Hey guys! So, I’ve been a little busy and haven’t been able to write the review for the book I just finished, That Ghoul Ava and the Queen of Zombies, but I will have it ready in a few days. I promise! In the meantime, I have an interview with an amazing author, Angella Graff who is the lady behind the book, Alexandra Fry, Private Eye. There’s also a promo post following the interview where Angella talks about her book and the Tucson Alliance for Autism. Hope you enjoy!
Hi Angella! Welcome to That Artsy Girl’s Book Blog. I’m so glad to have your here. 🙂 Why don’t you give us a little intro about yourself?
Hi! Thanks for having me, I really appreciate it. Well I’m a pretty simple person. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have three gorgeous kids. I work as an editor for a publishing house by day, and when I’m not doing stuff with the kids, I’m usually writing (or at Zumba!) or spending the evenings digging away in my garden. Nothing extraordinary, but I definitely feel like I hit the ground running from the moment I wake up!
Your book, Alexandra Fry: Private Eye sounds like a supercool book. Tell us what the book is about.
Well Alexandra Fry, Private Eye is a young adult series about a girl, Alexandra, who has a very unique gift. She can see ghosts. The ghosts who visit her are some of history’s most famous, and they come to her for help in finding items that used to belong to them that have been stolen. She gets into a lot of sticky situations trying to recover these items, but with the help of her friends Penelope and Jack, they get the job done.
Alexandra is your typical twelve-year-old girl dealing with Middle School, too. She experiences things like bullies and embarrassing moments, and her first sort-of crush. Her best friend Penelope is pretty quirky, and Jack has his own, very interesting secrets.
Fifty percent of the book’s proceeds are also going to my local Autism Alliance, so every purchase of the book is a donation.
What inspired you to write the story? Was it a sudden spark or something that has been on your mind for sometime?
Actually my ten-year-old daughter inspired me. She was joking around, playing pretend, and made up a rhyming name for her pretend character. It was something like Melanie Proctor, Future Doctor, or something, and I started brainstorming on what would be catchy and cute. Then my daughter and I started coming up with plot ideas on what kids would like to read, and that’s how Alexandra was born.
Who is the lead character of your book modeled upon?
She’s a compilation of many things, really. I draw a lot of her experiences from my own from middle school, and I try and take inspiration from my daughter and her friends, watching them interact with each other, paying attention to the trends they like and don’t like. I like to think Alexandra is her own, very unique person, but my kids are definitely in there as well.
What is the very first story you wrote and when did you write it?
The first story I wrote was this 700 page epic fantasy about dragons when I was about sixteen. That’s not counting a lot of the short stories I had been writing since I was in first grade. I’d always wanted to be a writer, so trying to track down my first ever is tough.
What is your artistic muse?
Oh that depends because my muses are all over the place. I’m three books in to an Urban Fantasy series for adults, also with a bit of detective mystery and mythology thrown in there, so it really depends. A lot of time a phrase, sentence, song lyric, almost anything, will spark my interest and I’ll just sit down and write for hours.
Favorite authors and books?
Oh this is always such a tough question for me because I don’t read a lot of fiction books. I have a degree in Medieval Theology, so I read a lot of theology theory books. My favorite is Elaine Pagels, who wrote the Gnostic Gospels, one of my favorite.
I will give a shout out to Phillip Hall, who wrote Memories of the Dead, which was the first “vampire” book I’ve read in years that I actually enjoyed.
To you, what is the best thing about writing?
For me, writing is so many things. It’s a way to unwind after a hard day, it’s a creative outlet, and sometimes it’s a way to escape. Writing for me is like reading for a lot of other people, where I can just get lost in another world, and sometimes I forget where I’m at until one of the kids comes up to me and drags me out of it.
What do you do when you don’t write?
Oh a ton of things. Right now since it’s summer, I spend a lot of the day trying to entertain my three kids who are on their break, which isn’t easy since where we live it’s boiling hot outside. I edit during the day, so I spend a lot of hours in other people’s manuscripts. In the evenings I’m usually out in my garden, and three or four nights a week I do Yoga and Zumba just to throw in some “me” time. Late nights the hubby and I try and spend an hour or two together after the kids are asleep, but it always feels like there’s not enough time in the day. Sometimes I wonder how I actually find time for writing!
You mentioned that half the proceeds from the sales of your book will go to your local Autism Alliance. What made you take this decision?
Well truthfully, it was always something I wanted to do. I moved to Tucson in 2004 when my son was three. He’d been at several doctors and we’d spent over a year trying to give him a proper diagnosis. His pre-K teacher was the first person to notice some of his symptoms, and once he was diagnosed, the Tucson Alliance for Autism was invaluable in their help when it came to parenting techniques, coping mechanism, and peer therapy for him. The information I got there really helped relieve a lot of the stress caused by trying to parent an Autistic child without knowing what steps to take.
He’s an amazing kid, at the top of his grade and with the coping skills he’s learned from the Autism Alliance, he’s been able to be more social, and even joined the band this year which is something I never thought he’d do! I felt like giving back to the Autism Alliance was the least I could do for them.
If your book was turned into a movie, who do you think would be apt choices to play the lead characters?
Oh gosh that’s also a tough one. I hadn’t even thought about it that far, which is probably terrible. I’m sure if I gave this question to my daughter, though, she’d have the entire cast-list written out in five minutes!
And finally, what is the one thing that you would change in the world if you could?
In all honesty, I think that people are way too focused on forcing other people live up to other’s values. I believe strongly in freedom of choice, as long as the choice you’re making doesn’t take away the choice from another person, and doesn’t cause them harm. If more people participated in a live and let live philosophy, I think there would be a lot more peace and tolerance in the world, leading to happier, and more productive people.
Alexandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion’s Heart will be free on Amazon.com/Amazon.Co.UK starting June 26th and June 27th .
As 50% of the proceeds are being donated to autism, the free books will not count toward any donations. If you download this book for free and enjoy it, and want to make a donation, please do so here at http://angellagraffbooks.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-tucson-alliance-for-autism/
$1.00USD will go toward the donations for the Autism Alliance.
Alexandra Fry is just your average seventh-grader. Or is she? Starting a new school, Alexandra hopes to leave her old life, and old reputation of “Loopy Lexi” behind. But it’s not so easy when Alexandra is the kind of girl who sees ghosts. And not just any ghosts, but history’s most famous. They come to her to solve mysteries, when things from their past life fall into the wrong hands.
Desperate to be normal and make some friends, Alexandra is devastated to be visited by none other than Queen Elizabeth the First during a lesson in school. But Queen Elizabeth doesn’t just have your average, run of the mill problem. The thing that was stolen was a locket– a cursed locket, and if it’s not returned to the museum, the entire world will be in danger. It’s up to Alexandra and her new friends Penelope and Jack, to find out who took the locket and why. Ducking security guards, breaking and entering, and finding out someone isn’t who they said they were is just your average day for this seventh grade girl.
Fifty percent of the proceeds for Alexandra Fry, Private Eye series will be donated to the Tucson Alliance for Autism. The Tucson Alliance for Autism is a wonderful organization helping parents and kids with all levels and types of autism. They provide services, counseling and peer support. My twelve-year-old son is Autistic, and when he was younger, I wasn’t sure what to do. But the Tucson Alliance for Autism provided me with so much material and support that my son is now a flourishing sixth-grader with friends, activities, and he’s even joined the band at his new middle school– something I thought he would never do. I’m thrilled and excited to help give-back to my community and this wonderful organization that has helped so many people here in Arizona.
Thank you in advance for your purchases and support of this amazing cause, and for any information please visit their website at www.tucsonallianceforautism.org
To make a flat donation to the Tucson Alliance for autism click here.