I would like to introduce you to the third interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Sara Stinson.
Question: Hi, Sara! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
Answer: I had a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist for 25 years. Books were always a big part of my therapy classes and I have always loved to read. When I retired, my own children encouraged me to write. I have been seriously writing since 2009.
Question: When I first met you, it was on Authonomy, an online writer’s community run by HarperCollins. How did you come across the website? What was your experience like?
Answer: I was reasearching agents and came across the site. I joined in June of 2012. I have had a wonderful experience with Authonomy. Authors read a sample of your book and critique on it. They help you edit and prepare your book for submission.
I am so excited! Finger Bones hit number 15 this week! Books that reach 1-5 places are reviewed by HarperCollins.
Question: Can you tell us a bit about your book? What inspired you to write it? Where did your characters come from? How did you come up with the title?
Answer: In our small town there lived an African-American man named Charlie Porter. He was born a slave and died a free man. He’s a known icon in our town. Everyone knew and loved him. He lived in a small cabin just inside the city limits. He walked to town each day carrying a large sack. I noticed a picture of him one night in a local restaurant. When I saw it, my mind started churning.
I reasearched for weeks. I decided on Bridgeville because it was the first name of our town. I knew I wanted two girls and a boy to help Finger Bones hunt ghosts. The three are best friends and are in the same fourth-grade classroom. I searched through many southern names before deciding on their names, which are Wendy Dee Winkelmann, Claire Grace Clark, and Henry T. Bartlett.
You have to read the book to learn how the title came about.
Question: Where did you get your book cover? What kind of feedback have you received on it?
Answer: My book cover was created by Bradley Wind. I have had many complements on the cover. I feel it’s perfect for middle-grade to young adult. The illustration covers the theme and covers the two main characters.
Question: How does it feel to be a published author? How are you dealing with marketing and advertising? You do book readings in schools, don’t you? Could you tell us about that? Do the children ever draw pictures your characters, or ask you to write a sequel?
Answer: There are many hours and a lot of dedication invested in writing a book. Seeing Finger Bones in print and sharing my story is a wonderful feeling. Finger Bones can be bought on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles in paperback.
I have created several sites on the internet to help with advertising. I have done several things for marketing. Several stores have stocked my books on their shelves. I do this on a consignment contract. I have donated two books to my local library. The librarian and I are going to have a one day workshop this summer on my book for the children in the town. I have made bookmarkers for schools and libraires also.
Yes, I read in the schools. It’s fun and the kids enjoy it. After I retired, I started substituting. Many of the students and teachers know me and know I write. From kindergarten to the highschool grades, students are constantly asking me questions about the old man who carries the stick and the red, burlap bag. Even the older students have participated in the fun. Several of the computer classes have created powerpoints on Finger Bones.
Finger Bones has recently been recommended for Accelerated Reader. This program is popular in our area. Students read books and take tests on the books. It’s a computer software that is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practices.
Question: Are you working on another book? Can you tell us about that?
Answer: I am working on the second book to Finger Bones. This one has a fun new character in it. He’s a ghost dog! His name is Max! I am going to keep the first book as Finger Bones. The second book will have The Finger Bones Series on it. I do not have an official name yet.
Question: Are there any books or writers who have especially influenced your writing?
Answer: A young author named Jacqueline West has been one of my mentors. I had the privelege of having her as my guest author on my website. She has a wonderful series! The Books of Elsewhere would be a wonderful collection on your shelf!
Question: Of everything you’ve ever written, whether it’s to be published or not, what’s your favorite piece or scene?
Answer: This is a hard one. I think I would have to choose the scene where Wendy Dee Winkelmann is chosen by
the magical stick to be the next ghost hunter. The events which are happening around her are so awesome!
Question: What books are you currently reading?
Answer: I have just completed a short story by Edgar Allen Poe. I had not read it in years. I am completing The Super Spies Series by Lisa Orchard. I am also reading Sir Lawrence Dies by Christopher Abbott.
Question: Please list any websi.tes or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!
https://sarastinson.com (This site is about the author and the book. There is a fun fan page on here!)
https://stinsonsara.wordpress.com (This is my blog. My platform is encouraging students to read.)