Q&A

In The Gravity of Daisy Gray, Daisy loves her honeybees. What do you say to people who don’t like bees?

bee-705412_1280Bee stings hurt, so I understand why someone might be nervous around them. But I’d ask them to please give honeybees a chance. Look for beekeeping classes in your area. When you put on a protective suit and view them up close, you see what amazing creatures they are. Plus, we need them—one third of our food comes from pollinated plants.

Check out these other cool honeybee facts:

  • Honeybees never sleep!
  • For every pound of honey, bees flew 55,000 miles and visited 2 million flowers.
  • Honeybees can recognize human faces.
  • Honeybees dance to tell each other where the best flowers are.
  • Honeybees have 2 stomachs, 5 eyes, and a brain the size of a sesame seed.
  • Honey is antibacterial, it never spoils, and it’s the only food that contains everything a person needs to survive.

 

Where do you write?

0725180909aThe best part about writing in a closet under the stairs is the connection it gives me to Harry Potter. The worst part is having nowhere to hang jackets. It’s a humble space, but it’s quiet, which is really all you need. Stephen King once wrote a novel in his laundry room, so there’s proof it can be done.

Ezra is my writing buddy—see him back there? He’s lying on an orthopedic Kuranda bed, nibbling chicken strips from a rubber Starmark pickle. Ezra is king. His gate stays open unless the nefarious vacuum cleaner comes out.

My favorite things in my writing space are the paintings and sculptures my children have made. Above my computer are inspirational notes from them and from my favorite author, Doug Coupland, who wrote, “Keep up your work.”

The banner over my entire work space is my story outline, a five-foot sheet of laminated card stock shingled with Post-its. I sit in that chair every day for about four hours. Some days I get 100 words, some days I get 2,000, and I rarely know when I sit down which kind of day I’m going to get. But I keep up my work and I hope, if you have something you love to do as much as I love to write, that you’ll keep up your work, too.

 

What are some of your favorite middle-grade novels?

It’s so hard to choose! Some of my newest favorites are:

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Some of my favorite classics are:

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How do you pronounce your last name?

My married name is pronounced Zel-OM-kee. In the 1870s, the Zlomke family left Prussia (now Germany and Poland) to settle on farms in Nebraska. Five generations later, some of their descendants still work the same land.

 

Who is the audience for The Gravity of Daisy Gray?

Children who enjoy this story the most are between ages 9 and 12. They are drawn to mysterious adventures that focus on friendship, fun, and science, with a touch of fantasy.

The Flesch Reading Ease score for this novel is 84.1. This high score means it is in conversational English, which is right on target for middle-grade readers. (As a comparison, the score for the first Harry Potter book is 81.3.)

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score for this novel is 4.1. This means children in the beginning of 4th grade and higher will find it easy to understand. (As a comparison, the score for the first Harry Potter book is 5.5.)

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