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Marlan Warren is a free-lance publicist who promotes entertainers and book authors (Roadmap Communications and Book Publicity by Marlan, respectively). She is also a film maker (Roadmap Productions), Reiki Master/Teacher (Light Hands Reiki Studio and Institute), Screenwriter, Novelist, PhotoJournalist, Tai Chi practitioner. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stacey R. Campbell's Pirate Adventure "Arrgh!" Selected for Gold Medal Mom's Choice Award (MG Book): Author Interview

Title: Arrgh!
Author: Stacey R. Campbell
Illustrator: M.S. Corley
Publisher: Green Darner Press
Date of Release: Nov. 1, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade / Adventure 
ISBN-13: 978-0988478442      Hard Cover and Paperback (282 pages)   
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Arrgh-Stacey-R-Campbell/dp/0988478447
ASIN: B00MX7ATRM           Kindle (284 pages)  
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/ARRGH-Stacey-R-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00MX7ATRM
Website: http://www.staceyrcampbell.com

For immediate release:

Seattle, WA, June 4, 2015—Green Darner Press has announced that Stacey R. Campbell's Middle Grade pirate adventure tale, Arrgh!, has received the Gold Medal Mom's Choice Award (MCA) for "excellence in family-friendly media."

"Arrgh! certainly deserves this accolade," said Kari Hock of Green Darner Press. "Kids just love this book and Stacey Campbell is one of the hardest-working writers we've had the pleasure of knowing."

The MCA website states that its judges score each book entry on a number of elements including books that "help families grow emotionally, physically and spiritually...and are inspirational and uplifting."

Arrgh! follows the adventures of a runaway orphan boy named Christopher who gets captured by pirates posing as seamen, and forced aboard a merchant galleon that the villains plan to plunder.
Forced to pretend that he cannot speak, Christopher finds he can communicate in private with a highly skilled mouse who offers to teach him "Five Life Lessons." The Captain's daughter soon learns his secret and together they hatch a counter-plot against the pirates.

We had the opportunity to interview Campbell--who writes and lives with her husband and three daughters in the Seattle area--about Arrgh! and the Mother's Choice Award.

Campbell is also the author of The Lakeview Novel Series (Young Adult)—Hush, Whisper and the e-novelette, Silence. A third novel, Scream, is due for release this Fall, and Hush has been optioned for a film.

What was your reaction when you found out that Arrgh! received the MCA?
Very excited! Writing a book is like riding a road bike down a bumpy gravel hill. There are pitfalls and distractions everywhere. Getting a Gold Medal award from such a well-known organization made me feel like I not only survived the ride, but I rocked the trail, making every scrape worth getting on the bicycle in the first place.

Why do you think young readers enjoy pirate stories so much? Wherever there are pirates, there is action, suspense, a little bloodshed, and a lot of fun. Pirates have been so fictionalized that authors can take a lot of liberties with their characters. They are visual treasure troves for imagination.

Your book's Dedication thanks your father for "filling my head with stories about a boy and a mouse." What's that all about?
The story starts in Norway where my family originated.  Every summer on our sailboat my father would tuck me in and tell me stories about a young Norwegian orphan boy who had been kidnapped by pirates and his best frienda talking mouse. His stories inspired my imagination and I promised myself that someday I would write them down so that they would live on forever. My father is not a writer, but his stories inspired my imagination and I promised myself that someday I would write them down so that they would live on forever

In Acknowledgments, you say the book "has been a seven-year battle of swords, wills, patience, and persistence." Details, please!
The first draft of Arrgh! was called Shanghaied and took 3 years to write. When I sent it to agents, I got back 29 rejection letters. Heartbroken, I shelved the manuscript. Three years later, Green Darner Press began publishing my Lakeview novel series (Young Adult), and the publisher, Kari Hock, asked to see my "pirate story." But when I re-read the manuscript,  I discovered that the agents were right. I had told a story, but I hadn’t shown one. I rewrote and renamed it Arrgh! and Kari loved it.

Those 5 Life Lessons: Are they lessons you've learned in your own life?
Yes. And they are my parenting fundamentals:

Lesson 1: Know your surroundings.
That means "Education, Education, Education." Nothing is more important. 

Lesson Two: Patience. This is the hardest lesson of all and the one I still struggle with daily. Life doesn't happen overnight.  

Lesson Three: Honesty is always the best policy. Lying will always get you into trouble. Things always turn out better when you tell the truth. 

Lesson Four: The only thing to fear is fear itself. Face the unknown. Don’t let fear stand in the way of accomplishment. We only grow as individuals when we face our challenges head on. 

Lesson Five: Family is the greatest treasure.

Family is not just a blood connection it is a soul connection. You don’t have to share the same DNA to be family. Home is not a place; it is a feeling of belonging, deep understanding and unconditional love. 

What is your favorite reader reaction to the series so far? 
"I can totally see your books as movies!” is always great to hear. I was diagnosed at an early age with dyslexia, so my favorite reactions are from readers and other writers who have a learning disability telling me I have inspired them. If I can get that one kid, like me, who struggled to open a book and enjoy reading, I feel like I’m on top of the world.  

You also speak at schools and organizations about overcoming learning disabilities, and you've been presenting pirate workshops in connection with Arrgh! When and where will you be shivering timbers with students?
I'll be at Wedgewood Elementary in Seattle on Wednesday, June 10.

My main goal is to engage the students so they learn without knowing they are learning. I have several different slide shows I use depending on the age and grade. If I’m talking to younger kids, I will start with pirate jokes, and teach them “how to talk like a pirate” before I move on to lessons about setting and character development. I teach older students what it takes to become a writer--and what it's like to be a dyslexic writer. I believe there's no such thing as a bad reader.