Welcome to the Storm Watcher blog tour!
Feb 19 – Mar 5, 2014
Hosted by readnowsleeplater.com
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published October 19th, 2013 by Leap Books
Goodreads Summary: Luke Riley is lost. His mother’s recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again. The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke’s mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching The Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother’s death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised 13th birthday present of a Bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke’s spirits. He would rather have a different breed – a petite Papillon, but his father insists he get a Bloodhound.
When Luke decides to get the Bloodhound from Willajean, a dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, he works out a deal to help at her kennel in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean’s daughter, Megan and together they plan how Luke can get a Papillon puppy instead of a Bloodhound. But nothing seems to work as they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt. Can one little white dog really save both families?
So, how does one come to write a book about weather?
It all begins with a fascination with hydrometeors and a great teacher.
Squish this together with a writing career and VOILA!
Hydrometeors are Falling on my Head
By Maria V. Snyder
Let me set the scene – sixth grade at Our Lady of Ransom, a Catholic school in the city of Philadelphia – my teacher, Miss Kane is doing a science unit on meteorology. Meteo…what? At the time (1978), I’d never heard of it, except I had. “Oh, you mean the weather, why didn’t you say so?” a beat later, “There are people who study the weather? Wow.” Little did I know it at the time, but that unit was the vital first step to my eventually careers in both meteorology and writing.
I love big storms and loved the idea of studying them. Not only was it super cool that Miss Kane made it rain in our classroom, but I was able to be a real smart-alecky kid. You see I soon discovered that the adults in my life had never heard the word meteorology either. So when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d reply, “A meteorologist.” Their blank look was always followed be a quizzical, “You want to study…meteors? Like from space?” and I chirped, “Not space meteors, hydrometeors.” No comprehension so I’d explain in a I-can’t-believe-you-don’t-know-this tone that, “hydrometeors are raindrops.” I did warn you that I was bratty – I was also eleven so I had a good excuse J.
As I continued in my education, the questions about my future remained the same, and so did the answer (except, by now my family was well acquainted with those pesky hydrometeors). Sure, I loved acting, dancing, painting, and playing the cello, but I wasn’t a stand out in any of them. However my math and science grades remained strong and nothing else sparked my interest.
Fast forward to my college graduation. I’d earned my BS in Meteorology from Penn State University. My forecasting skills were dismal so I ventured in the exciting new profession of environmental meteorology (whew – I think I have to rest my fingers after typing all that!). Too bad envir meteo wasn’t all that exciting. My creativity eventually woke from its catatonic state (caused by enduring endless hours of fluid dynamics and differential equations). I started writing stories ‘cause it would have been awkward if I started practicing the cello in my cubicle at work.
Writing was a blast and, in my stories, I controlled the weather – hydrometeors fell at my whim – muuhhhaaawwwaaahhh! Er…sorry. Eventually I switched careers to writing, but I never lost my love for storms. In fact, I incorporated the weather in many of my books. However, the one book that brought me back to that snarky sixth grader is Storm Watcher, my debut novel for readers ages 8 to 14 years old. I was able to geek-out along with the main protagonist, Luke.
While writing the story was fun, I was thrilled when my editor asked me to write an appendix of weather facts for those readers who also have a fascination with storms. It’s called “Luke’s Weather Notebook.” For the appendix I drew pictures, found quirky weather facts, wrote a quiz, and included safety tips – delighting my inner weather weenie. We hoped that the teachers who teach that meteorology unit would find the information helpful and maybe hook another student.
I’d like to thank Miss Kane in person – she probably has no idea she set me on this path. Or…maybe she does. Maybe she saw that spark in my eyes as she taught me about clouds and precipitation. In either case, Thank You Miss Kane wherever you are!
Now, I’ve a question for you. How many of you knew hydrometeors were raindrops? Come on, be honest! 🙂
Just shows how one great teacher can truly change your life!
Also, don’t forget to stop by each blog tour stop to learn more about the book.
Wed 2/19 – The Book Monsters – review
Thu 2/20 – I Am a Reader – interview
Fri 2/21 – Unleashing Readers – guest post
Mon 2/24 – Bookalicious – review
Tue 2/25 – Kid Lit Frenzy – guest post
Wed 2/26 – Sharpreads – review
Thu 2/27 – The Mod Podge Bookshelf – guest post
Fri 2/28 – The Windy Pages – review, interview
Mon 3/3 – Teenage Reader – review
Tue 3/4 – Read Now Sleep Later – review
Wed 3/5 – The Brain Lair – review
**Thank you to Alethea and Maria for allowing us to be part of the blog tour**