Author Interview: Kay Cassidy on The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest

Kay Cassidy is the first-time author of The Cinderella Society (Egmont USA, April, 2010). She also is the mastermind behind The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest, a “free library outreach program for teen and youth librarians.”

See information on library registration, librarian resources, and author participation.

Cynthia Interviews Kay

What made you decide to create The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest?

As a YA author and proud owner of a well-worn library card, I wanted to give something back to all the librarians whose book recommendations helped me grow as a writer and fed my imagination over the years.

With the economy in turmoil, funding for public libraries is taking a major hit. School libraries are struggling as well. So I set out to create a totally free program that teen and youth librarians could use to keep kids excited about reading.

Plus, I’m a huge fan of trivia, scavenger hunts, mysteries so The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest was a natural fit. I would’ve been all over this when I was younger. Trivia fans… unite!

What exactly is The Hunt?

The Hunt is a brand-new, super easy, totally free library outreach program for teen and youth librarians. The program is open to librarians in the U.S. and Canada, in public libraries and school libraries alike. It offers year-round free programming that will keep readers coming back to the library for more.

Over 120 YA and middle grades authors have created a ten-question scavenger hunt (i.e. super fun trivia quiz) for one or more of their books. Scavenger hunts include questions like “What was the color of Moe’s hideous car?” or “What is Gemma’s favorite comfort food?” Every scavenger hunt also has a special note from the author to give it a personal touch.

How does The Hunt work?

Once librarians register their library, their readers (called “hunters”) are eligible to participate.

Hunters can check out the list of more than 200 titles in The Hunt, read the book of their choice, complete the scavenger hunt, and turn it in to their librarian. The librarian checks the answers against the quick answer key.

If the hunter gets at least eight out of ten answers correct, the librarian can enter the hunter in the monthly contest.

(Note: All scavenger hunts must be submitted to a participating librarian in order to be eligible for the contest. Only participating librarians may enter hunters via the official contest entry form.)

And thus, the prizes! What kinds of prizes do you have, and how can people win?

Every month, I’ll choose one lucky hunter as the winner. The winning hunter will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card (good in stores or online) to use for whatever their heart desires.

Even better? When a hunter wins, the host library wins too… a library prize tote filled with more terrific scavenger hunt books for the library’s collection. It’s a win-win!

Definitely a win! So, tell me more about your upcoming YA debut. When will hunters see a scavenger hunt for it in The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest?

My debut novel, The Cinderella Society, is the first in a new YA series. The series takes readers behind the veil of a secret society of extraordinary girls where ultimate life makeovers are the main attraction.

Lifelong outsider Jess Parker thinks life on the inside is her ultimate fantasy until she discovers the real force behind her exclusive society. It’s a battle of good vs. evil played out on the high school battlefield, and the Cindys in power need Jess on special assignment.

When the mission threatens to destroy her dream life come true, Jess is forced to choose between living a fairy tale and honoring the Sisterhood…and herself.

The Cinderella Society will be an April 2010 release from Egmont USA with book two in the series to follow in Spring 2011. I’m very excited about sharing a scavenger hunt of my own in The Hunt. Come on, next April!

Kay Interviews Cynthia

Now, let me turn the tables on you for a minute. First of all, thank you so much for participating in The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest. If it weren’t for authors like you, The Hunt couldn’t exist. Authors are incredibly busy people, so I owe a debt of gratitude to each of the authors (like you!) who graciously volunteered their time to create a scavenger hunt.

What made you take time out of your busy schedule to participate in The Hunt?

I’ve been active in promoting reading on the ‘net for some years now, and I was thrilled to see such an exciting and innovative new idea. I’m also always looking for ways to show that the relationship between books and technology can be cooperative rather than competitive. Plus, I, too, was a huge library kid, and I’m happy to pay it forward in any way I can.

How did you decide which book(s) to create a scavenger hunt for?

I went with those titles that spoke to the age level of readers who’d be active online (PDF links to follow): Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001); Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007); and Eternal (Candlewick, 2009).

Do you think you would’ve wanted to be a hunter when you were younger?

Absolutely! It’s wonderful that young readers today have so many opportunities to learn more about writing and reading and to celebrate their love of books online.