Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Reading Thing 2009

LDS Publisher is once again hosting a summer reading challenge. It has been a while since I have participated in a reading challenge and so I'm going to sign up. All you have to do is post of list of books you plan to read by LDS Authors. So, here is my list....

Hourglass Door by Lisa Magnum
Reunion by Ally Condie
Recovering Charles by Jason Wright
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
At Jouney's End by Annette Lyon
Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon
The Princess and the Bear by Mette Harrison

There may or may not be more...depending on how well the public library works here for me in Texas. This may be weird by I'm already mourning the loss of the Provo area writing and book community. I don't know that I'll ever see its equal. Especially when it came to writing for kids and young adults.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Author Interview with Kathi Oram Peterson

Welcome Kathi to Gamila’s Review, and thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me. Today I’ll be asking questions about your newest release The Forgotten Warrior and your interest in writing history for younger audiences.

First off, tell us about your newest release The Forgotten Warrior.

Sydney Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate touches a mysterious stone that transports her through time to Captain Helaman and the stripling warriors. He calls on Syd to help prepare his warrior sons for battle. Syd is desperate to find her way home, gain Helaman's respect and keep from falling in love with Tarik, a stripling warrior. I loved writing this book! My son, who has a black belt, helped me with the karate scenes. It was so much fun trying to think of different ways Syd could take down an opponent. And, of course, I loved the friction and romance between Tarik and Syd.

Did writing The Forgotten Warrior take a lot of scriptural research? If so what was the most rewarding part of that research?

Yes it did take a lot. But what better resource to have than the Book of Mormon. I have a deep respect and love for Helaman and the stripling warriors. One day as I prepared to write a scene in my book I wanted Helaman to give an inspiring speech to his warriors. I prayed and asked for guidance. As I read and re-read Helaman's writings the scene unfolded and seemed to write itself. I don't know if Helaman ever spoke to the boys as I had him do in my book, but I strongly felt the love and respect he had for them from his words in the Book of Mormon. The reward has been knowing that this book is a wonderful gift from the Lord.

Why did you decide to make your main character female when she was among the two thousand stripling warriors? Why not write from a young boy’s point-of-view?

Well...I did. The book is told in two view points: Sydney Morgan's and Tarik's, a stripling warrior. But the bulk of the story comes from Sydney. I wanted young women to realize if given a task such as the stripling warriors, they, too, could rise to the call.

The Forgotten Warrior is targeted towards a Youth Audience. What attracts you the most to writing for Young Adults?

I've written many books in several genres, but there's something about the young adult market that is a good fit for me. Maybe I've just never grown up, and I hope I never do. I'm constantly surprised to find that The Forgotten Warrior has fans that are not only young adults, but mothers and fathers, and grandmas and grandpas. This is not to say I won't write in other genres, but I'm very comfortable with young adult.

On your website you mention that you have written several non-fiction historical books targeted towards children. Will/can you tell us more about these projects and your plans for them?

I wrote two nonfiction children's activity books: The Kid's Book of World War One and They Came from Around the World: A Nation of Immigrants. Both books were written for Silverleaf Press, but unfortunately the economy forced the publisher to push back release dates. I have no idea when they will come out. But I learned a great deal while writing those books. I gained appreciate for the freedom we enjoy in America and for the service men who gave their lives for us.

How did your interest in writing history for young children develop, and do you plan to continue writing non-fiction?

This was something that chose me. I was asked to write these books because I had written concept and biography books for a curriculm publisher years ago and also because the editor was familar with my writing. Under the right circumstances, I'd be happy to write more non-fiction.

When working on any project that requires historical or scriptural research which part of the process do you enjoy more, the research or writing aspect? Why?

I love both! I can't have one without the other. And I do them both at the same time. I know too many writers who become bogged down in research and their stories flounder. So I like to start with an idea for a story. Come up with characters, then I set them in a scene. All is very fluid as I do research. I might find my main character would work better in the story being a wanna-be singer, than a nurse. I might decide placing the hero in a villa than having him on a farm opens more opportunities for the character...all because of research. Once I come up with the beginning and ending of my story and I'm happy with the setting, then the writing and research kicks in full gear. As characters grow and the plot thickens more research is needed. Can't have one without the other, at least in my case that's how a story grows.

How has a your love for reading influenced your career as a writer?

I read the usual childhood classics, and even worked off and on with writing books as I read Mary Stewart and Nora Lofts, but my real desire to become a serious writer came when I read Mary Higgins Clark's book Where Are the Children. I was riveted from page one. And I so wanted to write like her. I tried writing several romantic suspense books, even won some awards, yet something was lacking. I decided to refocus and started reading a lot of young adult novels. I found I really enjoyed the freedom in this genre and started writing YA books...and the rest is history..

What books have you read recently or as a child that you would recommend to our blog readers today? Espeically, if they enjoyed The Forgotten Warrior and want something else to read that is similar.

I avoid reading books similar to mine (Book of Mormon time travels) to keep my writing fresh, but your readers might want to try Chris Heimerdinger's Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series. If you are looking for young adult books, check out the library's list of Newberry Medal winners. Other authors I enjoy are Karen Hesse, Shannon Hale, Jessica Day George, James Dashner, and J. Scott Savage.

Tell us about the next book you having coming out after The Forgotten Warrior, and any other exciting projects we should know about.

This fall I have a Christmas book titled An Angel on Main Street due to be released in October. It's a story set in the 1950s about an eleven-year-old boy named Micah Conners. His father was killed in the Korean war and he, his mother and sick little sister have just moved into a new town. A nativity begins to appear in the center of town and no one knows who is building it. His little sister believes when the baby Jesus arrives He will make her better. Micah fears his sister doesn't have that much time, so he makes it his quest to find the nativity builder and bring the Jesus doll to her. This is a story that I've worked on for many years. I'd sent it out, receive rejections, look at the comments and work on the book some more. I guess I finally got it right!As for book two of The Forgotten Warrior it has been written and its fate rests in the hands of my publisher. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'd really like my fans to see how Syd and Tarik's story is resolved.

Kathi's Website:

Kathi's blog:

Friday, May 8, 2009


So, I'm moving to Texas this week. Tomorrow the hubby and I are filling up the u-haul and getting on out of Utah. So, I really don't know how this is going to affect my blogging. I like to post once a week on fridays...sometimes saturdays. I'll try to keep that up but who knows when I will get working internet again.

You'll notice that I added my bio--finally! I've been trying to get around to it since I changed the site layout. I've also got a review policy up. In other news in regards to new content. I'm hoping to do author interviews once a month from now on. My goal is to post them mid-month.

So, if I disappear off the face of'll know I'm stuck in some internetless hole in Texas.

See ya around.

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

*This Review contains spoilers for previous book City of Ember

When Lina and Doon find the way out of Ember they leave a message behind for the rest of the city. The land is open and green, and best of all a huge light shines down from the sky. Soon the people of Ember start coming up out of the cave, and joining Lina and Doon. Now they must figure out how to survive in a new world.

The People of Ember find the little village Sparks, at first the people there are friendly and helpful. The People of Sparks become more and more unfriendly, as they realize just how hard it will be to take care of four hundred more people. The food stores that they worked many years to build up and save are depleting at a rapid rate. As the people of Ember and Sparks interact with one another they find differences and conflicts that lead to name calling, pranks, and open hostilities. Lina and Doon need to discover a way to keep the people of Ember and Sparks from spiraling into violence.

No doubt about it this is a book with a message to share. I think for that reason some people will dislike it. I personally think the message was portrayed very realistically. The people of Ember and Sparks had some real problems with each other, and things kept on getting worse. So, the characters have to figure out a new way of interacting and thinking about people. The quote below shows how Lina and Doon are trying to process some advice that Lina received.

“Instead of getting back at the other side with something just as bad as they did to you—or something worse—you do something good. Or at least you keep yourself from doing something bad.” [Lina] took another bite of the apple. “I think that’s it. One bad thing after another leads to worse things. So you do a good thing, and that turns it around.”

Doon sighed. “That’s not very helpful,” he said. “How are we supposed to do something good for these people who have done so many bad things to us? Why would we even want to?”

“Well that’s it,” said Lina, wiping apple juice off her chin. “You don’t want to, but you do anyway. That’s what makes it hard. Maddy said it was very hard. It’s much harder to be good than bad, she said.”

I also really like how the author shows her younger characters in leadership positions. That was also a really interesting dynamic in the book. Doon’s temper was played down a little bit in this book. I felt like he had more of a temper problem in the first book, but maybe he had grown up a bit more. Yet that would have been interesting to play upon more in this book that was all about exploring and resolving conflict. Overall, I thought this was an excellent book. It had a good believable story, strong characters, and would be a great spring board for discussions with book clubs or kids about important topics. In fact, I liked this book better than fist book, The City of Ember.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Lina Mayfleet has waited for Assignment day since she was little. When each child turns twelve they get assigned a new job. She really hopes that she get assigned to become a messenger so she can run around the streets and deliver notes to the citizens of Ember. Instead she picks out an assignment to work in the pipeworks deep under the ground. She is excited that Doon, one of her classmates who picked messenger, offers to trade jobs with her. Doon wants to go see the strong river that runs through the underground and keeps generator going. Blackouts have occurred more frequently now then they have in the past, and he wants to learn how to fix the city before it breaks down permanently, and Ember is left in darkness forever. Then Lina finds the fragment of an ancient parchment and they discover that there may be another way to save Ember from darkness. If they can decipher the parchment they can find the doorway that leads out of Ember and into a new world.

I always really liked these types of stories when I was young, and it was so much fun to read Ember because it reminded me of my adventurous imaginings when I was small. Both Lina and Doon are interesting characters, and they make a dynamic team as they work together with the goal to save Ember. They don’t have it easy along the way, as they have to face an angry mayor, blackouts, and their own doubts about the future. The fun part of this mystery is that when the story ends a new beginning has started. I was startled that the book seemed so simplistic when I read the first chapter. I thought the book was YA and not Middle Grade, but I quickly got over my surprise and kept reading. When I finished the book I instantly wanted to know what happened in the sequel. So, I ran to the library the next day to pick it up. My husband got addicted to this book too! Score! (It is fun to addict the husband to new series.) I would recommend!

The book has recently been made into a movie! View details here: