Author Guest Post, Must Read



Image result for a blind guide to stinkville

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Hardcover: 264 pages

Publisher: Sky Pony Press (October 13, 2015)


Hello all. I want ya’ll to give author Beth Vrabel  a big warm welcome. She’s here today to tell us 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT STINKVILLE. If you haven’t read A Blind Guide to Stinkville, you’re missing out on a great read. I highly recommend it for all ages. If you’re not sure here’s my review for this fantastic book.

Without further ado, here are 10 interesting facts about Stinkville. Enjoy!


I grew up in Stinkville.

Not really, my hometown of Spring Grove was actually known as Stink Grove, not Stinkville. The whole town centers on P.H. Glatfelter Paper Mill, which lends its name or likeness to nearly everything in it, from the Paper Mill Dairy Bar restaurant (home of the world’s greatest cheeseburger deluxe baskets) to the P.H. Glatfelter Memorial Library, where I won my first writing contest. (Lie. I actually got fourth place. But twenty-five years later, it’s where I held my first book signing.) I went fishing with my dad on the lake created to support the mill, and heard stories from my grandpa about the houses still buried under its depths. (Also a lie, but this one was Grandpa’s. Most of the homes had been torn down before the water was pumped in to create the lake.

I love someone with albinism.

My teenage daughter has albinism, which has a moderate affect on her vision.


Sorry for shouting. This is just something I need to make clear. Although my daughter has albinism and her desire to read a story about someone with that shared experience inspired STINKVILLE, my daughter and Alice are total opposites. Alice searches for bravery and independence. My girl was born tying a karate belt around her waist and saying, “Stand back. I’ve got this.” (Lie. But only, I think, because newborns lack the physical dexterity and use of language. The sentiment was clear.)

My life seeps into my writing.

*Cough, cough.* Ahem, Chuck the Squirrel from Stinkville. *Cough, cough.*

My dog inspired Tooter.

Jasper the Dog is endlessly entertaining. Short, chubby and loves you so much he wants to be next to you all the time forever unless you’re in his chair and then you best be moving along. His chair, by the way? It’s one I picked after six hours at IKEA, driving my daughter insane as I sat in each and every chair at least three times and then waited through three special need-to-check-the-warehouse lines to ensure I had the exact right slipcover and made clear to everyone was mine and only mine. Except JTD is pretty certain it’s actually his. So certain, in fact, that every time I sit in the chair he jumps up to the headrest and sits on my head.

I need noise to write.

I think this harkens back to my newspaper reporting days, when I had no choice but to write to the backdrop of police scanners, editors and reporter banter, the trilling of countless phones and no fewer than three different televisions blaring. Now I feel like I’m not really working unless I have that same strumming energy around me. So I do most of my writing in coffee shops. If I’m home, I’m sure to have Pandora blaring.

But I also need you not to talk to me when I’m writing.

Here’s why being married to me or being one of my children gets you a shout out in the dedication section of my books. Not just because I love my family, which, of course, I do enormously. But I’m also enormously indebted to them for loving me despite the times I’m a jerk. Which is pretty much whenever I’m writing. Right now, I’m sitting next to my husband in the car. We’re in the parking lot of my son’s soccer tournament, using the hour break between games to knock out some work. But he’s humming. And he just commented that it’s a beautiful day. He groaned a little when his email wouldn’t load. Now he’s clearing his throat and I’m bracing myself for the next pleasantry. And because of that, I’m now putting earplugs in my ears and thinking loud angry thoughts in his direction. If he says something like, “Those sandwiches we had for lunch were really tasty,” I might explode. While I need noise around me while I write, I don’t want it at me. It’s as jarring as if someone were to yank back the covers and scream good morning when you’re in the middle of that awesome dream you sometimes have, the one where you’re eight again and suddenly discover you’re a gymnastics star on the playground.

I love telling myself stories.

Perhaps this isn’t that big of a surprise, eh? I’ve read somewhere that as humans we love stories so much that even while we sleep, our brains stay up all night telling themselves stories. I think maybe my brain got a double dose. I connect with and create stories from almost anything, especially music. I was struggling to kick off A BLIND GUIDE TO NORMAL, the follow-up to STINKVILLE. Beginnings are super hard for me. I have to wait until the characters are screaming to be heard before I can begin to put words onto the page. When it was time to write NORMAL, I already knew Ryder. He makes an unforgettable entrance in STINKVILLE. So I thought maybe I could skip this get-to-know-you phase and just begin writing the story. But every time I tried, I couldn’t quite get a handle on him, particularly his relationship with Gramps. And then I heard Angus Stone’s version of Joni Mitchell’s classic “River.” And suddenly, boom. Ryder was talking to me. Even better? So was Gramps, through the ‘70s version by Mitchell. And I realized these two characters had way more alike than I thought.

Writing is the first thing I felt I was good at doing.

I think it might be rooted in the idea of the eraser, and later, the backspace button. Do you ever think about interactions you’ve had and wish you could back and say something just a little bit differently? Land that amazing zinger that came to you suddenly in the shower the next morning? Drop that amazing advice and see the other person’s eyes widen at your delicately delivered truth bomb? As a writer, I get to do all of that. I can write my own endings. Even better: I can rewrite my endings.

I can’t imagine anything more powerful, more astonishing, more aggravating or more beautiful than words.



Beth Vrabel grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. She won a short-story contest in fourth grade and promptly decided writing was what she was going to do with her life. Although her other plans–becoming a wolf biologist, a Yellowstone National Park ranger, and a professional roller skater–didn’t come to fruition, she stuck with the writing. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in journalism, she moved through the ranks of a local newspaper to become editor of two regional magazines and a lifestyle columnist. Beth now lives in Connecticut with her wonderful husband, two charming children, a spoiled rotten puppy, and two guinea pigs, Winn-Dixie and Pippin.


Twitter: @beth_vrabel

Instagram: @authorbethvrabel

Facebook: beth.vrabel

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