Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Michael Thal Comes A Calling

Novelist Tells About Forthcoming Book
What better way to create buzz about a book than to let the world know about it through a blog. I want to thank Penny Estelle for guest hosting me today to share the forthcoming publication of Koolura and The Mystery at Camp Saddleback by Solstice Publishing. This middle grade novel is the sequel to The Legend of Koolura, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a few other sites.  Now to answer a few of Penny’s questions:

Penny: Where did you get the idea for Koolura and The Mystery at Camp Saddleback? After I wrote The Legend of Koolura, I visited my daughter, Koren, at her college in Santa Barbara. We spent the day at a beautiful lake nearby. I thought Lake Cachuma would be the perfect backdrop for a story about Koolura spending her summer at a sleep-away camp.

 Penny: What is the genre of your book?Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback is a middle school novel. It is a fantasy about a girl with remarkable psychic powers. At camp she wakes up after a restless night sleep weak and disoriented. She soon realizes that her amazing abilities have all disappeared.

Penny: What actress would you have play Koolura? I think Ariel Winter who played Alex Dunphy in “Modern Family” would be the perfect Koolura. She has the kind of sweet face that I envision for my character.

Penny: Provide a one-sentence synopsis of your book. Koolura, a girl with amazing psychic powers, attends a summer sleep-away camp in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara only to discover that her powers have evaporated and crude boys are making devilish pranks against her cabin.

Penny: How long did it take you to write your first draft of your manuscript? Since I started working on it after I retired from teaching, it took less than a year to write the first draft.

Penny: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I guess the closest one I can think of is Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator. It is one of a series of mystery stories by Jennifer Allison about a girl who loses her father. She’s determined to sharpen her psychic skills to communicate with him and other ghosts she encounters during her investigations.

Penny:Who or what inspired you to write this book? When my oldest daughter was in sixth grade she was a reluctant reader. I asked her, “If I wrote a book about a very cool sixth grader, would you read it? Channie agreed and I wrote The Legend of Koolura. When Koren and I visited Lake Cachuma I got the idea for a sequel. Currently, I’m working on the third installment, Koolura and the Mayans.

Penny: What else about the book might pique the reader’s interests? Koolura meets a very attractive CIT, she learns American Sign Language from a deaf camper, and a jealous camp hand tries to do her harm.

Michael L. Thal, an accomplished freelancer, is the author of The Legend of Kooluraand Goodbye Tchaikovsky. He has written and published overeighty articles for magazines and newspapers including Highlights for Children, The Los Angeles Times, and San Diego Family Magazine. You can learn more about him and his books at www.michaelthal.com.

Michael - thanks so much for stopping by Penny's Tales!  

Folks, I haven't read The Mystery at Camp Saddleback, but I have read the Legend of Koolura and it's a fabulous book for both, kids and adults!  You won't be sorry with this one!


  1. Thanks for being such a gracious host. - Michael

  2. After reading The Legend of Koolura I can't wait to read the The Mystery at Camp Saddleback. It sounds great.

  3. Michael, you are welcome any time. Thanks for being my guest!

  4. Oh my gosh, I can't wait for Koolura and the Mayans! For all those who have not read the Koolura novels, you better get started! It's hard to put down. :)

  5. Nice interview Michael and Penny. This sounds like a story my granddaughter would like. I will need to look it up.

    Thank you and good luck.