Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
After teaching kindergarten for eighteen years, this is my first year teaching second grade. I love teaching. The kids are so much fun. I’m a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. I’m also a member of SCBWI and Haiku Northwest. My debut middle-grade novel, Broken Bridges was published August 15th, 2013, by Black Rose Writing. My short stories and poetry have been published online: http://www.sfcmagazine.com/ and
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/index.html. I’ve also written fiction and nonfiction passages for the education market. I love sharing stories with my children and students. We are always looking out for a story, book, poem, or song that makes a difference in our lives. Some other things I enjoy are reading, spending time with my two daughters, watching football, practicing Yoga and Tai Chi, drinking tea and being outside. My favorite TV show is I-CARLY. Yes, I’ve suddenly found myself watching it myself, laughing, and my daughters have left the room. I admit to being a Star Wars nerd too. Friends and family shake their heads. “There’s another Star Wars book?” “Yes! There’re hundreds. Now let me tell you about the one I’m reading…” They are sorry they asked and quickly disappear. Finally, my lost love, the 1800s and the west, I’ve seen all the Clint Eastwood movies and read a lot of Larry McMurtry and Louis L’Amour novels. I also love non-fiction about this era. I was born north of Pittsburgh. I live with my beautiful wife and two wonderful children in Washington State.
Which book are you currently promoting?
I’m currently promoting Broken Bridges.
Here’s the synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Rey is sent to an old rundown steel town near Pittsburgh, where he has to deal with his aging grandparents, isolated dad, missing mom, bullies, broken bridges, and horseradish sauce.
While Rey sits on an airplane bound for Pittsburgh, he clutches a crumpled note. It’s been forty-one days since his mom left – no word since. Rey is being sent to Pittsburgh for the summer to stay with his grandparents, so his dad can pull his life together. Rey is timid, unsure, yet has to make choices. These choices lead him to become more confident, as he makes the transition from child to teenager. Arriving in the middle of a heat wave he quickly runs into trouble with bullies and is in several difficult situations. Through it all he finds a true friend, Jason and discovers a mentor in his grandfather. Both bonds are put to the test when his grandfather becomes extremely sick and Rey has a final confrontation with the bullies. And then there are his parents.
Will things ever return to normal?
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
When I was eight I moved out to the west coast. Each summer, I’d stay with my grandparents in a town just north of Pittsburgh for about two or three weeks. I just took experiences from my childhood, twisted and embellished them. So really I’d remember something funny, sad, happy, or intriguing and ask myself, “Can I weave this into the story?” Or as another writer friend would ask, “What if?”
What can you tell us about your main characters?
Some of this is covered in the synopsis. I’ll try and go into a little more depth.
The story is told from twelve year old Rey’s perspective, his slice of life. Rey starts the story unsure and insecure. At first, Rey is not looking forward to staying the summer in a small, hot, run-down town with nothing to do. Rey deals with situations with humor and determination. It’s his summer of growth.
His grandpa, Pap, becomes his mentor who has faith in him. Pap tells stories to Rey that make him laugh and think. Writing about Pap, reminded me of my own grandpa. I remember my grandpa had faith in me and always had a story to tell. That’s what I wanted him to be for Rey. Rey’s friend, Jason is pretty angry. Jason’s determination seems to get him and Rey into trouble. Yet they are good friends and balance each other out. Jason’s story is one that I’m working on. Rey’s grandma is sort of the stabilizing force. She uses reason. His grandma is big on memories, especially happy ones.
What made you decide to become a writer?
As a teacher, I read a lot of books. I started out writing for my students or writing stories they could read and enjoy. The more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it. A few years later, I took a course at The Institute of Children’s Literature and joined The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. As I read and wrote more, it just became part of who I am. I just found I had stories to tell.
Do you have a general idea of what direction you want the plot to take ahead of time?
I usually have a starting point even if it’s just backstory. Sometimes I have some sort of ending too, I usually then take the story from there. With Broken Bridges, I had the beginning, the end, and some of the middle. In the beginning, I cut a lot of the backstory and weaved some of it throughout the novel. The ending, I added some stuff and made sure everything came together. For the middle, I added and made connections with the other parts of the story.
Have you ever had second doubts about a story you’ve written?
I try not to have second doubts. I believe that limits my writing. If those doubts creep up, I try to learn from them, so I can become a better writer. Really it’s a fine line, a balancing act. There are so many ups and downs as a writer. I could receive rejection letter after rejection letter but then a letter would come and say, “We’d love to publish your story.”
What other projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently submitting a picture book, written in verse, to publishers and agents. I’m also getting ready to submit a text for a graphic novel. I started to write a sequel to Broken Bridges. Right now I’m writing it from Rey’s friend, Jason’s perspective. The first chapter is in the eBook version of Broken Bridges. A lot of my time right now is with promotion and teaching a new grade level (2nd).
How long have you been writing?
I started writing for my students in 1999. I started to write for publication in 2003. My first story was published in 2007. It was a short story about a little girl, who blamed things she did on her imaginary friend, Jingo. I’ve been fortunate to publish something in each of the years since.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us that we have not already covered?
You can reach me at RoyKindelberger@roykindelberger.com or visit my website: http://www.RoyKindelberger.com. Also if Broken Bridges is not in the Amazon Kindle store it will be shortly. You can find out more information where to purchase it on the link below:
Now for a little fun, choose an answer from these questions. (Place xx by answer or fill in blank)
1. If you could live anywhere, would you rather live:
c. in the country XX
2. What would you prefer?
a. salty foods XX
3. If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn’t live without?
My first answer would have been my Kindle but how would I keep it charged? My second one was water, but I thought that wasn’t very exciting. So I chose a book that I read five times in one year. I’m sure I’d find plenty of time to read it while stranded on a desert island. The book would be Star Wars: Traitor, by Matthew Stover. It doesn’t star any of the main characters from the movies. Instead, its main characters are Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son and a long lost Jedi. I’ll stop there with my Star Wars ramblings.
4. Tell me something about yourself that might be funny to others? (other than writing)
This is an interesting one. My kids and students think I’m funny, and many adults think that I think that I’m funny.
A teacher: “I’m really worried about the weight of our classes.”
Concerned principal: “Hmmm, I know, but there is not much more we can do.”
Me straight faced: “What about the height?”
They both stare. “What do you…”
The teacher: Rolls his eyes, laughs and tell me to go away.
The principal: “I can’t believe I haven’t learned to not to fall for such nonsense.”
My daughters and students laugh at many things I say whether it’s meant to be funny or not.
I’m just a big kid.
5. Tell us something that you did that might be considered dangerous.
This memory seems to stand out in my mind. When I was seven a couple of my friends went on a bike ride. It was a hot humid day, and we lived in the country, in Western Pennsylvania. This is back in the day when we rode everywhere and without helmets. We stopped under these shady pine trees. We found a tree to climb. It was a perfect climbing tree. What I remember is, I was way up high and the branch below me broke. I remember my feet dangling before I found safety on another branch. What I remember the most was the fear. I wrote a poem about this incident:
You can reach Roy Kindelberger at: http://www.roykindelberger.com/
Black Rose Writing: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/~shop/broken-bridges/194121/