Sharon Solomon took time from working on her newest chapter of the Mad Scientist Club Series to share her thoughts on the importance of math and science, her own middle school experience, and how it has helped her keep the Mad Scientist Club going!
NCG is thrilled to be working with Sharon for almost 5 years now! Her Mad Scientist Club books: The Pencil That Wouldn't Die, The Case of the Lost Locket, and soon to be a third (read below for more information and follow us on Facebook to be the first to learn more, including a cover teaser later this month) along with A Walk With Grandma have become beloved family stories and we can't wait to see what's next for Sharon!
NCG: What does the Mad Scientist Club series means to you?
Sharon: The two Mad Scientist Club books, and hopefully the sequel, tell about ten-year-olds in a small town who solve mysteries by using math or science. It first started with twins Sam and Abby. Then they joined forces with Owen and Emma, so boys and girls are involved equally. I think it is important to encourage all kids to do research, find facts, and apply them to their daily lives. I always include math and science projects at the end of each book. Be curious, do the work, and succeed!
NCG: Was Science important to you when you were a child or how did you develop a love for it?
Sharon: I don't remember much science involvement until high school. I loved biology and chemistry. Doing experiments was fun, and even though science wasn't my chosen field, my first book was a set of science plays for kids.
NCG: What were you like in middle school? Do you identify with any of the characters in your book?
Sharon: I don't remember as a girl any encouragement to pursue math or science. I did love math! I think I am most like Owen. He is close to his grandmother, always follows the rules, and is polite. He works well with others and is a good team player.
NCG: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing this book?
Sharon: The most surprising thing I learned is how much fun math and science projects can be.
NCG: What got you into writing?
Sharon: What got me into writing 21 years ago was the kids' difficulty reading textbooks. I was a reading specialist and noticed that the science and social studies textbooks were written way above most kids' reading levels. So I took one topic and some vocabulary from the third grade science book and wrote a funny play with a song and an art activity. I made copies and went into the classroom and did the plays with the whole class. Not only could they read and understand the words and concepts, but they were laughing. I knew it was a hit, so I wrote ten more plays and they were published into my first book!
NCG: If you were not a writer, what would be your ideal career?
Sharon: I would be an attorney defending the underdog.
NCG: Where do you see the book industry heading in the next decade?
Sharon: I see the major publishing companies merging, as they have been over the last two decades. I hope that midsized and small publishers continue to survive. There is a market for a lot of books on diverse topics.
NCG: What is your go-to advice for new writers?
Sharon: I encourage children's writers to join SCBWI (The Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). Go to conferences, join a critique group. Working by yourself isn't easy.
NCG: Can you give us a sneak peek at any current projects?
Sharon: My current project is the third book of The Mad Scientist Club. It involves the same four characters, Abby, Sam, Owen and Emma. The setting is the same, Jackson City. When the MSC discover dead fish in a stinky stream, they know something is fishy and set out to solve it.
NCG: Any favorite books to read or books you're currently reading?
Sharon: I'm currently reading "The Postmistress of Paris" by Meg Clayton. My favorite authors are Anne Tyler, John Updike and John Steinbeck. My favorite book is "Cry the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton.
NCG: Any last words to share with our readers?
Sharon: Kids, read all kinds of books. You may have a favorite genre and only want to read those books, but you can really expand your minds by reading other genres.
Thank you Sharon! We can't wait to start getting teasers about the third MSC book!
Sharon can be reached through SharonsBooks.Net or through Newhouse Creative Group.