One of the coolest things I get to do as an author is read other favorite authors’ books before anyone else. In the case of phenomenal MG author Rebecca Behrens, that means I was able to read her debut novel, When Audrey Met Alice, early enough to blurb it! So, when I saw she had another book coming, I begged my agent to snag me a copy. (Thanks, Suzie! SO glad I begged.)
I loved Summer of Lost and Found. It was so many of the things I gobble up in a MG read: mystery, adventure, ghost story, and cool historical treasure trove.
Here’s the description from Goodreads:
Nell Dare expected to spend her summer vacation hanging out with her friends in New York City. That is, until her botanist mom dragged her all the way to Roanoke Island for a research trip. To make matters worse, her father suddenly and mysteriously leaves town, leaving no explanation or clues as to where he went—or why.
While Nell misses the city—and her dad—a ton, it doesn’t take long for her to become enthralled with the mysteries of Roanoke and its lost colony. And when Nell meets Ambrose—an equally curious historical reenactor—they start exploring for clues as to what really happened to the lost colonists. As Nell and Ambrose’s discoveries of tantalizing evidence mount, mysterious things begin to happen—like artifacts disappearing. And someone—or something—is keeping watch over their quest for answers.
It looks like Nell will get the adventurous summer she was hoping for, and she will discover secrets not only about Roanoke, but about herself.
Don’t you want to read it now? If so, read the five questions Rebecca kindly answered, and leave a comment. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky folks who gets to lay hands on this gem before the May 24 release date!
Rebecca Behrens. That gleam in her eyes? Pure Talent.
Interview with Rebecca
1. Describe your most recent book, Summer of Lost and Found, in three words.
History, mystery, discovery
2. So far, you have written amazing books about First Daughter Alice Roosevelt and the lost colony of Roanoke. Have you always been a history buff? What other past stories do you have your eye on for future books?
Thank you! I have always been a history buff. After class, I used to write notes to my fifth-grade teacher telling her about what I loved reading in our textbook and what else I wanted to know. She gave me an endless supply of MG historical fiction that nurtured my interest. My parents are also both history-lovers, and our family road trips made stops at every plaque and historic site along the way. They taught me that not only is the present world a beautiful and complicated and fascinating place—the past is, too.
My next book, The Last Grand Adventure, is set in 1967 and it’s about a twelve-year-old girl whose spunky grandmother takes her along on a planes, train, and automobiles journey back to Kansas—where the grandmother is convinced she will find her famously missing sister, Amelia Earhart. So I am getting to explore the ’60s and Amelia Earhart’s life—both topics I love learning more about.
3. The Historical Fiction Police are a real thing. When writing about past events, do you ever find yourself nervous you’ll get an important fact or detail wrong? Have you ever gotten any “fan mail” correcting your research?
I have a love-hate relationship with the Historical Fiction Police. I am nervous about them knocking on my door, but at the same time they motivate me to do my best at getting facts right. For me, the trickiest part of writing historical fiction is deciding when it’s okay to stray from the historical record and make things up. Sometimes you have to, because information isn’t available; sometimes you need to, because you are first and foremost trying to tell a good story. But that story needs to stay plausible, if not completely accurate.
I’m lucky in that so far, I haven’t been alerted to any big mistakes by readers. I can thank my copy editors for that! For Summer of Lost and Found, I worked with a historian from Roanoke Island. She reviewed the entire manuscript and pointed out places where I was either wrong or ought to clarify information. She taught me a lot about the history and people of Roanoke Island—I’m so grateful for her help and expertise!
4. What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love revising, especially those aha! moments when a piece of the book puzzle unexpectedly fits. I also love the research that happens while working on early drafts: The Internet is often my first stop before moving on to more formal sources, and there is something really fun about falling down the Wikipedia rabbit hole when looking into a topic. You think you’re just going to look up what kinds of birds live in a place and the next thing you know, you’re reading about a passenger pigeon that escaped a pie recipe.
5. What’s the best book (or two) you’ve read this month?
I just read Jen Malone’s The Sleepover, which is a middle-grade reimagining of the movie The Hangover. And it is truly hilarious. I’m longing to dig my Pac-Man sleeping bag out of storage and invite my best friend over for a night of shenanigans. Now I’m in the middle of an adult historical fiction book: The Marriage of Opposites, which is about the life of painter Camille Pissarro’s mother. The protagonist, Rachel, is strong-willed and passionate, and I’m loving the lush setting: the island of St. Thomas in the 1800s.
Thanks, Rebecca! And congratulations on another stunning book.
Remember: Leave a comment below! Details: North American entries only, please! Contest ends on Friday, May 20 at midnight Central.