G.M. Moore has published two books – “Muskie Attack” and “Ancient Elk Hunt” – and has one nearing completion – “Snakehead Invasion” – in her “Up North Adventures” series for middle-grade readers, who are about 8-12 years of age.
“Muskie Attack,” the first in the series, was published in 2008; “Ancient Elk Hunt” in October 2010. The protagonist of the series is Corbett Griffin III, a 10-year-old Chicago boy with busy, divorced parents who do not seem to have much time for their lonely son. “Griffy’s” adventures take place in far northern Wisconsin, where he is sent for the summer for the first time in “Muskie Attack.” He stays with his Uncle Dell, his mother’s “much older brother,” who owns and runs a fishing resort. Griffy meets other kids and learns to love fishing in the first book, and with his friends, captures a dangerous and huge rogue muskie. Being the hero of the day and becoming a “Master Fisherman” does a lot for his self-esteem.
The following spring, however, things in the family seem to have gone back downhill. Fortunately, Griffy – now 11 years old – has plans for the summer that he looks forward to. He returns, in “Ancient Elk Hunt,” to Whispering Pines Lodge, his Uncle Dell’s place up north. Grif and his friend Pike get caught in a terrible hailstorm that causes widespread damage to the area. When helping neighbor Danny clean up his place after the gale, the boys, along with Pike’s older sister, Gil, find the storm has drawn from the waters of Lost Land Lake some ancient artifacts. The artifacts are valuable, and could help keep Danny in business, but an unscrupulous archaeologist wants them for himself. The three kids find out about his plan, and work to thwart the arrogant academic and help their friend.
The books are entertaining and will almost certainly engage children who actually are active, especially those who like fishing, and perhaps also especially kids who aren’t in love with reading. The second book includes ancillary stories about fishing and boating, though the main story, the author says, is based on the real Silver Beach Elk found near Barnes, Wis. The characters seem like real kids; they are sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes they balk. They play pranks, get into mischief and complain, but they also save the day.
Amusing extras such as the Wisconsin Kids’ exclamation of “Good Gouda” and “Holy chedda’ cheese!” add to the fun.
Nor are the adults ciphers; one can even feel a little sorry for Dr. Emmett Potts, the self-serving archaeologist.
Ms. Moore started writing “Muskie Attack” for her nephew. She says, “He didn’t like to read when he was 7 or 8 years old. I’d try to get him to read. You know, ‘I’ll read a page, then you read a page. My dad always wanted me to write a book, so I thought, ‘What would [my nephew] like to read? What would little boys like to read?” She concluded the thing to do is “keep them short and filled with action so kids want to keep reading.”
G.M. Moore is Gina Moore, originally of Danville, Ill., who has lived in Evanston for about nine years. Her parents, still in Danville, are Jim, a GM metallurgist, and Nancy, a teacher’s assistant who also does testing for the local school district. Ms. Moore has worked at newspapers in Cincinnati, Ohio; Jackson, Tenn.; and at the Daily Southtown in Tinley Park. She moved to Chicago to be near her sisters, Kim and Angela, who live in the northern suburbs. After working in Chicago for a while, she moved to Evanston. She now works as an art director for “Cutting Tool Engineering,” a journal based in Northbrook.
“Growing up,” says Ms. Moore, “my family always took a vacation every year in northern Wisconsin in June.” The Lost Land Lake visited by Corbett Griffith III in the summers is “a combination of two of her favorite places in Wisconsin: Lake Nancy, Minong, Wis. and the real Lost Land Lake, in Hayward, Wis., Sawyer County, home of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. She says that most of the incidents in her books really happened.
Writing about fishing comes naturally to Ms. Moore. “My dad had three girls. He’s an outdoors guy. We grew up fishing, filleting, and baiting our own hooks.” She and her family – “they’re my sales team” – take a booth at the annual Muskie (a.k.a. musky, short for muskellunge, the largest member of the pike family) Festival in Hayward in late June and sell her books to visitors. Sales are good there.
Ms. Moore selected iUniverse to produce her self-published books, and, she says, the company does much more than simply print and bind an author’s books as handed to them. Their editors read the books and make suggestions for revisions, she says, before they print.
While the structure, plots and characterizations in the books are good, iUniverse should proofread more rigorously. In one book, for example, the word “flail” is printed “flay”; in the other, the word that should have been “slathered” was printed “slavered.” If this is one of the company’s stated and paid-for services, this should be more carefully watched – especially in a book for children, and especially in books for children who may not otherwise read much.
iUniverse also sends the books out for review, gives internal awards (Elk Hunt has won one), and sends their authors’ books to bookstores through well-known wholesale distributor Baker & Taylor. As a result, Ms. Moore sells her books through a broad variety of bookselling venues. There is the festival in Hayward, and farmers’ markets and fairs. She sells online, as well, through FaceBook, her own website, Amazon, eBay and Google Books. Barnes & Noble carries them. Book-buyers and-sellers are seeing many more self-published books these days.
“Muskie Attack” and “Ancient Elk Hunt” are available at Barnes & Noble or online. Ms. Moore’s Up North Adventures website is http://www.upnorthadventure-series.com/. “Snakehead Invasion,” the further adventures of Griffy, will be coming out in the near future.