Author Interview & Review: The Scoop on Kallie George

by Veronica Vivona

Kallie George is an experienced writer whose series, Heartwood Hotel, Book 4: Home Again, will be released in early July! The novel is the last installment in the series, but that doesn’t mean Kallie is going anywhere. Kallie is up to some exciting things, both in her professional life and her personal life! Her journey has only just begun!

We are so happy that Kallie sent us an advance copy of her novel that is coming out on July 3rd, 2018! Check out what we thought of it below:

Review of Heartwood Hotel, Book 4: Home Again by Kallie George

With this being the final book in the Heartwood Hotel children’s series, author Kallie George wraps things up in an encouraging, dramatic, and empathetic way. Heartwood Hotel, Book 4: Home Again has everything that you would ever want in a final installment: a wedding, a potential family mystery, and a dramatic change of events!

The series is one that many kids love – and for good reason! It follows a mouse maid named Mona who works at the Heartwood Hotel, a hotel for small critters. Mona finds a family and a loving home at the Heartwood Hotel, but that doesn’t mean that everything is always perfect. In the final novel of the series, Mona has to do everything she can to save her hotel when a fire unexpectedly occurs in the forest. Not only that, but there’s so much going on at the hotel already that Mona is up to her mouse ears in excitement! Kallie George gives so many different aspects to this novel that you won’t want to put it down!

This novel is good for kids of all ages! Not only that, but it’s a good read for adults too. The story touches on so many aspects that you’ll love every second of reading it. Kallie George’s writing is sympathetic, beautiful, and engaging. She makes you believe you are right there next to all the characters in the middle of Fernwood Forest, part of the story itself.

With Heartwood Hotel, Book 4: Home Again being the final story in the series, it in no way disappoints. That being said, there’s no doubt that everyone will be so sad to see the series come to an end.

Q&A with Kallie George

After reading Heartwood Hotel, Book 4: Home Again, we were able to chat with Kallie George herself! We learned about her love for reading, her new middle grade novel coming out next year, and her love for Anne of Green Gables! Check it out here:

Just to start, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a children’s book author and editor. I also teach creative writing classes for adults and kids. Mostly, though, I write!

What were you up to before you became an author?

I have been an author for many years now – over 10. I did my masters in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia. I had a few odd jobs – nanny, bookseller and tea shop seller.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always adored writing. I wrote my first “book” when I was five years old! (It mostly consisted of pictures.) I would say that two things really inspired me – all the books I read growing up and also my dad telling me made-up stories.

You have multiple novels! Which one was your first how did it help you start your career as an author?

My first book was The Melancholic Mermaid, illustrated by Abigail Halpin – which was published by a smaller house in Canada. That book really helped me get the eye of an agent. My first novel was Clover’s Luck (First in the Magical Animal Adoption Agency). That really launched my career in the US.

Can you tell us about some of your latest published novels and why you were inspired to write them?

My latest series is called The Heartwood Hotel, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin and published by Disney Hyperion. It’s about a mouse who works as a maid in a fancy hotel for small animals. I came up with the idea while on a hike with my husband. We go on lots of hikes and he tends to like to go on more epic ones than I do. On that particular hike, I was getting tired (and complaining a bit), but my husband distracted me by pointing to an enormous tree filled with tiny holes and suggesting it might be a hotel for animals. I loved the idea and began dreaming up a story about it. And I promptly forgot that I was tired and sore, too!

Another series that I’m doing is early readers for Anne of Green Gables, illustrated by Abigail Halpin, and picture books on Anne of Green Gables, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout, all published by Tundra books. I really love Anne and so it was an honor to work on them.

You have both picture books and chapter books. Do you go about writing each type of novel differently? What is your writing process like for both types of books?

I do like working on both picture books and chapter books very much. I find the processes very different. For one, chapter books take me much longer to write. Although, I can spend a long time editing and tweaking a picture book.

For both, I tend to write by hand first and then type up my stories. I also do a lot of plotting and brainstorming, even for picture books. I like to run my story ideas by my husband and my friends, especially my friend Tiffany Stone, who is a great children’s poet and good editor herself. I might also run some of the ideas by my agent, who can really help streamline what I should work on. I tend to have too many ideas, some of them are good and others not-so-good. It’s about figuring out which ones are the former!

You’ve received a lot of awards and recognition! What is it like to have so many people absolutely love your books?

Wow! (Blush!) I am truly, absolutely gobsmacked when I get emails from children or adults who like my books. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. I especially love to see children who have used their own imaginations and really welcomed my stories into their lives. For example, a few children have made miniature Heartwood Hotel doll houses. And one child even made a board game from my book!

Is there a fun fact or two about yourself that might surprise our readers?

I love swing dancing! I also have a newborn son: born April 1st, 2018.

Who inspires you the most to write?

Probably all the wonderful children’s book authors out there. (I know that’s not just one person.) And – this is not a who, but a what – I think the world inspires me a lot, especially the woods. I love, love, love going hiking and I come up with my best ideas in the forest.

What do you want kids to gain the most from your novels?

I’d love them to simply enjoy my stories. If they connect with worlds and the characters, that means so much to me.

What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?

Keep editing your work, over and over. Writing IS editing. Also, it takes a long time to become published and usually includes a lot of rejection. So don’t give up. It’s all about finding the right match, the publishing house that believes in and loves your story.

Your career seems boundless. Where do you see yourself going from here?

I would love to simply keep writing! Chapter books, picture books, and… I’m venturing into middle grade novels too in 2019 with a series called Wings of Olympus, about a winged horse race set in Ancient Greece. I also hope to find a good balance of being a new mom and writing.

Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?

Just read!

Heartwood Hotel, Book 4: Home Again will be released to the general public on July 3rd, 2018!

To learn more about Kallie George, check out her website!

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