I’m Martha McKiever, a writer of middle grade fiction and member of SCBWI Carolinas. My current WIP is an upper middle grade paranormal, of 40,000 words. Through input from my critique group and professional writing workshops (SCBWI and online groups) I’m continually growing in my craft and revising my work. I was born near Binghamton, N.Y. where I lived in the country with my husband Fran, owned a horse, and raised our two sons. I taught second grade and special need children for many years. I now live in Indian Trail, N.C. near Charlotte, and divide my time between my family, (especially two precious grand girls, and my writing.)
The inspiration for came my WIP, came from my love of horses and experiences I had as a young girl growing up near upstate Binghamton, New York. I’ve always loved the ocean, but a few years ago I visited the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina and began to dream of writing a book about a twelve-year-old horse-crazy girl going through a rough patch in her life.
I was enthralled with the wild mustangs that roam the upper most area of the Outer Banks. They’ve lived on this beach for almost five hundred years and are descended from Spanish horses that swam ashore after ship wrecks . On a wild horse tour, I viewed the mustangs up close and admired their wild beauty.
I’m a former elementary teacher and taught second grade in my home state, New York. When I was a twelve-year-old girl I had horse fever big time and walked away from home without permission to be near horses in a field, draw them, and dream of owning my own horse. When I was twenty-four, married and living out in the country, my dream came true and I finally had my own horse, a black mare I named Shadow. I loved caring for her and riding her.
I now live in Indian Trail North Carolina, with my husband, close to our sons and two sweet granddaughters. I look forward to future visits to the Outer Banks to see the wild mustangs again.
My Favorite Things include nature, walking on nature paths, wild animals and searching for sea glass on the beach at Corolla, N.C. I also enjoy feeding wild birds in my backyard; reading on my porch with an iced tea; cool mornings on my back porch; listening to cicadas at night; spending time with my granddaughters; coffee; chocolate; pizza; and coming up with surprises for family dinners.
Memorable events: One Halloween I made a snake-shaped stromboli with a pimento tongue and olive eyes. It was so realistic that it had my family in shock for a few seconds.
A few years ago we visited Ireland and rented a car. It was a challenge to drive on the other side of the narrow roads. We took a wrong turn down a dirt path and got stuck in the middle of a herd of cows! The lead cow charged at our car and we waited in terror for the farmer to herd them across.
Pet Peeve: When a squirrel climbs up my bird feeding station and runs away with a whole block of suet.
My Favorite Middle Grade Books
I love reading middle grade fiction mostly in the contemporary genre, especially with magical elements. Some that I’ve totally enjoyed are:
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd–which is a historical MG book with magical elements. I totally loved the MC’s voice and magical horses.
Other favorites include: A Hundred Horses, by Sarah Lean, Circle of Secrets, The Time of the Fireflies, The Healing Spell, and When the Butterflies Came, all by Kimberley Griffiths Little.
Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Nest, by Esther Ehrlich
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly, by Ted Sanders
The Road to Tater Hill, by Edith M. Hemmingway.
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
I can’t forget the classics which I read and loved as a girl:
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley
Misty of Chincoteaque and all the other horse-themed books by Marguerite Henry
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
For adult reading, I enjoy a variety of mysteries, historical fiction, including series by Phillipa Gregory, and women’s fiction.