Today I'd like to introduce you to Grace Comerford, author of Power of Purple: Jackie's Purple Ninja Story. Book 1 in the Purple Ninja Series. Grace is 10 years old and lives in Florida. She has won prizes for citizenship and respect and her novel is an adventure/fantasy work that encourages people to solve problems without violence.
You must still be excited from the Barnes and Noble book fair on March 3 in Clearwater, Fla. Was that the first event of the kind that you participated in?
Yes. There were lots of kids, younger than me there, and they were all fascinated by my book. They loved the cover. One fourth-grader asked me how to write a book like mine because she wanted to write a book of her own.
You'd be around the same age I was when I first really fell in love with the idea of writing. When did it happen for you? Was there something that inspired you?
I love that question! I started to love writing at the ages of 8-9 years old. Writing in class and in my journal at home.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Oh! Chris Colfer is an amazing author! He wrote "The Land of Stories" series. And Marissa Meyer, who wrote "The Lunar Chronicles" series." Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry who wrote Bridge to Never Land. I like other books too but those kept me asking, "What's going to happen next?"
Tell me about the The Power of Purple. What's the plot? Will there be follow up novels in the series?
The plot is about a girl named Jackie, she's a normal girl until she spins around three times and turns into...Purple Ninja! She makes friendships, problem solves and jumps out of the way of danger at the last second. She wins without violence.
The book starts at Jackie's birth and how she got her powers. She lives in the woods. She battles villains and fights for good. Asmerelda is one of the main villains, she can shoot lighting from out of her hands. The other villains have super powers too.
The rest you'll have to find out.
What was the inspiration for the book?
One day I looked out the window and wondered what to think about and I made up a ninja character out in the woods. She sometimes was dancing to music I was listening to. Sometimes she was fighting off villains. I was only getting to know Jackie at that time. Then I started loving her. Later on, my Dad suggested we put the story into a book. And I WAS SO PUMPED ABOUT IT! I didn't know how the story would go until I started writing it and I didn't know the ending until I wrote it.
What would you say was the hardest thing about writing this book and getting it published?
In fact, the storytelling was the easiest part of the whole book. It was the editing and finding Vippu Kukreja in New Delhi, India to draw the cover was hard. I made her redo it until it was just right.
For the editing, we sent it to my dad's cousin, Mary-Margaret Green who is a (former Washington D.C. newspaper) copy editor. But Dad and I helped edit it too.
Dad's a writer. Is having a father who's a writer intimidating sometimes?
No, because he was a journalist but never wrote an actual novel. And I want everyone to know, having a father who is a journalist doesn't really help you at all. You can do it yourself. Self publishing is a breeze once you read the instructions. You might need the help of your parents but it doesn't matter if they are writers.
Do you think you'll ever team up with him on a book?
Of course. He helped with this one. The story is still mine but I had a lot of help from him. Especially, with the self-publishing.
Does mom like to write?
How about your siblings or friends?
I have no siblings but I do have a cousin about my age and he's inspired to write a book of his own. So many of my friends are so excited that I wrote a book. One friend said she has a book idea too but she doubts she can publish it.
Do you have a particular ritual you follow when you write to help you get into the mood? Do you like to listen to music? If so, what kind?
I love music so much. But I just hop into the library room with my dad, sometimes for three hours at a time and pour my ideas out on the spot.
What sort of hobbies do you have?
I love to read. And write, of course. But read a lot. I like to play basketball. Bicycling. I love to do crafts. I love playing the guitar. I love going to nature parks with my dad. (Power of Purple is set in a forest that my dad and I go to, called Brooker Creek Preserve, it's called Bugger Creek in the book. P.S.: My dad changed the name. Oh, dad!).
When you get older would you like a career in writing?
Possibly, but I really like marine animals such as dolphins, turtles, sharks and coral. Almost all ocean animals. I'm thinking of becoming a marine mammologist, that is the study of animals that live in the sea but breath air like whales, dolphins and turtles.
Your book is fiction. Would you ever try writing nonfiction whether small pieces or a full book? Would you ever try anything like screen play writing?
When I was writing Power of Purple, I was thinking my next book might be nonfiction but now I'm thinking of sticking to fiction. A series. One time my teacher told me my writing reads like a movie because it has so much dialogue.
Do you know the next project you'd like to work on?
Power of Purple is going to be a series. But what I'm going to do after that, I don't know. What's my next book about? I like cliffhangers. You'll see!
Thanks Grace. We'll keep an eye out for your next work.
Power of Purple: Jackie's Purple Ninja Story is available on Amazon.
For more information you can visit Grace's Facebook page.