What is your latest release and what genre is it? My latest release is Uncertain Soldier, a YA historical novel that, as I like to say, is “suitable for adults.”
Quick description: Seventeen-year-old Erich is a German prisoner of war working at a northern Alberta logging camp. Twelve-year-old Max, the son of German immigrants, goes to school, reluctantly, in the nearby town. The two would be unlikely friends, except that neither has anyone else to turn to. At the height of World War II, nobody wants to befriend a German.
When a series of accidents shake the logging camp, the other loggers pressure Erich to question the Canadians and find the saboteur—even if his questions get him into trouble. Caught between angry prisoners and suspicious captors, Erich is afraid to take any action at all. It is only when Max’s schoolyard tormentors cross a dangerous line that Erich realizes his real loyalties lie not with a regime or a country, but with his friend.
Karen Bass grew up in northern Alberta and never intended to be a writer. Then she went to work at her local library near Grande Prairie, Alberta. After four years of reading an ever-growing number of books, the idea took root that she could write as well as some of the authors whose books she was shelving. As soon as she gave writing a try, she was hooked, thus proving that libraries are dangerous places.
After writing down a half million or so words that are now stored in her “practice” drawer, a publisher took on her first YA novel. Her last novel, Graffiti Knight, won some provincial and national awards, has made several “best of” lists, including being named a 2015 “Outstanding International Book” by USBBY. This spring, her fifth YA novel, Uncertain Soldier, was released.
Along the way she went from being rather shy in public gatherings, to discovering she likes talking about writing with anyone, from elementary students to adults, and yes, even (or especially!) junior high students.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a story that might best be called contemporary fantasy. It involves two teens in a remote area of Alberta, and the spirit world they accidentally enter. It doesn’t have a final title yet but Pajama Press has scheduled it for release in the spring of 2016.
Karen’s reading recommendation:
After hearing he had died, I picked up Tamar by Mal Peet, and found it engrossing, especially the WWII scenes. It was my first Peet novel, but I enjoyed it so much that next up on my pile is his last book, The Murdstone Trilogy.