Today, I'm very happy to be part of a blog tour for Monique Bucheger's Ginnie West series--a series of books for middle grade readers. There is some information about Monique's books, followed by an interview with this busy author!
THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A Ginnie West Adventure (BOOK 1)
Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie and Tillie, want to be sisters. Ginnie's widowed dad plus Tillie's divorced mom could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie form a secret club and come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’.
Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects that Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’ Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about.
When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out what the big mystery is before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.
If you like farms, friends, horses, and secrets, you’ll love: Trouble Blows West: A Ginnie West Adventure. So saddle up and be ready to ride with Ginnie as she explores the true meaning of friendship.
Debbie Shakespeare Smith, middle-grade author of The House of Chicken
TROUBLE BLOWS WEST: A Ginnie West Adventure (BOOK 2)
Putting her body in motion before her brain is in gear creates a mountain of problems for 12 year-old Ginnie West. She is certain that defending her twin brother, Toran, from the biggest bully in sixth grade was the right thing to do. But Ginnie couldn’t be more wrong.
She quickly figures out that Toran doesn’t appreciate being rescued by a girl any better than Charlie likes being knocked down by one. When Charlie seeks revenge on Ginnie, Toran sets aside his anger and helps her plot a playback prank at Charlie’s house.
Sadly, Ginnie learns that Charlie has a reason for being a bully when she sees his dad drop him to the floor like a ragdoll with one awful blow to the chest. Realizing he's a boy in big trouble, Ginnie switches gears and decides to be his ally, even if he won’t let her be his friend.
I loved this book! I didn’t know a book without zombies could be good! 15 yr-old Amanda
SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN: A Ginnie West Adventure: (BOOK 3)
Twelve year-old Ginnie and her BFF, Tillie, schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. It worked. But before they could become ‘for real’ sisters, Ginnie stumbled across her dead mom’s journals. Which was totally awesome sauce… until her dad took them away and won’t tell her why. Now all their plans are starting to unravel.
If that’s not bad enough, Ginnie’s favorite uncle drops the mother of all bombshells and leaves her in a maze of uncertainty. While her head is still spinning from that news, a blast from her late mother’s past shows up and makes Tillie goes nutburgers. Ginnie realizes her best friend has her own agenda and Tillie’s plans to merge their families may not be so innocent.
SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN is a contemporary MG novel that follows Ginnie West as she tries to make sense of one too many curve balls tossed her way in the most pivotal summer of her life.
Would you like an autographed, personalized copy? Visit Monique's page here to order:
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Purchase link:The Secret Sisters Club: A Ginnie West Adventure
Monique Bucheger was born in Landstuhl, Germany to active duty Air Force parents. After watching her creative writing teacher's astronaut son lift off in the Space Shuttle Endeavor, she recalled a promise to her teacher to write the books only she could write. In January of 2011, her first book made it through the first 3 tiers of Amazon's National BreakThrough Novel Award Contest to the top 5%. In November of 2012 Mrs. Bucheger was offered a 3 book contract for her Ginnie West series. Book one: THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A Ginnie West Adventure was published March 8, 2012. Her second book: TROUBLE BLOWS WEST: A Ginnie West Adventure was published April 14, 2012.
Mrs. Bucheger has championed the cause of children as a foster parent to over 120 children and her books embrace and empower people on all sides of the child abuse issue.
Blog Tour Schedule for Ginnie West Adventure Series by Monique Bucheger
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
One of the arcs in my series deals with the effects of living with child abuse and how that affects families. A woman who had been horribly abused as a child messaged me one day that she was a ‘lurker’ on our crit site and that she had read all of my books. She went on to tell me about her horrific family life and said she liked my books, because even though her own family life was a train wreck, she felt comforted by the idea of other people actually living in close-knit families that looked out for others as well as their own. She said that when she read my books, she felt peace and that visiting with the Wests was like visiting good friends. It touched me deeply that my story could bring healing to her.
If you could jump in to a book and live in that world, which would it be?
Honestly, I would jump into mine. I’m a country girl at heart. My illustrator who is an artist, author, and horse-whisperer among many other things calls me a “cowgirl-in-training.” The “Heart of the Wests” farm really exists. It’s a place I spent every minute I could as a teen. The “real” family that lives there now aren’t the Wests, but they embrace the close-knit feel of the family. Only they don’t have horses. I would have to buy one … and I would probably name her “Calliope” after Ginnie’s horse.
When and why did you start believing you could be a writer?
My high school creative writing teacher was my first writing cheerleader. At 18 ½, I married my best friend because I wanted to. We are still married 27 years later. My creative writing teacher was the only one to protest, saying: “You’re too smart to get married so young.” When I asked her what she meant by that, she predicted that if I got married, I would have a bunch of kids and never write my books. 22 years later I had 12 kids and no books written.
Today, I wouldn’t change having the kids, but I do wish I had written more. One day, a few years ago after watching her astronaut son fly off in a space shuttle, I heard her ask: “So when are you going to write those books?” For months the question haunted me. Then I remembered what a fun character Ginnie was and started writing her story.
Any future plans for writing something not in the Ginnie West Series?
I’m glad you asked. I have just finished the novella that will introduce the first book of my second series: Ryding Through Troubled Waters. Book 1 is a third finished and Book 2 is mostly finished (I will do a final edit and tweaks after I finish the first book.) Here is my quick pitch:
When his parents return from their second honeymoon in matching mahogany caskets, nineteen year-old Cale Ryder not only inherits the family ranch, but his three teenage brothers and kid sister. Thrust onto the fast track to fatherhood, Cale doesn’t have time for a lot of nonsense and quickly lets everyone know there’s only room for one alpha dog in the fight to keep the family together. While battling a busybody aunt, child protective services, and the rigors of ranch living to provide for his siblings, he tries not to wonder what life would be like if he could do what he wanted, instead of what everyone else needs.
What's your advice to inspiring writers?
Hmmm. As a teen, I was part of a group called The Young Author’s Program and I remember meeting a published author who kind of sneered when asked that question by a kid in my group before replying: “Don’t quit your day job.” That always bugged me.
Of course, she may have had good intentions, and I saw sneering where she meant caution, but I say: Write the book you want to read. And if need be, learn to write it better. Just don’t give up.
To paraphrase Tracy Hickman, “Being an author isn’t about being published, it’s about being read.” When you write what you love or have passion about, others feel it. If you aren’t confident with the end product, get an editor to help polish it, but don’t give up.
What is your favorite scene in your newest novel, Simply West of Heaven?
In Simply West of Heaven, I like the chapter in which Ginnie figures out her dad’s secret. I also liked the denouement. I still both laugh and cry when I read it. It came out far better than I had imagined … mostly because quiet, timid, mouse-like Tillie turned into ‘Super Tillie,’ pushed me out of the way, and took over the scene.
Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?
Tillie (Ginnie’s best friend and future sister) is a tender-hearted soul who has pinned her hopes on certain things happening. When that situation is threatened, she can’t cope and goes to a dark place in her mind. It took me a few days to write those chapters and I had a constant headache from crying. I really felt for Tillie.
One of my critiquers encouraged me to really explore Tillie’s devastation. Tillie embodies three abused girls I knew as a tween/teen, one of whom found me on Facebook shortly before that and asked me some hard questions as to why our classmates had treated her badly. Her home life was tragic and yet, she was shown little compassion at school. I have carried a lot of guilt for years knowing she needed help, but being 12, I simply didn’t know how to help her. I’m sure that was a catalyst for my becoming a foster parent. As it turns out, she considered me one of 2 friends she had from that time, simply because I had stood up for her a few times when our classmates teased her. That made me feel better, but I wished I had offered her more invitations to play at recess or on a sleepover or something more meaningful.
Do your characters really talk to you?
Of course, don’t yours? And sometimes they keep me up all night writing their stories. Seriously though, some messages need to be shared and some situations need to be resolved.
What makes your novel standout from the crowd?
My series is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Which honestly are mostly decisions to do right or hard things when other people can’t or won’t. I love fantasy stories as much as the next person, but there is something about gathering one’s courage and /or conviction’s and being able to depend on one’s inner strength that trumps defeating one’s enemies with a magic wand.
However—if I’m being chased by an evil wizard—I probably wouldn’t throw away a magic wand—at that point, more tools in the tool belt are better than less.
I read your book—and loved it. One thing that struck me about The Kindling is that it parallels a lot with my series, minus the magi powers. And I have to say, I loved your opening scene.
Thanks for having me on your blog today.
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Please check out Simply West of Heaven. A MG novel by Monique Bucheger with lots of heart. http://moniquebucheger.blogspot.com/
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