Author Kathy Sattem Rygg joins us today. Learn a bit about her and her children's book Animal Andy.
Kathy, why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade readers?
Middle grade and especially younger middle grade seems to just come naturally to me. Maybe it’s because my own kids fall into this age group so I’m around it all the time, but the dialogue is easy for me to write. I’ve tried writing YA and adult and found both very frustrating, so I just stick to what I know. And my books always have a little bit of magic to them because were my favorite types of books to read growing up.
What types of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of middle grade as a way to study my genre, but my favorite is historical fiction. Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) is my favorite author. She writes the most amazing historical fiction novels.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
When my kids have a day off school, I love taking them on outings—to the zoo, the museum, the pottery place, etc. We go to lunch afterward and make a whole day out of it. I also love date nights with my husband where we get a babysitter for the kids and go out for some great sushi (we love food!) or to see a movie. I’m very close to my mother, and we try to have a lunch and shopping day together once a month which is also lots of fun.
Tell us about ANIMAL ANDY and how the story came to be.
As I mentioned before, my kids and I love going to the zoo, and we have one of the best zoos in the nation here in Omaha. My son is fascinated by tigers, and one day we had a conversation about what it would be like to be a tiger. That inspired me to explore writing a book about a boy who turned into different animals. Our zoo also has a beautiful menagerie carousel my kids like to ride. During another zoo visit, I decided a carousel would be a great magical device to turn my main character into animals.
Animal Andy is a great book for kids ages 7-10, both boys and girls. There are some great animal characters, so anyone who likes animal stories, adventure, and a little magic thrown in will enjoy this book!
Here is a teaser from Animal Andy.
Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
I have a children’s chapter book available called Tall Tales With Mr. K. It is about a magical third grade teacher who takes his students on adventures in the teacher’s lounge. They are kidnapped by pirates, learn the flying trapeze at a circus, and solve a jewelry heist. It’s a fun, humorous book for kids in first through third grades. I’ve had so many requests from readers for a sequel that book two will be out early next year.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
I’m currently working on a middle grade adventure series that involves the sport of geocaching. I have the manuscript for book one complete and am writing book two.
What advice do you have for other authors?
There are so many publishing options these days, don’t think you have to be traditionally published to find success. Smaller independent publishers such as Muse It Up are wonderful, and self-publishing is a great option for books that don’t quite fit into traditional molds. Just make sure you still use professional editors and cover designers to ensure the highest quality. With so many books on the market today, focus on finding your own little niche to start. I’m having tons of fun visiting my local schools and public libraries. I’d much rather be a big fish (or at least medium-sized fish) in a little pond!
Where can readers find you and your books?
Animal Andy is published by Muse It Up Publishing. The ebook is available online at the Muse Bookstore. The print version is available on Amazon.
Kathy Rygg’s blog site is http://ksrwriter.blogspot.com
Follow her on Facebook under KSR Writer
Follow her on Twitter @kathyrygg
Kathy Sattem Rygg is an author, freelance writer, and editor. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked in corporate marketing for several Fortune 500 companies. Additionally, she worked at the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City and was the Editor in Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She is currently the Editor in Chief of the children’s online magazine knowonder! and lives in Omaha, NE., with her husband and two children.