Author Chat with Mary Amato (Star Striker: Game On!), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we are chatting with Mary Amato, author of
Star Striker: Game On!
Read on for more about Mary, her book, and giveaway!
Meet Mary Amato!
Mary Amato is a children’s and YA book author, poet, playwright, and singer-songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, and produced onstage, and have won the children’s choice awards in Ohio, Minnesota, Utah, and Arizona. She is a co-founder of Firefly Shadow Theater and performs her music in the Maryland-Washington, D.C. area. You can hear her music on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/mary-amato-author [soundcloud.com] and find out more about her at maryamato.com [maryamato.com].
Meet Star Striker: Game On!
From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding
Cut from the soccer team, Albert's dreams of playing soccer are over on Earth, that is! Join him and his alien teammates dribble, cross, and score in this interstellar adventure.
The day that aliens abducted 13-year-old Albert Kinney was the day he was hoping to make the school soccer team.But that's the way life works sometimes, especially for Albert.
Astonishingly the Zeenods, don't want to harm Albert, they want him to play soccer. And so, Albert jumps at the chance to join the Zeenods. Yet just as he is introduced to the specifics of their game and all their high-tech gear, he faces a series of direct threats to his life. Does someone have a mysterious vendetta against Albert? Or does their first opponent, the ruthless team from Planet Tev, want to guarantee that they win?
Action-packed, yet filled with humor and heart, Game On! is the first book in a series that features thrilling play-by-play soccer scenes and an intergalactic plot with far-reaching consequences for the Zeenods--and Earth.
~ Author Chat ~
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I always write from character, which means that I can’t really write until I can hear my character’s voice and feel my character from the inside out. Albert Kinney, my main character, is full of challenges that in the world of the book are called “shawbles.” A shawble is a negative thought (“I’m not good enough” or “I’m jealous of that guy”) that can become a habitual way of thinking if left unacknowledged. When Albert arrived on the doorstep of my mind desperately wanting to make his school soccer team, he was full of negative self-talk, and I found that to be fascinating. He is the kind of 7th grader who can drive you crazy one minute and surprise you with a profound insight the next.
Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I don’t have a favorite snack to eat, but I’m a tea addict. Stout black tea with milk. I have Irish roots on my mom’s side of the family, and I swear it’s just in my blood. I do have a favorite writing ritual—I put a few drops of an essential oil into a little clay vessel every day before I turn my attention to the page. Breathing in the scent reminds me that writing requires presence. Breathe in. Breathe out. Begin.
What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
Seth Godin’s collection of mini-essays called The Practice: Shipping Creative Work is a must read for creative artists of all disciplines. I listened to it first on audio and loved hearing the author’s voice in my ear. Then, I immediately purchased the hardcover so that I could underline my favorite passages.
What’s up next for you?
I’m currently writing the second Star Striker book and am enjoying the chance to develop even deeper relationships with my characters. But I never do just one thing at a time. I also love to teach, and I put a lot of energy into lesson-planning! I offer a weekly writing session for adults that has become my favorite part of every week. Then, of course I sing and I continue to plot out mini shadow-theater shows (I’m co-founder of a shadow theater company called Firefly Shadow Theater).
Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I always say that writing is a lot like acting. You have to get into character. When my main character Albert is hijacked and sent flying toward a black hole, I had to imagine the surreal loss of control that he would feel. I’ve been in seriously frightening situations in the past (none that occurred while hurtling through space), and what surprised me in those moments were the odd bits that popped in and out of my mind. I loved exploring that heightened emotional state in Albert’s scene.
Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I am basically a decent person who has been conditioned to “be good.” This means I’ve always had a hard time creating antagonists. A botmaker named Mehk is the first antagonist in Game On! and it took me three or four drafts to find his voice. I teach a writing workshop called Embracing Your Nemesis because I know many other writers like me who don’t take enough risks with their antagonist characters in the first drafts or who write manuscripts that lack an antagonist completely! Teaching this workshop helps me remember how important the antagonist is.
Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I work with a number of nonprofits in various ways. DC SCORES is a nonprofit that not only provides soccer training and opportunities to underserved students in Washington, DC, but also offers poet-athlete programming to encourage and support creative writing! So cool. I’m also a huge fan of Carpe Diem Arts, which is all about dreaming up music and arts experiences where I live here in the Mid-Atlantic region.
What advice would you give to new writers?
If you want to be a writer, you have to see, hear, and experience every day as a writer. For me, that means carrying a small notebook and pen with me AT ALL TIMES. If I’m open to seeing, hearing, and experiencing meaning in the world, then I will find meaning. That’s what it’s all about.
Star Striker: Game On!
Author: Mary Amato
Publisher: Holiday House
Publish Date: September 7th, 2021
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*