Author Tara Mitchell was born and raised in northeastern Indiana. She spent many of her summers outside enjoying the lush green forests and many rivers in the area. She traveled with her family seeing much of the country and instilling a desire to travel the world. She began writing daily poems for her son when he was young, taping to the door for him to read when arriving home after school. The poems led to stories and eventually to her first novel, Annabelle’s Kingdom.
The Alphabet Gang begins to tell the story of Annabelle’s family, friends and Mrs. Hobbs. Her writing for young adults is to offer teens a view of life and love that they may not see otherwise. She hopes that by writing to this specific age group children will choose to read and learn well into adulthood.
Q&A With Tara Mitchell
Q: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A: My son and the other teen-aged kids that, hang out, ask for help, play games and add to the characters I write about.
Q: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
A: Throwing milk rings for Mishka, or reading, whatever book my father recommends. I play Hacki-sack with the kids and cook for a small army.
Q: When did you first start writing?
A: I first started writing when my son was entering school. I wrote a poem every day for him to read when he came home from school. The poems were short and told him of his daily chores and what a great kid he was.
Q; What’s the story behind your latest book?
A: My latest book, The Alphabet Gang, is the first of two prequels to Annabelle’s Kingdom. It is meant to fill in the history of the first group of pre-teens to fill their summers with outdoor adventures in the woods.
Q: What motivated you to become an author?
A: I spent too many evenings watching Jeopardy with kids, trying to answer questions and
praising them when they got it right. We played Trivial Pursuit and Mad Gabs too often. The Same old same old became so boring. I decided I would write a book they could read and love because they were the main characters. It just flowered after that.
Q: What are you working on next?
A: I am currently working on Inside the Tree House, it fills all the gaps between The Alphabet
Gang and Annabelle’s Kingdom. I love having the opportunity to write about the wonderful teens I spend my time with and being able to put their charm and wit, their humor and even wisdom on paper for them to appreciate as much as I do.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: Without any doubt, Louis L’Amour is my favorite story teller. I began reading his work in grade school, always knowing with no question the hero from the villain gave me understanding of morality and honor. I always hoped I would have that kind of story to tell. Robert Ludlum is also a favorite. He challenged my mind and made me question what I have been told, to think longer and harder on issues and to establish my own opinion.