We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Ryan Gebhart. Welcome, Ryan!
There Will Be Bears is about getting older, girls, and best friends. And bears, obviously.
What inspired you to write There Will Be Bears?
Way back in the long, long ago, I had this idea about a kid breaking his grandfather out of a nursing home, which was inspired by the movie Big Fish and by my grandma getting put in a home. But the story had no meat to it, so it got shelved. A year later, my buddy offered me a job at a hunting ranch near The Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I hadn’t hunted before nor even fired a gun, and the next thing I knew, I was quartering elk and packing it onto horses and legitimately terrified that a grizzly bear would charge out of the woods and eat my face. The first time I packed out an elk, I thought I’d have a panic attack from all the blood. But as I was hacking away, it felt like all my primal instincts were kicking in. I also had “Party in the USA” playing in my head… which maybe was not so primal.
It was such a coming-of-age time for me—despite the fact that I was twenty seven—and it gave my inter-generational story idea plenty of meat… and teeth and blood and bears.
When I got back from Wyoming, I drafted a novel in three weeks. Instead of a story about breaking a grandfather out of a nursing home, I wrote about this awkward but awesome thirteen year-old from Colorado and his aging gramps making a bear swear (which is like a pinky swear but cooler) that they would go elk hunting in the Tetons.
It was not an easy path to publication. It took me two and a half years, two agents, and countless revisions until we found the perfect home for my little book at Candlewick Press.
What cool facts might readers not know about you?
I’m a jack of all trades, and a Master of Spanish. Having held twenty one jobs in my life, I can do lots of unexpected things, from wiring a house to painting portraits to field dressing large game to making a killer smoothie.
|Ryan Gebhart was born and raised in Maumee, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a Master’s in Spanish (he can hablar some español like a boss). His debut THERE WILL BE BEARS comes out Spring 2014 with Candlewick Press. Contrary to the title, there’s actually only one bear. Didn’t want to get your hopes up or anything…|