Saturday, April 29, 2017

Author Interview with Shelley Gill

The DMS was lucky to interview Shelley Gill. Fairday reviewed her book Big Blue, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We're excited to learn a little more about her story. So, without further ado... take it away, Shelley!

1) What inspired you to write Kiana’s Iditarod?

At the time I raced there were no books about the Iditarod, so I wrote one.



2) You have written many picture books. Which one took you the longest?

Gabe took maybe six months.  If I Were a Whale took two days and one editing pass.

3) Many of your book are based in or on the state of Alaska. What was your research process like for some of your books?

Most of my books come from life experience. But one I'm working on now-we'll call it Balto- has required two trips to Cleveland to look up old newspaper clippings, which are horrible resources, and interviews with four 90-100 year old women who were children during the serum run.


4) Was there any aspect of your research that was the most interesting?

So much factual info is lost.
5)  The Iditarod is a common theme in your books.  You have also raced in the Iditarod.  What can you tell us about your experience and what would you like kids to know about the race?

The Iditarod sled dog race is an epic adventure. It's not like you can just step onto the sled. You have to have really top-notch outdoor skills, you have to know your dogs. It's the toughest race on earth. But doing stuff like the Iditarod makes your life worth living.


6) You have lived in Alaska for over 30 years. What are some of the best aspects about living there?

Alaska, like everywhere else, is changing. It has always had a history of people coming there and taking what they wanted. Gold, furs, oil. I came there for a different reason. To experience real wilderness. Those two goals-to pillage and to ponder are not compatible.



7) What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

The Lion’s Paw  and White Fang were two of my favorite books. Authors: Jack London, Robert Service, and Hemingway.  




8) You have lived in Alaska for over 30 years. What are some of the best aspects about living there?

Alaska like everywhere else is changing. It has always had a history of people coming there and taking what they wanted. Gold, furs, oil. I came there for a different reason. To experience real wilderness. Those two goals-to pillage and to ponder are not compatible.
9)  You work with marine biologists who are studying whales. What can people do to help protect these beautiful creatures?

Protect their habitat. Every second breath we take comes from the oceans of the world. If we don't take care of the oceans- humans and whales will not survive.

NOAA Photo Library

10) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Alaska, although it breaks my heart.

11) Shelley wrote Big Blue based on the experience she had with her daughter, Kye. Listen to her talk about whales and tell the story behind the story.

(She gives some background and the story about swimming with Big Blue starts at 2:18.)

12) Where can we purchase your books? Amazon: Shelley Gill



32 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the very interesting interview. She is so right - if we don't look after the earth, the oceans and all who dwell in them we are all lost. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Valerie- I totally agree! She was such an inspiration to my whole school. :) ~F

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  2. Nice to meet you, Shelley. I loved White Fang too.

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    1. Kelly- I can see how it inspired her to go to Alaska! :) ~F

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  3. I grew up on Jack London and am envious of running dogs. Do you know Gary Paulsen's "Winterdance?"

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    1. Sage- I think it is so cool that she was part of running dogs for so long and the connection she described between her and her lead dog was very powerful. I haven't read Winterdance- but I will keep an eye out for it. :) ~F

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  4. I enjoyed reading about Shelley, her life and her books.

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    1. Janet- She really is fascinating! :) ~F

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  5. Enjoyed White Fang too. Stinks humans don't wake up and treat the oceans better. Must be a bit frustrating trying to track down lost info too.

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    1. Pat- Hopefully humans start taking better care of our planet. We can all make a difference and every step we take in the right direction is a good one. :) ~F

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  6. Lovely to meet you Shelley! Thanks for sharing this interview.

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  7. Call of The Wild was a favorite of mine too.
    Good luck with this. Sounds like a fun book.

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    1. Sandra- I think White Fang is a book that really sticks with people. Thanks for stopping by! v

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  8. My daughter recently read an article about Alaska towns on the coast trying to relocate due to the weather changes. It does sound like a heartbreaking situation and that's probably not the only one going on up there.

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    1. Tamara- I think you are right! :( ~F

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  9. I think it's cool to write about Iditarod. It's unique and really interesting.

    Thanks for this wonderful interview.

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    1. Lux- I agree! I learned a lot about the Iditarod from Shelley! :) ~F

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  10. It is so sad to read that people only went to Alaska to take what they wanted – sad but also true. How nice to know Shelley went there for a different reason. Fascinating interview, thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Barbara- I am glad you enjoyed the interview. I loved hearing from Shelley and learning more about her experiences. :) ~F

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  11. This is a new author for me...her work appears to be lovely.

    I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate youe end of the week comments for me. I know how busy you are and the fact that you still remember what I am going through is so heartwarming!

    Thank you!

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    1. Patty- Happy to introduce you to Shelley.

      I am glad my end of the week comments are appreciated. I am sending out good wishes and positive thoughts your way. ~Stephanie

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  12. We love this interview! The Iditarod sounds like such an incredible experience, as does living in Alaska. We have several copies of The Call of the Wild, but we've never actually seen that particular cover. We've got to find that cover for our own shelf now -- the St. Bernard in the silhouette of the wolf is just perfect. Thank you for sharing and for this awesome post! :)

    ~Michele & Mckenzie

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    1. Michele and Mckenzie- Isn't it fun to see all the different covers for books we love. :) So happy you enjoyed the interview. Shelley is an incredible woman and her stories will keep you very entertained! :) ~F

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  13. Great interview!! I remember going to Alaska for a trip and I loved every bit of it! One part, we visited one of the gentleman who at that time raced in the Iditarod several times. We got to pet the puppies and see the dogs running and being trained! Amazing! Excellent post! Thank you!

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    1. Magic Love Crow- How amazing that you got to visit Alaska. Super cool that you visited with a musher and his pups. :) ~F

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  14. My oldest's class at advil got into the Iditarod this year. They all picked favorite mushers.

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    1. Lisa- How fun that they picked favorites! The website for teachers and families has a lot to offer. :) ~F

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  15. Many thanks for sharing this interview ...

    All the best Jan

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  16. It's funny how some picture books can take as long as six months and others as quick as two days time. I also think that's the best motivation for writing a book. When you can't find one on the topic you desire.

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    1. Olivia-Savannah- You are right- that is great motivation. It's amazing how picture books can take such different amounts of time to write! ~F

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