posted on December 19, 2013 by Barbara Hay

Research for a Writer is a Gift that Keeps Giving

the tale of the tainted buffalo wallowOne of the fun things about being a writer of children’s books is doing research.

That hold especially true when you’re writing a series as full of adventure and wild places and learning as my Bulldoggers Club Series. These books feature a group of boys who love the outdoors and riding horses and who come together to practice their rodeo skills.

Of course, being boys, they get into all sorts of adventures and mishaps along the way. In my new book, THE TALE OF THE TAINTED BUFFALO WALLOW, the Bulldoggers, with tornadoes threatening, end up stranded in a desolate part of the Oklahoma Panhandle. It takes all of their resources to meet the challenges they face.

To be able to write this story, I had to put myself in their shoes.

In one chapter, the boys discover a cave, so with my fourteen-year-old daughter in tow one beautiful January day, we ventured out west to the panhandle of Oklahoma to explore cave life at Alabaster Caverns. Besides being a great way to spend time with my youngest, I learned a lot more than I could ever have conjured up. (The mention of bats still makes me shiver.)

Over the course of Book 2, the boys learn primitive skills, such as how to build a tipi fire, how to rock boil water, and how to recognize which plants are edible and which are poisonous. More fun — and informative — research!

I have to admit one of the most fun aspects of writing this series was going trail riding on horseback. Riding across the desert or through the woods, I experience a sense of being connected to the earth.

In this second book, a young teenage girl who is known for being somewhat of a horse-whisperer is also introduced, and she proves to be as levelheaded and gutsy as any young girl could be. Oops! No spoilers here! That’s all I’m sharing for now.

As much as I enjoy the researching, I am also so happy to hear from so many people — parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and librarians — that the Bulldoggers Series has the simple life lessons and page turning plots that the young people in their lives enjoy.

Bottom line, I write for children — nothing makes me happier than seeing a child with his or her nose in a book. And if that book happens to be one of mine, well, let’s just say I treasure such moments.

And for those of you looking for a book for a special young person with an eReader, I’m pleased to mention that the first book in The Bulldoggers Club series, THE TALE OF THE ILL-GOTTEN CATFISH, will be available in e-book format by Christmas!

Wishing you all good things, and Happy Reading!

Barbara Hay

Barbara Hay

An award-winning columnist, reporter, and short-story writer, Barbara Hay is the author of the debut young adult novel LESSON OF THE WHITE EAGLE (RoadRunner Press, October 2011). For nine years, Hay was a columnist and contributor to the award-winning Sooner Catholic newspaper, which serves western Oklahoma. Her work has also appeared in the Tulsa World, Columbia Magazine and Women’s World Weekly.

Hay holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from the University of Oklahoma. The widowed mother of four children, she lives and writes at her home in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

Her next book will be The Bulldoggers Club— The Tale of the Ill-Gotten Catfish , a new middle-grade series from RoadRunner Press, coming in 2012.

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