Interview with Laura Gehl

It was so exciting to chat with Laura Gehl for the latest #ChatWithThePBLady

We talked about her new book THE HIKING VIKING. (Illustrated by Timothy Banks)

Do you have a green thumb?

🏞 No, I have a black thumb! I have never successfully kept any plant alive, including a cactus that a friend thoughtfully gave me as a gift.

Besides writing, do you have any other talents?

🏞 I used to be a serious musician (I played the oboe). I wouldn’t say I was particularly talented at music, but I did love it and work really hard at it.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?

🏞 Lots of trees!!!

What’s the best part of the day?

🏞 Eating ice cream or reading to my kids. I still have two kids who let me read to them even though both can read on their own. I will be really sad when that ends.

Let’s talk about THE HIKING VIKING. You have some fond memories of hiking as a child. Could you talk about them a little bit?

🏞 I grew up in Massachusetts, and my dad used to wake us up early and drive us to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We would pack sandwiches to eat at the top for lunch. I remember how great it was when we broke through the tree line and suddenly could see in every direction for miles.

How did you come up with the idea of having a Viking as the main character?

🏞 Like many of my books, this story started with the title.

This book has different themes such as being yourself and appreciating nature. How do you combine themes to make one coherent story?

🏞 Lots and lots and lots of drafts! In this case, I knew I wanted my main character to be a Viking who loved hiking and didn’t fit in with the other Vikings. But then I needed an actual plot, and that took a lot of time to figure out.

What’s your must-have item to take with you when hiking?

🏞 Dark chocolate, for sure!

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