Yay June! A beautiful time of year for weather and for books! Dive into these brand new novels and get your summer started right!
Ollie Oxley and the Ghost: the Search for Lost Gold
by Lisa Schmid
Twelve-year-old Ollie Oxley is moving — again. His mom is starting another new job, this time at the Bingham Theater in Granite City, California. Moving all the time means Ollie has struggled in the making friends department, but he quickly connects with a boy named Teddy. To Ollie's surprise, though, his first friend in town is a little more... unique than those he's made in the past. Teddy is a ghost.
Befriending someone who lived during the famous California Gold Rush sure does make things interesting for Ollie. But when the school bully, Aubrey, targets Ollie, and it looks like the Bingham Theater might close, the stakes couldn't be higher. Can Teddy and Ollie work together to take down Aubrey, save his mom's job, and solve a mystery years in the making?
June 18th, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Greetings! I'm Lisa Schmid. My middle-grade novel Ollie Oxley and The Ghost: The Search For Lost Gold comes out on June 18th.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
I've met so many fantastic people this year, both online and in person. I am a kidlit fangirl at heart. The fact that I am now friends with so many authors I admire is pretty awesome.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I met Brian Weisfeld, author of The Start-Up Squad at the SCBWI Summer Conference. I love his book! The concept of empowering young girls and encouraging entrepreneurship sends such a positive message. It's one of my favorite debuts.
Who is your favorite character?
I love Ollie, but Teddy cracks me up. When I write his dialogue, I tend to giggle . . . A lot! He's the kind of friend I think every kid wants; funny, loyal and good-hearted.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me six years to write, but that doesn't include the two additional years of revising during the querying process.
What inspired you to write this book?
My childhood was a bit chaotic. Books provided me with a much-needed escape. I used to imagine that I was Lucy in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe disappearing into Narnia or Dorothy getting whisked away to the land of Oz. Because of that, I've always wanted to write a story that provides young readers with the same magical escape.
Describe your main character in 3 words.
Brave. Resilient. Kind.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Join an organization like the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I wish I'd known about SCBWI when I first started writing my book. It's an incredible resource, and it's where I've met some of my best friends. Also, find critique partners that fit your vibe. They will make you a better writer!
How do you select character names?
My son's name is Oliver, so I thought it would be fun to name my main character after him. It was a great decision because I used his name as a plot point in the story.
I initially called the ghost, Toby, but after spending some time with him, I decided the character deserved a more lovable name. What's more lovable than a Teddy Bear?
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Beth McMullen, the author of Mrs. Smith's Spy School For Girls, is an incredible friend. She believed in my story even when I had lost all hope of getting published. She encouraged me to think bigger and better, and to keep revising with each round of rejections.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
Hands down, Roald Dahl. I think he was a master at writing a deliciously mean antagonist. His bullies are over the top and fabulous, but at the same time, you can't help but love them. For example, I saw Matilda on Broadway. When Miss Trunchbull came out for her curtain call, kids booed with glee. The actress curtsied and hammed it up, and the kids went wild. It was awesome!
Share a favorite song!
Every time I got in my car during the acquisition process I'd listen to–Don't You Worry About a Thing. It became my mantra. Now I play it when I'm on my way to a school visit to pump me up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skq4IQmt58o
Show us your favorite animals!
Thanks for interviewing! Go buy this book on 6/18/19!