Wrapped up in E. Bronwyn Hinkle’s The Lawrence Chronicles

K.A.:
E. Bronwyn Hinkle is with us today to talk about her Christmas-themed flash fiction collection, The Lawrence Chronicles.

Welcome, E. Bronwyn! Glad you’re here. Please, tell us about your story.

E. Bronwyn:
The Lawrence Chronicles is a series of flash fiction adventures centered around a particular ex Marine. He never expected to be hired as a member of Santa’s security force, and now he deals with all kinds of situations he never would have believed possible. Of course, if Santa is real, other mythical creatures are too. Now the Ex-marine runs a different kind of special ops: North Pole & Magic Relations Security. With a candy cane between his fingers and an elven blaster on stun, Lawrence faces trial after trial of ridiculous adventures from wrangling pixies to the Lochness Monster. He is best friends with Donner and spends much of his time keeping things in order, the way his predecessor, Sprinkles the Christmas elf, used to.

K.A.:
That’s awesome! We’ve had several Marines in our family, including my husband and our middle child (who’s currently serving). So you hooked me with ex-Marine and ridiculous North Pole adventures. Lol.

How many stories are in your collection?

E. Bronwyn:
The book contains 42 flash fiction adventures all ranging from roughly 700-1000 words. It’s quite the genre mashup of sci-fi fantasy/action adventure. I didn’t have a target audience in mind when I wrote it, but it’s geared to be very family friendly and children love it.

K.A.:
Sounds like the perfect book for reading a story or two each night leading up to Christmas. What inspired you to create it?

E. Bronwyn:
Christmas ninjas. Many years ago my friends and I were gathered for our monthly writer group. We always started a session off with a writing prompt, and that night, it was “Christmas Ninjas”. From that I came up with the ridiculous premise of an Ex-Marine who worked as Santa’s Head of Security, his arch enemies being of course the elf ninjas. I set the story aside for a while, but eventually I began writing more and more flash fiction pieces centered around Lawrence and his misadventures. One day I looked and realized I had more than fifty short stories and I thought, well, why not make this into a book?

K.A.:
Tell us about the research that went into writing this story. Did you venture into any new areas or topics?

E. Bronwyn:
There is a surprising amount of research in Lawrence! I learned more about reindeer, different myths and legends, and facts about all kinds of wild animals. I didn’t venture so much into unfamiliar topics, since I’d always been kind of interested in that sort of thing, but I learned a good many off-the-wall legends and animal facts that I never would have otherwise!

Discover more about reindeer at
https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/reindeer (external link).

K.A.:
Off-the-wall legends and facts? Intriguing. So, what was the most interesting thing you learned?

E. Bronwyn:
Well, turns out that reindeer can actually see Ultraviolet light! It helps them since they live in an environment that is almost always a blinding white. I was so excited to discover this in my research because not only is it absolutely incredible, but it played perfectly into my idea that in this world, the reindeer are one of the few magical creatures who can see through perception magic. The magic that many mischievous creatures, like pixies and goblins, use to hide themselves from others and create dangerous illusions.

K.A.:
Cool. As a huge fan of Easter eggs, are there any hidden references readers should keep an eye out for?

E. Bronwyn:
Oh absolutely yes! I don’t remember them all. Did you ever watch the old Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie, with Sam the snowman? I hid quite a few references to that movie, and even the old stop motion Santa Clause is Coming to Town one! I think of those movies as relatively cannon in my book.

K.A.:
A classic Christmas movie!

The Lawrence Chronicles is available on Amazon.

K.A.:
It’s been fun to have you here, E. Bronwyn Hinkle. Thanks for giving us a backstage tour of your Christmas-themed, flash fiction collection, The Lawrence Chronicles!

About E. Bronwyn Hinkle

E. Bronwyn Hinkle is a writer with a love of the ridiculous and a passion for writing goofy, clever stories that encourage people to think and to laugh. She was born in California but spent a good part of the last twelve years in Ohio. I’m obsessed with Stargate, Georgette Heyer, Middle Earth, and Narnia, and love to write Y/A, flash fiction, and whatever strikes my fancy in between. It is her goal to write someone’s comfort book, a book that helps someone get through a hard time or brightens their day. It’s also a goal of mine to one day drive around in a black 1982 Pontiac Trans Am.

You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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A Unit Study Inspired by “Vincent in Wonderland”

A unit study inspired by C.E. White’s Vincent in Wonderland.” For students in 4th through 7th grade. Topics include Vincent van Gogh, Post-Impressionism, and Alice in Wonderland.

“Vincent in Wonderland” Unit Study

Supplement the unit study with a list of discussion question from BookRiot.com.

Other posts related to Vincent in Wonderland”

A Review of “Vincent in Wonderland”

Looking for more unit studies?

You can also find this unit study, along with other free teaching resources under Teaching Resources.


Discovering the Wonder in S.E.M. Ishida’s Nick Newton

K.A.:
Excited to have S.E.M. Ishida on the blog today talking about her wonderfully inventive, middle-grade steampunk series about a boy named Nick Newton.

Welcome, S.E.M.! For those unfamiliar, please tell us about Nick and his story.

S.E.M.:
Nick Newton Is Not a Genius and its sequel, Nick Newton: The Highest Bidder, are both speculative fiction middle grade books.

S.E.M:
When you live with a family of geniuses, a normal day involves ancient robots, flying baby carriages, and mysterious millionaires. All before lunchtime. Meet Nick Newton, a merely average boy from the country of Thauma. Nick’s not brilliant like his mom and dad or a child prodigy like his sister, but he won’t let that stop him from uncovering the mysteries of a clockwork factory or revealing a war hero’s greatest secret. With help from two new friends and his butler named Jude, Nick embarks on an adventure that will change his life forever.

Nick’s mechanical friend, Plink.

K.A.:
In all of the story, do you have a favorite line?

S.E.M.:
“Always, always, always ask your mother before borrowing her welding torch.”

K.A.:
That’s an awesome line! Definitely solid advice. ;)

So what’s the story behind this story, what inspired you?

S.E.M:
As a child, I watched cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. When I got older, I read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. While I can enjoy stories with genius protagonists, I’m not a genius myself, and, thankfully, being a genius isn’t a prerequisite for fulfillment and making an impact on the world around you. Thus, I decided to write a “reverse boy genius” story in which the protagonist comes from a family of geniuses, but he is “average.”

K.A.:
Nick is such a fun character, and the world certainly needs more stories with everyday kids doing extraordinary things. More heart. More grit. It’s one of the reasons I love your series.

K.A.:
Tell us about the research that went into this story, did you venture into any new areas or topics?

S.E.M:
I’ve had an interest in science since childhood, but I still have so much more I want to learn about technology. Although the technology in the story is fantastical, technology is a field that continues to challenge and inspire me.

K.A.:
The ever changing landscape of technology is really something. In the process of writing this story, what would you say is the most interesting discovery you made?

S.E.M:
I originally sent a shorter version of Nick Newton to the publisher and pitched it as an early chapter book for younger readers. The editor suggested making it longer and for an older audience, which I did. I think seeing Nick Newton as a middle grade book helped me realize how much I enjoy middle grade. Although I’m exploring writing in other genres and for other ages, I also plan to continue writing middle grade stories.

K.A.:
Any Easter eggs readers should keep an eye out for?

S.E.M:
The winged toilet in chapter twenty might seem totally random, but it comes from my childhood memories of visiting the electronics store and looking at the computers. My favorite screensaver featured flying toilets flapping their wings across the monitor. It was delightfully bizarre.

K.A.:
So that’s where the winged toilet idea came from!

Any other behind-the-scenes information you didn’t already mention that you can share with us? :)

S.E.M:
I didn’t meet my illustrator, Dana Thompson, until after the completion of the book, but I think his art style and the finished illustrations fit the story so well! The illustrations for Nick Newton demonstrate the skill of the illustrator and also the importance of having a publisher and editor with the right understanding of the heart of your book. With this understanding, they can find the right illustrator and design the book in a way that complements your story.

K.A.:
Nick Newton Is Not a Genius is available from BJU Press, or on Amazon. Don’t forget to check out the book trailer below!

K.A.:
I’ve really enjoyed learning more about your Nick Newton series. Thank you for taking time to give us a backstage tour, S.E.M.!

About S.E.M. Ishida

Sarah Ishida enjoys good stories in a variety of forms, including books, graphic novels, and video games. With a Master of Science in technical communication, she is a technical communicator for a multinational technology company. Besides writing, she also likes to draw, sew, and collect toys.

You can connect with her at her website, or on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

 

 

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