Pump Up Chats with Renee Hand

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Renee Hand photo Renee Hand writes because it is a passion in her heart. She is a homeschool parent and likes to create books that educate and inspire the children of today. She was born in Michigan and still lives there with her husband and two children. She has a degree in Zoology with a minor in Chemistry. Renee is the author of the amazing mystery series known as the Crypto-Capers Series that encourages children to read by incorporating several topics of interest. The reader participates into the story by solving cryptograms and puzzles to solve the case. She is also the author of the Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill Series, which focuses on animal detectives. This series is a great way to teach children about animals in a fun and interesting way that captures the reader’s attention and yet fills them with knowledge they will be learning about in school. All books are great to use in a classroom setting to supplement various topics or to just enjoy. Renee is an award-winning author, receiving awards such as a Best Book Award, a National Literary Award and a Preferred Choice award for her children’s series and adult books. She has just recently won a Seal of Excellence award in Storytelling for her Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill Series. She has been writing for over twenty-five years and has nine books published. When she is not spending time with her family or participating in author events, she is coaching and playing tennis, as well as doing research for her books and many other things that keep her busy. Not quite sure what a cryptogram is and want to learn more?

Visit the author’s website at www.reneeahand.com to learn about cryptograms and how to solve the ones that are in the books. She also blogs at http://thecryptocapersseries.blogspot.com/.

On Case#2 in the Joe-Joe Nut Adventure Series, Mineral Mischief

Q: Can you tell us why you wrote your book?

The idea for this story was simple and came to me easily. I’m an author who is all about education. I homeschool my children and always try to find ways to educate them and get them involved and interested in what they are learning, regardless of what it is. I have learned that if I show a passion for it, so do my children. My books being educational is important to me, so I wanted to make sure that whenever a child reads my books they will be learning something, not just be entertained. There are so many books out there that just entertain; I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted to make a connection with my readers and make the topic something that children will be learning about in school. Some children like rocks, some think they’re boring, and some love to collect them. This story appeals to every reader because I approach the topic of rocks and minerals from various angles. It’s not just my point of view, but various characters’ points of view. I include information about the rock cycle, various experiments, terminology, a ‘Did You Know’ section and much more. I also incorporate a discussion about bullying, which one of the characters is involved with. The character also finds a solution to this problem which all children can benefit from. The topic of rocks and minerals is interwoven in the mystery having the reader learn right along with the characters. Parents, librarians, teachers and children will love this series and the direction I’m taking it.

Q: Which part of the book was the hardest to write?

There was nothing hard about writing the book. Everything takes time to write. I wish I had more hours in the day to just relax and write, that is the hardest part, but creating the story and getting ideas for it, that’s the funniest part.

Q: Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know about?

The series is uniquely written and inspires children to look at rocks and minerals from a different perspective. That is my goal in writing mysteries, it’s for the reader to look at things differently instead of rushing to a conclusion based upon what we see or know. We must learn all the facts before a decision can be made, and our personal feelings on the matter must be put aside in order to see the truth of the situation. In this case, regardless if the reader loves the topic of rocks and minerals or not, they will enjoy learning about various properties and myths that circulate around rocks and minerals. To learn what they can do and the process a particular rock or mineral undertook to be in their current form, can be appreciated. I took some great and interesting information to capture the reader’s attention. I hope everyone enjoys it.

On Writing

Q: Do you remember when the writing bug hit?

I have been writing for 25 years. It came to me during a time when I was young and needed to express myself. I have been doing it ever since. Mineral Mischief cover

Q: What’s the most frustrating thing about becoming a published author and what’s the most rewarding?

The most frustrating part is the promoting. You are never quite sure what will work and what won’t. The most rewarding is the comments I receive from reviewers and readers about how much they’ve enjoyed my books and how it has helped their child.

Q: Do you have a writing tip you’d like to share?

When you write let your ideas flow like a river, don’t get caught up in all the rules, they’ll cripple you. After your first draft is finished then go back and follow the rules and check for grammar, punctuation, etc…

On Family and Home:

Q: Would you like to tell us about your home life? Where you live? Family? Pets?

I homeschool my children so every day is filled with teaching them. I am also a tennis coach so I have been crazy busy doing that as well over the past 2 ½ months. It is now over so I will be able to get my life back in order. We have fish as pets and I have two boys that keep my life interesting.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write at home?

At my upstairs computer in my office area.

Q: What do you do to get away from it all?

We go bike riding in the summer, play tennis, snowshoe and other things to stay busy and break things up. We go on vacation when possible, though not very often.

On Childhood:

Q: Were you the kind of child who always had a book in her/his hand?

Yes! I was the child who would spend my afternoons and summer lying on the floor or on my bed in my room reading for hours to get away from it all.

Q: Can you remember your favorite book?

No, not really. I’ve read hundreds of books when I was younger, though I always drifted to reading mysteries, I was pretty particular, nothing girly.

Q: Do you remember writing stories when you were a child?

I wrote tons of stories when I was younger and read them to my family often. I always had a knack for creating something fun and interesting.

On Book Promotion:

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?

Put it up on social networks, website, did press releases, radio interviews, TV interviews, newspapers, the whole bit.

Q: Are you familiar with the social networks and do you actively participate?

I am familiar with many social networks and participate when I feel I can add something to the mix. I don’t have the time to sit all day at the computer just posting stuff and commenting. That is so time consuming, I have tried to keep up with it and have realized that I just need to participate and comment on things that interest me and that I feel I can contribute to and that will benefit others. I post when I feel I have something to share or have information about my books or other books I have reviewed that other people would be interested in.

Q: How do you think book promotion has changed over the years?

I think promotion has changed quite a bit. The focus of promotion is more on-line now than ever before. The reach is farther. Mineral Suspects Pics

On Other Fun Stuff:

Q: If you had one wish, what would that be?

To never have to worry about money.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world other than where you are right now, where would that place be?

In England in the Lake District.

Q: Your book has just been awarded a Pulitzer. Who would you thank?

I would thank everyone who has ever supported me on my journey as a writer, whether it be family or friends, they have all helped me get to where I am today.