This is Part I of the interview of author Maureen Grenier by Bianca Schulze from The Children’s Book Review for The Author Showcase.
Bianca Schulze: Your latest book, Someone’s Trapped—a kids’ soccer “whodunit”—is the second book in your Viking Club Mystery series. Can you tell us a little about the series and how you originally came up with the idea for these books? Were you inspired by any of your 3 children’s personal sporting experiences to write sport themed mysteries?
Maureen Grenier: My usual job of writing information articles and editing is fun, but writing fiction is even more fun. I’ve loved mystery stories all my life, and when I started writing a short mystery story for children with a hockey theme, it somehow blossomed into a book.
Before it was finished, I decided to write a second mystery featuring the same three characters and a different sport. The third in the series is now underway, and I’m not sure where this will end!
My own children certainly inspired the sport themes because it is through them that I learned so much about sports and competition. The difficulties my characters face, however, are not drawn from their experiences but from problems I’ve heard about from many different sources, slanted by my imagination, and with a mystery superimposed over all.
BS: What age range seems to enjoy your Viking Club Mystery series the most?
MG: The book is designed for ages 8 to 12, and I’ve received a lot of nice comments from 9- and 10-year-olds, in particular. Reading ability, of course, can be a factor for children, and their enjoyment of a book sometimes depends on the help of, or encouragement by, a family member or friend.
BS: The first 2 books in the series star 3 characters, Rebecca (13), Chris (12) and Jaylon (10). What does each of these characters bring to the stories in terms of persona and their ability to capture a reader’s attention?
MG: I wanted the characters to be distinct individuals just as my readers will be: Chris has a very logical mind and tries to address all the pro and con arguments on every issue; Rebecca, the oldest, is the most mature and cautious in her decision-making; Jaylon is more of a free spirit, which is also a useful characteristic in problem solving.
Their personal problems could crop up in the lives of either boys or girls and, while they all deal with winning, losing, and problem solving differently, they all share a love of sports and ‘detective’ work, and like to laugh and joke with each other.
BS: How many books do you plan to write in the Viking Club Mystery series? And will Rebecca, Chris and Jaylon remain the 3 steadfast characters?
MG: I’ve started a third book, and, yes, it also features the three same characters. I haven’t thought past the book I’m currently writing, which has a basketball setting.
BS: You have also added your own illustrations to the books. How do you create the artwork? And did you always plan to include illustrations in these chapter books?
MG: I loved illustrations in the books I read as a child and so, yes, I always planned to include them. I can use a photo as a guide for body positioning in a sports illustration, but I always need someone—any willing person—to assume all the poses so that I can check and make adjustments to the drawing as necessary. Faces come from my imagination and are the easiest for me. I have to look at most objects—an actual locker, a soccer ball—before I can draw it.
The Children’s Book Review featuring Maureen Grenier will be continued in next week’s blog.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Maureen Grenier and a clickable link back to this page.