I have been a Beth Ferry fangirl from the beginning of her career. Stick and Stone came to my attention before it was released (probably by perusing Publishers Marketplace). I immediately pre-ordered and was over the moon when I got my hands on it. Then came Land Shark which I liked even better. I have a shark-obsessed son, so it was an instant hit in our house. So when I sat down to dream up this contest, my top priority was to get great mentors. I immediately put Beth on my “wish list”. Eventually I mustered up the courage to ask her and SHE SAID YES! And now I get to ask her some more questions!
You have said the inspiration for your amazing book, Stick and Stone, came from a Train song, Drops of Jupiter. Can you tell me about Land Shark and how you came up with that idea?
Land Shark was inspired by a friend’s puppy who was chewing on a piece of furniture. Although I have lived through this very same experience, I couldn’t find the humor in it until it was happening to someone else. Somehow my mind jumped from puppy to shark and I began researching what these two had in common—which is quite a lot—biting, chewing, swimming, great sense of smell, etc. From there the story just worked—boy wants shark, but comes to love a dog who acts like a shark. I think anyone who has ever had a puppy can totally relate.
One of the many things I love about Land Shark is the MC’s haircut (it resembles a shark fin). Did you know Ben Mantle was planning on that, and what was your reaction when you saw it?
I love the main character’s hair too! And no, it was a complete and delightful surprise. When I saw the first sketches, I loved how the little boy looked. It would have never occurred to me to give him shark fin hair, but it was perfect.
Between your published books and upcoming titles-Land Shark, Pirate’s Perfect Pet, Swashby and the Sea, A Small Blue Whale– there is definitely a “sea” theme going on. Does living by the shore influence you, or do you think you would be writing about these subjects no matter where you lived?
Living by the beach has definitely influenced my subject matter. I’ve lived close to the ocean my whole life, so I think it’s a subconscious, but natural thing. I just like everything that has to do with the beach. I never really think “I’m going to write about the beach,” it just happens. Swashby is the only story where I set out to write about the sea as a character. After these books, my next five books have nothing to do with the sea, which is probably a good thing.
What future projects are you especially excited about?
It’s hard not to be excited about them all. Tom Lichtenheld and I are working on a book together which is fantastically fun. I also have the opportunity to work with the Fan Brothers on a book called The Scarecrow. I’m anticipating seeing sketches soon for Swashby and the Sea, which is very exciting. Lastly, I’ve recently sold my first non-fiction book so I am excited about that.
Thank you, Beth! To apply for a mentorship with Beth- http://beckytarabooks.com/contest/