Blog Tour: The Clue in the Trees by Margi Preus Author Interview + Giveaway
I’m happy to be taking part in this next stop on the tour, especially since we have Margi Preus stopping by! If you haven’t checked out the first book in the series, you can go here for all the info. Right now though, it’s all about The Clue in the Trees (which can also be read as a standalone)!
Author: Margi Preus
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Press
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: Francie’s brother Theo has secrets—secrets Francie thinks she wants to know. But what if one of those secrets is that Theo is a murderer? To avoid considering that possibility, Francie plunges into her senior year at a small-town high school near Enchantment Lake in northern Minnesota. It’s a radical change from her private school in New York, but she hopes to keep an eye on her great aunts and maybe finally learn more about the mother she never knew. A small silver box seems to hold the answers, and she is determined to get her hands on it. But when her long-lost brother turns up, so does a dead body, and once again Francie is drawn into a mystery. A long list of suspects, with Theo at the top, keeps her head spinning. When Francie herself becomes a suspect she starts to feel like she is walking on thin ice, but it isn’t until she is literally walking on thin ice that the pieces start to come together—and by then it may be too late. In her previous adventure Enchantment Lake, Francie was thrown into northern Minnesota lake living: fishing, berry picking, lost kayaks and scary boat rides, poisoned hotdishes, exploding bulldozers, a forest fire . . . and murder. But if she thinks things have settled down, she’s in for a surprise. A new school with new friends (and a few enemies), a lead role in a play, an encounter with a giant muskie, archaeological twists, secret tunnels, thin ice, and a strangely sticky murder are all coming her way in The Clue in the Trees.
1) You’ve written many historical fiction reads including “Heart of a Samurai”, “West of the Moon”, and “Shadow on the Mountain”. What influenced you to write a mystery series this time around, and is it a genre you feel you’ll be pursuing more often?
I’ve always loved mysteries. As a kid I was a fan of Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. I still love to read them, listen to audiobook mysteries (my fave for long drives), and watch BBC and Scandinavian mystery series. Eudora Welty suggested that writing comes from a “superior devotion to reading.” Eventually, reading and watching mysteries made me want to try my own.
As to whether I will continue to pursue them, I have to at least get the overarching mystery of Francie’s life solved before I’m done!
2) In the first book “Enchantment Lake” we meet Francie who plays a detective on tv that quickly becomes part of her real life, including a new mystery to solve in book two “The Clue in the Trees”. What inspired you to create a character like Francie, with a background just as mysterious as those she solves?
Francie—and her backstory– is nearly as mysterious to me as to anyone else. She surprises me at every turn. I just want to follow her along and hope she solves the mystery of her parentage so I can finally relax!
3) We’ve seen Francie go fishing, be part of boat rides, and kayaks involved. In “The Clue in the Trees” she deals with archaeological twists, secret tunnels, new school and friends. Do the travels and adventures you’ve written for her reflect any of your own?
Francie has more adventures per square inch (or maybe per column inch?) than I am likely to ever have. I live vicariously through her. However, I have experienced plenty of boat rides, both scary and placid, and have spent a great deal of time in canoes (including wild ricing) and kayaks. I have a pink kayak (known as the “Barbie kayak”) that is likely to be on the water early in the morning or right around sunset whenever I’m at the cabin.
4) Even though “The Clue in the Trees” is classified as Mystery/Young Adult, there are many historical facts pertaining to Minnesota throughout the novel. How was it for you being able to incorporate these tidbits about a place you grew up in, getting the chance to write a novel centered on Minnesota just as much as it is on Francie?
After writing about Edo period Japan (Heart of a Samurai; The Bamboo Sword) and 19th century or WWII Norway (West of the Moon, Shadow on the Mountain) it was . . . relaxing, I guess you could say . . . to write about a place I know and love so well. I hope the love for the place comes through (tricky, because I also have to make it kind of scary sometimes) Nonetheless, I found I still had research to do for these books: the history, for one thing. Some of the archeological things, too. Law enforcement practices. And so on.
5) There’s been two great adventures with Francie, full of mystery, tons of facts and fiction intertwined, and much heart to go with it. Is there more we can look forward to from this world you’ve created, maybe another mystery she’ll be a part of in the near future?
Thanks for asking and thanks for the compliments! Well . . . not to give away too much, but since I leave Francie and Theo with “danger coming their way” I think I better first get them out of it, don’t you? After, of course, getting them into danger (again). There’s also still the big mystery of Francie’s identity to solve, (and two more seasons at Enchantment Lake to explore) so . . . Yes, I think it’s likely!
Thank you Margi for stopping by my blog!
Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor book, Heart of a Samurai, the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society. New in 2015 is Enchantment Lake, a northwoods mystery, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage says is “historical fiction at its best.”
“Margi Preus has a remarkable ability to create fascinating, page-turning stories that transport readers to faraway times and places. Whether she’s evoking Norway during World War II or 19th century Japan, Preus combines impeccable research with strong characterization and plot—the very elements that draw readers into history and spark the curiosity to learn more.” Bookpage, Sept. 2015