Monday, March 15, 2021


Welcome, Marie. What has drawn you to writing for children? I taught middle school for thirteen years, and I love this age group. For one thing, they laugh at my jokes! I love making history come alive for them.

I know what you mean. I love making history come alive for adults through my historical novels. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? Trying to open the door and jump into my car as it rolled out of my driveway because I didn’t set the parking brake. (I failed).

When did you first discover that you were a writer? I first discovered (considered myself)  I was a writer at about age 11 when my mom gave me an old typewriter to help me write down stories I’d been scribbling on paper. I’ve been typing stories ever since.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I mostly prefer historical fiction, which is also what I love to write. I occasionally enjoy a good mystery, and I also enjoy nonfiction books about improving my spiritual and mental health, but I usually don’t stray much from historical fiction.

What other books have you written, whether published or not? I’ve written a book about recovery from childhood abuse titled When Love Is Not Perfect, published by Aglow Publications. I have a middle grade historical fiction trilogy about Ancient Mesopotamia. That series is called Ancient Elements. I also have a young adult historical fiction novel about the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in Poland fighting alongside the Underground during WWII.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? I start my day focusing on who God is in my life and submitting my plans and desires to Him. That usually involves prayer and reading Scripture. I also enjoy making puns which helps me laugh and not take life or myself too seriously!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family? Before I started first grade, I asked my mom what came after grade 8. She told me about high school. I asked what came after grade 12. She told me about college. I asked what came after college. She told me about degrees such as a masters or doctorate. I told her, “That’s what I want to do. I want to go as far as I can.” I recalled that conversation when, in 2007 I was conferred with the degree of a Ph.D. in education.

That is really cool. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? An eagle so I could fly and have a larger perspective of the world.

What is your favorite food? My favorite sweets are donuts, but I don’t know if you can really classify those as food! My favorite food would have to be steak.

Sweets are food, too. Is it hard to break into the children’s market? Not if you love kids, are willing to work hard, and constantly improve your craft. A good place to break into the children’s market is to write for kids’ magazines.

What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that? Work with kids – teach school, volunteer at schools, volunteer to work with a church youth group, or teach Sunday School. Read a lot of children’s books and magazines. Watch movies made for the age group for which you’d like to write. Learn all you can about the writing process, take classes, join writing groups, and find a good critique group.

All very good advice. What would you like to tell us about the featured book? In California Trail Discovered, readers join orphaned thirteen-year-old Daniel and his younger stepsister (fictional characters) as they travel to Oregon and California with their guardian, Jim Savage (a historical figure). All Daniel wants to do is get back to Illinois to find out who murdered his parents. He doesn’t want to travel the Oregon Trail with his guardian, Jim. He doesn't want twelve-year-old Virginia Reed, a member of the Donner Party, as a friend. And he certainly doesn't want anything bad to happen to his little sister. But, when confronted by both good and bad Indians, good and bad whites, he fears he won’t be able to protect Hannah on the long trek, much less return to Illinois and solve the mystery behind his parents’ mysterious deaths. Both the reader and Daniel wonder if he’ll ever find a real family again. Written for middle-grade students, the book also includes S.T.E.A.M. lesson plans and activities teachers or home-schoolers can use to help readers make science, technology, engineering, arts, and math connections with the historical fiction content.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Readers can find me on my:


Author Facebook Page:



Thank you, Marie, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me.

Readers, here are links to the book. - Paperback - Kindle

Hardback also available

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Kelli McKinney said...

This sounds like it has elements of everything I like - mystery and adventure wrapped in a historical setting! I can't wait to read it with my niece and nephew!

Marie Sontag said...

If you do, I’d love to hear their thoughts. Thanks for posting, Kelli!

Paula Peckham said...

Your stories all sound so interesting. Totally real. And I laughed at the story about jumping into the rolling car (or trying to). Paula Peckham

Sarah Taylor said...

This sounds like such a great book I know my grandchildren would love to hear me read this to them Thank you for the chance Sarah in Ohio.

Unknown said...

I love books that make history come to life for middle schoolers and me. I can't wait to read it!

traveler said...

This fascinating historical would be greatly enjoyed by my 4 grandchildren who are all avid readers and love learning about history.
Anne - NM.

Marie Sontag said...

Thanks, Paula. I appreciate that. And I can laugh about the car story now too - finally!

Marie Sontag said...

You bet, Sarah. It’s fun to share.

Marie Sontag said...

Me too. Historical fiction is my favorite thing to read - and I actually prefer most MG and YA books over adult ones!

Marie Sontag said...

Would love to hear how they like it if they get to read it!

petite said...

A captivating historical that is a real treasure to enjoy. Pearl from NM.

Marie Sontag said...

Aww, thanks, Pearl. I appreciate that!

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Marie Sontag said...

You bet, Sharon!

Jean Thrasher said...

I live in Illinois (Aurora) so that the reference to Illinois in your blog caught my eye.

Historical Fiction is and continues to be my favorite genre from my first “library truck” discovery about the wonders of times past and places unknown to me waiting inside those books.

Thank you, Marie, for your books. I find it remarkable that you add an extra section for teachers (or other participants) for STEAM learning (love that you make it STEAM (Art) Learning and not just STEM Learning.

Jean Thrasher

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I'm always eager to find new books for young people and this sounds like a book that I'd enjoy also!
Connie from Kentucky

Marie Sontag said...

Well, I secretly hope you win a book! I wish all who post here would! Thanks for your sweet comments.

Marie Sontag said...

If you do win the freebie, or purchase it n your own, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Andrea Rand said...

What a great interview! I would love to read the book It sounds very interesting and I love how historical fiction can really open your eyes to life in another time all while enjoying a good story! Andrea from Texas.

Marie Sontag said...

Good to meet you, Andrea from Texas! Thanks for commenting!

Marie Sontag said...

Thanks for commenting and taking a look at the interview, Andrea. “See” you soon!

Marie Sontag said...

Ann - did you see that you are the winner of a free book? Congrats! Be sure to follow Lena’s directions at to get your book!