Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Victoria Kimble Interview and GIVEAWAY!

Happy summer, Diamond Mine readers! Have I got a treat for you today. Victoria Kimble is on the blog to talk about her latest Middle Grade series, The Choir Girls

Filled with realistic middle school drama and a solid message, this series is perfect for tweens and teens. It's also great for parents to read who are not always aware what happens in middle school among girl friends. My daughter who is eleven thoroughly enjoyed all three available books! Can't wait for the fourth one to be released. AND...Victoria is giving away a copy of Harmony Blues to a lucky commenter! Details for the giveaway after the interview.

First, here's a bit about the books.


Summer McKidd is a bright, compassionate 7th grader. She has a good group of friends, which can be a hard feat for someone in junior high. She and her friends love to sing in their choir at school, and this is where her trouble begins. At the fall concert, her friends drag her into a mean prank and Summer is soon sentenced to nursery duty at church. When she walks into the nursery, she sees that the victim of their prank is also a volunteer. Summer begins a friendship with this girl but soon sees that she will have to choose between her group of friends and her new friend. Can Summer do what is right and keep her friends?

Sports families do not understand art, so Maddie is going to have to lie.

Maddie Ryland is an amazing volleyball player. She fits right in with her sport-centered family. But when Maddie is invited to join the Aspen Junior High Art Club, her secret dream of painting looks like it can become reality. The only problem is her parents want her to play club volleyball at the rec center. So Maddie tells her parents that her school has a club team, and she’d rather join that. Only there is no club team at the school. Maddie’s lie about the volleyball team starts an avalanche of other lies she has to tell in order to keep her spot in the art club. It’s only a matter of time until Maddie’s lies catch up with her. What will her parents say?




Brittany’s painting was chosen to be featured at the Colorado state capitol building over Christmas, and her best friend Cammie is not happy about it. In fact, Cammie becomes downright mean to Brittany. Then Cammie becomes impossible when Brittany accepts some help from Cammie’s enemy, Pilar. Brittany even finds herself as a victim of some of Cammie’s mean pranks. Not only did Brittany lose her best friend, but she has to decide whether or not to forgive Cammie when Cammie isn’t even sorry.






AMAZON LINKS FOR THE SERIES:



THE INTERVIEW:

So glad you sat down with us today, Victoria! Let’s get started. First off, what inspired you to write middle grade fiction, specifically middle school girls?

Middle school is burned into my memory. There are a lot of things I’ve forgotten about my childhood, but I remember middle school vividly. So my heart goes out to every single kid who is entering the murky waters of seventh grade, especially the girls. I was not a popular kid during those years, so I spent a lot of time reading. Those books shaped much of my thoughts and beliefs about life. Because of that, I’ve always wanted to write stories for those kids who are deep in the trenches of middle school themselves. 


I too remember middle school well. You’ve done a fantastic job of recreating that time for me. Where did you get your ideas? Did you have any of the experiences of your characters?

I’m sure my ideas are just a product of my overactive imagination. I was in orchestra in seventh grade, then in choir from eighth grade through college, so that provided the perfect base for these stories. I loved that part of my life, from the music to the natural camaraderie that forms within a choir. I also was very involved in my church and in youth group, just like Summer in Soprano Trouble. But that’s where the similarities in my experiences end.


You were able to portray the feelings of middle schoolers so well—those hard ones that never seem to change. Were you like any of your characters in middles school? Or who do you most identify with?

I identify most with Summer. I’m the middle child with two sisters, just like her, so much of her opinions about her sisters are ones that I had back then. I also identify with her struggle to do the right thing, and especially not being very sure what the right thing is. When it comes to Maddie, I connect with her desire to be known and liked for who she really is, not for who people think she is.


Cammie is a big player in the first three books. Will we see her story in book 4?

Yes, you will! Poor Cammie. I hope you’ll get to see a bit of why she is the way she is, and I hope you enjoy the journey that she takes in that story.


I wasn’t much of a reader in middle school. Thank goodness I found that joy later. Did you read in middle school? If so, what was your favorite book?

I have always been a bookworm. When I was in middle school I spent hours and hours with The Babysitters Club series. My dad had enrolled me in a BSC book of the month club, and every month I got a package with three books. I read them over and over. In fact, when I was in ninth grade my English teacher had to tell my parents to forbid me from reading them for a while just so I could expand my horizons. I moved on from those to the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. And other things, of course. My teacher was right. I needed to expand my reading pool.


Ah, The Babysitter’s Club. Great stories.

What would you say is your favorite Bible verse?

James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” I feel like this makes things simple, when life seems complicated. It reminds me to go back to the Bible to see what God says about life, and submit to that. 


Love that verse and your words. Writing is challenging enough. What is the hardest thing about writing middle grade fiction?

The hardest thing about writing middle grade fiction is balancing the fun with the theme. I don’t want the stories to be heavy, but I also want kids to connect with them. I pray all the time, that God helps me with that balance as He inspires me to write the stories.


Any advice for aspiring writers?

A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. If you desire to write, you should start now. They say it takes ten years to become an overnight success, so just start and keep going, especially when you don’t see any success right away. I always think of it as planting seed that will hopefully grow in the next five or ten years. If you have that mindset, then it’s easier to keep working during the long dry spells of not seeing any fruits of your labor. It’ll come, if you keep at it.


Thanks so much for being a part of the blog today and sharing your stories. Excited to read the conclusion to this fun series!


AUTHOR BIO:

Victoria is the author of The Choir Girls series. She is a wife, a mom to three girls, a full-fledged homebody, a so-so housekeeper, a mediocre musician and has dreamed of writing her whole life. She lives at the foot of the Rockies in Littleton, Colorado and she will never take that for granted. She loves French fries, superhero TV shows and movies, and cats. She could probably love the beach if she ever spent any time there. She blogs about her stories and writing at www.victoriakimble.com.



GIVEAWAY:

All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win! If there are at least three people who comment, we'll be picking a random winner to receive a copy of Harmony Blues. Good luck!

Thursday, July 6, 2017