancing Flamingos of Lake Chimichanga). Sometimes it comes after the story is written (as with Bad Bananas: A Story Cookbook for Kids, which almost was called “When Bananas Go Bad”).

Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

A: Anna Anderson (my great-great aunt—the subject of Anna’s Prayer) because her story is true.

Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

A: Twisted multicultural/multilingual humor for kids

Q: Without quoting your back cover blurb, tell me about the last book you published.

A: A mysterious visitor sparks intrigue and fun for a multicultural family

It Came from under the High Chair - It Came from Under the Highchair – Salió de debajo de la silla para comer: A Mystery (in English & Spanish).

Q: Quote your favorite line from one of your stories. Indicate the line, and then the book title.

A: “Itches…twitches; he picks at his stitches. He thinks about riches. He’s sinking in ditches. He switches. He pitches. He untwists his britches—and drifts—now the glitch is, he’s dreaming of WITCHES!” from Why Juan Can’t Sleep: A Mystery?.

Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

A: I lived in South America for a couple years and speak Spanish. I’m also learning German. I teach digital media at a state college.

Q: Who are your top THREE favorite authors?

A: In my genre: Shel Silverstein

Outside my genre: David McCullough and J.R.R. Tolkien

Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

A: Major Problems in American Colonial History (edited by Karen Kupperman. I like history)

Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

A: I get ambushed by ideas that have to get put on paper. When writing chapter books, I outline the whole story and then fill in the details.

Q: Why do you write?

A: See above:)

Q: Do you currently have a WIP? If yes, what’s the title, and is it part of a series or standalone?

A: A work in progress? See my third answer above.

Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

A: I do while it is in draft form—always polishing.

Q: I play music when I write, and depending on the setting or mood of the story depends on what I listen to. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what genre or artist/band do you listen to?

A: I don’t listen to anything while I write, but I listen to radio/music when I illustrate.

Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the blurb that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?

A: The synopsis is hardest because you have to encapsulate and tantalize in very few words.

Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or your favorite beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).

A: 1. Jesus Christ (so much I would ask)

2. Churchill (I’d seek input on today’s issues)

3. Joseph Smith (I’d like to know more about who he is)

Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

A: To complete a story (whether it’s published or not)

Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

A: I’ve done nearly everything on my bucket list. I would like to visit more countries and see old friends.

Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

A: Write every day (even for just a few minutes). Don’t quite marketing your book for at least eighteen months.

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