Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet Kris Yankee, Author of Saving Redwind


Today we have author Kris Yankee as a guest to talk about her new middle grade book Saving Redwind. I'm all about connecting kids to books they’ll love, and I can tell just from the description that this is the kind of adventure my boys would like. Who wouldn’t love to find a magical place hidden in the wallpaper? (Personally I think wallpaper is intrinsically cursed, based on how hard it is to remove.)

Kris, tell us a little about Saving Redwind and your inspiration to write the story.

First, a huge thanks to Sue for having me on her blog. I’m so excited to be here and to share my new book with you all.

Here’s the official back cover blurb:

All eleven-year-old Nick Stevenson wants is an adventure like his dad's. Oh, and for the creepy ceiling in his new bedroom to stop storming and spinning. When he's asked to help save a world that exists inside his bedroom's wallpaper, Nick thinks he's found his very own adventure. But he has no idea it will involve talking rocks, dream-stealing birds, and becoming friends with wizards. Can Nick save Redwind and his new friends before his mom calls him home for hockey practice?

Here’s my take on the story:

Saving Redwind is a fun-filled story about a boy who is pulled into the wallpaper of his bedroom. Nick Stevenson is told  by a strange boy named Jacob that Redwind has been waiting for him and that Nick’s the “one” to help save their land from the evil tyrant Sartung. Redwind is a magical land and all of its inhabitants have some sort of power—even the birds and the rocks! The land is filled with wizards, walking and talking rock formations, and dream-stealing birds, and a talking map. Even Nick has powers when he’s in Redwind: he can stop time and has True Sight (meaning he can see through all of the transformation spells the wizards place on objects and people). But whenever Nick is called by his mom, Nick is whooshed through the wallpaper back home. Sometimes Nick is called back at the worst times in Redwind. Eventually, Nick is able to stay in Redwind long enough to help them conquer all the bad guys in Redwind.

See? Adventure stories in the wallpaper. My boys are sold (and Worm Burner is already reading it!). Your biography says that hockey is featured both in your life (with your kids, parents, brothers all players) and in your books. Is Saving Redwind a sports story, an adventure story, or both?

Saving Redwind is an adventure story with hockey elements. Nick plays hockey and uses some of his hockey skills to defeat the bad guys in Redwind. He also uses the lessons he’s learned while playing hockey (working with others, trusting your teammates, listening to your coach, doing your best) throughout his journey in Redwind.

I love stories that bring home great life lessons for kids!

You are repped by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency, yet you choose to self-publish Saving Redwind. There are many authors choosing the self-pubbed route these days. Can you share your decision to go that route, and what role (if any) your agent played in that decision?

Self-publishing this book was actually Christine’s idea. She had to convince me to do it! I was very hesitant because I’ve pretty much believed that if my writing wasn’t good enough for NY, then I needed to spend more time honing my skills and crafting a better story. She had submitted Saving Redwind to publishers a couple years ago, but no one was interested. Christine loved this story and wanted it to get out there. She told me that while we waited to hear back from publishers on the other stories that are on submission, I should self-pub this one. I first started with an e-book version, but the majority of the audience for this book do not have e-readers. I hired a proofer and an illustrator-I have connections because I’m an editor at a small press-and then I took it all to Createspace. My advice for other authors looking to self-publish: hire an editor/proofer so that you can put out the best product you can. We all make mistakes, but when it’s just your name on the book (and not a publisher), the easiest way to get a bad reputation is to put out a crummy product. I’m happy with what I’ve put out there.

That's so interesting that your agent encouraged you to self-publish. I think forward looking agents and editors are beginning to see self-publishing as one of many options for an author to get their work out there. Awesome! You say you have other stories on submission. Are they other middle grade books? Will we see more in the Wallpaper Adventure series?


I’m on submission with the first book in the series called TK’s Hockey Rules for Life and another, Camp Fail. Both deal with hockey in different ways – but mostly using the skills and lessons learned from the game and applying them to real life. I’m also working on a YA novel with a screenwriter that deals with – of course – hockey! And, I am about to start working on the next book in the Wallpaper series.

Wow! Sounds like you have so many great projects going on! Best of luck with your submissions as well as Saving Redwind! Thanks so much for sharing your story and your book with us today!

Kris is giving away a paper copy of Saving Redwind. Just leave a comment below to be entered to win. Kris says she'll ship anywhere, so international friends, please feel free to enter!


Giveaway ends Thursday 8/11, with winner announced Friday 8/12.

Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure is available in print at Createspace and Amazon.com.

You can find Kris Yankee at her website, blog, or on Facebook.

UPDATE: Leslie Rose is the WINNER! Thank you to everyone that entered! :)

30 comments:

  1. This sounds like a book my son would like! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Jackie~ That's so wonderful to hear. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Hi Kris! It sounds like a brilliant book and I wish you loads of success!

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful book. Great giveaway, thanks!!

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  5. Territory Mom~Glad you like it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Great interview! I love hearing other writer's stories.

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  7. Great interview, thanks for sharing your journey with us!

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  8. Lisa, It is fun to hear other writer's stories. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Rick, I'm so happy that I was able to share my story. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. How fun! I can totally see wallpaper being a great setting for a story, and then the mom calling him back and interrupting stuff. Hilarious!

    Self publishing is really taking off! I've been so surprised by the number of friends who were going traditional and then switched. It's so fascinating to me. So glad you're making the point about getting input from professionals.

    Best of luck to you~ :o)

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  11. LTM~ Thanks so much. I think it's so important that writers who choose to self-publish realize that their manuscript may not be in the best shape. One must be proactive and be sure that the product that's out there is the best it can possibly be. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Well I can win too, right?? I think it's so interesting too that your agent sent you to self-pub. I love that she's thinking outside the box. And you're going about it all the right way, Kris!
    :)

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  13. Pk~ Of course you can win! I was surprised when Christine instructed me to do that. She'd make nothing from all the time and energy she spent before and after she shopped the story around. But she knows the way this industry works and I trust her. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. The books sounds so good! I have an, uh, rude question. Did your agent still want 15% from sales of this indie epub?

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  15. Oh! I just read your last comment. Thanks!

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  16. Anita~Thanks for stopping by here as well! If my agent helped promote it, we would probably make up some sort of deal if any books sold. But that's not happening, so sadly she'll receive nothing. I'm on submission for two other stories, so hopefully those will sell to a traditional publisher. That's what I really want. I just downloaded your new book. Can't wait to read it!

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  17. After trying to remember the other time I read a story about someone going into the pictures in their wallpaper, I finally remembered a story I read in school where this guy was going crazy looking at the wallpaper in his room. Obviously it was a completely different kind of story. But it reminded me of the time I read on another blog that there are no new ideas, but maybe there are new combinations of ideas and new ways and styles to present them with.
    PS: It isn't letting me post a comment using openID.

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  18. David~ When I was telling a friend about this story idea, she told me about the book you're referring to. I had never heard of that story. To me, this was a completely new concept. Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. @David Thanks for stopping by - I'll try to figure out what the problem with OpenID is. Thanks for the heads up!

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  20. I tried to post yesterday, but my internet connection went down before I could hit Send. :( I wish I could remember what brilliant things I'd written. LOL

    I'm really looking forward to reading this, and I'm glad you're being a trailblazer as far as self-pubbing goes. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions to ask you. :)

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  21. Donna~Oh, I wish your connection had worked so we all could've enjoyed your wit! Thanks for stopping by and cheering me on. : )

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  22. Awesome! I too was hooked by the adventures in the wallpaper!

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  23. Pulled into the wallpaper in his room? Love that concept!!! (I used to see faces in my wallpaper when I was kid). I'd love to win a copy but I promise to buy a copy if I don't win.

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  24. Margo, I used to see faces in my grandmothers bathroom tile. Weird. Thanks for stopping by!

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  25. I HAVE to read this book to my 5th grade class. They'll go bonkers for it.

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  26. Leslie, That would be awesome! Thanks for stopping by.

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  27. Hi Kris! It sounds like a brilliant book and I wish you much success!

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Erudite comments from thoughtful readers