When he isn’t writing poetry or spy fiction, you might find Michael Geisinger reading a book (or two, or three), getting ready to attend middle school in the fall, playing the piano, coaching a winning Battle of the Books team, or publishing book reviews for his school’s website. Michael recently completed a top-secret mission at the International Spy Museum’s Spy Fiction Writer’s Workshop, and luckily, he lived to write about his experience. I recently managed to track him down, expose his “cover,” and ask him to share some of his tips for other adventurous young readers and writers.
Check out his summer reading tips; Michael’s passion for literature will inspire you!
Gilda: Michael, how would you describe yourself as a reader? What types of books (fiction and/or nonfiction) usually appeal to you most?
Michael: I love to read and usually am reading 2-3 books at the same time. I enjoy both fiction and nonfiction but fiction is my favorite. I love detective stories and paranormal stories, so when I found the first Gilda Joyce book, it was a dream come true.
Gilda: I’m glad to hear it! How did you get interested in creative writing?
Michael: I have been interested in writing as long as I can remember, and I love to write poetry. In fact, I have always wanted to be a writer. I sometimes think I would like to be a teacher but also still a writer. When I was little and didn’t know how to write, I would dictate stories and poems to my parents.
Gilda: Word on the street is that you recently led your team to victory in a highly competitive “Battle of the Books” competition. What was the key to your success, other than the usual corporal punishment? (haha)
Michael: The Battle of the Books is a competition between seven of the elementary schools in my town. The students on each school team had to compete just to make the team. The competition required the teams to answer questions about the books. The team that answered the most questions correctly won. The books we read are The Mysterious Benedict Society, No Talking, Alvin Ho, The Beloved Dearly, Jackie and Me, and Clementine. The key to our success was to assign one book to each person on the team to really study. The students on my team (I was team captain) all know their books well so we were able to win.
Gilda: You also recently completed a Spy Fiction Writer’s Workshop at the International Spy Museum. Did the workshop give you any ideas for your own writing?
Michael: Yes. For example, I learned that it can be a good idea to put some real traits that people you know like your friends and family have into your characters because that will make your characters more real.
Gilda: You also write book reviews for a school publication. What types of books do you usually review?
Michael: I mostly review fiction. Usually, I review books that I really like so other students may enjoy them too.
Reviews also help me find books. For example, I first discovered the Gilda Joyce series in 4th grade when Mrs. Stern, my school librarian, showed us the first Gilda Joyce book with a review of the book. I found the review so interesting that I had to read the book.
When I wrote my own review of the Gilda Joyce series, I wanted other readers to know that the Gilda Joyce series is great because you can easily relate to the characters, you feel like you are there with Gilda, and the books always have an amazing plot.
Gilda: I salute your good taste, Michael! Do you have a favorite book in the Gilda Joyce series?
Michael: My favorite Gilda Joyce book is Gilda Joyce: The Ghost Sonata. It is my favorite book because I play the piano. I loved the plot twists involving a piano competition.
Gilda: Since you’re a musician, you could probably relate to Wendy’s performance anxiety during the competition in THE GHOST SONATA.
Michael: Definitely. I have played in a few recitals and for my school talent shows over the years. Every time I perform I feel very nervous and have butterflies in my stomach.
Gilda: Let’s hope you don’t have a ritual involving strawberry-scented shampoo, like Wendy did.
Michael: No, nothing like that. No ghosts either.
Gilda: Can you share one or two summer reading suggestions for our readers? What’s on your “can’t-wait-to-read-it” list at the moment?
Michael: One book that I am really looking forward to reading is the last book in the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. It’s called The Council of Mirrors. I also can’t wait to read the last book in Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordon.
Gilda: Thanks for the great tips, Michael! Keep reading and writing, and have a great summer!