Friday, April 12, 2013

Blog Tour/All About Middle Grade Interview: Claire M. Caterer (author of The Key and the Flame)

Today, I am excited to host Claire M. Caterer, debut author of The Key and the Flame, as one of the stops for her blog tour and as a guest for the All About Middle Grade Challenge. Hope y'all will enjoy her awesome answers.

About the author:

Claire M. Caterer was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City. A writer from the age of five, Claire has published fiction in Woman’s World magazine as well as in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines. She holds a degree in French from the University of Kansas and spent several years working in New York publishing. Today she is back in the Kansas City metro area, where she writes full time and shares her home with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a host of imaginary friends. The Key & the Flame is her first novel.

You can haunt Claire M. Caterer at-
website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


1. To start things off, Claire, in fourteen words could you tell potential readers a little about The Key & the Flame?

Holly Shepard unlocks a fantastical mythical kingdom as well as the magic within herself.

2. I've always loved books where the main character is given something that opens up a “door” to adventure. What made you want to use that method to introduce Holly to the kingdom of Anglielle?

Those are my favorite kinds of stories. Even in our everyday world, doors are magical. Think about your first day of school, when you opened the door to your classroom. Or when you opened the door to greet your first date. Holly opens the door not only to Anglielle but to greater possibilities within herself, and there’s nothing more breathtaking than that.

3. Adventure-seeking characters are always fun to read about, but do you think Holly has what it takes to be an adventuress? Why?

Holly certainly wants adventure, and that’s the first step. But it doesn’t come as easily to her as she expects. Still, she is courageous, smart, and persistent—three qualities that are essential for an adventuress. Claire, I hear that you're a fan of the show Buffy, so, my question to you is what makes this show so good that people are still talking about long after it ended?

First of all, Buffy is incredibly well written. The dialogue is snappy, and the show balances well between action and character development. But more than that, the story touches on universal themes: growing up; learning your strengths; learning who to trust, and finding out that you can’t go it alone, even if you’re in charge. Include complex characters that the viewer cares deeply about, and people will talk about it forever.

5. If you could walk through a door that opened straight into any fictional world, which would you choose to explore? Why?

I would go to Narnia in a heartbeat. The Chronicles were my favorite books as a kid, and I longed to go there.

6. Sometimes, I just cannot resist asking one of the most dreaded questions (at least one that book lovers hate). Two books that have shaped you as a reader? Why?

It’s going to sound weird, but one is the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. When I read it in high school, my teacher made me dig deeper into the text and think longer about it than anyone else ever had. He changed the way I read books.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien also influenced my reading. It led me to The Lord of the Rings and acted as a bridge to the world of the adult novel. I was happy to learn that I could read grown-up books that still had magic in them.

7. If you could choose any movie soundtrack to be the soundtrack of your life, which would you choose? Why?

The other day I watched You’ve Got Mail for the hundredth time and I thought, Yeah, that’s my life’s soundtrack—tripping around New York City, going to bookstores, and having Harry Connick Jr. singing to me. Okay, that’s not exactly my life’s soundtrack, but I always like to think of it that way.

8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day. Who do you choose? 

I’d have to go with Buffy. Not only would she defeat the robots, she could give me hair and fashion advice when it was all over.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?

It’s a little back bedroom crowded with books and files. I love it because it’s above the main story of our house and it has two windows that let in a lot of sun. Windows are essential if you need to daydream.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us? 

Right now my editor and I are working on revisions to the second book in The Key & the Flame series, tentatively scheduled to be published in summer 2014. I’m also just getting started on the third book. There are five installments altogether, so I’ll be at this awhile.

Thank you so much for stopping by Claire. Very excited to read The Key and the Flame and to share it with one lucky winner. I've only made it through The Fellowship of the Ring so far, but cannot what to read the rest of LoTR and the Hobbit one day.

The Key and the Flame (The Key and the Flame, 1) by Claire M. Caterer, April 1, 2013. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Eleven-year-old Holly Shepard wants nothing more than to seek adventure outside of her humdrum American life. She gets her chance at last when her family travels to England and Holly receives an unusual gift: an iron key that unlocks a passage to the dangerous kingdom of Anglielle, where magic is outlawed and those who practice magic are hunted. When her friend Everett and brother Ben are captured by Anglielle’s ruthless king, Holly must rescue them. But that means finding—and using—the magic within herself and learning which magical allies she can trust. The Key & the Flame is the first in a brand-new fantasy adventure series for ages 8 and up.

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