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Monday, July 7, 2014

Middle Grade Monday with J.A. White and THE THICKETY

Israel Hall here, taking over Mom's blog again. I read THE THICKETY and then told Mom even she would like it. She did, so we emailed J.A. White and he let me interview him. Read below, and then read THE THICKETY. You won't regret it. It is full of a ton of surprises. 

IH: The book was amazing, really. I mean spiderwebs catching rocks, wow. Man, and what a cliff hanger. I haven't seen a cliff hanger like that since, well, actually, I've never seen a cliff hanger like that. It was a five star book. I especially like long books because long books give you a lot of time to read it every day. Your descriptions were amazing!

What do you think is the worst thing that Grace did?

JA: Grace really is awful, isn’t she? I’m sure a lot of readers will disagree with me, but I actually think the worst thing she does is in that first scene in the general store, when she takes Kara’s seeds.  Her later actions are evil, of course, but that is just flat-out mean.

IH: Oh, that's a good one. I hadn't thought of that one. When you named Kara's brother Taff, were you eating Laffy Taffy?

JA: Haha!  Sadly, I have never eaten Laffy Taffy in my life!  (But now I really want to try it.)  I’m not really sure why “Taff” is “Taff.”  It just seemed to fit, somehow.

IH: What are the ferries like? Are they old style ships? Since the animals are so different are the fish different too?

JA: Yes, the ferries are old style, like something you might have seen in the 17th century or so.  The fish are, for the most part, normal fish—with a few notable exceptions.  The really strange creatures are in the Thickety.

IH: Cool. Why did you call the Thickety, the Thickety?

JA: It’s like a thicket, but bigger…and with monsters.

IH: Mom told me a thicket is a clump of trees. I didn't know that, but now it makes sense. Is the Sordyr her uncle or grandpa or something to want her so bad?

JA: Sordyr wants Kara for a very specific reason, which I promise I will reveal in book 2!  Actually, it’s probably the most important secret in the book.

IH: I can't wait. What are the most dangerous creatures in The Thickety?

JA: I think you should answer that one for yourself after you read the second book! I got to make up a lot of creatures in that one.  So much fun…

IH: Can Taff (or any boy) but really Taff, work the grimoire?

JA: You ask good questions!  To the best of Kara’s knowledge, only girls can use grimoires.  Both Taff and Lucas have looked at a grimoire and seen nothing but blank pages.

IH: How long have people lived on the island? What year is it?

JA: The Children of the Fold have lived on De’Noran for centuries.  The calendar in Kara’s world is not the same as the calendar in our world, so I can’t really say what year it is in a way that would make sense.  Just for myself, I created a thirty-page historical outline, however, and in that I reference events as ‘A.K.’ (after Kara’s birth) and ‘B.K.’ (before Kara’s birth).  So, according to that reference, the year is 12 A.K.!

IH: Cool. Have you started book 2?

JA: Actually, book 2 is completely done.  I’ve seen the cover and all the illustrations, which are incredible!  Andrea Offermann is such an amazing artist.  I’m actually working on the third book right now, and I’ll be done with the first draft of that by the end of September.  (And then I’ll sleep.  A lot.)

IH: I can't believe you already finished it. I have to read it. March is forever. I am writing a book too. I'm 68 pages into it. Any advice or questions for me?

JA: That’s wonderful!  My advice would be to work on it consistently each day.  Even if it’s just for a short period—10 or 20 minutes—it’s important to touch base with your story.  This way, your mind will always be thinking about it, and sometimes you’ll come up with some cool ideas when you’re not even trying!  Good luck and keep writing!

IH: Thanks, you too. Bye!

J. A. White lives in New Jersey with his wife, three sons, and a hamster named Ophelia that doesn’t like him very much. When he’s not making up stories, he teaches a bunch of kids how to make up stories (along with math and science and other important stuff). He wishes dragons were real because it would be a much cooler way to get to work.


  1. This sounds like a great story. And great advice to write even if for short periods each day. Congrats to J.A.!

  2. Great interview! I was aware of this book, but it wasn't very high up on my TBR list. It has definitely risen a few notches after reading this interview. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Love the interview!!! The book sounds fantastic! I'd love it for my classroom and my house!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Fortunately still be sipped bitter . At least we can measure it as what it's sweet .

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