by Bryan Patrick Avery
Well, we’ve almost made it through another year. I have one more writing deadline for the year before I take a short break for the holidays. This past year, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing a number of new characters to world including Sidney (who graced the pages of THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH) and Mr. Grizley and his creative, kind, and caring class, including Cecilia (CECILIA’S FUNDRAISER), Mordecai (MORDECAI’S MAGIC), Shaw (SHAW’S SOLO), and Emily (EMILY’S BIG SHOT). This January, readers will get to meet middle grade sports stars turned sleuths Gabriella (SOCCER SUSPICIONS) and Jayden (OFF BASE).
Thinking back over all these characters I’ve been privileged to create, I decided I’d use this month’s blog post to share some holiday-themed questions you can ask you characters to get to know them better. I’ve included some of my characters answers as well. Here goes:
1. How do you spend your holiday break? Where do you go (if anywhere) and what do you do?
Gabriella: I love the holidays. We stay home so, with no school for almost three weeks, I get to play soccer pretty much all day, everyday. Plus, I can watch all of the English Premier League festive fixtures
2. What, if any, events (Hannakuh, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc.) do you celebrate?
Cecilia: We’re Catholic, so my family celebrates Christmas. Before that, though, is my favorite celebration, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It starts early in the morning on December 12th. There's singing and praying, then we have a mass with a Mariachi band. When it's over, we get tamales and hot cocoa. I love it!
3. What is your least favorite part of the holidays and why?
Mordecai: I like the holidays but, since my Dad is in the military, we’re always someplace different. The worst part is we don’t usually get to see my grandparents over the holidays. We just moved to a new town again. The good news is we might be able to see Grandma and Grandpa this year!
4. Does your family have any special traditions (e.g. gumbo on Christmas Eve) for the holidays?
Jayden: We’ve celebrated Kwanzaa for as long as I can remember. We also celebrate Christmas but Kwanzaa gives us a chance to celebrate our African heritage and culture. My favorite day of the Nguzo Saba is Kujichagulia. It’s fun to say but, more important than that, it represents Black people determine our future and how we’re seen by the world. It reminds me that I have to work hard to succeed and help others do that also.
I encourage you to ask your characters these questions. It may help you unlock a part of the backstory or personality that will really make a difference in your story. I’d love to hear how your characters answer these questions. Feel free to leave a note in the comments.
Well, that’s all for this month. I wish you all a happy, and safe, holiday season. Have a magical new year!
At the age of 7, Bryan Patrick Avery discovered a love of reading and mysteries after receiving his first Bobbsey Twins Mystery Book. Today, he is an award-winning poet and author of books for children. His middle-grade story, “The Magic Day Mystery”, appears in SUPER PUZZLETASTIC MYSTERIES, an anthology from HarperCollins and the Mystery Writers of America. His debut picture book, THE FREEMAN FIELD PHOTOGRAPH, illustrated by Jerome White, was published by Clearfork Publishing/Spork. His early reader series, MR. GRIZLEY’S CLASS, illustrated by Arief Putra, is available now from Picture Window Press. He is the 2021 recipient of the SCBWI Work in Progress Award for his chapter book mystery THE ROBOT IN THE LIBRARY.
Bryan serves on the board of directors of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a 2021 Amplify Black Stories Fellow, a joint program presented by the Brown Bookshelf and the Highlights Foundation.
Bryan lives in Northern California with his family.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome Aussie debut author and former student Amanda Lieber who will be focusing on Aussie kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
4th Mondays will be a mystery for right now.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break