Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Interview With Rhonda Hayter

I hope you have enjoyed the week of Witchy Worries so far! Today we have an interview with the author, Rhonda Hayter.

Tell us about the book

It’s a middle-grade novel about a fifth-grade girl who has all the same problems as any girl with a strict teacher, too much homework and a little brother who can make life difficult. But Abbie and her family all happen to be witches and so there are a lot of magical complications to her life too. And because there are certain shenanigans involving time travel, she gets to meet someone very famous from the past. So although the book is funny, I’ve snuck in a little education as well.

What was the inspiration for The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams?

When my younger son was little, he was the most cherubic, adorable, curly-headed little sweetheart you’ve ever met...except when he wasn’t. He had a very hard time managing big feelings and he’d just melt down so that you’d hardly even recognize him. During one of these major tempests, I turned to my poor stressed husband and said, “My God. It’s like he turns into a werewolf.” And that gave me the idea for a little boy who really did turn into a werewolf when he couldn’t manage his anger. And for a sister who might have to cope with it. That was really the seed for the whole book. Oh, my son eventually grew out of the meltdowns I’m happy to say.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There’s a scene when Abbie does something she shouldn’t do and she has to face her parents when they find out. And what she learns is that even if she makes poor decisions, they’re still on her side. It doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for her misbehavior, it just means that they love, support and understand her no matter what. It’s how I try to parent my own kids and I’m kind of embarrassed to say I wept when I wrote it and I tear up every time I read it.

You did a great job capturing the spunk, curiosity & energy of a 5th grader. How hard it was to get back into a 10 yr olds frame of mind? (It's so long ago for me!)

It’s plenty long ago for me too, believe me. But I have to confess I was able to cheat because at the time I first wrote it, I had a fifth-grader coming home telling me about what was going on at school, talking a mile a minute and sharing fifth-grade concerns with me.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

Ah but I do travel in time—in books. And I love going back to Jane Austen’s time, and Charles Dickens...with all that elaborate, beautiful language. I’ve been trying to turn my kids onto them...but they ain’t havin’ it. Not yet anyway.

What are you working on next? Are there any plans to make this into a series?

Well I have very big plans for it. I’m on revisions for the second one, in which Abbie encounters Harriet Tubman and I’ve made a good start on the third, in which Susan B Anthony drops by. No contracts are signed yet though, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

(Don't forget there's a chance to win a signed copy - click here to enter!)
Cross-posted at: He Followed Me Home on 14 April 2010.


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