Finding Esme: Blog Tour

Today is the last of this tour hosted by Magico Libro Casa Tours. This international blog tour initiative for middle grade and indie authors/books was started by my two talented friends Unzilla and Maham. I am happy to be a part of their first blog tour.

This last tour stop is all about the author and I was happy to ask the author some interesting questions that I sent her through the email. I will be sharing the Q & A’s in a bit. First, let’s have a look at what this book is all about.


Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on her family’s peach farm in Texas.

Fans of Wendy Maas and Lynda Mullaly Hunt will love this perfectly pitched story about friendship, family, and loss from Suzanne Crowley, the acclaimed author of The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous.

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor.

The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.

Find the Book:

Goodreads / AmazonIndigo / B&N / itunes / Kobo / TBD

About the Author:

Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas.

Find the Author at:

Q & A with Suzanne:

Q1: When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. I’d staple notebook pages together to look like a “real” book then draw pictures and write.  Later I discovered my grandfather’s typewriter and wrote simple stories, typing away with two fingers.  After my parents bought me my own typewriter, I slowly went from picture books to chapter books.  Again made my stories into handmade books complete with hardcovers, illustrations, and even a logo on the back  I studied Journalism in college, and continued to write on the side, completing two unpublished romance novels.  I consider these my “practice” novels.

Q2: How do you come up with creative stories?

Most of my ideas come from a simple spark, an image, a phrase, an old saying, a bit of trivia and I go from there.  Listen to people’s stories.  Listen to your parents and grandparents.  I draw a lot from my father’s and before him, my grandmother’s stories.

Q3: When did you decide that you want to write a middle-grade story?

When I wrote my first  novel, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous, (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) about a girl on the spectrum obsessed with dragons, I didn’t know who my readership would be, whether it would be MG or YA.  It was a story I just knew I needed to tell.  When I found a publisher I was told it was definitely middle grade.  My second novel, The Stolen One, is YA, about a girl in the sixteenth century who discovers she may be related to royalty.  After Finding Esme and another MG in the works, I guess I’m firmly and most comfortably a MG writer.

Q4: What is your creative process like? Do you have some kind of routine?

It changes from book to book.  My first novel poured out of me stream-of-consciousness style.  My second, a historical, needed to adhere to a particular time-line in history, so in a sense, it was outlined for me.  More prep work went into Fnding Esme than my first,

but I have to say, I somewhat write from the seat of my pants and just see where the narrative takes me.  Stephen King, in his wonderful book “On Writing,” says if the writer is not surprised how is the reader going to be?  For my current work in progress, I did a mood board with all my fledging ideas of characters, setting, and plot points. I write at a desk on a computer with scratch paper in front of me to write ideas down and to scribble on.  Chocolate, as a reward, goes a long way too.

Q5: How did you get inspired to write the story of Esme?

For awhile I’d been wanting to write another book set after the publication of The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous. I had come across an articled called “Goodbye, Louella” about the slow demise of a tiny town called Louella in north,Texas. For awhile I played around with that title and the consequences of the end of a small town and the people who live there.  I knew the title would represent a double metaphor for the loss of the town but the beginning or birth for a character also named Louella.  The idea for loss and rebirth, or lost and found started to form.  Along the way, Louella became a dinosaur slowly being unearthed, or reborn, but the town became Hollis and I let go of the idea of the town disappearing.  And my main character became Esme McCauley.  Many other elements and plot lines appeared along the way, all around the idea of loss and found.  The importance of family is another element I often explore, especially things passed down generation to generation, stories, habits, abilities, hopes and dreams and even the memory of what’s in our DNA.

Q6: Why did you particularly name her Esme? Is there a story behind it?

I just loved the name Esme.  To me it has a somewhat magical connotation to it and since there is a touch of magical realism in my novel I thought it was the perfect name for my main character.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several real Esme’s at book signings and it’s a thrill to sign a book for them.

Q7: Your story revolves around Texas. Is there anything special about that place?

I’m a fifth-generation Texas.  My ancestors came to Texas around 1852 in covered wagons from Kentucky.  Texas has a rich multi-layered history to draw from for narrative fiction.  As a native Texan, I’ve also long been fascinated with stories I grew up with of folklore and magical realism; all of my books are infused with these ideas.  My first book has magical elements of far, west Texas like dust devils (mini tornados), and magical lights that appear at night.  For Finding Esme, I was inspired by stories from the 1800’s of water diviners; people who would find underground water with a bowed stick. As with many things in Texas, it’s hard to tell what is real and what is a “tall-tale.”  Is water-divining, also known as water-witching magical or a scientific phenomenon?  And is it true this ability can be passed down from one family member to another?  And beyond that, what if my character can find other things besides water?  Not just the tangible but the untangible?  Things that are seen and unseen.  And so birthed Finding Esme, a girl who discovers she’s inherited her grandmother’s ability to find lost things. For my work in progress I was inspired by an extremely rare phosphorescent lizard only found at the bottom of caves in central Texas. The lizard looks something like a ghost and this in turn inspired me to ask myself, what can my main character be haunted by?  What troubles him?  There is so much in Texas, to be inspired by, but really, wherever you live, you can find inspiration.

Q8: When you are not writing, how do you spend your free time?

I’ve been a long- time collector and maker of dollhouses and miniatures.  Tiny things have always intrigued me.  I also travel a lot, love to sleep, read (mainly adult fiction), and love chocolate. And my dog. I love my dog very much.

Q9: Authors whose books inspired you?

As a child I loved, loved, loved the Scholastic mailer that you ordered books from your teacher.  I’d bug my teacher for weeks asking if the books had come in and when she’d stop answering me, I’d stop by the school office and ask the secretary if a box from Scholastic had come.  I loved chapter books like Ginger Pye, by Eleanor Estes, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.

Q10: Any upcoming writing projects?

I’ve finished another middle grade novel set about a boy named Odo who is dealing with severe anxiety.  So many kids thesedays deal with anxiety and social pressure.  Again I’m exploring Texas roots, this time in the beautiful hills, caves and rivers of central Texas.

You can enter the Giveaway here:

Blog Tour Stops:

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