Recent Entries

Where is Heidi?

There hasn’t been a whole lot of original content around here lately but that’s only because I have been working oh so hard on writing other things*.

writer heidi

*Including, but not limited to:

These interviews

All the Write Notes 10 Questions with Author Heidi Schulz

Alice in Readerland Interview: Heidi Schulz (Debut Author of Hook’s Revenge)

(If you are interested in reading more, all of my interviews and guest posts are archived on my press page.)

And something else I hope to tell you more about soon.

In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be at my desk.

Send caffeine. And maybe a hairbrush or lint-roller or something.

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In the Middle with Skila Brown

Today, we are In the Middle with Skila Brown, author of Caminar:

Caminar hi-res

Carlos knows that when the soldiers arrive with warnings about the Communist rebels, it is time to be a man and defend the village, keep everyone safe. But Mama tells him not yet — he’s still her quiet moonfaced boy. The soldiers laugh at the villagers, and before they move on, a neighbor is found dangling from a tree, a sign on his neck: Communist. Mama tells Carlos to run and hide, then try to find her. . . . Numb and alone, he must join a band of guerillas as they trek to the top of the mountain where Carlos’s abuela lives. Will he be in time, and brave enough, to warn them about the soldiers? What will he do then? A novel in verse inspired by actual events during Guatemala’s civil war, Caminar is the moving story of a boy who loses nearly everything before discovering who he really is.

Caminar is available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Indiebound, and at bookstores near you.

Q&A with Skila

What draws you into writing for a middle grade audience?

This is the exact age in my own life that books sucked me in. I chose reading over everything else. I remember sitting in the car with a book in the middle of a winter party, while the rest of my family was sledding down a hill. I just really loved to read. I would read anything—I wasn’t picky. This is when I found out what a great escape books can be. And how much a person can learn while reading.

So I think of this time as a magical time for a reader. It’s when we first learn we can read on our own, with no one looking over our shoulder or reading to us aloud. We can discover a book and a world privately and go there all on our own. Nobody can take that away from us. It’s a great discovery.

skila-childIf you had a time machine and could visit middle-grade you, what would you tell her?

Dear Skila, age 8,

Stop worrying about everything. And stop being so bossy. Seriously. It’s a bad habit that’s harder to break when you’re older.

But the reading thing is a great habit. Keep that up. Those books you love reading? You’ll still love reading them even when you’re old. And those stories you keep making up to amuse yourself and/or possibly get out of trouble? You keep doing that! Believe it or not, later on, people will pay you money to do it. So keep it up, girl! It all works out okay.

Choose your own adventure: Is there an interview question you’d love to answer, but haven’t been asked?

Oh, that’s fun! Since Caminar is a novel in verse and we’re fast approaching National Poetry Month, how about: What’s a poem you loved as a middle grader?
And…here’s my answer:

Something Missing by Shel Silverstein

I remember I put on my socks,
I remember I put on my shoes.
I remember I put on my tie
That was painted
In beautiful purples and blues.
I remember I put on my coat,
To look perfectly grand at the dance,
Yet I fell there is something
I may have forgot—-
What is it? What is it?. . .

Want to know why I loved it as a middle grader? Go check out the book Where the Sidewalk Ends from the library and find the illustration that goes with this. What’s not to love about semi-naked subversive sketches?

Thank you, Heidi, for inviting me over to your blog! It’s lovely here. I may just hang out awhile.

Thank you, Skila! I’m a big Shel Silverstein fan myself. So glad you brought him along. Congratulations on your debut!

Skila Brown is the author of Caminar, a story about a boy who survives the massacre of his village and must decide what being a man during a time of war really means. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee and now lives with her family in Indiana. For more information about her book, please visit her website, SkilaBrown.com.

 

In the Middle with Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Come get In the Middle today with Laura Marx Fitzgerald, author of the wonderful Under the Egg:

undertheegg_cvr_CAT

 Only two people know about the masterpiece hidden in the Tenpenny home—and one of them is dead.

The other is Theodora Tenpenny. Theo is responsible for tending the family’s two-hundred-year-old town house, caring for a flock of unwieldy chickens, and supporting her fragile mother, all on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. So, when Theo discovers a painting in the house that looks like a priceless masterpiece, she should be happy about it. But Theo’s late grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and if the painting is as valuable as she thinks it is, then her grandfather wasn’t who she thought he was.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all over Manhattan and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Under the Egg is available on Indiebound, B&N, Amazon, and bookstores near you.

Q&A with Laura

What draws you into writing for a middle grade audience?

My childhood was pretty much formed by my favorite middle-grade books: Alice in Wonderland, The Westing Game, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Anastasia Krupnik, The Borrowers. I read these books over and over again. Each one features a nice, normal, well brought-up girl who, whether she’s looking for it or not, lands feet first in an adventure and has to find her way out again. She has to make decisions and take bold actions from her own heart, even if her parents don’t approve. Because of these books, I went out into the world expecting the same kind of adventure. And that’s still the kind of story I like to write (and read) best.

Another reason I write middle grade is for my mother, who said if I ever write anything with sex, drugs, or bad language while she’s alive, she’ll disown me. (Ignore everything I wrote above about making your own bold decisions.

If you had a time machine and could visit middle grade you, what would you tell him/her? 

One day you will get to buy your own clothes and won’t have to wear jumpers with Peter Pan collars anymore.

Choose your own adventure: Is there an interview question you’d love to answer, but haven’t been asked?

“Are you like Isaac Asimov, who wrote: ‘I write for the same reason I breathe . . . because if I didn’t, I would die’?”

Good heavens no. I would rather do anything than write. Read, watch TV, pay bills, do the dishes. In fact, I did all of these things before forcing myself to sit down and write today. I think there’s a myth that writers are those other people, the people who can’t live without writing. For me, I just needed an idea so compelling that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. And even once I had it, it was still a battle to get my butt in the chair and my fingers on my keyboard. 

Just remember: discipline does not always make a writer. But in the end, it does make a book.

I love everything about this interview and your book! (Seriously, it has history, chickens, homeschooling, and pie. Did you write it for me?) Congrats on your debut!

In writing UNDER THE EGG, Laura Marx Fitzgerald drew on her study of art history at Harvard and Cambridge Universities. Though she grew up Down South, today she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids (and a dog, if the two kids keep begging). UNDER THE EGG (Dial/Penguin) is her debut novel. Connect with her on her website, LauraMarxFitzgerald.com, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
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