Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Gerald and the Wee People" by Greta Burroughs

Gerald and the Wee People
by Greta Burroughs

Gerald and the Wee People by Greta Burroughs is a fantasy adventure for middle grade children. You can read my 5-BD (the Books Direct equivalent of stars) below. Greta also joins me for an interview, and she has kindly donated two copies of her book for our giveaway. Be sure to show her your appreciation by entering below.

Gerald and the Wee People is a novel intended for young adults but readers of all ages will get carried away in the world of the wee people.
Gerald and his best friend, Vernon, literally fall into a new world when responding to a plea for help. A few years prior to that, the boys had discovered an unusual clearing in the woods where only Gerald had the ability to watch the daily activities that took place in a miniature village.
When creatures started attacking the village, Gerald became more and more concerned about the little inhabitants that he had become attached to. Vernon humored his friend but became concerned when Gerald mentioned one of the villagers coming to him and asking for help.
To prove him wrong, Vernon agreed to venture out to the clearing late one night and show Gerald it was all in his imagination. Instead, Vernon was drawn into the enchanted vision and both boys charged off to the rescue.
While in the wee people village, Gerald and Vernon try to fulfill a prophecy overcoming many dangers and obstacles. The boys help the villagers in their fight against the misshapen ones while also trying to defeat a powerful being intent on destroying all life.
The characters in the book come to life and will make you laugh, cry and root for the underdog. Gerald and the Wee People is an action packed fantasy adventure that will keep you spellbound until the last page.

Why they had to hurry, Gerald did not know but something in the back of his mind kept telling him that time was running out. It took a few minutes, but all the boys were finally awake, a little groggy but ready to move.
The problem was that everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. The heat was almost unbearable. It was a major effort to put one foot in front of the other. Gerald reminded the rest of his team that it was Miach’s way of keeping them from reaching their destination. But this time the illusion did not stop when he mentioned the forest god being up to his old tricks.
This time it was no illusion. The walls burned their hands, the hot air burned their throats. The floor was sticky with some kind of hot substance that burned their feet through their shoes. They began to hear a distant sound like the laughter they had heard earlier.
Cian fell to his knees and cried out in pain as the scalding liquid burned his skin. “I can’t go on, just leave me here to die,” he screamed.
Tomas reached out to his brother and tried to help him up. It was no use; he was too weak and exhausted. In a very weak voice he said, “You all go on. I’ll stay with Cian. I can’t go another step anyway.”
No one else said a word, the other two boys were too tired to talk, too tired to walk, too tired to care.
This was not supposed to be happening. Gerald did not remember this from his nightmares. Something was wrong. He yelled to whoever was listening, “Did we take a wrong turn or something? Stop it Miach, stop it. You want me, leave my friends alone.”
That just made matters worse. The scampering, unseen creatures came out of nowhere. They did not just run past this time but stayed and started pinching and biting the legs and arms of Gerald’s companions. For some strange reason though, the creatures did not bother him.
All four of his companions were down, rolling around on the ground trying to fight off the shadowy figures. The screams intensified from his friends as the burning liquid covered their bodies and the creatures’ biting turned to gnawing. Gerald could hear pieces of flesh being torn away as the other boys were being eaten alive. The laughter was all around them now bouncing off the walls and echoing through Gerald’s head.
“Stop it, stop it now. Please, I’ll do anything you want, Miach, just stop the noise, and stop torturing my friends.”
Total silence fell. All the gnawing, screaming and laughter were gone. Gerald did not know if the total lack of sound was worse than all the noise. He noticed a light shining above him. He looked around and realized he was all alone.
A voice spoke inside his mind and said, “Anything I want, huh,” followed by a soft, haunting chuckle.


By Lynda Dickson
Gerald and the Wee People tells the story of Gerald and his friend Vernon, two 16-year-old boys, who are summoned to help the wee people save their village from monsters. Gerald is known as the Watcher, as he alone has been able to observe the tiny villagers wander about their town for many years. But now the wee people are in danger and Gerald is the only one who can help.
The boys finally manage to enter the diminutive village, only to be treated as invaders. They encounter many memorable characters, such as Dora (the healer), the other members of the Council of elders (Rachel, Jonathan, Brin, and the rambunctious Sean), Sheela (a magical far-seer), Alyson (a young firestarter), brothers Tomas and Cian, Balor (the leader of the misshapen ones), and Miach (the forest god). The boys take part in many interesting adventures in their quest to fulfill Sheela's prophecy and save the village from destruction.
This book has a bit of everything: magic, monsters, battles, even an erupting volcano. There is even a scene reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, as well as an actual reference to the book later on when the boys are attempting to get back home. The book reinforces the values of friendship, cooperation, trust, and courage. It is especially suitable for boys aged 8 to 14, but girls and adults alike will also enjoy it. There were some minor editing problems, including the lack of punctuation, the lack of the use of contractions in speech, and the misuse of some words. Overall, however, it was well-written and easy to read. I look forward to sharing Gerald and Vernon's further adventures with the wee people in House on Bo-Kay Lane.

Interview With the Author
Hi Greta, thanks for joining me today to discuss your book Gerald and the Wee People.

Which writers have influenced you the most? Anne McCaffery, Isaac Asimov, and David Eddings because I love fantasy and these authors really know how to create a novel I can lose myself in. My husband, Robert DeBurgh because he is a great writer and mentored me and encouraged me to start writing.

What age group do you recommend your book for? Wee People was written for MG/YA but kids as young as eight-years-old have read it. Adults love it too!

What sparked the idea for this book? That's a good question. I started the book on a Christmas morning after my father had passed away. I really missed him and some other family members who had passed away and I wanted to write something for them. I used the names of my father, uncle, brother, grandfather and later on, my mother for the characters. The actual story just came to me as I wrote it.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel? The idea for the novel. I am a seat of the pants writer and just started with a grain of idea for this book. The characters appeared as I was writing.

What was the hardest part to write in this book? The ending was very difficult to write. I wrote several versions until I was happy with the way the book concluded and left a way to lead into book two in the series.

How to you hope this book affects its readers? I want to entertain the readers with a good story they will enjoy. I want them to be able to picture the events as they take place and feel like they know the characters and can hear the dialogue as it is being spoken. I also tried to sneak in some life lessons for the younger readers without making it too obvious.

How long did it take you to write this book? I worked on this manuscript off and on for about two years. I was writing for a couple of newspapers during that time and could only work on my stuff when I could grab a minute here and there.

What is your writing routine? I really don't have a routine. I work on a book when I have the inspiration and the book wants to write itself. When that happens, I try to grab as much computer time as I can. Some folks make time every day to write. I wish I could, but the muses do not always cooperate nor does my schedule.

How did you get your book published? Gerald and the Wee People was my first book and it was published by Outskirts Press. That was before I learned about self-publishing. I used Createspace / Smashwords / Kindle Direct Publishing for all my other books. I have no complaints about the services from Outskirts Press but I still kick myself for spending all that money for work I could have originally done myself. Wee People, second edition is now self-published and I am very satisfied with it.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? Believe in yourself but remember there is always room for improvement. There is more to being a writer than just writing a book. Take advantage of all the tools you have such as beta readers, proofreaders and editors to make your book as perfect as it can be before publishing it.

Great advice, Greta. What do you like to do when you're not writing? When I'm not writing, I'm usually busy with other tasks in and around the house and yard, running errands, going to the doctor or on Facebook.

What does your family think of your writing? My husband started writing novels before I did. When I developed medical issues which prevented me from working outside our home, he encouraged me try my hand at writing. He is my biggest fan and critic. My parents were very proud of me too and that meant a whole lot to me.

That's great! Please tell us a bit about your childhood. I had the best parents in the world. I didn't realize it at the time and never appreciated all they did for me but I do now. I was a fat kid and a bit obnoxious. I got on peoples' nerves sometimes but I always meant well. I was a tomboy and preferred playing football over girl-type games. I wasn't all that good at sports but I tried.

Did you enjoy school? I didn't hate school but I didn't love it either. I was an average student and got along with all my classmates. Cliques did not interest me so the popular kids didn't have much to do with me. I didn't mind though. I was happy just being me.

Did you like reading when you were a child? My mother used to get so mad at me because I always carried a book with me when we went visiting relatives. I guess it was kind of rude to tune the grown-ups out and read, but the books were more interesting.

I'm with you, Greta. I was exactly the same! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I was a preschool teacher many years ago and story time was our favorite part of the day. The kids and I wrote our own books to read in the classroom so subconsciously I was a want-to-be writer back then.

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing? I was a voracious reader so that definitely influenced my desire to write. I loved to escape into a fantasy world so that's why I write in that genre today.

What was your favorite book as a child? When I was a wee little thing, my favorite book was Cowboy Sam. I was too young to read the words but I made up my own stories to go along with the pictures. That kept me out of my Mom's hair and made her happy too. The first book I read that really impacted me was To Kill a Mockingbird. That still has to be one of my all time favorites.

Same here. Who were your favorite authors as a child? I don't remember the authors of any children's books except Dr. Seuss. As I got older, my taste in books varied so there were not any particular favorites.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I have had a few comments/reviews from the kids who read the Wee People series. They really liked the magic and the humor in the books. Parents tell me their smaller children love Patchy and Calico and think the dog and cat are silly. What's really nice is one parent told me her son took all the lessons he learned (dogs can't fly, don't eat too many apples) and continued talking about them long after they had finished the book.

Fantastic! What can we look forward to from you in the future? I have three manuscripts started right now. One is another book in the Wee People series and the second is about Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat. The third is about our dog, Spike, who lived to the ripe old age of 18 and was the smartest dog I've ever known. We joked around about him being an alien sent to spy on humans so that is the idea behind the book.

Sounds great, Greta. Thanks for chatting with me today. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Greta Burroughs loves to read. No matter where she is, there is always a book close at hand. Her love of reading began at an early age and blossomed over time to include many different genres, her favorite now being fantasy.
As a preschool and elementary school teacher, Greta tried to instill the joy of reading in the children she worked with. Books were an important part of her classroom and story time was the highlight of the day.
It has been a while since Greta was in a classroom but she had lots of experience in reading to children of various ages and remembers what they enjoyed listening to. She tries to incorporate that knowledge into her work as an author and believes it makes her a better writer of children's and young adult books.
She now resides in South Carolina with her husband, Robert and two dogs. Greta has six books published at the present time; three children's books in the Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat series, two MG/YA fantasies entitled Gerald and the Wee People and House on Bo-Kay Lane, and a nonfiction account of her experiences with an autoimmune blood disorder called ITP - Heartaches and Miracles.

The author has generously donated two ebook copies of Gerald and the Wee People (to be downloaded from Smashwords) for our giveaway. Please enter to show her your appreciation.