Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Interview with juvenile fiction author Sherry Ellis

Today’s special guest is juvenile fiction author Sherry Ellis and we are chatting about Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure.

Sherry is sponsoring a tour-wide giveaway. She is giving away ten (10) autographed print copies of the book open to all. Be sure to enter using the form below. The giveaway ends at midnight on Oct. 17th. The full listing for her tour stops is at the bottom of this post.

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. 

Ellis has previously published Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China; Don’t Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Welcome, Sherry. Please tell us about your current release.
Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure is the second installment in the Bubba and Squirt’s Adventures series. The two young protagonists travel through the mysterious portal and find themselves at the ancient Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. They befriend archeologists who are unearthing priceless artifacts. But someone is stealing them. It’s their job to find out who. Thrown into the mix are characters from Mayan folklore who add an element of magic to the story.

What inspired you to write this book?
In 1998, I took a trip to Belize and saw Altun Ha. Since I found the place fascinating and wanted to teach kids about Mayan history and culture, it made sense to make this the setting for Bubba and Squirt’s second adventure.

Excerpt from Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure:
We climbed the steps and stood at the opening. Guess what we saw? A pyramid with no point on top, like the one from my dream. It was in the middle of a grassy field, and it had lots of steps. And do you know what else? Behind the pyramid was a jungle. A real one with palm trees and tropical plants. You wouldn’t believe the noise! I needed earplugs for all those bird chirps and bug sounds. I took a deep breath, and it smelled like mud puddles.
            “I think we’re in Mexico!”
            Squirt shrugged. “Maybe. I know we’re not in Egypt. Egyptian pyramids don’t look like that. Plus, we’re in a jungle, not a desert.”
            “Correctomundo, Captain Obvious. Come on. Let’s check it out!”
            I took off lickety-split to the pyramid and climbed the steps. But when I got to step number thirty-two, I had to take a break. Sweat leaked out of my forehead and dripped into my eyes. Sitting down, I looked around.
            I spotted another pyramid, but it was shorter than the one I was on, and it was covered with grass. Someone needed to get a lawnmower. A line of white steps went to the top.
            I looked down. Squirt was at the bottom.
            “Bubba wait!” she said.
            But I didn’t. I wanted to get to the top first. So I kept climbing. Those steep, narrow steps were tricky. A couple of times my feet slipped, and I almost fell.
            I finally made it, but boy was I thirsty! They should’ve put a drinking fountain at the top. Wishing for water, I sat down and waited for Squirt.
            She huffed and puffed. Sweat made her stringy, brown hair stick to her face. She stopped in the middle and looked up. “How many are there?”
            “Ninety-two.” I didn’t really know, but it sounded good. I’d lost track after forty-seven.
            Squirt frowned and continued climbing. When she reached the top, she grabbed her hair and lifted it off her neck. Then she let out a big breath and plopped down next to me.
            “About time, slow poke!”
            Squirt gave me a tummy jab.
            “Check out the other pyramid,” I said.
            Squirt nodded. “There are more stone things over there.”
            She was right. Crumbling gray buildings made of giant stone blocks were everywhere. They must’ve been part of an ancient city. I looked at the structure we’d come out of. Compared to the others, it was in good shape. The building looked like a stone rectangle with a door. Easy to spot whenever we had to go back.
            “What do you think we’re supposed to do here?” Squirt asked.
            “Beats me. But it would be nice if they had a burrito shop. I’m hungry.”
            Squirt rolled her eyes. “Seriously? We’re stuck in who-knows-where, and all you can think of is food?”
            “And something to drink.”
            “Yeah, I guess that would be nice.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the next three Bubba and Squirt adventures which will be a trilogy. I’ve completed the first draft of the first one and am almost done with the first draft of the second. That’ll leave one more. The working titles are Bubba and Squirt’s City of Bones (to the catecombs of Paris), Bubba and Squirt’s Shield of Athena (to Greece), and Bubba and Squirt’s Legend of the Lost Pearl (to Japan).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I don’t think I actually considered myself a writer until my first book, That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN was published. That was in 2005.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m a full-time writer. I am an Executive Director for an orchestra (the Georgia Philharmonic), which takes a lot of time, and I also teach and perform (violin, viola, and piano). Finding time to write is challenging. I usually go in spurts, which means it takes me a long time to crank out a story. I try to fit in a chapter a week, writing a few days a week, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write all my stories by hand in a notebook. I’ve tried to be a “normal” writer and sit at my keyboard, but it just doesn’t flow as easily. I literally have to use a pencil and paper.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut and opera singer. I used to love to sing when I was young. I’m not sure what happened, but even through I’m a professional musician, I don’t sing much. I am, however, still fascinated by space. I think going into space would be interesting, but I’m happy staying on planet Earth and just observing the photos from satellites and telescopes.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
There are activities and teacher guides that go with each of my Bubba and Squirt books. Visit  https://www.bubbaandsquirt.org/ for details.


Thanks for being here today!
Thank you for having me as a guest!

Feel free to visit Sherry at other stops during her tour:
Monday, Sept. 14 - Write With Fey - Guest Post
Alex J. Cavanaugh - Guest Post
Tuesday, Sept. 15 - Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews - Interview
Wednesday, Sept. 16 - The Story of a Writer - Review
Thursday, Sept. 17 - Book Reviews by Pat Garcia - Review
Friday, Sept. 18 - Booked Solid with Virginia C - Feature
Rockin' Book Reviews - Review & Top Ten List
Monday, Sept. 21 - Just Jemi - Review & Interview
Anna del C. Dye Official Page - Excerpt
Tuesday, Sept. 22 - Baroness' Book Trove - Review
Saturday, Sept. 26 - Storeybook Reviews - Excerpt
Monday, Sept. 28 - Elizabeth Spann Craig's Blog - Guest Post
Joylene Nowell Butler - Excerpt
Journaling Woman - Feature
Wednesday, Sept. 30 - Nesie's Place - Excerpt
Friday, Oct. 2 - Thoughts in Progress - Review
Monday, Oct. 5 - The Sexy Nerd "Revue" - Excerpt
Wednesday, Oct. 7 - Willow Writes and Reads - Review
Friday, Oct. 9 - Celticlady's Reviews - Excerpt
Monday, Oct. 12 - Literary Rambles - Interview
Wednesday, Oct. 14 - Writer's Gambit - Feature & Top 10 List  

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Mason Canyon said...

Lisa, great interview. It's always fun learning behind-the-scene tidbits about a story and the author. Thanks for being a part of Sherry's tour and sharing this.

Sherry, the activities and teacher guides are a great bonus.

Sherry Ellis said...

Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog! I really appreciate it.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is an exciting story for young and older readers. I'm so excited to hear about the books you're working on now. C ongratulations. Looking forward to reading them too. Have a super day.

sage said...

Congratulations, Sherry! Nice interview, Lisa.