(Interview) Michael D. Beil & Give Away

I am super excited to have Michael D. Beil stop by Cindy’s Love of Books today. If you remember yesterday I reviewed his book The Mistaken Masterpiece.

Recently I was lucky enough to interview him. So without further hesitation please help me welcome Michael D. Beil.

Thanks so much for stopping by Michael and allowing me to interview you.

Why did you decide to write a series of detective books for girls?

I teach at a girls’ school in Manhattan, and the idea for the first book (which opens with Sophie looking out the classroom window and screaming) grew out of an actual incident. Before The Red Blazer Girls, I had written a couple of (unpublished) novels for adults, but my wife convinced me that my “voice” was a better fit for a younger audience. She was right, of course. The detective part came out of my own love of mysteries – everything from Encyclopedia Brown to Sherlock Holmes to Kurt Wallender.

Are you currently working on anything new? If so anything you can share with the readers?

At the moment, I’m working on the fourth Red Blazer Girls book, set during the two weeks before Christmas. I’m also very excited about the non-Red Blazer Girls book that’s in copy editing as I write this. It’s more of a coming of age/adventure story about a boy who spends his summer vacation at the lake where his dad spent his summers. He learns a little about himself, about his dad, and about life. I would tell you the title, but my editor and I still haven’t settled on the final final title. I can tell you that the working title was The Seaweed Strangler, which is the name of the movie the protagonist is making . . . which also happens to be the name of the movie I made when I was 12.

What was your favorite part of The Mistaken Masterpiece?

That’s a tough one. The big “switcheroo” scene at the end was a lot of fun, and putting those crazy words in Prunella’s big mouth was a total blast, but I would probably choose the scene where Sophie and Livvy are stuck in the elevator. That was one of those rare scenes that worked out just the way I’d imagined it back in the outlining phase.

What would be one thing you would want a reader to take away from your book?

One word:

What would be the one book and movie you would recommend that one has to read and watch?

I know it’s the pat answer, but I think everyone should read To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is one of the greatest characters (and human beings) in all of literature. Since I picked an “old” book, I’ll go with new movie: Super 8, which is in theaters right now. It’s the first “big” movie since The Lord of the Rings that I really enjoyed. I just love the way it portrays the excitement, innocence, hopefulness, and anything-is-possible-ness of youth.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books. I remember having to read it in high school and I feel in love with the book. I ended up buying my own copy. If you were stranded on a deserted island what would be the top three must haves you would want?

A copy of Great Expectations, my cello (I’m guessing that I’d have time to practice as much as I should), and a fountain pen and a mountain of paper.

I have never read Great Expectations but I am thinking I will have to pick it up one day soon to read. I am going to NYC again next year and what would be your top three things to see and do would you say I should see and do?

If you’re a dog person like me, I recommend a stroll through Central Park early in the morning. Before 9:00, dogs are permitted to be off-leash, and you will be amazed at how many dogs live in Manhattan – and how well they get along. Usually. If you’re really ambitious, walk up to the Conservatory Garden and find the Secret Garden statue from the final scene in The Mistaken Masterpiece.

And even if you’re not an art lover, you have to go to the Metropolitan Museum. (You can go right after your walk in the park!) Every time I go, it’s all I can do to keep myself from walking out with a Winslow Homer tucked under my arm.

Finally, find a “real New York” restaurant (away from the Midtown hotels) where the tables are so close you have no choice but to have a conversation with your neighbors. That’s a quintessential New York experience!

Michael. I didn’t make it to Central Park last year but that is on my to see
list along with the museum next year. I have seen pictures of Central Park and I
just love them. Now I will have to go and visit the Secret Garden.

About Michael D. Beil:
He grew up in Andover, Ohio (pop. 1200), where he learned to sail, milk cows, tell the difference between hay and straw, and many other important lessons. He worked as a sailmaker and lawyer before finding his true calling in 1997: Teacher. Since 2001, he has taught English and drama at an all-girls Catholic high school in Manhattan, where he also wrote and produced Aftershocks, a play based on the challenges facing the immigrant families of some of his students. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Laura, dogs Isabel and Maggie, and cats Cyril and Emma.

When he is indoors, he loves cooking (anything French, especially!), playing the cello (not nearly as well as he’d like), and sinking his teeth into a really great book. Outdoors, he loves skiing, sailing, and hiking and camping.

You can find out more about Michael D. Beil by visiting his site.

Thanks so much again Michael for stopping by and allowing me to pick your brain. I know I stumped you on one of my interview questions. It was a pleasure to read and review your book and I am looking forward to reading your other books.

Give Away Time

I have to thank Knopf and Diane for allowing me to give away a copy of Michael’s latest book

Due to the current Canadian postal lockout I will have to allow this contest to be US only since nothing is coming into Canada.

The only thing that I require is that you have a valid mailing address (no PO Boxes) because the sponsor is shipping the book, not me. Please leave me a comment with a way to contact you and please note that you will have 48 hours to reply back to my email with your mailing address. Failure to do so will result in me picking another winner.

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