Sweet Sixteener Jennie K. Brown recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Lisa Lewis Tyre about her debut contemporary middle grade novel, LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS (September 29, 2015 from Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin).
About the Author:
Lisa Tyre grew up in a small town in Tennessee where the only form of entertainment was watching her crazy family, and even crazier neighbors. She figured out early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad that ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor that was so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. What else could she do but write? Currently living in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, daughter, and two dogs, Lisa’s still been known to spy on her neighbors.
About LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS:
Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.
Jennie: I read LAST IN A LONG LINE OF REBELS and absolutely loved it! How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
Lisa: I grew up in a small town in Tennessee near an area known as Zollicoffer to the locals. My mom told me that in the 1950s, some kids found a few gold pieces in the field where General Felix Zollicoffer supposedly camped during the Civil War. It was thrilling as a kid to think that there might be more hidden and I never forgot it.
Jennie: When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Lisa: I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but it took me a while to believe that it was possible. About five years ago, I realized that if I didn’t give it my best shot, I’d regret it forever.
Jennie: Because so many aspiring writers want advice about this–how did you find your agent/editor?
Lisa: I was at a writer’s conference and heard Haywood Smith speak about approaching your writing as a job. I came home and started methodically researching agents, setting goals, and sending out a set number of queries each day. It really was like work! My agent, Susan Hawk, had just started with The Bent Agency and they passed my query on to her. I couldn’t be happier.
Jennie: Imagine your perfect reader. How would you describe that person?
Lisa: My perfect reader is looking for a fun story with lots of heart. If they are vocal about what they love and have their own YouTube channel with a million followers, all the better! 🙂
Love the last part of your response!
Lightning Round Questions
Favorite writing snack? Frozen grapes
What are you sipping on? Seltzer water
Music to write by? I can’t do it! It drowns out the voices in my head.
Favorite band/musical artist when you were Lou’s age? Credence Clearwater Revival. My dad’s tape was stuck in our boat’s tape deck and I listened to it a thousand times.
What were you reading at age 16? I lived for Stephen King. I thought I’d write horror one day, but I’m too much of a wimp to let my mind go there long-term.
Which fictional world would you want to live in? Easy. I’m Elizabeth Bennett’s cousin living at Longbourn. Mr. Darcy wouldn’t stand a chance.
Thanks so much for chatting with me, Lisa!
About the Interviewer
Jennie K. Brown is an award-winning high school English teacher, freelance magazine writer, and author of children’s books. Her middle grade novel POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY will be published in April 2016 by month9books (Tantrum Books imprint), with a sequel to follow in December of that year. She currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA) and is an active member of SCBWI, NCTE, and ALAN. She is a regular contributor to the SCBWI Eastern PA and PCTELA blogs.