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  • Kathryn Lee Martin

Author Interview: Jackie Yeager

Today we have a special treat. We're talking with author Jackie Yeager about her brand new release today called Spin The Golden Light Bulb. This is a book I've been excited about for months now so let's get to it!

Welcome Jackie and thanks for stopping by to tell us about your debut book!

Let's start by asking a little bit about you. So how long have you been writing?

Thanks for having me here to chat!

I started writing seriously about ten years ago. I was a reading teacher at the time, spending all my days with children’s books. I had an idea for what I thought would be an incredible middle grade story, and not knowing what I was getting myself into, I began drafting it right away. I wrote that manuscript in six months and queried it immediately. I thought for sure it would get published with no problem. I had no clue that it was not ready for publication—not even close. I had so much to learn!

Sounds like you've been at writing for quite some time! During this time did you ever manage to find an agent to represent your work? And how long did it take you to get your current agent?

I do have a literary agent and she’s wonderful! I signed with Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary in August of 2015—eight years (and three manuscripts) after I first started querying. If I had known back then it would take me that long, I’m not sure I would have kept at it. I guess I was blissfully unaware of how competitive publishing was!

It sure can be competitive for sure! What genres do you usually write? What makes these so near and dear to your heart?

I write mainly middle grade magical realism. I love the middle grade age group and plan on writing for them for a long time. As far as genres go, most of my writing is realistic fiction with a magical or scientific twist to it…things that could be possible in our world—with a little help from science or our imagination!

Middle grade is a fantastic age group with so much to offer readers! What inspired you to become a writer?

When my daughter was heading off to middle school, she and her three best friends were all about the adventure before them. They were so excited—and apprehensive, just like most middle school kids are. I watched in amazement every single day as they dreamed and wished and imagined what it would be like. My first middle school manuscript was inspired by them! Though it was never published, I hold a special place in my heart for that manuscript. It was the springboard for the other stories I was meant to write.

Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Is there anything special you need to help you write? Like special music, coffee/tea, have a favorite writing spot, etc?

I have a hard time being creative at a desk. I do almost all of my writing, both drafting and revising in a comfortable chair with my laptop. Coffee is almost always there—mixed with sweet cream creamer!

Well you certainly can't go wrong with coffee! What are some of your favorite authors or books that you’ve read?

Oh wow—too many to list! But some of my all-time favorite books are YA like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Program, Twilight, and Caravel to name a few. Of course I love middle grade too though. Anything by Rebecca Stead, Love, Aubrey by Suzzanne LeFluer, School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, and At Your Service by Jen Malone—they’re all so good! I’m a big HGTV fan too so I loved Joanna Gaines’ book, The Magnolia Story. It was so inspiring. Now I’m reading Chip Gaines’ book too. I guess I’m a little obsessed with Fixer Upper!

That's quite the list and all excellent books! If you could give aspiring writers some advice, what would you tell them?

I would tell any writer exactly what I remind myself…to write a story that comes naturally, about something you care deeply about. That’s the way you’ll find or stay true to your own writing voice. Basically just write—as much as you can and let the story come to you. It doesn’t have to be perfect in the first draft or even the second, but the words need to be there if they’re ever going to turn into the story you want it to be.

Now that we know a little bit about you, tell us more about your story. What's the book called?

Spin the Golden Light Bulb, the first book in THE CRIMSON FIVE middle grade series.

I love that title so much! It makes me wonder just what this story is going to be about. Tell us a little bit about your story.

Spin the Golden Light Bulb, a middle grade story of magical realism, is set in the year 2071. Eleven year-old Kia Krumpet is determined to build the 67 inventions she has thought up. But at the end of sixth grade, kids all over the country are sorted, forced to study one academic program for their remaining school years. Therefore, kids are forbidden to build inventions unless they earn a place at PIPS, the Piedmont Inventor’s Prep School.

When Kia and four other kids in NY state are selected to compete for spots at PIPS, they travel to Camp Piedmont, training camp for the Piedmont National Finals, where they encounter a world full of floating playgrounds, switching bunk beds, and robotic monkey assistants…and a technical task they must solve as creatively as possible against forty-nine other state teams. But working with teammates is hard and the level of competition is beyond what even Kia is used to. Amidst camp secrets and family drama, she and her teammates must learn to work together and create something incredible if they have any chance of earning their place at the best inventor’s school in the country—and keeping their newfound friendship intact.

That sounds like an incredible read. I can't wait to dig into my copy to see more of Kia's adventure! What inspired you to write this particular story?

When my kids were in middle school, I coached their Odyssey of the Mind teams. In 2011, the first year that my son’s team worked together, they earned a chance to compete at the New York state competition. It was an amazing experience and the kids were just thrilled to be competing there. In a shocking turn of events, the team placed second at the NY state competition earning them a chance to compete at the World Finals along with 850 other international teams and teams from around the US. It was an amazing experience for all of us—not just for the kids and me but for all of our families too, one I’m sure none of us will ever forget. It was like being at the Olympics of Imagination, with Opening and Closing Ceremonies, parades, and incredible performances by kids from all over the world!

At the time, I had been querying another middle grade novel, without much luck. It was during and after our trip to the World Finals that I realized that this could be the bases for an incredible story. It took me a year after that to formulate an idea, not really an Odyssey of the Mind story, but a story of five kids who compete in something on a larger than life scale. It eventually became the backdrop for THE CRIMSON FIVE books.

Always a joy when inspiration comes from something neat like that. With such an incredible premise, who will this book appeal to age wise?

The story is middle grade, targeted at kids ages 8-12, but hopefully will appeal to anyone who likes middle grade fiction.

What’s next for you? Is there going to be a series, sequel, or what else are you working on?

I’m thrilled to say that Kia Krumpet’s story is not over yet! Spin the Golden Light Bulb has paved the way for a sequel. Kia, Ander, Mare, Jax, and Jillian will be featured in the second of the Crimson Five books: Flip the Silver Switch…which will be released on July 10, 2018! There’ll be more inventions, more drama, and more creative tasks to solve. But this time there’ll be an international flavor with an extensive cast of characters, and even more secrets for the kids to uncover.

This sounds like such a neat book! For readers interested in Spin The Golden Light Bulb, you can get your own copy of this fabulous book at any of the following places:

Add it on Goodreads

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and chat with me today, Jackie! It was a lot of fun and I'm so happy for you and Spin the Golden Light Bulb. Wishing you the very best in all your future projects as well!

Readers who wish to connect with Jackie can find her at the following:

Twitter: @JackieYeager

Instagram: Jackie_yeager

Bestselling Author of Steampunk Fantasy
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