Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July! + Interview with Jeff LaFerney, Author of Jumper

Hey everyone! Happy Independence Day! Are you going to see fireworks today? Have a barbecue? Mmm...I love BBQ parties.

Today we have a special guest.... *trumpet fanfare* 

A Walk on Words interviewed Jeff LaFerney, the author of Jumper. You can see my review of Jumper here.
Interview with Jeff:

1. Did you have to do a lot of research on biblical history when writing Jumper

A lot could mean a lot of things, Danielle, so I’m not sure. I was originally researching the Ark of the Covenant when I stumbled upon the Jewish mythology of the Staff of Moses which I found to be fascinating—and which I used in my story. The Biblical stories about the staff and the death of Moses were known to me, so I just double-checked to assure accuracy. The stuff about the Byzantine Church of Moses was easy to find as soon as I googled Mt. Nebo. So the answer? Maybe?

2. How long did it take you to write Jumper?

From the starting point of coming up with my original ideas until it was published and for sale was a process that took eleven months. The actual writing of the book was more like four months—four months from September through December when I was working full-time as a teacher. Revision and editing took probably another two months      before I was satisfied with the finished product.

3. Where do you like to write?

Danielle, I have the coolest writing room. I converted a bedroom into my office. It has a nice big window and a vaulted ceiling, so it’s bright and roomy. I have a huge desk—big enough to spread all sorts of things out on it. I have a couch and a couple of comfy chairs to relax and think in (okay…to nap on). It has a closet and two large bookshelves full of books to give me a proper environment. The walls are decorated like a man-cave with banners and pennants and McFarland sports figures. And there’s even a basketball hoop on the wall. I play music, look out my window, and generally love my writing space.

4. How did you come up with the idea of Teddy the grizzly bear? Now I want a pet grizzly bear :)

Honestly, this is a much more complicated question than you might think. One reason was because each time Cole moved Hannah to a different time period, she had contact with the King of Jordan who seemed to know her. I felt it would be more realistic and more like she and Cole were being manipulated by the angels if she ran into something else common each time as well. A second reason is I thought if Hannah had a pet, she would be more likable, but I figured her “pet” needed to help her too, and a ferocious grizzly bear had that potential. A third consideration was I wanted a comedic element to lighten the tension, and I wanted there to be something that Hannah and Cole had in common. A bear worked because it was so unusual that he cared about the two heroes—and a huge, scary pet who loved Hannah so much not only fit my story but my mountainous settings as well. Finally, the bear was the final motivation, the final impetus that propelled Hannah to her confrontation with the king. I wanted a “character” that readers would love and would believe that Hannah could love in such a short time. My grizzly fit all the criteria. 

5. Are there definite set in stone release dates for sequels?

The book is self-published, so I don’t have a publisher pushing me for sequels. I’ve managed to produce a book a year for four consecutive years, and though I’d like to get books published faster than that, having a full-time job makes it difficult to pull off. I would expect book two in my time-travelers series to be out in April or May of 2014.

6. As an English teacher, how do you make your class fun and interesting? My English class this year was not very interesting and was even sorta...boring. (Shhh don't tell my teacher)

Teaching isn’t what it used to be for more reasons than I can go into, but I try to keep my kids busy with a variety of activities each hour. I try to combine writing with our reading and I try to give the kids regular opportunities to write creatively--often with music. Being a good teacher has an awful lot more to do with relationships, with respect given and earned, and with an environment where the kids feel safe and comfortable, knowing their teacher expects a lot of them but believes in them and cares about them.

About the Author:

Jeff LaFerney has been a language arts teacher and coach for more than twenty years. He earned his English and teaching degrees from the University of Michigan-Flint and his master's degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Davison, Michigan. Torey and Teryn are their two children. Loving the Rain is his first novel. His second, Skeleton Key, is also available. His third, Bulletproof, was released on April 25th.

Find Jeff online:

Thanks Jeff! Have a FANTASTIC Fourth of July everyone!

~Dani & Steph

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...