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Monday 3 August 2015

Guardian by Katy Newton Naas ~ Author Interview + Excerpt

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Welcome to my tour stop for 

Guardian by Katy Newton Naas 

I am very excited to introduce to you Katy Newton Naas, Author of Guardian and a fellow dog-lover! Please read our Author Interview with Katy and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.

~ Author Interview ~ 

Hi Katy, I'm so happy to host you on my blog, I'm a fellow dog-lover, I have 4 furbabies and I just love them so much, they were my ONLY babies until 3 months ago when my baby boy was born. Anyhow, sorry to get side-track...  

Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy! By the time this interview is published, I will have had my second little boy as well – I’m due any day! 

How did the story of Guardian come about? 

During one of my first years of teaching (I’ve been teaching for nine years now), there was a student in the middle school who had epilepsy. A seizure assistance dog accompanied her everywhere she went. Though I didn’t have her in class and didn’t know her personally, I was fascinated by the idea that her dog could sense her seizures before they occurred. I did some research on it, and the idea for Guardian was born. 

Until I heard about your book I actually wasn't aware that they gave guide dogs to people with seizures, so glad this was something that I learnt. I have been donating to the guide dogs for the blind, will be looking into this now too. 

You are a reader yourself, and like me you love the YA and MG genre, what makes you love those two genres over the adult genre?  

You know, I always joke that my literary tastes just never matured. But I think that since I fell in love with reading as a young kid, those are the books that just really stuck with me. It’s not that I don’t ever read adult novels – I can appreciate Nicholas Sparks as much as the next girl – but the stories I’m drawn to are geared toward children and young adults. And I think that teaching them, working with these age groups every day, has something to do with that, too. 

Is there a specific message that you want to get across in Guardian? 

Well, I think the lesson that Kinsey, the main character, learns throughout the course of the novel is that there really is no “normal” and that she should not only accept but appreciate who she is. 

I didn’t really write the novel to try to preach to kids about bullying, although that is a big issue in our society today and can be a dangerous one at that. But, it is because of the bullying of one student in particular that Kinsey goes through some serious self-doubt. So I guess I hope that if kids take away one thing from the book, it’s to be proud of who you are and not to let anyone else make you feel ashamed of your differences. 

I'm guessing your a very popular teacher, we love teachers who teach us and support us but doesn't preach :) 

You've been a reader at a very young age, what's the one book you feel that shaped your love for reading?  

What a difficult question! So many books come to mind – as a kid, I loved Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitters Club and Babysitters Little Sister series, and anything by Judy Blume, Beatrix Potter, E.B. White, Lois Lowry, Beverly Cleary, or R.L. Stine. 

But I guess if I HAD to narrow it down to one book that stands out from my childhood, one book that I’ve read over and over again, I’d say that one would be Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume. I still remember the way it made me feel when I read it for the first time. 

Judy Blume is fantastic and I was also an R.L. Stine fan. 

How would you describe Guardian in a Tweet (less than 140 characters)?  

Well, I guess I would use the tag line on the front cover of the novel: 

“A love story between a girl and the dog who lives to protect her.” 

You’re also a teacher, what advice would you give to your student's parents about how to encourage their children to read?  

Well, there are a lot of great books out there, books of every size and subject. The trick is finding what interests your child. I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve had who tell me they hate to read, and then when we’re in the middle of a chapter and the bell rings, they’re the ones complaining because they have to wait until the next day to find out what happens. 

If you can find the right material, they will enjoy it. The problem is, it only takes one or two bad reading experiences to put that mental block in their heads that tells them they don’t like to read. Parents just have to be persistent and research to find books that will speak to their children, based on their interests and reading levels. 

What is the next book in your TBR pile?  

I just downloaded the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. I read The Odyssey with my high school freshmen at the end of the school year, and some of them recognized the Greek gods and situations from the Percy Jackson series. Listening to their comparisons, the series caught my interest. I look forward to starting them! 

3 Things you love about being a dog owner/lover?  

I have four dogs…all of which I consider my kids. Things that I love about them are: 
  1. They are all fiercely loyal and protective of our family. 
  2. Every day, when we come home, they are so excited to see us that they just can’t contain 
  3. They all have their own little personalities and quirks. 

For example, my dog Poe is a very obedient dog and knows the rule that he's not allowed to get up on the couch, but it doesn't stop him from trying every day. If I'm on the couch, he starts by putting his front paws up there, staring at me the whole time. If I don't scold him, he will slowly slip one of his back feet up there, still watching me to see how I will react. He looks so funny, standing with one leg on the ground, and then suddenly he will slip the last one up there too, so that only the back half of his body is hanging off the couch. The he will inch his way forward until he's lying next to me. I make him get down, but everyday he tries all over again. I can just imagine him, thinking in his head, "This may be the day. Today, she may just let me get up there beside her."

LOL they are so like kids, trying to see what they can get away with. 

3 Thing you love about being a Teacher? 

I always tell my kids that when I retire, I’m going to write a book about all my experiences teaching – the crazy things I’ve seen and heard. There is truly never a dull moment in the life of a classroom teacher. 

Three things I love are: 
  1. Each year…no, each DAY…is different from the rest. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are 
  2. I love working with the kids. Throughout the course of the year, they become “mine.” And 
  3. I love my subject – reading and writing! 

As someone who has grown up with a passion for books, what better way to spend my days than trying to help others learn to love them, too?

What can we expect from Katy Newton Naas in the near future?  

Well, I just signed a contract for my fourth book with Clean Reads, another middle grade novel called Operation: Bully Renovation. I’m not exactly sure of the release date yet, but it should be toward the end of 2015. I also just submitted a YA to them as well, so fingers crossed on that one! I am working on a children’s chapter book series as well, and I’m hoping to find a home for it somewhere out there in the publishing world. 

Life has gotten really busy lately with the birth of my second son, but I hope to just keep writing and getting my books out there into the world…it’s what I love! 

Thanks Katy for taking the time to answer my question, and once again I'm happy to host you on my blog.

About The Author

Katy Newton Naas 

From the time she was old enough to talk, Katy Newton Naas has been creating characters and telling stories. As a child, they sometimes got her into trouble. She knew she wanted to write books when she won a Young Author's competition as a second-grader for her short story titled, "The Grape Pie." (Don't let its tasty title fool you - it was actually a sad little tale!)

Katy devoured books as a child and young adult, always doing chores and odd jobs in order to make enough money to buy more of them. Though she continues to age, her true literature love is and has always been children's and young adult fiction.
Katy currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children's church. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English Education and a master's degree in Reading and Language Studies. She enjoys her life out in the country with her husband, her sweet and rowdy young son (soon to be SONS - her second little boy is due any day!), and all her four-legged kids: Shakespeare, Poe, Morgi, Cappy, Ana, and Gray.

She loves creating both realistic and futuristic stories about kids, tweens, and teens, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.

About The Book


by Katy Newton Naas

Published: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Clean Reads 
Genre: MG Contemporary
Buy it Now: Amazon | Kobo 

When Kinsey Lydell enters seventh grade, the only thing she wants is to fit in. But being like everyone else isn’t easy when you have epilepsy. Especially when that means a dog has to follow you around everywhere you go.

Drake, Kinsey’s assistance dog, has been her best friend since the day she met him. They have a special connection – he can sense her seizures before they occur. The other students have always loved having Drake in the classroom, making Kinsey feel special, not strange. But just a short time in a new middle school changes all of that.

Kinsey can’t help but admire Taylor Thompson. The boys like her and the girls want to be like her. But from the first day of school, it’s clear that Taylor is determined to make Kinsey feel like an outsider. Suddenly, her best friend – the one who lives his whole life just to protect her – becomes her source of humiliation.

Katy Newton Naas has teamed up with Willing Partners Canine Education, Inc.! For every copy of THE GUARDIAN purchased, Willing Partners will receive a portion of sales. Willing Partners trains service and assistance dogs to work with kids, adults, and veterans. Find out more about their program through their website

~ Giveaway ~ 

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