Trouble Returns, by Nancy Oswald, is the third book in her Ruby and Maude Adventure children’s series. The series are historically based stories about Ruby, an independent and headstrong young girl, and her ice cream loving donkey, Maude, and their adventures in Cripple Creek in the late 1890s. I had the pleasure of reviewing the first book, Rescue in Poverty Gulch, in which Maude is donkey-napped and Ruby risks her own life to save her beloved friend and companion.
Ruby must face her greatest fears in Trouble Returns, when she must face the villain, Jake Hawker, who’s she’s tangled with twice before, in a court of law, when she testifies against him. But she finds her fears very real when he breaks out of jail and comes after Ruby and her friends and family. Can Ruby triumph over Jake Hawker for a third time?
Trouble Returns is crafted to be a stand alone book as well, making me aware enough of events in the second book, Trouble on the Tracks, that I was able to easily follow the full story line, although I hadn’t read the second book, without giving me a bunch of block exposition. As you might guess from the titles, books two and three feature an additional character, who steals readers’ hearts: Trouble, Ruby’s lovable little cat.
I found this story to be a delightfully entertaining story which was skillfully written. Oswald has crafted another story that readers of all ages won’t want to put down. She’s done her research and the historic details are wonderful. Another plus for me was the fact that it is available in paperback, because I’m an old fashioned type of gal. I give Trouble Returns five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. Self-Publishing (Part 7): Interview with Children’s Author, Nancy OswaldPosted: November 28, 2016
In this series, we’ve taken a look at the publishing industry, which today, isn’t played by the same rules as it was 30 years ago, when traditional or independent publishing houses were about the only options an aspiring writer had. The rise in digital and self-publishing has opened up new options for aspiring authors and changed some of the rules by which the game is now played. We’ve heard from self-published authors, Jeff Bowles, Tim Baker and Arthur Rosch, and traditionally published authors, Stacia Deutsch and Mark Shaw, as well as independently published author, Jordan Elizabeth.
In this week’s interview, we’ll hear from an author who has published work via all three publishing models, award winning children’s author, Nancy Oswald. She’s published traditionally with Holt, a big New York publisher, and a small independent publisher, Filter Press, LLC. In addition, her first book was published by Scholastic Canada, but she later rewrote it and self-published a Create Space version in 2013. Nancy’s Ruby and Maude Adventure series includes Rescue in Poverty Gulch, Trouble on the Tracks and her latest book, to be released this month, Trouble Returns. (Be sure and catch my review of Trouble Returns this Friday on Writing to be Read.) Her other publishing credits include Hard Face Moon, Edward Wynkoop: Soldier and Indian Agent, Nothing Here But Stones, and Insects in the Infield. And she has a very unusual story about how she broke into the publishing industry.
Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Nancy: In my early teens, I thought writing children’s books would be really cool and I enjoyed writing—some poetry—but most of it school related. I didn’t get serious about publication until I was in my late twenties.
Kaye: Would you share your own publishing story with us?
Nancy: I wrote several books that I call my “cardboard cover” books for my stepson who was five when I married my husband. They were hand written and crudely illustrated and as you’ve probably guessed, had cardboard covers that were put together with rings that clipped through the pages and the cardboard and held the whole thing together. I did a couple of cardboard cover books for friends, too. But my stepson outgrew his “picture” books, so I started in on a chapter book. We lived in British Columbia at that time, so I mailed him the first chapter for Christmas and sent one chapter a month to him, finishing the book the next Christmas. This book was typed, yes on a typewriter, but still was a FAT cardboard cover book. After many many rewrites, this book became my first published novel for young readers. It had 35 rejections and was finally picked up by Scholastic Canada and five years later was reprinted by them. To this day, thanks to Scholastic’s book club program, it has outsold any of my other books.
Kaye: What do you see as pros and cons of self-publishing?
Nancy: In 2013, I self-published the above mentioned book. I’ve had the rights back since about 1996, so I rewrote the book, adding about 10,000 words and it ended up as a winner in the CIPA Evvy award competition. My likes: I really enjoyed having full control. I used Create Space and used their interior design service, but did the other parts myself. The Create Space team was accessible and helpful, and I had a really positive experience from beginning to end. A word of caution: you really need to have a clear idea of the design, font size, layout ahead of time. You have to be clear in communicating what you want. Negatives: Reviews were hard to get, ALL of the marketing is up to you, and if you don’t have a well-edited, professional looking copy, it will sink you