Twelve-year-old Marshall Thompson's favorite place in the world is Luke's Junk Store. With one more trip in before school begins, he's intent on finding the perfect thing to take with him on his first day back. But his "great find" ends up being a girl -- and a friendship begins that will change him forever. Together, they share a love of puzzles and something else: sickness. With his asthma, and her in cancer recovery, they're linked as kindred spirits. But when a life-changing incident threatens their friendship,
has to learn to pick up the pieces to his broken puzzle of life and put them back together. The Puzzle Master is a story of friendship, love, forgiveness and hope; issues that surround us at the youngest of age. Through Marshall 's tragedies and triumphs, he learns to accept change and overcome his trials even when they seem insurmountable. Marshall
How did you start your writing career?
My writing career began, like a lot of authors, out of a love of reading. I remember being twelve and having read the most magnificent story – Tom’s Midnight Garden, by Phillipa Pierce – and I knew I had to do something about the joy I had. I didn’t just want to read, I wanted to create stories of my own so I could live the joy –daily – that I had in reading, but even more so through stories of my own.
Tell us about your current release:
My latest endeavor, called The Puzzle Master, came out earlier this year. While I had written other books before this one, this story came to me through a random comment from my young son. And that comment, created this story – a story that I wrote in less than three weeks. The Puzzle Master is about a remarkable friendship that blossomed in a junk store, of all places, through the love of puzzles. It isn’t just a happy-go-lucky story though, and while I had wanted a light-hearted story, it didn’t so much end that way.
How do you describe your writing style?
It took me years to find a writing style. Which is normal. And now that I finally have it, I love it. It suits me. My philosophy is, less is always more. And that transcends to not only my writing style, but to the actual formatting of the book. I don’t think books need to be over 100, 000 words just to be considered good. I also always recall the old adage “quality, not quantity” while I’m writing, and I think it’s something a lot of writers should stick to as well. Less is more. Less gives the reader more to imagine. Less makes every word that I write, have to reallycount, which can be difficult, but extremely rewarding at the end.
What are the most important attributes for staying sane as a writer?
Have another hobby! I can’t stress this enough. I hear some writers say that their writing is their hobby. Okay, so then what do they do when they can’t write? When the words won’t come? When the story sounds like it’s the worst story in the world?
I buy and sell vintage clothing. I love going to thrift stores, love finding hidden treasures, and then being able to sell them to someone who wants them. It is absolutely addicting. It’s the ultimate in recycling and having fun, at the same time. I also drink coffee. With those two things, I’m sane …pretty much.
How do you react to bad reviews?
Not well. It’s always hard to hear that someone didn’t like what I wrote. But, this rejection, if you will, happens to everyone in everything. It’s a part of life. We can’t please everyone, we can’t make everyone happy either. The sooner I realize this, the sooner I can let the bad review roll off my shoulders. Then, I go read the best reviews I’ve already gotten, pat myself on the back, and move on!
What would we find under your bed?
Bottled water, down blankets, pajamas, sweat pants, wrapping paper, the random legos (from my kids) and a tennis ball or two (from my golden doodle dog). By the way, these things are almost exploding out from all sides of the bed. It’s that stuffed!
Heather Spiva is a freelance writer from
, Ca, who loves to read, write and spend time with her family. When not doing those things, you can find her at the local thrift store shopping for vintage clothing, or at a café drinking coffee. Or both in the same day. Sacramento
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Giveaway ends October 6th 11:59PM Central Time.