The Splintered Light

I am so pleased to share with you The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson! I received an advanced copy of this awhile back and the cover alone had me so intrigued. I was able to share with some of my students from last year who were big fantasy story lovers and they created some questions for Ginger that I will share with you today, too! 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis: 

In a world without color, eleven-year-old Ishmael lives a monotonous existence, herding sheep and helping his widowed mother with their meager farm after the premature death of his father. Early one morning, a ray of light pierces a pane of glass in the barn, fragmenting Ishmael’s black and white world into something extraordinary: a spectrum of color he never knew existed. Ishmael embarks on a search to understand just what it is that he sees, a search that leads him to the Hall of Hue, one of seven creative workshops at the Commons. 

In The Splintered Light, Ginger Johnson creates an astonishing universe filled with color amid the gray.

Super crazy thought right!! I knew as soon as I had read what the story was about my science loving kiddos would go crazy... and I was right! Whenever you think you have the story figured out, you find out you are wrong. Which is hard to find in middle grade fantasy stories. Ginger does a great job of keeping you guessing. 

If you have children who enjoyed The Giver

then this is definitely the book for them. 

Now, on to the questions for Ginger! (Side note: her recommendations are AMAZING!) 

1.     How hard was it to write a fantasy novel?
Writing a novel—any novel—requires patience, perseverance, and lots and lots of practice. As a society, we’ve become programmed for instant gratification.
Writing a novel is anything but instant gratification. It takes months of picking up pebbles along the forest floor in the hopes of using those pebbles to build
and furnish a castle.You gather and gather and gather, sometimes just dumping those pebbles in a big pile. You may realize that the pile isn’t looking exactly the way you wanted your castle to look, so you start shaping those pebbles into a wall, because you know castles have walls. When you have a wall done, you’re so pleased that you think you’re just about ready to move in, and you start planning a housewarming party. But then you realize it’s only one wall and it’s in the wrong place. So you need to decide whether to knock it down completely and start over or see if you can salvage any part of the wall. You may decide to start over, but then realize you don’t have enough material to build a whole castle and that you need to go back to picking up crumbs on the forest floor before you can attempt a rebuild. It’s a long process, just like learning to play an instrument or training for a marathon.

2.     How long had you worked on The Splintered Light?
A very long time. I first had the idea about sixteen years ago—before I even started writing fiction. I didn’t start working on it until ten years ago when I was in graduate school. I wrote twenty pages for a workshop in the summer of 2008, but I had to focus on my critical thesis that semester and I wanted to finish my first novel, so I wasn’t able to pick it back up for a while. By the time I graduated the following year, I had about half the novel drafted. In between then and 2015 when I sold it to Bloomsbury, I spent a year working on it with my agent, about two years on submission with agents and editors, and another two or three years finishing and revising it at home. I also wrote three other novels during this time.

3.     Any plans for your next novel?
My next novel has been planned, drafted, and rewritten four times. It’s due to my editor ASAP! It’s a companion novel about scent.

4.     What inspired you to become a writer?

When I was six, I asked for a typewriter for Christmas. Apparently, I wanted to write my
autobiography. I didn’t get a typewriter that year. Instead I was given a more age-appropriate gift: a journal with a picture of a gnome on the cover. Consequently, I spent my childhood writing, but I never thought of myself as a writer because I didn’t write stories. I didn’t turn to writing fiction
for children until Julie Berry, a longtime friend, challenged me to write something. It was only when I took a few steps down that path—attending a conference, meeting with an editor, reading and rereading lots and lots of children’s books—that I realized writing for children felt very natural to me,
like I was coming home.

5.     What is your writing process like? Do you prefer writing by hand or on a computer?
I love writing first thing in the morning, before all the details of the day encroach on my brain. In fact, sometimes I’m at my desk at 4:30 am, but more often I head there at 5:00 or 5:30. If I can get a solid 20-30 minutes in, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. Often, though, I get interrupted, especially on school days. On days when I really need to be focused, I discipline myself using the “Pomodoro method,” which is a time management technique where you set a timer for about 24 minutes and work uninterrupted until the timer goes off. Then set the timer for a 4-minute break. And repeat. It’s intense, but powerful. No internet, no emails, no phone calls, no wandering mind. It really helps me to stay focused. I like writing both by hand and on a computer. I used to write by hand and then transcribe, but now I usually go straight to the computer unless I get stuck and need a change to unstick me. I love pens and pencils, but I am left-handed, so a morning spent writing by hand leaves me with ink rubbed
on the edge of my left hand!

6.     What advice would you give young kids working on writing?
Read! Inhale words until you’re ready to choke on them. If you read good books, you develop an innate understanding of character, plot, setting, and dialogue. Also, keep a
journal. ☺

7.     Do you have any recommendations for after other kids finish this series as to what they should read next? 
I always have recommendations! If you liked The Splintered Light, I suggest The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast by Samantha Clark and The Land of Yesterday by K.A. Reynolds.

You can find more of Ginger and her stories at:

NOW! Head to my Instagram @mrs_cmt1489 to win yourself a copy of The Splintered Light which came out yesterday on 9/4! 

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