Roland, in the I,Q Series, you’ve written about two pretty amazing kids. In addition to adjusting to a newly blended family and their parents’ instant success, Q and Angela are thrown into some really scary situations. How have they coped so well and what can your readers learn from them?
"I’m often asked why I write books. The answer is that I write about what's important to me, and what is most important to me in all of my novels are the characters. I care about what happens to them just as you do when you’re reading my novel.”Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Roland Smith was just five years old his parents gave him an old manual typewriter that weighed more than he did! It was his favorite possession. He spent hours in his room clacking away on it. Of course, when he was five he didn't know how to spell and barely knew how to read, but he loved the sound and the look of the letters on the crisp white paper.
Things haven't changed all that much, Smith still spends several hours a day in his room clacking away, and still loves the sound of the keyboard, and the look of the letters and words that eventually turn into stories. Today, however, Smith is known for such award-winning titles as Sea Otter Rescue, Journey of the Red Wolf, Thunder Cave, Jaguar, Peak and Zack's Lie, and has a faithful audience of both fiction and non-fiction readers.
Smith majored in English and biology at Portland State University with a goal of becoming a writer. A college work-study program led him to part-time work at the Portland children's zoo, which he thought might provide some interesting writing material. Instead, the program led to a more-than-twenty-year career in zoo keeping, first at Portland's main zoo, and then at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington, where Smith became general curator and assistant director, as well as senior research biologist.
In his noteworthy career, Smith led the team of biologists rescuing the sea otters after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and re-introduced the nearly extinct red wolf back into its native habitat of North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.
In 1995, Roland transitioned from his work as a research biologist to become a full-time writer.
Through his writing and school visits, Roland Smith works to educate a new generation of kids about what is important to him. Whether it is animals at the brink of extinction, or the environment, Smith tackles subjects that he is passionate about. In his new middle grades novel, I, Q, Smith addresses international terrorism coupled with the music industry. Smith delayed writing about terrorism until he was certain that it would not be going away at any time in the near future. He feels that I, Q opens the door to much-needed discussion. Raised in the music business, Smith decided to incorporate those experiences as a back-drop for this fast paced, cross-country adventure.
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