ROAR! Today we are in the middle with Ryan Gebhart and his wonderful debut There Will Be Bears:
Thirteen-year-old Tyson loves spending time with his roughneck grandpa Gene, who’s a lot more friend than Tyson’s ex-best friend, Bright. These days, Bright just wants to hang with the cool kids, who make fun of Tyson’s Taylor Swift obsession and dorky ways. When Gene moves to a nursing home that can manage his kindey disease, Tyson feels he is losing his only friend. So, defying his parents’ strict instructions, Tyson sneaks off with Gene on his first elk hunt, despite reports of a stalking man-eating grizzly.
There will be action–like shooting elk. Is Tyson tough enough?
There will be suspense–is Grandpa Gene too sick to handle the hunt?
And yes, there will be bears.
What draws you into writing for a middle grade audience?
Middle school kids are awkward and bizarre from an adult perspective, but they’re just desperate to fit into their own skin, to fit in with their friends, and to discover their own identity. Being able to speak to MG’ers and to represent them in this coming-of-age time is a complete honor, because I remember just how much the things I loved stuck with me at that age.
If you had a time machine and could visit middle-grade you, what would you tell him?
You’re gonna do it, kid. You think you’ll be an author at fifteen but you won’t even be close. But you won’t give up because this is what you want, and you’ll only know when you’re thirty one just how much work it will take to get published.
Choose your own adventure: Is there an interview question you’d love to answer, but haven’t been asked?
Q: Do you really think you’re going to score a date with Taylor Swift?
A: I bear swear it’s going to happen.
I believe you. Thanks for dropping in, Ryan, and congrats on your debut!
|Ryan Gebhart was born and raised in Maumee, Ohio, and graduated from Ohio University with a master’s degree in Spanish. Having held twenty-one jobs in his life, he can do lots of unexpected things, from wiring a house to painting portraits to quartering large game to making a fierce smoothie. There Will Be Bears was inspired by a gig working at a hunting ranch in western Wyoming. Ryan Gebhart lives in Ohio.
Connect with him on Goodreads and Twitter.