Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Karen Kostlivy Interview

Genre: Children's Books/Adventure
Publisher: 3L Publishing
ISBN Number: : 0615362265
Karen Kostlivy was born and raised in Northern California. She graduated from the University of California Davis with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication. She enjoys spending time with her family and listening to her two sons Camron and Masson play guitar. After a successful career in the private and public sector, Karen decided to return to a former passion, writing and creating stories for readers of all ages. She is currently happily residing in Yuba City California with her husband Davis and son.
Mason Witt, a skateboarding American teenager, catapults himself into the greatest adventure of his life after reading the plight of a new Cyber Writer from Africa. Lutalo knew he would come so he sent Mason an urgent plea for help. His village has lost its precious Zebra of Life -- and his father has gone missing in the pursuit of the evil men who stole it. Here begins this thrilling adventure of two boys, a smart-talking panther, and an amazing zebra that sustains life.
Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life is a book that takes middle grade students on an entertaining journey through Africa where talking animals and magic arrows help the young readers track thieves to try to save the village.   At the same time, the kids are learning the value of friendship, teamwork, trust and exercise.  They are also learning a lot about Africa.
This book is the first of a series of books that hopefully attract reluctant readers to reading.  At the same time they will be learning a lot and having fun doing it.  Each book in the series will be set in a different country and involve Cyber Writers having the adventure of their young lives.  My website: http://www. will be the hub Students and teachers can continue the adventure with  web quests, projects and  lesson plans .  Stay tuned there is more coming.
Is Reading Fantasy Good for Children?

I am so thrilled that James Wallace is hosting my virtual book tour on his wonderful site.
It is so full of whimsy and great illustrations.  The Wizard of Oz is a book brimming with imagination, illusion, and fantasy.   The Magician of Oz, James's book, takes over from that wonderful book when a young hero, Jamie finds his magical heritage in an old trunk he finds in the basement of his new home.  After exploring the world around him, he is magically transported to the Land of Oz.  Here he finds fantasy and adventure and makes new friends while conquering his fears.

My book, Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life, also deals with fantasy and adventure.  My skateboarding hero, Mason Witt, is a member of Cyber Writers - an international internet pen pal club- he gets an urgent plea from a fellow cyber writer Lutalo who is from Africa. Mason is magically transported to an African village where he and Lutalo team up for an exciting quest of rescuing the amazing Zebra of Life and Lutalo’s father who has gone missing in search of the evil kidnapers who stole the Zebra. The two boys encounter numerous thrilling adventures along the way and they meet fantastic characters to help them on their journey.  The boys learn the value of courage, family, friendship, trust, loyalty, and faith.

Both books are great examples of the value of reading fantasy for children.  Fantasy books can serve as a learning tool.  If children are allowed to explore the world of fantasy, they can develop new interests.  Hopefully children that read, Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life will develop an interest in the animals, geography, and people of Africa.  Children who read, The Magician of Oz could develop a desire to read The Wizard of Oz, or more books about wizards like the legend of King Arthur tales. 

Children learn the difference between fact and fiction from fantasy.  Reading fantasy books allow children to travel to exciting worlds, get to know fantastic characters, and explore the world around them.  They can instill a love of reading that can make the difference in the life of a child as he/she grows to be an adult.
Book can be purchased on and my site

What inspired you to pen your first title?

I realized I wanted to write Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life when I wrote parts of the story I created years ago for an English assignment. The story would not leave me no matter how much I tried to flush it from my mind, it just kept coming back to me. It was like I had no other choice but to write, so I began to write.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing off and on for thirteen years, seriously writing four years.

What was the hardest part about writing this particular novel?

The writing was the easy part for me. The hard part was keeping what I wrote. During the process of writing Cyber Writers, I had two laptops stolen, computer crashes and lost data, I didn’t back-up my writing. The ironic thing is the series is called Cyber Writers…LOL

Have any dreams been realized as a result of your writing?

I feel that I’m just entering this journey in my life and I have many dreams and aspirations for my writing. But it was pretty cool to see my book in print for the first time. 

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

There are so many messages that the reader will take away after reading Cyber Writers. The reader will learn about the importance of a person’s character and the value of courage, family, friendship, trust, loyalty, and faith. As well, as a little bit about Africa and its culture.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

I have no false expectations regarding my writing; however, I would love for Cyber Writers to be a successful series. I have been told numerous times by teachers and librarians that Cyber Writers is being compared to The American Girl Series, but for boys. My goal is to have a team of writing partners that will co-author some of the books in the series with me. I only intended to write six books in the series, but I have been encouraged to write more. To accomplish that I will need to have writing partners. 

What advice do you have for writer's just starting out?

 Keep writing! If a person is passionate about writing I would recommend that they keep writing and not give up. There are far better writers out there than myself but some won’t complete what they start. Also, have someone review your writing that you trust. Hire someone if you can and be open to their suggestions in regards to polishing your work. 

Anything else you would like to share with us today?......

First, thank you for having me as a guest today. Second, I would like to invite the readers to visit my website at: and they can listen to the first chapter, read an excerpt, and for the kids there are some puzzles they can print out.  Also, keep checking back, later this year I will have games, lesson plans, craft projects and a webquest for kids, teachers and librarians. 

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