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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dizzy Miss Lizzie - Review and Interview

Author: RM Clark
Published: 17 November 2014
Genre: Fantasy/Mystery
Pinky's Rating (out of 5): 4 dragonflies


Book Description

Thirteen-year-old Kasey Madrid finally has the freedom she's always wanted. Instead of putting up with sitters or camps, she can spend the summer home alone in their ‘new’ house. Never mind that the house is a creepy old place built in the nineteenth century. The creep factor skyrockets when Kasey meets a nineteenth-century girl named Lizzie Bellows in the basement. It takes some time for Lizzie to convince Kasey she's not a ghost, though neither girl understands why they can see each other when they live 120 years apart. 

The differences in their worlds don't stop the two from becoming fast friends. Lizzie's life isn't easy, though. In her time, her parents died in a fire many believe Lizzie started herself. As the summer passes and Kasey learns more about her own past, she is shocked to discover Lizzie is part of a terrible Madrid family secret. It's up to Kasey to go back to Lizzie's world to unlock the secret and clear Lizzie's name.

My Thoughts

This is a great story about a thirteen-year old girl, Kasey Madrid, and the adventures she has when she is left home alone over summer vacation.

When Kasey finds a room hidden in the basement of her new 'old and creepy house' she is amazed that there is somebody else living there. How can that happen? With the help of her best friend Paula, Kasey embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of Lizzie, the girl in the basement and finds out a terrible Madrid family secret that links Lizzie and Kasey's families. 

Will Kasey be able to break the cycle that was set in motion nearly 120 ago? 

I found my self drawn into the story and at times didn't want to put it down. OK, I know I'm older than the recommended age for this book, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a well written story that engages readers from the very first page.

I recommend this book to readers and am sure this book will delight young readers with their first introduction to the paranormal/fantasy/mystery genre.

Meet the Author of 
Dizzy Miss Lizzie - Robert Clark

What inspired you to start writing, and when?

A few years back our town unearthed a time capsule from 1967 and had a parade and much hoopla for the event. The time capsule was opened at a park with hundreds of people looking on. I imagined what would have happened if it was empty. That was the basis for my first novel (forever trunked) and it helped me discover and channel the voices in my head. I started writing in 2007 and recently finished my tenth novel.

What is your preferred genre?

I write primarily middle grade, sticking mostly with mysteries. Lately, I’ve broken out into adventure and even a magic-themed coming-of-age story.

Tell us your latest news?

I’m thrilled that my middle grade mystery, Dizzy Miss Lizzie, is being re-released by Writers AMuse Me Publishing. This book originally came out in 2012, but after some legal wrangling with the original publisher, I got my rights back and found a new home for Lizzie. Cue the happy ending music! The follow-on, Running On Empty, will be published in May, 2015.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

Dizzy Miss Lizzie is the story of friendship between two girls. Thirteen-year-old Kasey Madrid finally has the freedom she's always wanted. Instead of putting up with sitters or camps, she can spend the summer home alone in their "new" house. Never mind that the house is a creepy old place built in the nineteenth century. The creep factor skyrockets when Kasey meets a nineteenth-century girl named Lizzie Bellows in the basement. It takes some time for Lizzie to convince Kasey she's not a ghost, though neither girl understands why they can see each other when they live 120 years apart. The difference in their worlds doesn't stop the two from becoming fast friends. Lizzie's life isn't easy though. In her time, her parents died in a fire many believe Lizzie started herself. As the summer passes and Kasey learns more about her own past, she is shocked to discover Lizzie is part of a terrible Madrid family secret. It's up to Kasey to go back to Lizzie's world to unlock the secret and clear Lizzie's name.

How long did it take you to complete?

I wrote in just over eight months. I’m a slow and steady type of writer.

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?

No. Some are composites of folks I’ve met over the years (like the Portuguese grandmother). It’s a mostly female cast and I just made them up as I went. I’ve been known to name characters after people I know or have known. That’s the fun part.

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself?

The publisher asked about my vision for the cover and we went through a few iterations before deciding on the current cover. It has just the right mix of mysterious and paranormal elements.

Where did you get the inspiration for your cover?

Much of this book takes place in a secret basement room, so I wanted the transition from upstairs to downstairs and to show both girls on their respective sides of the portal.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?

I start out with a basic idea and some very general waypoints, then let ‘er fly. Sometimes I know the ending early, but mostly I go where the characters take me. I guess that makes me a “pantser.”

Do you write under a pen name?

No, but I have a very common real name, so I use my initials (R. M. Clark). It also makes for shorter autographs.

Do you have any advice for other writers starting out?

This is not the business to be in if you seek instant gratification.  The publishing wheels turn slowly and there is not a whole lot you can do about it except excel at what you can control: the writing. Successful writing is the ultimate payback for any disappointment you may encounter. Keep telling your stories.


Ok, now some fun questions….

Coffee or Tea?

Tea, mostly. I love a hot, steaming cup as I settle down to read.

White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?

I’ll say milk chocolate, but I’m not a huge fan of any of them. Except M&Ms, if that counts.

What is your favourite colour?

My brain seems to be drawn to the blue/grey side of the spectrum. It’s probably a guy thing.

Winter or Summer?

New England winters can be pretty brutal, so I’ll go with summer. Then again, New England summers can be pretty brutal, too. You know what, I really like October and November, so I’m going off the board and picking autumn.
                                                                         
If you could have one superpower what would it be?

I would love to be able to heal people just with a touch. Of course, that would make me Jesus, but who’s a bigger superpower than Him?

If you could be somebody else for a day who would you choose and why?

I would love be Vin Scully, the LA Dodgers broadcaster, just to know what it feels like to have an awesome set of pipes and an unabashed love of baseball.

Are you a technology buff (i.e have every electronic gadget known to man)?

Not really. I have an iPad for general computer use and a laptop for writing, but I don’t have or need a smart phone or iPod. I still collect and listen to CDs! Most of the TVs in our house are low-definition.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and enjoyed?

The only non-sports prime time show I watch is Survivor. I recently saw the movie Finding Mr. Banks and really liked it. During baseball season I watch the Red Sox as often as possible.