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Tour stop: Michele Scott & Zamora's Ultimate Challenge...

March 30, 2009
drey's library welcomes Michele Scott on her tour stop for Zamora's Ultimate Challenge, her first children's fantasy novel. Michele has graciously written a wonderful post on the difference between writing adult mysteries (multiples of which are already under her belt) and children's fantasies.
Writing children’s fantasy was never on my agenda or plan. It just sort of happened. I have always been into mysteries and thrillers, so writing in that format for adults is a comfort zone for me. However, when I was on bed rest with my youngest child, I decided to write a book for my three kids. I wanted to write something that would kind of show them my values and beliefs systems in a fun and fantastical way. Thus, “Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge,” was born.

Here is what I have learned about writing adult mystery versus children’s fantasy. Writing a kids’ fantasy allows me to be far more creative and it’s like a sigh of relief in many ways. It’s pure fun. Mysteries are great fun, too, but there is a lot of formula to a mystery. You know you’re going to get a victim, clues, read herrings, suspects and a sleuth. With a fantasy for kids, you kind of get to open up your mind and be super creative. Now that does not mean you take the writing down a notch. Kids are smart and when you write at a level that “talks down” to them, they pick up on it fast, and they put down the book. Like adult mystery, a kids’ fantasy has to be fun, exciting, and it must be filled with tension. Kids like to be on the edge of their seats when they read, just like adults do.

With Zamora, I didn’t work from an outline. I jotted down notes, but I pretty much just rolled with it and allowed my imagination to be free and go to work. There are acid-poop bomb dropping pterodactyls, haunted master souls, fire breathing dragons, mermaids, robotic sharks, talking crabs, stinging fairies, etceteras—now to me that is/was all fun.

With my mysteries, I plan it all out form a-z. I have a nice, big outline that I write up and draw from. I know who killed who and why before I ever write that first sentence.

I guess the bottom line in differences here is that writing a kids’ fantasy is less restrictive feeling. I enjoy the mysteries as much, and sometimes even more so because figuring out a plot on a mystery is like solving a puzzle—it’s a brain tease.

Writing is writing and it’s all great fun. It’s my passion and it’s what I love to do, be it for a children’s fantasy novel like Zamora, or a mystery like my Nikki Sands books.

Thanks for checking in today and please ask me questions, make comments and just say, “hi.” I will be checking in regularly throughout the week. And, don’t forget to visit my blog at where you can view a book trailer for “Zamora,” and find out how you and a guest can win a vacation to San Diego, CA!


M.K. Scott

About Zamora's Ultimate Challenge:
Mason and Carter Clover only agree on two things—their baby sister Isabella is a royal pain and their favorite video game, Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge, is totally awesome.

But fantasy turns to reality when Zamora’s evil face appears across the brothers’ television screen. Claiming to have kidnapped Isabella, the queen challenges the boys to a daring rescue before she takes over their sister's soul. Zamora’s plan is to use the baby as a human vessel to travel to Earth and dominate the world.

Once the brothers figure out how to get inside the video game, they are hurled into the magical land of Boysen where they meet their helpful guides: a sage, a quirky mermaid, and a Pegasus (who flies them to each thrilling level of the video game). Racing against time, the brothers search for their sister, encountering a myriad of dangerous enemies including stinging fairies, haunted Master Souls, and brutish, knife-wielding pirates.

Can they beat each level of the game while being hunted by a fire-breathing dragon, stalked by a robotic shark, and terrorized by acid-poop-bombing pterodactyls?

Driven by the powerful bonds that unite siblings, Mason and Carter are determined to face their fears and will stop at nothing to bring Isabella home…but first they must survive Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge!

About the Author:
Michele wrote her first short story at 9, upon which her father pronounced her a writer, and it hasn't changed since then. She graduated from The University of Southern California with a degree in communications, where she studied journalism and hoped to be a reporter. During Michele’s senior year at college she became pregnant with her first son who was born six weeks prematurely. While staying home with her newborn who needed constant care, she decided to write her first book. She contacted Writer’s Digest and ordered their correspondence course on writing a novel. For ten years Michele kept writing, submitting, attending conferences and workshops and receiving rejections but never giving up.

Finally in March 2004, Jessica Faust at Bookends signed her as a client. One month later Michele received THE CALL from Jessica telling her that she had a publisher—Berkley Prime Crime, and that they wanted to sign her for three books in The Wine Lover’s Mystery Series. “It was surreal, wonderful and a dream come true when my agent called and told me. That night my husband and I got a really nice bottle of Champagne and celebrated." Then in December that second call came in about The Equine Mystery Series.

Michele writes full time now and lives in San Diego with her very supportive husband, two sons and daughter. She can be found online at her website and blog.

And now, it's GIVEAWAY time!
Michele is super wonderful, and offering a signed copy of Zamora's Ultimate Challenge and poster calendars of the book cover, to THREE winners (yes, I said 3)!!

(I'm sorry for the oversight, but I completely forgot to ask Michele where she's ok to ship to! I'll update this post once I find out... Sorry!!)

Enter before April 10th by commenting - name one of the other tour stops. Easy, ain't it? +1 for swinging by another tour stop & commenting there (come back & let me know where). All stops are listed at Michele's blog post linked at the end of this post. +1 for following, +2 for sharing (ok, pimping). As usual, let me know.

Come back after to find out if you're one of the lucky three. Winners will have 3 days to get me their snail-mail info, after which Randomizer will nominate a replacement.

So, what're you waiting for? Comment away! =)

Next up on the tour:
* April 2: Michele talks about balancing multi-genre writing and family at Booking Mama.

* April 3: A tween's view of "Zamora's Ultimate Challenge" at Beth Fish Reads.

* April 4: Stop at Teen Seen and maybe win some prizes!

See Michele's blog for previous stops, and a HUGE giveaway!


A.K. Alexander said...

Thank You for having me Drey! I will ship books anywhere in the U.S., and in Canada. I am really excited to be here and hope readers will ask me questions and enter the contest.

M.K. Scott

housemouse88 said...

Hello Michele & Drey,

Let's get the I'm a follower house_mouse88 at yahoo dot com and Michele's next stop is at Booking Mama on April 2nd out of the way.

I was wondering with 3 kids, how you find the time to write. Do you follow a schedule or do you just write when you can?

Have a great day.

Bridget said...

No need to enter me, just posted about this on Win A Book.

A.K. Alexander said...

I write from 9-2:30 daily when the kids are out of the houes. The house gets a once over on Sundays, so playing Martha Stewart is not my specialty. You have to treat writing like any other job and set hours if possibe. However, when the kids were babies, i wrote when I could--early morning, late night, nap times and when Dad had them in his clutches. School is my saving grace.

Vanessa said...

I'm so impressed with how you balance kids and anything else, especially something as demanding as writing. Thanks for this great interview, and I look forward to reading more at Booking Mama next week.

I would love to be included in the giveaway as well.

I'm a follower.


Anonymous said...

I saw another tour stop at Marta's Meanderings. Thanks!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered. I think it's great that you started the story because you wanted to write a book for your kids.

Oh, and another one of her stops is at Booking Mama's.

A.K. Alexander said...

Thank You! Family and writing plus riding my horse are what makes me happy and being hapy helps keep me balanced. I just wish someone would clean the house for me!

KR said...

Hi Michelle,
What age group is your book geared to? I teach kindergarten and was wondering if it could be read as a chapter book?
April 4: Stop at Teen Seen
I follow

drey said...

Ha ha Michele ~ I wish someone would clean my house for me, too! =P

Unknown said...

I'm sure my kids would love this book, especially my son with the acid bomb bird droppings.


Did you base any of your characters on your children?

By the way, Booking Mama is another one of the tour stops.

jgbeads AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

Oh yeah, you know I'm a follower :)

jgbeads AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing me to Teen Seen where the tour stops in April! It's a great blog

LuAnn said...

Great post! I'm sorry I missed your previous stops, but I'll read them to catch up and meet you again at Bookin' Mama.

Alyssa Montgomery said...

Sounds like you had a great time writing Zamora, MK! Good luck with it!


Unknown said...

Hey Michelle,

Sounds like a fun read! I'm always on the lookout for books I can read together with my little brother. A video game aficionado nearly twelve years my junior, he is not exactly what you would call a friend of the written word. It's lucky he likes me so much or I might never get him to pry himself away from the Xbox. But a story about a video game that includes acid poop, pirates, robotic sharks, and the kidnapping of pesky sisters? It's like you wrote it just for him.

Thanks for the generous giveaway!


And the next stop on the tour is Booking Mama.

A.K. Alexander said...

I did write this book for kids who like to sit in front of the video game. I call my sons videoettes. It's my hope that all thosr kids out there who love those games will get into this book. Thanks, Marigold for the comment and to everyone else who has written in with great questions and comments.

M.K. Scott

The Book Resort said...

Michele is the sweetest. Read her mysteries, too : }.

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a cool book. Love to be entered to win one. Thanks for having this giveaway.


Violet Vixen said...

Ooh. This sounds like a lot of fun! I'd love to read this book. I'm a follower, and I commented about books and video games at Teen Seen (despite not actually being a teen, sorry!)

Bingo said...

I would like to win this so thanks for the giveaway.

I follow

I commented on Booking Mama

I visited and commented there

and am blogging about it on my giveaway that all? WHEW..I never realized how hard we make it for people to do all this...but then again, go to the one I just posted about and you can REALLY have a bunch of things to keep you busy..yikes! Am I just getting too old for this or is it the 4:44 AM that is getting to me? Yeah, that's it.

So if you want the post address on my blog a sweet smart person told me how so I hope this is correct. It is

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

One stop is at Teen Seen. Thanks

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