Today we would like to welcome one of our Mixed Up Authors, Erin E. Moulton, to the blog to celebrate her debut book FLUTTER: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey. We will also be giving away a copy of FLUTTER and a gift box of maple goodies in honor of our protagonist, Maple T. Rittle.
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The Synopsis: Big things are about the happen at Maple’s house. Mama’s going to have a baby, which means now there will be four Rittle sisters instead of just three. But when baby Lily is born too early and can’t come home from the hospital, Maple knows it’s up to her to save her sister. So she and Dawn, armed with a map and some leftover dinner, head off down a river and up a mountain to find the Wise Woman who can grant miracles. Now it’s not only Lily’s survival that they have to worry about, but also their own. The dangers that Maple and Dawn encounter on their journey makes them realize a thing or two about miracles-and about each other.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Flutter came to me in fits and starts. It wasn’t just that I had an idea of writing a story about kids who go looking for a miracle for their little sister who is born prematurely. The truth is, that was one of the last things I thought of in the process of creating this story. I was at VC when I was working on this and the story began during my second semester working with Ellen Howard. Ellen had asked me to focus on something I knew about that was close to me, something that would show what I knew about life. I was, I think, 22 or 23 at the time, had just completed college and was striking out into the real world. I knew I missed home and I knew I missed my sisters, my family and the mountain. So I focused on the thoughts and feelings around that and then the adventurous plot fell into place.
At what age did you decide you wanted to write?
I wrote a lot all through my childhood and my adolescence. In 2nd grade I wrote a book with my friend Kim. It was called The Two Orphans. In 4th grade, I remember my friend Sam and I wrote a long story about all of our classmates getting killed off in the desert. I had a bad habit of putting my friends in stories and then adding the drama. My teachers were patient and understanding, but looking back on them, I am somewhat horrified. In 5th and 6th grade I wrote many stories, and read a lot. Mr. Alligator was my teacher for those years. He was one of the best teachers I ever had because he was a huge advocate of imagination and literature. Later on, in high school, I focused more on the teen angst and poetry. I have lots and lots of embarrassing diary entries from this period of my life and also some great vignettes and short pieces done in Ms. Stahl’s class. The thing is, I knew I loved writing, but I didn’t think I could make much of a living out of it, so I followed my second passion. Being a lighting designer for the theater. Yes, you heard me right. I abandoned being a writer for a career in the theater. What? Note to self, don’t swap out one art for another. Might as well just barrel on through the best you can with the original plan. Regardless, I suppose it worked out for the best. I went to Emerson to pursue my degree in theater and during my junior or senior year I decided I needed to take a writing class to get a few extra credits. Being in those classes and doing workshops with the writing, literature and publishing crew woke me right up. Shortly after, I applied to VCFA and started writing in earnest.
What kinds of books did you like to read when you were a kid?
All kinds. I loved adventure. I loved day to day stuff. I loved poetry. I even went through a period in sixth grade where I read a bunch of Chaucer, and later sought out the works in their old English versions. And I also loved Shakespeare. There was something about the way it sounded. I didn’t have to understand everything that was going on, the beauty of the words, the way they had rhythm like music, was enough to keep me occupied for hours. But I also loved books that kids today will recognize, such as, A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner, The Giver by Lois Lowry and Lyddie by Katherine Paterson.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
I usually average about an hour and a half/day during weekdays and about 8 to 9 hours/day on the weekends. When I am on deadline it is a lot more! Also, I work full time, so the weekend hours would be considerably less if I had weekdays to focus on it!
Can you share some of the things your main character loves that aren’t mentioned in the book?
Maple loves lots of things. She is a very loving character, as are all the Rittles. Let’s see, she loves warm sunlight, and tea with two teaspoons of sugar. She likes catching frogs and salamanders and bugs of all sorts. She also likes to eat raspberries straight off the bush after a light rainfall. She loves dipping her feet in streams and reading her sister’s diary. She loves stealing all the chocolates out of the advent calendar and watching a few tv shows snuggled on the couch with her sisters. She also loves a good thunderstorm.
What are you currently working on?
My next novel, currently titled The Lanternlight Dreamers, is in the revision process for publication in 2012 from Philomel/Penguin. I can’t give away too much, but I will tell you it is about a girl named Indie Lee Chickory, a boy named Owen Stone, a summer of adventure, mistakes, top secret tree forts and theater.
Thanks so much for coming over to the mixed up files today!
Erin E. Moulton graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey, published on May 12th! Erin is co-founder of the Kinship Writers Association and when she is not writing she works at Springboard After School with lots of silly kids and a bearded dragon named Puff. Erin lives in Southern New H ampshire with her husband and puppy where she writes, reads, drinks tea and dreams. You can visit her online at www.erinemoulton.com or on Facebook as Erin E. Moulton (Author)