The latest Indie Debuter to join us is children's author Yolanda Ridge. Below I've asked her a few questions to familiarize you with her book.
Trouble in the Trees (Orca Books) is a sweet read with a positive message and a strong female protagonist.
Eleven-year-old Bree is happiest when she's climbing the trees at Cedar Grove, her urban townhouse complex. She's the best climber around, even better than an older boy, Tyler, who drives her crazy with his competitiveness. When Ethan, a younger boy, falls from a tree and hurts his elbow, the neighborhood council bans all tree-climbing in Cedar Grove. If Bree chooses to ignore the bylaw, her family could be kicked out of their home, so she vows to change the rule instead. After giving a presentation to the neighborhood council, she realizes this is not a battle she can win on her own, but rallying the Cedar Grove troops is more difficult than she imagined.
When did you realize you wanted to become a children's author?
My maternity leave was coming to an end and I was searching desperately for child care without much luck. I had started to consider staying home with my sons but I was worried I might go insane if I didn’t find something besides twins to occupy my brain. The solution hit me when I was up one night with the rhythm of a picture book stuck in my head… I would write fiction for kids! I had no idea what kind of challenge I was taking on but it felt really good to reignite my passion for creative writing after over a decade in the field of academic and scientific writing.
Tell our readers the inspiration behind this story.
When my friend, Claire, had tree climbing banned in her townhouse complex in South Vancouver she put together a short power point presentation called “Tree Illegal”. Claire was 11 years old at the time and although she didn’t fight the bylaw, she gave me the premise for a book that I just had to write. It was my first attempt at novel length fiction – before that I’d been focused on poetry and picture books.
What's one thing you've learned about the world of publishing during this process?
This is a tricky question because I’ve learned so much! It sounds easy – I woke up, decided to be a children’s writer, and voila I’m published! But it took 4 years of hard work; writing, reading, researching, networking, attending workshops and conferences, getting feedback, and writing some more. Even after my manuscript was accepted for publication there was a year of editing, proofreading, promoting, and waiting before the book was finally real. I guess that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned – it takes a long time to get a book published. It will be interesting to see how much that changes with the evolution of ebooks and print on demand.
What's next for you in terms of writing projects?
I just signed a contract with Orca for the sequel to Trouble in the Trees. Tentatively titled Road Block, it’s about Bree’s fight against the construction of a highway through her grandma’s farmland. It’s scheduled to come out in Spring 2012. After that I’m not sure…. stay tuned!Looking forward to it, Yolanda! I think you could have a whole activist series with our heroine.