My novel, SIX FEET BELOW ZERO, is a fictional story about a family. However, there were key memories and/or images that helped me along as I wrote. One was the seahorse birdbath from my husband’s grandmother’s home that now sits on our property. Another was a piece of yard art, “When Pigs Fly.” Another was the image of a heavy metal gator band that inspired the one that welcomes visitors to Great Grammy’s home in the book. I saw the photo online and thought, “Great Grammy would have loved that!”
I was going through old photos and came across some that I took of our favorite trees on my husband’s grandmother’s property; the person and place that inspired SIX FEET BELOW ZERO. The real “Great Grammy” would sling rope over a branch of a tree and fashion a swing for our children’s visits (if you look carefully you can see one of the swings she made!). She’d scavenge garage sales for games, books, puzzles, toys, bikes, pogo-sticks, stilts, and scooters—whatever she could fit in her trunk. She’d test drive everything once she got home, even into her 90s! She’d put cots in the “Little House” where my husband and his siblings would “camp out” when they were young. And her garage held so many treasures (including the car that she drove till just before she died at the age of 94!) Anyway, looking at these photos sure brings back memories.
Big news! Recorded Books will produce SIX FEET BELOW ZERO as an audio book. It will be simultaneously released with the hardcover on April 13, 2021. Stay tuned for updates!
Lookie! Lookie! SIX FEET BELOW ZERO among Holiday House titles listed on Publishers Weekly Spring 2021 Preview List:
Holiday House says “cheese” for Amira’s Picture Day by Reem Faruqi, illus. by Fahmida Azim, in which Amira can’t wait to stay home from school to celebrate Eid, but doesn’t want to miss school picture day; Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado, introducing an aspiring writer who is smart, funny, Puerto Rican, and fat, a lot of things her mostly white Connecticut suburb frowns on; Go Be Wonderful! by Donna Gephart, illus. by Francesca Chessa, featuring parents, family, and neighbors rallying around Daisy as she starts school; Houdini and Me by Dan Gutman, following 11-year-old Harry, who lives in Harry Houdini’s old New York City home and receives a text from someone claiming to be the great magician offering to take him back in time to experience Houdini’s tricks for himself; and Six Feet Below Zero by Ena Jones, about two siblings who must pretend their great grandmother is still alive until they get her will into the right hands.
See the Publishers Weekly full preview list of children’s books coming spring 2021 HERE:
The cover for SIX FEET BELOW ZERO is official!
In SIX FEET BELOW ZERO, 12-year-old Rosie and her younger brother, Baker, must honor their great-grandmother’s final wishes by pretending she’s still alive until they can find her will and locate their dear Aunt Tilly—the only person who can save them and their home from the horrible Grim Hesper. SIX FEET BELOW ZERO will be released by Holiday House, spring 2021.
A review at Sally’s Bookshelf! Sue Heavenrich calls CLAYTON STONE, FACING OFF an election season “must read!”
“Just in time for this year’s elections: a book of political intrigue, dirty tricks and lacrosse.”
And a new SERIES DISCUSSION GUIDE courtesy of Holiday House!
Mindy Alyse Weiss recently interviewed me for the From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors website!
Read the interview here, and don’t forget to hang around and explore; it’s a fabulous website for anyone who loves middle-grade lit!
A Kirkus Review for CLAYTON STONE, FACING OFF!
” . . .what makes this series so special is that it also has heart. . . . The layered plot and fast-paced action make for a quick read that will be especially appealing to middle-grade boys who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. Politics and espionage combine for a great read. (Thriller. 8-12)“
The cover for CLAYTON STONE, FACING OFF is official!
Middle-school spy Clayton Stone is back in business, this time going undercover to protect the President’s son in the page-turning sequel to Clayton Stone, At Your Service.
A Booklist review!
“Meet Clayton Stone: average seventh-grade student, above-average lacrosse player. . . recruited to help foil an organized group of criminals kidnapping wealthy moms and children from upscale malls. Soon his life is full of missions and gadgets and more secrets than he can keep up with . . . this book combines family and school drama with Nancy Drew–style precocious sleuthing . . . most will recognize his conflicts as he tries to incorporate the responsibilities of his new secret life with his responsibilities to his team and friends. Hand to readers who loved Stuart Gibbs’ Spy School series.”
A Kirkus review!
“ . . . there are plenty of cool gadgets and action-packed predicaments to keep middle-grade readers entertained. However, what really makes this take on the kid-turned-spy story special is that it has a heart … Clayton’s endearing senses of loyalty to and responsibility for both family and friends is the undercurrent that gives this story depth and sets it apart from the rest. (Thriller. 8-12)”
CLAYTON STONE, AT YOUR SERVICE is listed by Publishers Weekly among the “Can’t Miss Kids’ Galleys” at Book Expo America 2015.