We’ve got a great group of debut authors here at OneFour KidLit. Today we’re introducing Ryan Gebhart. Welcome, Ryan!

authorpic3What’s your debut about?

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.

Ryan GebhartHey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

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…

20 thoughts on “Ryan Gebhart: THERE WILL BE BEARS

  1. Dude! You may need to look at some passages in my WIP to see if I got the Spanish right. Love the photos. Nothing better than an awesome horse in a beautiful place. Looks like you have a lucky life.

    The book sounds great. I love adventure stories, especially multi-generational ones.

    • yeah, i was just chopping away at this large animal and in my head i was all, “nodding my head like yeah. moving my hips like yeah.” but i mean, my tummy was turning and i was feeling kinda homesick.

      and the jay z song was on.

  2. I think I had a panic attack reading about you “packing out an elk” – wow. Nice intro, can’t wait to read your novel!

  3. Awesome.

    I definitely do not have the cojones to ever quarter an elk. Or even think too hard about what it must be like to quarter an elk.

    The book sounds great. Can’t wait to read it!

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