Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Summer Reading Challenge

on June 12, 2012

Do you remember Summer Reading Programs at the library?  My childhood library was Kirkwood Public Library. Each summer, I would get a Passport to Reading and read through a large stack of books.

One of my favorite things to do was choose an author to read. I read all of the Madeline L’Engle Meet the Austin Books one year, and another year read all of the Dicey Tillerman Family books by Cynthia Voigt.  As an author, I can now see that my favorite authors were writing spin-off books. Spin-off books are not sequels. They don’t depend on a previous book to keep the story line going. Spin-off books are where an author takes minor characters and creates a story line around that minor character.

This summer, I am doing a lot of writing. It is time to replenish the writing store! Having two books and a romance novella all publish in one year has left my shelves empty! So, what am I writing? I am working on a chapter book series and I am revising my middle grade mystery, Granddad’s Toys. As a part of my writing, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself with a “Passport to Summer Reading” program.  I read a lot of chapter books while taking Anastia Suen’s Writing the Chapter Book Class this past winter, so I feel like I understand the structure of writing a chapter book.

However, I am a little murky on the plotting of a a children’s mystery book. In the Vermont College MFA program, we always had to read and write papers about our reading each month. This training taught me well, and when I set out to write a new book–I always read extensively in that genre. 

So, relying on my childhood summer reading program lessons, I have chosen a children’s middle grade mystery author to read. Nancy Springer.

Nancy is the author of the The Enola Holmes Series.

The first in the series is the The Case of the Missing Marques.

Blurb: When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!

I challenge you to a summer reading program. What author will you read? If you’re writing, why are you reading this author? What do you hope to learn from this author?  I’d love to hear what author you will read for your summer reading program, so leave me a comment in the comment section below.

Happy Summer Reading!

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