You had a full career as a middle-school teacher. Was it a natural progression to become an author of YA fiction? What can you tell us about your journey to publication? I always had a hard time going to sleep at night, so as a little girl I’d make up stories in my head to pass the time until I fell asleep. I started writing these stories down in junior high but never thought of writing as a career. After I became a middle school social studies and language arts teacher, I couldn’t find adventurous historical fiction to read in class to help my students relate to the time periods we studied, so I wrote my own to share with them. When a publisher bought my first book, The Bronze Dagger, a middle-grade novel about a 13-year-old boy in ancient Babylon, I began to write more. When I retired, I pursued writing full time.
What is your favorite aspect of writing? My favorite aspect of writing is sharing adventurous historical fiction stories with young readers and getting them excited about history.
What do you do to prepare for writing? Since I write historical fiction, I do a lot of research. I also visit places I write about, if possible. I continually attend writer’s conferences and read books about writing to improve my craft.
You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do? I wish I was still young enough to teach in the classroom, but time moves on! I am so thankful for the young, dedicated teachers who give their all for today’s students.
What is your next project? I’m finalizing edits for a novel coming out in September 2022, Underground Scouts. This YA historical novel tells the story of six teen Scouts and Girl Guides who join forces with the Polish underground army in 1944 to oust the Germans from Warsaw. I plan to expand this into a three-novel series, following these Scouts through the Cold War (Underground Spies) and the Glasnot era (Spy Scouts). Beyond that, I hope to write a book about a Spanish character, Lorenzo de Zavala, first vice-president of the Republic of Texas.
Where can folks find you on the web? I love connecting with readers. Here are some of my social media links:
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarieSontag
Google Scholar: tinyurl.com/2jmkj6p7
Book Blurb: Join sixteen-year-old Daniel Whitcomb as he juggles a growing relationship with Virginia Reed, one of the survivors of the Donner Party, helps his Miwok friend learn how to read and write, and manages the account ledgers for his guardian, Jim Savage at his trading posts in the California gold fields.
Is Jim correct when he says, You can't possess what you can't protect? Does that justify fighting the Yosemites after they attack Jim's posts, or the Mariposa Battalion's entrance into Yosemite to rout out the Ahwahneechee? And will Daniel ever make it back to Illinois to solve the mystery of his parents' deaths?
Thank you, Marie, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.
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