Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, September 5, 2016

An Inside Look #14 (I Am Drums by Mike Grosso)

An Inside Look - With Mike Grosso
Author of I Am Drums

*Another Monday, means another "inside look" with an author.

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" with them about their novel, the characters, and their thoughts about the story.

*I have had such fun connecting with authors and "picking" their brains.

*Here are the links to my first TWELVE interviews…

*One of my favorite things about Twitter is finding out about new authors and their novels.

*This summer there was lots of Twitter chat online about this book.

*I got in on the conversation (like I tend to do) and got to know Mike.

*He was gracious enough to send me an ARC.  I read it in one afternoon and absolutely loved it.

*After reaching out to Mike to share my thoughts about the book, I asked if he would be willing to share his "inside" thoughts about the story.

I Am Drums by Mike Grosso (Released September 6, 2016)

How did you come to know Sam?
I came to know her the same as most characters I create. I start with a picture of them in my head or a single moment in their life and write from there. My best work happens when I jump into the story and see what happens.

What do you think is Sam's most admirable quality? 
Her determination! She thinks anything is possible, but recognizes that some things are really hard and take a lot of work.

Is there anything you wish Sam would have changed or done differently in her story? 
This is a hard one because I'm a bit torn. I wish Sam had been more honest with the adults in her life, but I understand why it was so hard for her. I've always been fascinated by stories where a character does the wrong thing and still keeps the reader on their side. That's not to say Sam's choices are excusable, but it's a lot easier to make bad decisions when you can't properly communicate what's important to you.

What do you think Sam can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what she went through?   
I would like to think she offers a sense of hope. With all the negative news bombarding kids right now I'd like to think Sam shows that hard work, determination, and simple kindness pays off in the end.

How did you “research” Sam and the circumstances she found himself in? 
I come from a musical family and have a background in music, so the technical stuff didn't require a lot of additional research. Of more importance was talking to kids about drum technique and seeing what got their attention. I wanted the scenes where Sam learned about drums to feel less like instructional text and more like action scenes.

Do you and Sam share any similarities?   
She's not autobiographical, but I was also a kid who couldn't sit still. I hear drums in everyday sounds and objects like she does, and have a tendency to tap on everything within reach.

What was the hardest scene to write about Sam?
Chapter twenty-three is a single scene that I was really afraid to screw up. It's a conversation between Sam and her teacher where Sam says something really important. It plays out the same in the final book as it did in the first draft, but I was constantly refining the dialogue to make it feel real and not come off as preachy.

Who do you think was Sam's biggest supporter and why? 
I actually think it was her brother. He can be annoying at times and a lot of his support is misdirected, but he always has her back, even if Sam doesn't always notice. Then again, I'm the youngest of three brothers so I may be a bit biased. :)

Why do you think some children have such a passion for one thing (drums) and will go to any lengths to achieve their goals and/or get what they desire?  
There are a ton of reasons, but for a kid like Sam, it's about finding something that makes you feel good about yourself. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but a kid who's bombarded with experiences that play to their weaknesses will believe that weaknesses are all they have. When they discover something they have a passion for, it's like finding out they're not a mistake. They have value after all.

What do you think Sam is doing as the present time?  
I'll bet she's looking for band mates. Somewhere out there are the perfect guitarist and bassist for her first band.

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