Kate, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m Kate Willis, a home educated young lady who loves the Lord, and I am enjoying the Great Northwest with my family of ten. I’ve always loved devouring books. One time a friend asked me if I did anything else besides read; and I replied, “Yes. I write.” : ) I also like to garden, hike, cook, and dabble in amateur sewing. It is my life dream to serve God in the home ultimately having a family of my own in the future. The Treasure Hunt is my first book, and I hope to publish many more.
Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think makes yours unique?
We make up our own snow days, holidays, vacation times, schedules, and curriculums. My amazing pastor-dad has the opportunity to disciple us in God’s ways through subjects like history, science, and philosophy. (2 hour discussions, anyone?) Another great thing about it is that all the grades can study together or help each other along. I don’t dare forget what an objective complement is since the next grade down will be asking me soon after I learn it! : )
How has being homeschooled prepared you to write?
Besides learning grammar, it has given me a great love for and exposure to books. My parents have also taught me to recognize good writing, evaluate my values, and emulate the good things I see. (Plus, this lifestyle gives me adventures to write about!) : )
What caused you to start writing?
Um, let’s see… a pink notebook I saw and just had to have before I could even carve out letters, a family culture that includes a great love of books, and my sister Perry Elisabeth's stories. We used to sit spellbound as she read to us. I knew that I when I “got big” I had to write something. My first story was written on an index card (double-spaced and complete with an illustration), and from then on the number of stories grew so that now I have over 20 notebooks full.
What inspired The Treasure Hunt?
Whenever I write a new story, I get so excited about it that I let (or make) everyone in my family read it even before it is finished. One year when I was deciding what to make for my family members for Christmas, I hit upon the idea of writing my younger sister a story she had never read. I used features of our mini-farm and the characters of my family to build the story around. (The cow is fictional. Boo hoo.) One of my pet peeves is the idea that adventures don't happen at home. They do--we should be able to find adventure anywhere.
Would you give us a synopsis?
When they reached the gnarled, old apple tree something white lying in the compost pile caught David’s eye. He came to a sudden stop and jumped off his bike. Picking up the small package, he dusted off the grass mulch and carefully unwrapped a wooden block with strange carvings on one side. The paper, however, was more than just wrapping. “Your father’s favorite pastime and your favorite foods are the keys to this mystery. Signed, Das Alte und Langweilig,” read David as he studied the paper. They were silent a moment each thinking of the strange clue and even stranger signature.
Anna was first to speak. “It seems like some sort of treasure hunt.”
A boring summer vacation suddenly turns into an exciting adventure when three siblings stumble upon a mysterious trail of clues. (I hope that is good enough since I haven’t conquered the art of synopsis writing yet.) : )
Who will enjoy The Treasure Hunt?
Mainly 8-12 year old girls and boys, but I think anyone who loves family life would enjoy it. And since there is nothing scary in it, the whole family could listen to it. : )
Do you plan to write more books?
Totally! I currently have two stories I plan to publish soon. “Letters for Victory” is a story about a family writing letters to an orphaned soldier during World War II, and “The Book of Dreams” is an allegory set in a world I made up. : ) I just finished the first draft of one (at 24,751 words—my longest story ever!), and the other one is ready for rewriting. I get so excited watching my word count go up. : )
Do you have any final thoughts?
Life advice—Love the life God has given you and be grateful for every day. Someday, someone will be reading a book about your time period and wish for the “good ol’ days”. Writing advice—(umm, isn't that life?) Keep a good journal, be observant, and read Elizabeth Enright for lessons in descriptive writing and gentle adventures. Thanks so much to Sarah for inviting me to do this! Long live pencils.
Kate is giving away one paperback copy of her book. Enter to win below.