Posted by: nancyisanders | January 4, 2013

Author Interview: Catherine L. Osornio


Meet Catherine L. Osornio!
Website: Catherine L. Osornio, Children’s Author

Catherine Osornio has written articles for parenting newsletters, nonfiction and fiction articles and stories for children’s magazines, and over 200 stories for a beginning readers’ program. Her first book, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM A TO Z, was released in 2010 by Pelican Publishing Company.


Featured Book:
The Mystery of El Rancho
An Oak Tree Detectives Mystery #1

Written by Catherine L. Osornio

A missing will, a suspicious private eye, an estranged aunt, and an eager former business partner have the newly formed Oak Tree Detectives scurrying to solve their first case. Join best friends Ruth Tapia, Victoria Reyes, and Solana Flores as they find the answers to THE MYSTERY OF EL RANCHO.

Q: Describe a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.
It has always been my dream to publish a mystery series for children, especially since I loved them so much when I was growing up. I enjoyed every step of the process, from determining who my young detectives were going to be, to what problem they needed to solve, and to how they were going to find the answers.

Q: Who were the characters based on in your book?
The Oak Tree Detectives’ first names and some of their physical descriptions were based on real teens: my oldest daughter, my niece, and my best friend’s oldest daughter. Of course, the personalities are totally different, but the real Ruth, Solana, and Victoria think it’s very cool to be included in a book.

Q: Describe part of the research process that goes into writing a middle grade novel like this.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I started the research process to write a middle grade novel ever since I learned to read. Mysteries were a particular favorite, so reading hundreds of books in this genre gave me a critical eye on what makes a good mystery work. I first developed my characters: how many detectives would there be, how were they related, what were their names, what did they look like, how old were they, and what were their back stories? Characters need to have audience appeal. Are they likeable, and if not, will their unlike-ability be a plus to the story?

Then there was setting: what year would the story take place and where? Setting is crucial because a series needs to have enough material to continue in that particular location for additional stories (although the 2nd book in this series takes place in another state).

Then I had to create a mystery. What was the problem needing to be solved? Were the clues practical, with enough twists and turns to keep readers wanting to know more? Were all the questions answered, and did everything result in a satisfying conclusion?

Along with all this, I had to keep my information real. A lot of research goes into any story, and I had to make sure I knew what I was talking about, whether it was regarding certain types of horses or various legal terms regarding the missing will.

Q: As a child, what were your favorite books to read?
As I mentioned before, I LOVED mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were my favorites sleuths, and I still have many of my original copies. I also enjoyed the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, Brains Benton and Jimmy Carson of the Benton and Carson International Detective Agency, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators series, and the Liza, Bill, & Jed Mysteries by Peggy Parish. Although not a mystery, I read and re-read (and still own) my copy of Harriet the Spy.


  1. Wow, Congratulations, Catherine! Who published this? How fun to write a mystery series!

  2. Fun interview! I, too, loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books when I was growing up. In fact, I was very late falling in love with reading and it wasn’t until I was in 7th grade and discovered Nancy Drew that the bug bite me. So maybe you’ll be responsible for getting a kid(s) hooked on reading, Catherine. Congratulations and best wishes to you on your series!

  3. Thanks for the Congrats, Tina and Ev. One of the reasons I want to write mysteries is to give children the same enjoyment in reading that I had, and then for them to want to read more because they like the characters and want to know what adventures they’ll fall into next.

    And, Tina, this was published through CreateSpace from Amazon. I originally offered this series to several publishers, but this wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. After much consideration, I decided to venture on my own because I believe the whole concept works well and, to my knowledge, a mystery series hasn’t been done before with three Hispanic protagonists.

    • Catherine, thanks so much for sharing with us about your new book. It’s always so exciting to learn the story behind the story! -Nancy

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