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About the Book

Title: Fox Talk

Author: L.E. Carmichael, PhD

Book Designer: Michael Penman

Illustrator: Jody Bronson

Photography: Brian Dust

Publication Date: August 8, 2013

Publisher: Ashby-BP Publishing

Pages: 62

Recommended Age: 8+

 

Summary

When you talk to a dog, does the dog talk back? Many people think so. But for a long time, scientists didn’t know how our furry friends learned to communicate with people. Luckily, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev had a plan. If he could tame wild red foxes, he could learn how dogs first came from wolves. By studying the way these foxes changed during domestication, the mystery of communication would be solved at a last. More than 50 years after the experiment began, Belyaev’s foxes have become so tame, you can have one as a pet! Packed with eye-popping photos and first-hand research, FOX TALK reveals the story of these amazing animals… and everything they’ve taught us about wolves, dogs, and communication.

 

* Stitch Says had a chance to catch up with Lindsey
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I was ten – I started writing a “novel” for fun and had so much fun I decided not to stop! When I was finishing high school, though, people kept telling me how writers have to have “day jobs” to pay the bills, so I decided to study genetics in university, with the goal of becoming a forensic scientist when I was through. I was part way through my PhD when I realized I may have misunderstood the concept of “day job” but by then it was too late to quit.

Those day jobs can be tough.em> 

I knew that the only way for me to start being a writer, though, was to stop being a scientist. So I finished my degree and now I write about science instead of doing it. It meant taking a massive pay cut, but I’m so much happier.

Money really isn’t everything.

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Fox Talk is about one of the greatest experiments that’s ever been done in the field of biology – the intentional domestication of foxes. By studying generations of foxes as they went through the evolutionary process, scientists discovered how we got dogs and other domestic animals in the first place. And now, these amazing animals are teaching us how dogs learned to communicate with humans, which when you think about it, is an incredible ability considering the differences between the ways animals communicate and the ways humans communicate.
I was in my first year of graduate school, in 2000, when I read an article about these foxes written by one of the scientists on the project. My first thought was “I want one!” Then, I became totally fascinated by the science in the experiment and what it all meant. I am thrilled that I’ve had a chance to share this amazing story with kids!

As someone who works with dogs I thought thus was an excellent resource book for kids!

What are your future aspirations as an author?
I’m going to keep writing nonfiction – I have so many ideas it will take a lifetime to get through them all – but I’d really like to publish a novel this year or next. I’ve got one that’s mostly finished and several that are started. I’ve always loved reading fiction, but I find nonfiction much easier to write. Novels will really stretch me as a writer, and that’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.

It’s great to know where you want to head and to have goals in different areas.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
Getting ideas isn’t the problem for me – figuring out what to do with them is! For nonfiction, what usually happens is I’ll see a news story or something on the internet that catches my interest, and off I go. My training as a scientist is really useful, too – science is about being curious and asking questions, and sometimes all I have to do is observe something amazing in the natural world that I want to understand better. I understand things best by writing about them.
Since I write for kids and teens, my fiction ideas usually come from my own childhood or those of people I know. The final story usually ends up a long way away from its inspiration, though.

I agree – always have lots of ideas, it’s about time and focus.

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I read. I read the kinds of books I want to write and study how writers much better than I am do what they do. I also read a lot of books about being a writer – the theory of writing and storytelling. And books on time management, because there are never enough hours in the day.

I also belong to a critique group, where other children’s writers read my stuff and tell me what’s not working. They are talented ladies and I learn so much from them. Writer’s groups and conferences are also helpful. Learning from other people’s mistakes is much faster than making them all yourself. 

Both excellent ways to better your craft.

Tell us a little bit about your next WIP

In August, Ashby-BP will release Fuzzy Forensics: DNA Fingerprinting Gets Wild. It’s about the place where wildlife conservation and forensic science meet, and the main thread of the book is an elk-kidnapping case I helped with as graduate student. I’ve been working on this project since 2008 and I’m so excited to finally see it published.

Sounds interesting – I love forensic science books.

Where can people contact you?
The best place to start is my website, http://www.lecarmichael.com You can find information about all of my books, as well as the school visits and writing workshops I offer. My blog is hosted at that site, too. There is also a contact form for sending me messages and links to my social media accounts – I’d love to connect!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I’m a planner. I have to have a solid idea of what I’m going to cover, in what order, and where I want to end up before I start. This is probably because my books are nonfiction – new information is very difficult to understand unless it’s well-organized.
Because most of my books are written under tight deadlines, I can’t wait for inspiration. I have to treat writing like a 9-5 job. If I don’t put in the hours, I won’t make the deadline. And if I’m late, all of the things that happen after me (editing, photo research, design, layout, printing…) will be late too, which could mean the book doesn’t get released on time – disaster!

Thanks for taking the time to share with us here at Stitch Says – we will post a review of Fox Talks soon and look forward to seeing more books from you!
*

 

Early Buzz About the Book

“Fox Talk is an educational non-fiction title exploring the domestication of dogs by studying fox behaviour and communication. The information is presented with beautiful photographs, illustrations, bubbles/boxes of brief information, and descriptions of the research findings using age-appropriate language. I think this would be an excellent resource in elementary schools or for homeschoolers in particular and I highly recommend it.” ~ 5-Star Review, Mother Daughter Book Reviews

 

Purchase

Fox Talk by L.E. Carmichael

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Chapter/Indigo (Canada)

 

About The Author: L.E. Carmichael

L.E. Carmichael Author

L.E. Carmichael

Lindsey Carmichael never outgrew that stage of childhood when nothing’s more fun than amazing your friends (and correcting your teachers!) with your stockpile of weird and wonderful facts. Her sense of wonder came in handy during her career as a scientist, and in 2006, she received the Governor General’s Medal for her PhD thesis, Ecological Genetics of Northern Wolves and Arctic Foxes. Lindsey finds talking about science more fun than doing it, however, and now writes for kids, teens, and occasionally adults (a sense of wonder is essential for this, too). Lindsey publishes under the name L E Carmichael, and her work has appeared in Dig, Highlights for Children, Kiki, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. Her published science books cover everything from animal migration to hybrid cars. When not digging up obscure or wacky details for her next nonfiction project, Lindsey’s probably working on her young adult fantasy novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Ashby Publishers

 

Fox Talk Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 27

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)

Books Direct (Author Interview)

January 28

Victoria Simcox’s Blog (Guest Post)

Once Upon a Time (Review)

January 29

Baby Bookworms in Black Words – White Pages (Review)

Giveaway Breaking News for Indonesia (Book Spotlight)

January 30

Generation iKid (Guest Post)

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

January 31

Bound 4 Escape (Review)

No Doubt Learning (Review)

February 1

Cherry Mischievous (Guest Post)

We are the DinoFamily (Review)

February 2

Deal Sharing Aunt (Review)

February 3

Stitch Says (Author Interview)

February 4

Maude’s Web (Review)

February 5

Musings by Jay Faulkner (Guest Post)

Brooke Blogs (Review)

February 6

Books, Books The Magical Fruit (Review)

February 7

Kay LaLone I Love Books (Review)

Bailey’s Book Blog (Author Interview)

Mel’s Shelves (Review)

February 8

On the Go With Zeppi (Book Spotlight)

February 10

The Squishable Baby (Review)

Hershey Wishes and Kisses (Review)

February 11

Christy’s Houseful of Chaos (Review & Author Interview)

Lakshmi Gosyne (Book Excerpt)

February 12

Christy’s Cozy Corners (Review)

Dawn’s Disaster (Review & Guest Post)

February 13

Manic Mama of 2 (Review)

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo (Author Interview)

February 14

Domestic Randomness (Review)

The Dragyn’s Lair (Review)

February 15

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures (Review)

February 16

Heart of a Philanthropist (Review)

 

* Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash) + a Skype visit to a school or library of the winner’s choice ($250 value).

Contest runs: January 27th to February 21, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Worldwide

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the publisher, Ashby-BP Publishing and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Lots more exciting interviews and reviews coming soon, keep reading, keep writing!

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