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Checking in with Dan Gemeinhart

Cashmere author Dan Gemeinhart has five published middle-grade books and his sixth book is due out in January. He recently took some time out of his family vacation to talk about life, books, reading and what he's been up to:

How is your summer vacation going so far? 

DG: It's going great! I have three school-age kids and my wife is a teacher, so summer is a great time for us to have lots of family time together. We've done some little trips, gone backpacking, and tubed the Wenatchee River. We love where we live!

What are you reading right now? 

DG: Right now I'm reading a YA book called The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. I just finished the MG (middle grade) novel Escape From Aleppo, and next up I'm going to read Future Home of the Living God, an adult novel by Louise Erdrich. I've always got a book in my hand, and 90% of the time they're from NCRL!

How much time do you spend reading a day?

DG: Well, it depends on how busy I am. I'd say my minimum daily reading time is about 30 minutes, but if I've got time and a book that's grabbed me, it could definitely go up to ten hours!

When you want to read outside your comfort zone, what do you read?

DG: I need to read more nonfiction, which is so great and important to read (and there are so many fantastic nonfiction books out there), but sadly it only comprises like 2% of the reading I do.

Where do you start when one of your students asks you for a book recommendation?

DG: I always ask them what the last book that they read and loved is. If they have no answer, then I'll ask what their favorite movies are, then try to think of book titles that match those interests.

What was your favorite book in middle school?

DG: I loved all kinds of books and read constantly. One series that I remember really loving is the sci-fi trilogy TRIPODS by Matt Christopher.

How do you choose the names of your characters?

DG: I just look for a name that "feels" right, and sometimes it takes a LOT of trying and rejecting names before I find the right one. Like, dozens. And, sometimes you get lucky and the perfect name pops right into your head on the first try!

What is your hidden talent?

DG: Sadly, I'm terrible at just about everything. I'm lucky that this writing thing is working out, because I'm really not good at anything. I do love baking my own bread from scratch, though, and I make a pretty fantastic rustic sourdough.

What is your favorite part of a book to write?

DG: Easy: the first chapter and the last chapter. Those usually flow really well, with lots of excitement. The rest can be fun, too, but it's a lot of work!

Tell us a little about your book that is coming out early next year.

DG: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is another MG novel, and it's an emotional road trip story. It's about a girl (named Coyote) and her dad who live a very unorthodox life: traveling the country, living in an old converted school bus, grieving the tragic deaths of her mom and two sisters five years previous. When she finds out that something really important to her is about to be destroyed and lost forever back in Washington state, they have to embark on rollicking, riotous race across America (with a motley assortment of hitch hikers and wanderers along for the ride) to try and make it back in time to save it. I'm so, so excited for it to finally come out in January!

What are you working on now?

DG: I'm working on my next MG novel which is slated to come out in 2020. All I can say about it right now is that it's very different from my previous books...it's a kind of post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure set in the northwest in the near future. It's got killer robots and orphans and ghost towns, and plenty of old-fashioned human emotion, too. I'm really into it.

What's the best thing you've done so far this summer?

DG: Spending time with my family and reading lots of great books! My wife and I also took a trip to Vienna and Prague, and that was amazing, too.

 

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