April is here! Wahoo! There are so many wonderful books this month! Are your eyeballs ready?
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers
by Shauna Holyoak
When a string of dognappings grips her Denver neighborhood, Kazu Jones vows to track down the culprits. She can't stand to see more dogs go missing-especially once her neighbors' beloved pet is taken because of her gigantic mistake.
With the help of her gang-including her best friend and expert hacker, March; and her ginormous, socially anxious pup, Genki-Kazu uncovers evidence that suggests the dognapping ring is bigger than she ever imagined. But the more she digs, the more dangerous her investigation becomes. The dognappers are getting bolder, and Genki could be next.
April 23rd, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi! My name is Shauna Holyoak and my debut novel, KAZU JONES AND THE DENVER DOGNAPPERS, comes out on April 23rd and is about a spunky papergirl who loves to solve crime.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
Getting to know my fellow debut authors has been the most surprising and delightful part of this journey.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
I have been blown away by my fellow debut authors, but Gillian McDunn’s CATERPILLAR SUMMER was the last arc I read, and it’s absolutely beautiful!
Who is your favorite character?
I feel a little guilty if I don’t name my main character Kazu. But I actually adore her best friend March Winters, a geeky brainiac who’s more than a little neurotic. Also, if he weren’t fictional, I’d dognap Genki from Kazu myself because he’s my dream puppy.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I’m a S L O W writer and hate to admit that this book took me a year and a half to write (including revisions).
What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?
Once Kazu assembles her Scooby Gang, they sneak into an abandoned amusement park to follow a clue. That setting is the perfect combination of spooky and enchanted, and I would love to set an entire novel there!
What inspired you to write this book?
A few years ago, all my kids had paper routes, and we’d get up ridiculously early to deliver newspapers in their respective neighborhoods. My daughter hated delivering to one especially creepy house, and I found myself wondering, ‘what if someone were kidnapping kids who were trying to send an SOS through the recycled newspaper bags?’ Of course that’s not the story getting published, but it was the inspiration that launched KAZU JONES. After an agent said she loved the story but didn’t think she could sell a contemporary MG mystery about kidnapping, I changed it to dognapping, and here we are!
Describe your main character in 3 words.
determined, spunky, curious
What was the hardest scene to write?
I can’t say too much because it would be a spoiler, but at one point in the story Kazu has to leave someone behind. It broke my heart to write that scene.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Write and read with such fervor that the doubt can’t catch up. And when that doesn’t work, drink caffeine and watch YouTube videos until you feel better.
Okay, so you probably won’t feel better ever again, so get used to it.
KIDDING! Kind of.
Describe your writing space.
I have tried and tried to change my writing space to something more formal (like an office-type area), but I always land at my kitchen bar with my laptop. I jokingly call the disorganized and overpacked shelves with all my writing books, notebooks, post-its and pens my “office.”
Who is your favorite author?
This question breaks my brain.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
I’ve definitely reflected on the works of these authors when writing: Jacqueline Woodson, Natalie Lloyd, Kelly Barnhill, Rebecca Stead, Karina Yan Glaser, Ali Benjamin, Kelly Loy Gilbert.
What are two of your favorite covers of all time?
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, BUT I LOVE BOOK COVERS! And while I could never pick my most favorite covers of all time, I can share two that I currently adore. One is definitely your cover for ANYA AND THE DRAGON. *swoon* And I love Joan He’s cover for DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE.
Share a picture of your favorite animal!
Go buy Shauna's cute book on 4/23/19 so she can get chew toys for her cute doggos!