First some interesting tidbits about her:
I was born and raised in Southern California. My first job was collecting eggs on an egg ranch. Since then I’ve been a preschool teacher, real estate salesperson, loan officer, and agricultural biologist. Why so many careers? I think because I get bored and love learning new things. Currently I teach 4th grade in a rural Arizona school.
Animals have always been a big part of my life. I’ve rescued many birds in my life including a pelican, a pheasant, and several crows. I do volunteer work for the Tombstone Small Animal Shelter by making their pet posters and writing their public radio ads.
I’ve been writing for many years. Dozens of my stories have appeared in national magazines such as Boys’ Life, Highlights for Children, and Ladybug under the name Karen Troncale. My first middle-grade eBook Seventh Grade (Alien!) Hero came in 2013.
Today I live in Tombstone, Arizona (the town too tough to die), with my husband, my dog, and my mule. When I’m not writing, teaching, or reading, I’m riding my mule Tonya (Tombstone’s celebrity mule) along the same trails that Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday rode upon.
The middle-school years were my favorite childhood years. We called it junior high school back then. I loved those years. Friends were a big part of my life. That’s when I got my horse. I learned to love reading and writing in those years and won the eighth grade essay contest, so I got to read my essay at our graduation ceremony. Those years were so much fun; that’s why I like to write for middle-grade kids.
I still love reading middle-grade books. They aren’t as dark and heavy as so much of young adult books these days. Fantasy and science fiction are my true loves. One of my favorite science fiction books is The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. Currently I’m rereading The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. And of course, I love all of the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling is a genius.
Tell us about Maybe It’s Magic! and how the story came to be.
As a young girl, there was only one thing I wanted in the entire world – a horse. The book is about ten-year-old Pippy who desperately wants a horse. So the story is rooted in my own childhood dream. Pippy’s emotions and longings are the same as mine were all those years ago. The day my dad called me and told me he’d bought me a horse was the happiest day of my eleven-year-old life.
Here's a peek at Maybe It's Magic:
Ten-year-old Pippy wants a horse more than anything in the world. Plan One, begging her mom for one, doesn’t work. Plan Two, performing her own made-up magic spell, conjures up a tiny glass horse statue. Pippy’s disappointed; she wanted a real horse. But then she thinks: Maybe it’s magic! If it is, she can use its powers to get a real one.
With the magic of Little Horse, her life changes. She meets Mrs. Sunnyvale, an old and grouchy ranch owner, who buys a horse although she hasn’t owned one for years. She lets Pippy groom, saddle, and ride it. Pippy begins to think of Mrs. Sunnyvale as the grandmother she never knew.
Then bad things begin to happen. Why? Is Little Horse running out of magic?
Mrs. Sunnyvale falls ill and Pippy knows the magic is almost gone. If she doesn’t get more magic soon, she could lose her horse. Even worse, Mrs. Sunnyvale could lose her life.
You mentioned another book – Seventh Grade (Alien!) Hero – tell us a bit about it.
Many years ago I read a short story about a tiny alien ship that flew in a young boy’s window. That story stayed with me for a long time. It made me think that alien spaceships don’t have to be big. My book grew out of that thought. The main character, seventh-grader Dustin Cotter, sees a meteor crash-land on Earth. When he discovers it is really a tiny alien ship, he captures it. But he’s not the only one who saw it land. And that other person wants it…and will stop at nothing to get it.
Are you working on a new story?
Yes, my newest story involves a friendless bully, a girl with a lisp, and a boy whose mother has cancer. It is another middle-grade science fiction novel involving more space aliens and an ocelot.
What advice do you have for other authors?
There is an awful lot of advice out there for authors online and in books. I’m afraid I don’t have much advice. I write because that’s what I do. Even if I never sold a story, I’d still write.
Anything else you’d like reader to know?
Yes! My website features a free short story and a fun kids’ activity, a different one every month. So even if you’re not interested in my current books, stop by and visit!
Where can readers find you and your books?
Please visit my website at: www.klpickett.weebly.com . You will find links to order my books there.