Live Chat with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim

And we’re live!

 

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Feel free to chime in at any point by typing your questions into the box below. Tara and Alison will get to as many as possible. And don’t forget to scroll down to the post below to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Timekeeper.

Live Blog Live Chat with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim
 

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Author Mark Eastburn Takes on the Sky Pony Press Q&A

Sky Pony author, Mark Eastburn takes on the Sky Pony Q&A and talks about his debut novel, Earning My Spots. Check it out!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I teach science to kids in the middle grades, so writing a book with characters who change into animals was a natural springboard to literature. I’ve always been fascinated by other living things, as well as world cultures, and Earning My Spots gave me the opportunity to learn more about both. The original inspiration for this story came through watching how my dog moved, and wondering how that might feel, but I didn’t want to write a typical werewolf (or weredog) story. The history of Africa is something that I’ve studied in my spare time, with a focus on the Jewish people of Ethiopia, and as it turns out, they are sometimes considered bouda, or “hyena people” in that part of the world. It was believed that they held special powers because of their abilities to make iron tools, and that they could transform into hyenas. Of course, a lot of this mythology is based on anti-Jewish bias, which unfortunately exists all over the world, but I decided to turn that superstition into a positive by showing hyenas to be the proud, intelligent, and brave hunters that they really are. In Africa, spotted hyenas and lions are in constant competition, and in some areas, lions scavenge far more than hyenas do. Hyena society is also dominated by females, who are larger and stronger than their male counterparts. I thought that would be an interesting contrast with most other predators—especially lions and wolves.

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Our Newfoundland dog has been my family’s faithful companion for the past six years, and he keeps my feet warm while I write!

 

Q: What are you reading right now?

At the moment, I am reading Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv, since I’m convinced that kids these days really need to reconnect with nature. As a teacher, I know that there is a lot of enthusiasm for learning about the Earth’s fellow creatures, and I am trying to find more opportunities to make that possible. I’m also reading lots and lots of research papers on jumping spiders, ants, and acacia plants, since I’ve been doing research on the world’s only known vegetarian spider for my master’s degree.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

I’d be Nate Twitchell from The Enormous Egg, or Louis from The Mysterious Tadpole. They’ve been favorites of mine for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always hoped to make surprising discoveries like they did.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

I write in the room with my tortoises, who are named Leo and Josephine. They have deformed shells because they didn’t get proper care with a previous owner, but I’m trying to ensure that they get the best treatment possible. I also share the room with Green Fruit Loop, a little lizard that one of my students discovered in salad greens last year. That story made international news, and there is a whole list of articles about her on my website.

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Leo and Josephine are still kind of shy, unless I’m bringing them food.

 

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

My favorite movie of all time would have to be Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, although I’m also a huge fan of the Star Wars movies and the original Jurassic Park . . . even though it had a lot of incorrect information about dinosaurs. For example, T. rex probably had some of the best eyes in the animal kingdom, and it wouldn’t have shaken the ground when it moved.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Given my previous answers on favorite books, I guess it’d be cool to have a pet Triceratops or Loch Ness monster, but I’ve already got lots of animals in my home. I’ve been thinking long and hard about getting a group of spiny tailed monitor lizards, because they look so cool, although I doubt that I have space with all of my other reptiles, including ten turtles, seven snakes, and my wall lizards from a small island off the coast of Italy. They’re actually bright blue!

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As soon as I learned about these blue wall lizards, I couldn’t help but buy a few. Last summer they laid eggs, so I might be getting more!

 

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Dark chocolate, because it’s supposed to be healthier than the rest. It also needs to be sourced from Central America, since I used to walk through chocolate farms while I was living and working in Panama. I’m always looking for ways to help those farmers out, since their plantations can help protect the rainforest and the beautiful frogs that live on the tree trunks and forest floor.

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Poison dart frogs love to hop around under chocolate plants!

 

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving, because it’s the time when people get together and nobody has to worry about gifts. It’s all about sharing time, and not material things. I also love the food!

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

Anything with a jumping spider in it, like this one:

via GIPHY

 

Or this one:

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I also really like pufferfish:

via GIPHY

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were Sam’s age?

I wanted to be an exotic pet veterinarian, and work with reptiles. The part about working with reptiles came through, although I never found the time to go to veterinary school. Maybe I will someday!


Earning My Spots by Mark Eastburn

earning-my-spots-9781510707788Sam and his family are the only werehyenas in their town, and they do their best to keep up their cover in front of the humans while the other more aggressive shifters mock the werehyena family for being weak and passive. But Sam sees no other life for himself, as he believes what he is told: he is inferior to the other shifters.

One night, a pack of shifters raids Sam’s house and takes his family, leaving him all alone. With the help of some new friends, Sam sets off on a journey from Vermont to South America to rescue his family. Along the way, he meets various shifters who aid him on his quest. He even meets a tribe of werehyenas in Louisiana who teach him how powerful his kind actually is and how far his ancestry goes back. From them, Sam learns he has a great destiny to fulfill.

As Sam draws closer to finding his family, he begins to understand how different the world of shifters is that exists outside of his small hometown. Shifters are tired of humans destroying their homes, and they want not only revenge but also to force humans into submission. It becomes clear that Sam is the only one who can stop a war that’s on the brink of erupting.

Fans of the Spirit Animals and Warriors series will enjoy accompanying Sam on his quest as he discovers not only that his destiny and inner strength are greater than he thought, but also that being a werehyena is not as laughable as he assumed.

 

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Q&A with TIMEKEEPER author Tara Sim

Today, we are so lucky to have Timekeeper author Tara Sim to join us for the Q&A. Her debut is one of the most anticipated novels of Fall 2016, and we’re excited to chat with her to learn a little more about the woman behind this intricate clock-controlled alternate Victorian world.


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I’ve always been more interested in made up worlds than our own, mostly because I felt like more was possible in those worlds–magic, adventure, what have you. Two very early influences were Harry Potter and the Song of the Lioness series, which were both magical and fun and far more interesting to me than contemporary stories. I mean, wizards and lady knights, come on. Ever since reading those series, I’ve been a fairly consistent fantasy reader/writer. One day, I decided that I wanted to write my own worlds, my own magic systems, and my own adventures.

Q:What are you reading right now?

I just finished The Midnight Star by Marie Lu, and right now I’m turning to my backlist and finally picking up Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

I would love to be Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. She’s insanely awesome and sneaky, and gets to hang out with Kaz.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

In my bedroom. I have a tiny desk by my bookshelves that faces a window, which is great for when I need to sit back and stare into space/admire my book collection.

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

I actually don’t watch very many classic movies, but my favorite movies of all time are The Lord of the Rings. Also anything by Hayao Miyazaki, and a ton of Disney, of course.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

A wolf! I’ve always loved wolves. They’d probably make bad household pets, though.

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Dark chocolate. Milk is good too, but white chocolate is made of lies and sin.

[Editor’s note from Tara’s actual editor: I knew I liked you.]

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas. Not just because of the presents (although those are pretty nice), but because it’s in my favorite season, with my favorite weather, and it just looks pretty. It makes me feel happy and nostalgic.

Q: What’s your favorite GIF?

tara-gif

 

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were 17?

An author. 😉


sim-tara-timekeeper Tara Sim can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area in California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Timekeeper is her first novel.

Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, or online at www.tarasim.com where you can find fun Timekeeper extras.


 

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I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time–and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

The first book in a dazzling new steampunk-fantasy trilogy, Timekeeper introduces a magical world of mythology and innovation that readers will never want to leave.


Timekeeper is an extraordinary debut, at once familiar and utterly original. Between its compelling world, its lovely prose, and its wonderful characters, the pages flew by.” —Victoria Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Alive with myth, mystery, and glorious romance, Timekeeper will keep hearts pounding and pages turning til the stunning conclusion. Reader beware—there’s magic in these pages.” —Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere

Timekeeper is a triumph . . . If you read only one such book . . . let it be this one.” –Bustle

“Part mystery and part romance, this fantasy novel delves into what it means to grow up and make important decisions. With an easily relatable main character struggling to fit in, the novel has a realistic and contemplative voice. VERDICT: A must-have richly written fantasy novel that will have readers eagerly anticipating the next volume.” —School Library Journal

“Sim creates a cast of complex and diverse characters, as well as a mythology to explain how the clock towers came to exist . . . an enjoyable, well-realized tale.” —Publishers Weekly

“[M]ystery, LGBTQ romance, and supernatural tale of clock spirits and sabotage that explores how far people might go for those they love. Its strongest elements are the time-related mythology and the supernatural gay romance.” —Booklist

“This LGBTQ steampunk romance sports a killer premise and admirably thorough worldbuilding, helpfully annotated in the author’s afterword. The characters—even the bad guys—are sympathetically drawn and commendably diverse in sexuality and gender.” —Kirkus Reviews

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Author Chantele Sedgwick takes on the Sky Pony Q&A

Chantele Sedgwick takes on the Sky Pony Q&A! Check out her answers below!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I write young adult because I think teenagers are amazing, intelligent, wonderful people. Being a teen is hard. They have so many emotions zipping around their bodies, they’re trying to figure out their place in the world, and they deal with some pretty heavy things. I love first experiences and young adult fiction has helped me put some experiences teens go thorough on paper. I love the stories of first love. The first kiss. Going through trials and growing from them. Relationships with parents, friends, siblings. I love it all.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I just barely started Gemina (Illuminae Files book 2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I absolutely LOVED Illuminae, so I’m hoping the sequel will be just as awesome.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Hermione Granger. She’s loyal, brave, smart and can be fierce if messed with. Plus, she’s a witch and can do magic!

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

The Sound of Music. Hands down. (I’m a big musical fan.)

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Cheetah.

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Milk. Although, I do love white too.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Christmas. I love being with my family.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

via GIPHY

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were Oakley’s age?

I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I became a mother and an author instead and I love it.


Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick

love-lucas-revised-9781510709928A 2015 Whitney Award Nominee!

A powerful story of loss, second chances, and first love, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future?

Chantele Sedgwick is a young adult author, harpist, wife to one and mom to four. She loves fairy tales, happy endings, Kit Kats, and (judging by her bookshelves) buying way too many books. She lives in Roy, Utah, with her family and can usually be found reading, or talking her husband’s ear off with her endless supply of book ideas.

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Spin the Sky author, Jill MacKenzie takes on the Sky Pony Q&A

Spin the Sky hits shelves in less than a week! We’re celebrating this week by sharing teaser quotes and images on our social media (do you follow and like us everywhere?). Author, Jill MacKenzie took on the Sky Pony Express Q&A so you lovely readers can get to know her a little better before you meet her protagonist, Magnolia Woodsen! Check it out below!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

To me, writing YA literature was always a no-brainer. Those years between thirteen and nineteen have always been the ones I’ve gravitated towards, the ones that I reflect on now most often. It’s not so much that my own high school years were amazing (trust me, they weren’t) but more a case of knowing that those years shaped who I am as a person today. And when I say shaped who I am, in no way do I mean that my teenage years defined who I am—quite the opposite, actually. I’m a very different person now than I was as a teenager. I’d like to think that I’m a nicer one. I know that I’m a quieter one, a more introspective one. But my teenage years are when I started my journey of self-discovery and that was pretty huge for me. That’s when I really started to feel different and knew that others weren’t really seeing the world the way I was. Back then, I always felt uneasy in my own skin and moved through life carefully, like if I said one wrong thing my whole world would explode. I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self that it’s okay to be different. I guess that’s why I write YA. So that when I write teenage characters now, I make sure each and every one of them know it’s definitely okay—preferable actually—to be different.

Q: What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a few books right now and choose which one to read each night based on my mood or what kind of day I’ve had. These include: Eileen Cook’s With Malice, A.S. King’s Still Life with Tornado, and Katja Millay’s The Sea of Tranquility. I’ve also got Jaye Robin Brown’s Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit and (You) Set Me on Fire by Mariko Tamaki loaded up on my Kindle. So I’ve got a lot going on, reading-wise! But that’s a good place for me to be in. My best place, actually.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Right off the top of my head, I’d say Amber Appleton from Matthew Quick’s Sorta Like a Rockstar. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a character with the kind of strength that parallel’s Amber’s and I envy that because I’m naturally a pretty fearful person. I fell in love with Amber pretty instantly. As I did with Kidd from Matt de la Pena’s I Will Save You, though I think it was a different kind of love with Kidd. I’d like to be Amber. But if I’m Amber, I want to meet up, one day, with Kidd.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

Sadly, my favorite place to write isn’t the place I write in on a daily basis. Usually, I write at home in my office (pajama clad, of course) with my little Siamese, Gloria, curled up on my lap. I love her. She’s snuggly. Plus she enforces that I sit in my chair for a minimum of three hours a day, as per her nap schedule. Here is a picture of me (or, at least, my lap) on usual, Monday-Friday days.

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But that’s not necessarily my favorite place to write. Last year, I went on a writing retreat to Tennessee. The cabin/mansion I was staying in (packed with about thirty other writers) was nestled in the Blue Mountains and it was pretty huge for me because, although I grew up surrounded by mountains, my South Florida home has no mountains to be seen. This is a picture my retreat roommate took of me writing in Tennessee. I think it’s my favorite place in the world to create characters. I don’t know if I’ve ever written prettier sentences than I did while I was here.

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

Easy! Field of Dreams. I am a girl who doesn’t like sports. Probably because I don’t understand them at all—like, I don’t know the rules to any sport at all. So, a movie about baseball has to be pretty awesome to make me love it the way I do. Field of Dreams is definitely that, plus the miraculous W.P. Kinsella wrote it. I’ve always loved his work.

My other favorite movie—though not a classic—is called Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer. Everything about this movie speaks to me. I’ve seen it over ten times when most people haven’t even heard of it. I definitely recommend it.

Lastly, I really love the movie rendition of Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes. I think I’m sort of alone in my bursting-heart-bubbles feeling on this film, but it doesn’t happen often (for me at least) where a movie casts characters so right, so completely authentic and true to its book counterpart. Tiger Eyes did that for me, absolutely.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

A miniature donkey, hands down. Have you seen those things? Serious cuteness overload. Like a tiny horse, but with a feistier personality. Like a large goat but without the weird eyes. Omg, I’m dying here.

donkey

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Milk! I eat chocolate every single day of my life without exception. But I’m a purist about it. It pretty much has to be Godiva, Cadbury’s or Hershey’s (if I’m feeling a little desperate) or I won’t eat it at all.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Promise you won’t laugh? It’s Valentine’s Day. I know what people say about it being a Hallmark holiday or whatever but I just love it. I love the little candies, I love the exchange of school Valentines, I love the colors red and pink and I love the red and pink together. It’s just a sweet little day without too much build up and if that’s what it takes for everyone to be a little nicer to each other, so be it.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

My favorite emoji is this one here:

eye-roll

Giant eye roll. I often use it in text when I know I’ve just said something eye-roll worthy. I just put it out there so that the person on the other end doesn’t have to.

Favorite gif? Easy one, too! Someone sent this to me with the caption that said, “my current process” in regards to crafting a story. I was like, “oh my god IT’S MY CURRENT PROCESS TOO.” Ack.

via GIPHY

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were Magnolia’s age?

Well, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But for a time (a long time, actually) I was told that the chances of actually being a writer were probably pretty small. I also wanted to be a Social Worker for at-risk youth so I tried my hand at that for a year as well. It was so incredibly hard and I didn’t make it at that kind of job very long. But when I was Magnolia’s age, I was very much a wanderer. All I wanted to do back then was travel the world and read books and do a little work along the way to support this travel-plus-books habit. That’s about as far as my ambitions went back then!


Spin the Sky by Jill MacKenzie

spin-the-sky-9781510706866Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

bio-picJill Mackenzie, a Vancouver native, is an ex-ballerina and contemporary dancer. Now working toward her MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Jill chassés between roles as part-time student, full-time mom, and always-writer. Though Jill no longer studies dance, she still tries to dance herself clean whenever she can. Currently she lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she spends her free time beach-bound with her husband and two beautiful daughters.

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Meet the New Pony: Q&A with Editor Becky Herrick

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Sky Pony Press has just welcomed Becky Herrick to the team as editor! Becky is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Most recently, she was an editor at Scholastic. To introduce her a bit more, we asked her a few quick questions:

 

Q: What type of books do you like to work on?

I like all different types of books and love working on a range of age levels (chapter book, middle grade, YA)! I especially love friendship stories and books that can make me laugh.

 

book books story read library

Q: What were your favorite books when you were growing up?

Matilda by Roald Dahl, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

 

matilda book books reading reading gif

 

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

Do Disney movies from the 90’s count as classic? If so, Aladdin! Otherwise, probably The Sound of Music.

aww aw awww awwww aladdin

 

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

DARK, always and forever

dark

 

[Editor’s Note from Alison – We approve this SO much.]

 

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An art teacher! I loved my elementary school art teacher, and I still love doing all different sorts of arts and crafts in my free time (when I’m not reading!). Last year I had a lot of fun taking a screen-printing class.

painting

 

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Q&A with MONSTERVILLE author Sarah S. Reida

We’re delighted to have Sarah S. Reida, author of Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production joining us today on the blog. We can’t wait for her to share a little more about herself with us!

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stitch hi

1.. Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I grew up in a pretty rural area, and some of my best memories are of finding new hideouts in our woods, where I’d stay for hours to read. Fuzzy book memories!

Also, when I was in grade school, I connected so much with books. I was moved by them, read the same ones over and over, wanted to know the characters. . . . I write books for middle schoolers because of how much books meant to me when I was that age.

2. What are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading The Clinet by John Grisham. I’m a lawyer, so it’s fun to read fiction about the legal field and be like, “THAT’S NOT HOW IT GOES DOWN!” Grisham’s pretty good, though. And hey, I like Legally Blonde, and we all know THAT’s not accurate.

3. If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Hmm. Harry Potter came to mind first, but there’s so much responsibility for poor Harry. Probably Charlie Bucket, after he got the factory. Maybe my decision shouldn’t be based on candy, but when I was growing up, my dad owned a convenience store and we went to candy conventions every year. That was pretty much the best experience a kid could have.

 

candy ya

 

4. Where’s your favorite place to write? (Please include a picture!)

Aw, I don’t have some picturesque place to describe. Usually I hang out on my porch, or I go to Panera Bread Company and fill up on bagels and coffee. There’s also my office, but where’s the fun in that?

5. What’s your favorite classic movie?

I really enjoyed Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. They’re both so good in that! That’s one of the rare ones I think could be re-made successfully, though I hope that doesn’t happen because of the risk.

6. If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

I immediately thought “squishy white bunny trained to hug and sleep in bed with me,” but that was followed by the image of what my cat, Wyatt, would do to it. So I’ll go traditional and stick with cats. I’m a writer. We’re cat ladies.

cat computer morning

7. Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Dark chocolate, unless it’s Christmas, and then white peppermint bark.

8.What’s your favorite holiday?

Guess!

Here are some hints: my husband and I were married on Halloween, my debut book is all about Halloween, and my first child is expected around Halloween.

9. What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

To be honest, I’m not a fan of those, BUT when I was in law school and used IM a lot. I had an IM avatar that looked like a white baby seal with huge eyes that made the cutest expressions. I called him Mopsie.

animals baby snow white seal

(Editor’s Note: Not Mopsie, but terribly cute.)

10. What did you want to grow up to be when you were Lissa’s age?

Oh, I always wanted to be a writer. Always.

 


 

monsterville-9781510707337

Monsterville: A Lissa Black Production

Beware what lurks beneath your bed. . . . It could lead to a monstrous adventure!

Thirteen-year-old Lissa Black is miserable when her parents force her to move from New York City (the perfect home for an aspiring writer/director/actress) to Freeburg, Pennsylvania, nowhere capital of the world. There’s nothing to do there, except play her little sister Haylie’s favorite new game, Monsterville, and hang out with her new neighbor Adam.

But when a walk in the woods lands her face-to-face with a swamp monster hungry for brains and then a Sasquatch that moos, even Lissa can’t call her new home totally boring. With Adam’s help, she catches the culprit behind the drama: a shape-shifting goblin who’s fled from the monster world of Down Below.

And what do you do with a creature that can be literally anything? Make monster movies, of course! Lissa is convinced that Blue will the the secret to her big break.

But when Haylie goes missing on Halloween, Lissa, Adam, and the monster must venture Down Below to stage a rescue—and face the real Monsterville, which is anything but a game.


“The perfect book for the director who might have to take on a starring role.” —Kelly Jones, author of Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

“An absolute delight. Full of humor with a fresh voice, and just plain fun to read.” —Penny Warner, Two-time award-winning author of The Code Busters Club series

“Chutes and Ladders with monsters–and an aspiring filmmaker determined to capture them all. Monsterville is creepy good fun!”—Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, Mark Twain Award finalist for Ordinary Magic

“Overflowing with humor and fabulous in its overturning of many movie clichés. Kids will love puzzling over the chain of clues that lead Monsterville‘s lovable heroes through the world of Down Below.” —Claire Fayers, author of The Voyage to Magical North


Sarah S. Reida loves Halloween, classic movies, and fostering underdog animals. Growing up in the Midwest (Illonois, to be precise), she read everything she could get her hands on and watched many, many movies during her parents’ “camping” trips involving electricity and s’mores in a microwave. By day, she is an attorney and lives with her husband, dog, and four cats with big personalities in Marietta, Georgia. By the time this post goes live, they will probably have acquired another animal. Monsterville is her first novel.

Visit her online at www.lissablackproductions.com or on Twitter at @SarahSReida.


Not Blue and Haylie, but they could be:

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Q&A with Project Droid Authors Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser

We have a special treat today. We’re interviewing not one, but two authors on the blog!. The first two books in the Project Droid chapter book series, Science No Fair! and Soccer Shocker! just hit the shelves. Authors Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser were kind enough to sit down and answer our questions to give us a little bit more insight into who they are and how they came to write these hilarious books. They’ve known each other forever—they’re mother and daughter, after all—and now they’re going to answer our questions!

 

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1. Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

Nancy: I think, deep in my heart, I am a third grader. And I love watching kids discover that reading is fun. Chapter books are the first books kids gravitate to once they’ve stopped decoding and begun comprehending. Also, I don’t have the patience or stick-to-itness for the time it takes to write a whole novel.

Amanda: I work with children and wanted to be able to write things my students would enjoy.

2. What are you reading right now?

Nancy: Max Perkins, Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg

AmandaWaging Heavy Peace by Neil Young

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3. If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Nancy: Nancy Drew—she’s smart and funny and she used to drive a roadster. Not that I know what a roadster is exactly, but still, it sounds super cool.

Amanda: Max imaxn Where the Wild Things Are, because like Max I like create my own little worlds inside in my head.

 

 

 

 

4. Where’s your favorite place to write? 

Nancy: I always write in our piano room—partially because it’s right next to the kitchen which is great for snack and coffee breaks, and partially because it’s bright and right in the center of things.

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Amanda: Under my apple tree in my yard.

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5. What’s your favorite classic movie?

Nancy: Does The Rocky Horror Picture Show count as classic? If not, anything with the Marx Brothers (I was raised on their films).

AmandaBreakfast at Tiffany’s—I’ve loved that movie since I was a little girl.

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6. If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Nancy: I think I would stick with my dog, Josie. She’s a crazy beagle mix, and she makes me nuts, but I’m pretty crazy about her.

Amanda: A unicorn.

7. Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Nancy: Dark chocolate is healthier, but milk chocolate is the ultimate treat (especially with raisins and almonds!)

Amanda: Milk chocolate.

8. What’s your favorite holiday?

Nancy: My kids’ birthdays! (And Halloween.)

Amanda: Halloween.

9. What’s your favorite emoji?

Nancy: I love the food ones—particularly coffee. coffee

Amanda: Rock On!  rock-on

10. What did you want to grow up to be when you were Logan’s age?

Nancy: I wanted to be an actress—or, more accurately, a movie star like Katharine Hepburn. (I told you I was raised on old movies, right?) But I am the world’s worst actress, ever! Amanda, on the other hand is extremely talented in the theater arts.

Amanda: Either a member of the Spice Girls or an actress.  I actually was an actress for a while, but I never became a Spice Girl.


Science No Fair 9781510710184 Science No Fair!

When you have an android cousin, losing your head take on a whole new meaning!

There’s nothing Logan Applebaum has ever wanted more than to have another kid around the house. SO when his inventor mom builds him a robot cousin, Logan’s really excited—until he finds out that it’s not so easy keeping Java’s android identity a secret. Because even though Java is really smart, he doesn’t seem to understand anything.

Still, with the third grade science fair coming up, having a cousin with a computer for a brain just might come in handy. Does having Java around mean Logan finally has a chance at winning first prize? Or will those nasty, super-sneaky Silverspoon twins outsmart him again?

 

Soccer Shocker 9781510710191

Soccer Shocker!

The Purple Wombats’ secret weapon has a really big secret.

Anyone would love having a super-scoring robot Java on his soccer team. Well anyone except Java’s human cousin, Logan. That’s because, up until now, Logan has been the Wombats’ top scorer—and he has no desire to share the field with the team’s new start player. Especially because Java won’t let the other kids get near the ball—never mind score any goals. If it were up to Logan, he would just kick Java right off the field. Because as far as Logan is concerned, there’s no I in team, and there shouldn’t be a droid on one, either.

 

 

Praise for Project Droid:

“This quirky new chapter book series is fast-paced and full of Amelia Bedelia–style gags. Moran’s black-and-white cartoon drawings add to the humor and appeal. Java is an endearingly naive and enthusiastic character, and Logan is believable as a frustrated kid trying to keep his cousin’s robot nature a secret. VERDICT This entertaining new series will appeal to fans of funny stories and robots.” —School Library Journal

[F]unny enough to keep fledgling readers turning pages.” —Kirkus Reviews


Nancy Krulik is the author of more than two hundred books for children and young adults including three New York Times bestsellers and the popular Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo; George Brown, Class Clown; and Magic Bone series. She lives in New York City with her husband and crazy beagle mix.

Amanda Burwasser holds a BFA with honors in Creative Writing from Pratt Institute in New York City. Her senior thesis, a screenplay entitled Born to Me, earned her the coveted Pratt Circle Award upon graduation. This former native New Yorker is now a preschool teacher residing in Santa Rosa, California.

Mike Moran is a dad, husband, and illustrator. He has worked for really fun clients, and his illustrations can be seen in children’s books, animation, magazines, games, World Series programs, and more. He often dreams of playing first base for the New York Mets, being a songwriter in Nashville or the fifth Beatle. He lives in Florham Park, New Jersey.

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Q&A with Michele Bacon

Life Before Converse

Michele Bacon—author of Life Before—takes on the Sky Pony Q & A. Life Before is on sale now!

 

“A riveting story told in a voice that will resonate with teens. . . . Bacon weaves a captivating narrative of a boy who is able to journey into adulthood by overcoming a childhood filled with abuse. Though dark in nature, the work does not delve too deep into the horrors of abuse, making it appropriate for younger teens. A great read-alike for teens who enjoyed Alex Flinn’s Breathing Underwater, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, or Sharon Draper’s “Hazelwood High Trilogy.” —School Library Journal


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

I love the teen years, when opportunity, energy, and idealism intersect. I used to write solely for adults, but I find teen ideas and risks very compelling. Writing for teens is fun.

 

Q: What are you reading right now?

Seattle Public Library is hosting Book Bingo this summer, so I’m working diligently on my bingo card. Right now, I’m reading A.R. Kahler’s Shades of Darkness for my “local author” square, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me for the “prize winner” square. I’m torn about what my summer “re-read” will be!Minerva

 

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Minerva McGonagall. I love the magical world of Harry Potter, but the young wizards eventually grow into different lives. Minerva spends her life among young, vibrant minds learning magic and discovering who they are meant to be. I could hardly wish for better.

 

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write? 

I would love to have a private office, replete with whiteboard walls and bulletin boards for all my notes and plots. The desk corner should support an electric kettle and tiny fridge for milk and fruit and, out the window, a view of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains would be divine! But I write on my sofa with my computer in my lap.

 

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

“It’s a Wonderful Life”, but I also loved “The Godfather, Part II.” In new classics, if there is such a thing, I love “The Big Chill.” Yes, it’s campy, but I’ve always wanted that circle of friends in a big house for a long weekend, cooking and dancing and loving together. The mourning is necessary in the movie, but my perfect weekend would go without.

Woolly Mammoth

 

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Had you said imaginary, I would have chosen a dragon, no contest. With real animals, I narrowed it to a half dozen and will choose at random: a woolly mammoth.

 

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Milk chocolate.

 

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving has been my favorite for many years. It unites us as a nation, and doesn’t involve mindless consumerism.

 

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? 

The heart. When I really love something, I express it like this:  hearts

 

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were your character’s age?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an author and a mother.


Life BeforeSeventeen years is a long time to keep secrets, and Xander Fife has gotten very good at it.

Everyone believes Xander has a normal life and a normal family. If he can just get through this summer, he’ll start his real life in college with a clean slate—no risk, no drama, no fear.

Even better, his plans for summer are awesome: lots of pick-up soccer, relaxing afternoons with friends, and an epic road trip. Xander is banking on some long-overdue nights with his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor.

Instead of kicking off what had promised to be an amazing summer, however, graduation day brings terror. His family’s secrets are thrust out into the open, and Xander must confront his greatest fear. And survive doing so.

Armed with a fake ID, cash, and a knife, Xander skips town and assumes a new identity. Hundreds of miles from home and in danger, one thing is clear: Xander’s real life is already in progress and just getting through it isn’t enough.

Michele Bacon Headshot

 

Michele Bacon writes contemporary fiction for adults and young adults. She often writes about family, friendship, and the blurred line between those two ideas. Michele geeks out over many things, but especially board games, skiing, and international travel. She recently spent a year on sabbatical in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she may have left her heart at Ilam School. Wherever Michele is in the world, she is drawn to people’s stories, so she wants to hear how you met your best friend or fell in love with your partner. She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband and three young children.

 

**Credit for header image: Instagram user @benbrody09

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Live Chat with WANDERING WILD Author, Jessica Taylor

Live Blog Live Chat with WANDERING WILD author Jessica Taylor
   

 TONIGHT! 8PM EDT.

Jessica Taylor will be taking your questions about her just-released YA, WANDERING WILD. We really hope you’ll come right back to this post to join us live for the chat. (You can even enter your information in the box above and we’ll send you a reminder!)
But even if you can’t make it, we’d  love to ask your questions during the chat. Just leave them in the comment section below.
See you at 8!

Enter to win an attack owl sign and a SIGNED copy of Wandering Wild!

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