Or Q&A With CS Shride
How did you come up with the name Lucy Dakota?
This is one of the first questions I am asked in an interview. I actually started out thinking I would write a romance novel based on my online dating experiences, and one of my girlfriends and I were in the hot tub one evening discussing pseudonyms. She asked me if I knew how to come up with one and I told her I had no idea. Then she proceeded to coach me through a process, asking me to name some of the streets I had lived on. Dakota was the name of the street where I grew up and that sounded like a good surname. Then, coming up with a first name was easy. Lucy was the name my mother-in-law in Peru called me for several months after we first met. I guess I slurred my "s" in Suzie (my family nickname) and she heard Lucy. So, Lucy Dakota I was. However, I soon realized that I didn't have the heart for writing romance novels and I wanted to share some of my stories and adventures with my daughter, so the young adult series, Lucy Dakota: Adventures of a Modern Explorer was born.
How long did it take you to write Book 1: Rocky Mountain Beginnings?
The actual writing took me about nine months followed by about six months of editing and revision. Then there were two or three months for printing and shipping, so the total time was about eighteen months.
When will Book 2: Journey to Nepal be available?
We are planning for a fall release 2012 on Book 2: Journey to Nepal so it will be available for holiday reading.
Where did you get the idea for Lucy Dakota: Adventures of a Modern Explorer?
I lived it! As I mentioned above, I realized I wanted to share some of my stories and experiences with my daughter and the teenage girls I am mentoring, hoping not only to entertain them but to impart some of the lessons I've learned during my life and inspire them to become confident, fearless leaders in their own lives. Everything that Lucy experiences, especially in the first four books, I experienced or witnessed myself. Later in the series, some of her mishaps happened to colleagues in the adventure travel industry, employees of my business or to family members.
Are the places in Rocky Mountain Beginnings real?
Yes, they are. I had to pull out several of my old topographic maps and journals to recall the routes I had taken and to make the descriptions accurate. My journals were also helpful in rediscovering and reliving the emotions I went through at the time as well as recalling names and information about the folks I was hanging out with at the time.
Is the Outdoor Mountain School real?
It is not real however the idea for the school and many of its characteristics were influenced by my experiences as both a student and a leader for Colorado Outward Bound School based in Denver, CO. The month-long course I took when I was eighteen was a huge turning point in my life, really one of the positive influences that inspired me to believe in myself. And it was the mentoring and advice of the course director when I was a leader that led me to my chosen career in adventure travel. When I was ready to dedicate my life to COBS, she told me, "go finish college and explore the world, then if you chose, come back to Outward Bound School and we'll welcome you with open arms." So, I did. I got my BA in political science and economics from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO and then went to Nepal. That was another life changing experience you'll get to read about in Journey to Nepal. I haven't stopped traveling yet.
Are Carl Lewis, Matt, Pedro, Tate and the other characters in Rocky Mountain Beginnings based on real people?
Just like with the Outdoor Mountain School, the characters in all of the Lucy Dakota books were influenced by real people. In most cases, they are a composite of various people I have known in my life and are not based on just a single person. Additionally, the main characters have taken on a life of their own and so they have their own personalities quite apart from the memories I have of the people whose influence may have originated the character.