Meet Author Elysabeth Elderling

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 – eeldering@gmail.com.

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29 thoughts on “Meet Author Elysabeth Elderling

  1. Deborah Weed

    This is such a fresh, wonderful idea! From a marketing perspective, I believe it can be a gold mine. Every teacher can use this book. Elysabeth, you are an inspiration to us all. . .

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  2. Elysabeth

    Thanks for having me today, Margaret. I hope all teachers will jump on and use the books to supplement their social studies of US History. I am trying to keep the books fun and interactive, allowing the readers to guess along with the characters to make sure that they continue to learn as well as are entertained. I think some of the clues I’ve got so far are tricky but fun and my characters’ reactions as well as the readers’ have been the same. Thanks for stopping by today and I’ll be in and out check for more comments – E 🙂

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  3. Martha Swirzinski

    These books sound just wonderful. My daughters love to read and these sound right up their ally. As a teacher myself I love that you will be writing a guide to go along.
    Good luck and keep writing.
    Martha Swirzinski

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  4. Elysabeth

    Thanks, Martha. The guides are available as each book comes out. They are geared towards the 4th through 6th grade students but I have had as young as 8 enjoy them and as old as high school students enjoy them and beg for more. Even the adults who have reviewed them are enjoying them. Teacher’s guides can be ordered as a special order through either the publisher (4RV Publishing – via Vivian Zabel at president@4rvpublishingllc.com or myself at eeldering@gmail.com). We do offer a discount to schools or classes who order multiple copies (if you order at least 6 copies of one title, you will receive a 10% discount with the PDF of the teacher’s guide for $3; if you order at least 10 copies of one title, you will receive the 10% discount and the free PDF teacher’s guide.)) If you are ordering for a class or school, please make note in the subject line – SPECIAL ORDER JGDS SERIES. Also, this series is great for homeschoolers too, so if you know anyone who homeschools, please let them know about the series. Hopefully State of Reservations will be out soon but it’s all dependent on the publisher right now. E 🙂

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  5. Harry Gilleland

    Greetings, Elysabeth and Margaret ~

    Wow, Elysabeth, your books sound like surefire winners if marketed correctly. Seems like every school should want copies. The books sound like a fun way for the kids to learn. Good luck with the sales! You have a great idea here.

    Cheers!

    Harry

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  6. Elysabeth

    Thanks, Harry. I’m trying but things are slow. Maybe if I get Jeopardy! to sponsor my books, I’d be better off. I need to write to them and see if they would consider it – lol – see you all in the postings – E 🙂

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  7. Elysabeth

    Thanks, Darcia. That is the eventual goal but with only two out right now, it is kind of hard to really get them in the schools. The publisher can’t really publish them fast enough to have a nice little beginning of the series to get into the schools. The original plan had been to publish four a year but it looks like about two a year might be what we end up getting out. I hope that eventually the books are self-sustaining and we can get them out faster but with everything going on, it’s just a wait and see thing with everything – not just my books but other folks’ books as well. Thanks for stopping by. Tell all your teacher friends and homeschool friends about the series and maybe the idea will take off soon. – E 🙂

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  8. Karen Cioffi

    It’s always interesting to find out how and why authors got started in the business of writing. It seems there are so many different paths that take us here!

    This series sounds great!

    Karen

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  9. Katie Hines

    I know Elysabeth (she lives in my neck of the woods), but don’t know that I recall the details of how she began her most interesting series. Good article, and a nice background.

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  10. Elysabeth

    Thanks, karen and Katie. I keep hoping that some miracles will happen and the series really does end in the schools to supplement but with everything set for years in advance, it is hard to break into the school markets. You have to really be a higher up to get noticed in the schools and have a series of books worked into the curriculum. From what I’ve been able to tell, it takes years to shift the curriculum in favor of supplementing with something like my series. All I can do is keep trying and one day I’ll be there.

    Katie, I thought you know how I got started, but guess not. I’m having fun learning about the states as I write each story. I’m switching characters out and will have some surprise characters show up in the upcoming stories.

    Karen, isn’t that the truth – we all have had different paths to get to where we are with our books. And all of them are interesting to see as we proceed in the tours like this.

    If anyone has any questions or comments that I can address, just post and I’ll do my best to answer them. See you all in the postings – E 🙂

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  11. Heather

    Great interview Margaret and Elysabeth!

    Margaret, you should fix the link at the very top and make it “click-able”.

    Elysabeth, you sound like a very creative author and have grabbed my interest with your books!

    Heather Paye

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  12. John Hughes

    Ms. Eldering ROCKS! My classroom is the the lucky recipient of almost daily visits in my classroom (Via GoogleTalk) from this amazing author. MY 6th grade student love working with a published author. Ms. Eldering is very generous in her help and support. I have read her books and as an educator HIGHLY recommend them to any classroom, school, and library. The teacher’s guides are also timely, informative, and fun.Thanks Mrs. E for all your help and get the Book #3 out so I can read it! 🙂

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  13. Elysabeth

    lol. Mr. Hughes, you know I can only do so much. Vivian is trying but there are other projects that take priority. Hopefully this year (well it is almost over but hopefully) it will be out. You know I really enjoy helping the kids (although some days I don’t feel I’m really that much of a help).

    Heather, not really creative but just having fun and felt that there was a need for a series like mine to at least supplement what the kids do learn. Most of the “clues” in the books are just facts that are not really covered in school but are interesting tidbits of information that have potential for keeping students’ interest and by making the stories somewhat interactive, the readers tend to appreciate them more as they can have fun and challenge their friends along with the characters. Hope everyone will stop by my blog or my website and check out the rest of the info about the series. I also have some activity booklets on my website that are freebies and can be downloaded and printed at any time. See you all in the postings. E 😉

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  14. Elysabeth

    Deb and Kathy, that’s what I have in mind – keep them reading and having fun and learning. Thanks for stopping by everyone – hope you all enjoyed finding out a little more about the series. – see you all in the postings – E 😉

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  15. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Great interview Peggy! Elysabeth had written the kind of book that most teachers want for their kids to get them interested in geography. Anything that brings mystery and geography together gets my vote. I wish I were still teaching so I could use it with my kids.:)

    Good luck with the book, Elysabeth.

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  16. Helena Harper

    What an interesting post, Margaret, and nice to meet you Elysabeth! Your books sound like a great idea – there’s nothing like a mystery to get children intrigued and involved, adults, too, for that matter! What is your next project after you’ve finished the teacher’s guide?

    Helena

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  17. Elysabeth

    Helena, since this is a 50-book project, my whole idea is to work with the series before anything else, although I am participating in NaNo this year and have started a children’s or young adult (probably more towards the high elementary/low end middle grade level than the actual young adult category). I think it’s supposed to be a ghost story – so guess I’ll find out over the course of November. Thanks for stopping by everyone. I hope you all will remember to check my blog and website for more information on the series. E 🙂

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