If you’ve ever secretly imagined that you were a pirate while tracing your metal detector across the sand at the beach, or pretended that life and death were in the balance while you eagerly went diving for bright, neon rings at the bottom of your neighborhood swimming pool, then we’ve got a new game for you: geocaching!
Here to tell you more about the writing process and this treasure hunting game at the center of her new book, Hide and Seek, is Peachtree Publishers’ author, Katy Grant. Be sure to read to the end to find out how to win a signed copy of her new book!
1. How did you get the idea for Hide and Seek? What made you want to write this book?
Two things, really. Ever since my family and I had tried geocaching, I kept thinking it would make a great backdrop for an adolescent novel. You’re outdoors, using a GPS, looking for “hidden treasure” that no one else knows about. That was the first inspiration.
The second was when my family and I spent a long weekend in the White Mountains of Arizona. We did a few geocaches, one quite late in the afternoon in a remote area. I realized we hadn’t brought along flashlights. We were concerned about being out in the wilderness after dark, but fortunately we made it back to our car without incident. That weekend we saw elk, deer, and
I came home and could not stop thinking about writing a novel featuring geocaching. But it’s such a benign activity. There’s no danger involved, just fun, so what would the conflict be? Then I got the idea that the protagonist would find mysterious messages in the cache. And it just started falling into place. Quite a few events from that weekend made their way into the novel.
2. Do you have a writing system or routine to help you focus on your writing?
I think a lot of writers have a routine, and we tend to be rather fussy about it to the point that it is almost a ritual. I like to do my initial note taking, outlining, and early drafting in longhand. I have a certain type of legal pad with a spiral binding that I like, and my pens are a certain brand, and they must be black ink. Then I start basically journaling, writing notes to myself: “I have an idea for a book about geocaching. I think the protagonist is a boy about 13 or 14. Don’t know his name yet but . . . .” And I just write everything I know at that point about the idea. Lots of times in the beginning, there’s a flood of ideas, and it’s very exciting and invigorating—like having a good workout when you haven’t exercised in a while. By the time I’m ready to begin actually writing a chapter, I usually switch to the computer and start composing there. But whenever I get stuck or blocked, I’ll go back to the legal pad and just talk myself through it on paper. This particular novel came quite easily for me. I think I began writing in September and I had a complete draft by December.
3. A lot of the readers of our blog are interested in the process that goes into editing a book. Can you explain a little about what the editor/author relationship is like and your editorial process?
I received that series for my tenth birthday, and three weeks later my mother died. I was reading those books at the time of her death, and while that may sound terribly sad, the books were such a wonderful escape. They got me through those very dark days of my childhood. I still own the same copies of those books, and every now and then I’ll take one off the shelf, open it at random, and start reading.
Thanks to Katy for the great interview. This book has been great to read all through the editorial process.
And now for a GIVEAWAY! Since the Annual American Library Association Conference is this week, we’ve decided to give away TEN SIGNED COPIES of Hide and Seek to our blog readers and attendees of ALA. Fill out the form below to enter! Be sure to include your e-mail address at the end of your response!