Meet Elysabeth Elderling, the author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad series. The first two books in the series are available from a href=”http://4rvpublishingllc.com” target=”_new”>4RV Publishing. They are “State of Wilderness” and “State of Quarries.”
How did you get started writing this series?
I wrote a story, “Train of Clues,” that won a shared second place win in a contest in 2005. I wanted to expand the story into a series, with a clue for each state, and consulted with an editor with SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). She sent me some great advice. After receiving her advice and the directions she suggested I could go, I started doing research to find info that could be used for the “clues.” I found some clues on the Educational World ® website and then I found a website, quite by accident, that had some trivia type of information for landmarks in every state. I gathered my information and let the idea brew, trying to figure out the best format for the series, that the reader’s wouldn’t get tired of and that would really be what I wanted from the series.
What gave you the idea to make the stories like a game where you guess the state?
It was an accidental finding. I had thought of writing the stories for a 5-minute mystery site and I played around with different ideas. I originally was going to do the series like a journal, where the kids would be in a year-round school and would have to keep track on a weekly basis of all in the info given to them to figure out which state was being described. When I saw a posting asking for submissions for the 5-Minute Mystery, I thought maybe my stories would work out for that. I tried to make it as the state being the character and giving each state a personality to give the trivia info to the kids, but that didn’t work. I tried making it like a game host asking the questions – kind of a Jeopardy!® type game, but that wasn’t turning out the way I wanted. And, then the produces of the 5-Minute Mystery site wanted the stories to be more “geographical” in the story and I was having to either give up story or plot or characters or something and so we weren’t meeting in the middle.
I understand you’re writing a teacher’s guide to go with your books. Can you tell us something about that?
Yes, I am writing the teacher’s guide as I finish the book. I had wanted to have varying puzzles in the books for the readers to have some fun after reading, so I kept that idea. I had never written a teacher’s guide nor really seen anything. The closest thing I could come up with was the Weekly Reader’s teacher guide given to me from one of the teachers who is a band parent. The research/discussion questions expand out a few of the more interesting clues in the book. I’m trying to have a science experiment in each guide or maybe I’ll switch to some math related problems in some that are related to a clue, and then to wrap it up, I have some end-of-book questions (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and T/F). The bibliography will be in both the books and the teacher’s guides so all readers will benefit from the plethora of information I have gathered for further reading or papers or whatever the need is.
Where can readers purchase your book?
Check out http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com to orders copies of the book. Books are also available through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com as well but you can order directly from me and get signed copies. Direct contact can be made via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.