Posted in Meet the authors

Debbie Reed Fischer

·  Author website/social media:

facebook: Debbie Reed Fischer, Twitter: @DebbieRFischer

1.     When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

At age 9, I absolutely LOVED to read! The characters in books were friends in my head. This may be because I grew up in foreign countries,and very often, there weren’t any television shows or movies in English. Books were my number one source of entertainment.

2.     What was your favorite story?

My favorite story was a true story of my mom’s childhood in Cuba, and how she found a way to get enrolled in the American School in Guantanamo at age 10 even though she didn’t yet speak English. Someday I may write about it. But my favorite book when I was nine was Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I loved all the stories about his two dogs and growing up in the mountains. My teacher read it aloud to us every day after recess, and that twenty minutes of reading was the highlight of my school day

3.     How do you get your ideas?  Like why did you write a book about a 2E girl? (We are super ultra rares, limited editions so why us?)

I love this question! And yes, you are rare, like a beautiful blue diamond! I’m inspired by people and events from real life, as well as questions to which I truly don’t know the answer. I write the book to get answers, and, of course, to have fun. Doing anything creative is super fun! As far as why I wrote a book about a twice exceptional girl with ADHD, I didn’t have to look for inspiration. The author’s note at the end of my book explains the genesis of This is not the Abby Show in more detail, but in a nutshell, both my son and I have characteristics that are very similar to Abby’s. Another influence came from my teaching years. As a teacher, I had students who were twice exceptional, and I was inspired by them, as well as kids I knew from childhood. Also, at the time I wrote this book, I noticed there were no novels about middle school girls with ADHD. Only books with male characters that had ADHD existed, and I thought that was wrong. Both boys and girls should be able to see themselves in a book. I certainly didn’t see any Jewish main characters with this condition. So all of those factors influenced my ideas and journey when writing this novel. 

4.     What author do you really like right now?

I just read a young adult novel that hasn’t come out yet by my friend Alex Flinn, and I love it! It’s called Girls of July, It’s launching in just a few months.

5.     Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?

Jonathan Rosen for funny middle grade vampire books. I think reading should be fun and entertaining, and he delivers. Dorian Cirrone is another favorite. It’s hard to put her last book down, The First Last Day.Danette Haworth. Brenda Ferber. Donna Gephart is very well-known, but I have to include her because I love her MG books. Christina Gonzalez too. I really like this question because I think both kids and adult should be book detectives and discover books that are terrific but not as well-known, even though they are written by talented, wonderful authors. If you read what everyone else is reading, you’ll think what everyone else is thinking, and it’s important to develop your own point-of-view. Books are the best way to do that, in my opinion. 🙂 

6.     What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

The best advice I can give isn’t original, but it works: read a lot and write a lot. That’s it. Also, reach out to authors you like on social media or write to them on their websites for inspiration. Ask them to do a Skype visit with your class or, if they’re local, visit your school. And never, ever give up. YOU CAN DO IT!

7.     As an author, do you hear from your readers? 

The number one best part of being an author is hearing from readers. It means the world. Any creative field is filled with disappointments sometimes, but knowing your book made a difference in someone’s life is an author’s dream come true. With This is not the Abby Show, I’ve heard from kids, parents, teachers, and siblings of children with ADHD and from kids who are Jewish. They say they’ve never read a character who was so much like them, and that they’ve read the book over and over because it resonated so much. I even get letters from doctors saying thank you because my book is helping patients and families. I recently heard from a mom who said her son went out and did stand-up comedy like Abby did in the book, and it changed his life. I Skyped with their ADHD support group and it was fantastic! I can’t adequately express how rewarding that is. All I ever hoped for was to get published and be someone’s favorite author because they could relate to what I was writing. My dream has come true. 

8.     If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

If I’m being honest, I mentally portal into my book-in-progress whenever I’m writing it. As far as books I’ve read, I would love to portal back in time, and my favorite historical book of fiction is Jane Eyre, so I would portal back into that novel. The character of Jane inspires me to stay strong, think for myself, and stand up for my convictions. I also like to laugh a lot when I read, so I’d portal my middle grade self into Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I think Greg and I would be friends. 🙂 I was honored that a reviewer from Booklist compared my book to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Posted in Meet the authors

Abby Cooper

    • Author website/social media:,, Twitter/Instagram: @_ACoops_
    • Tell me a little about yourself: Hi! I’m Abby, and I’m the author of STICKS & STONES (2016), BUBBLES (2017), and FRIEND OR FICTION (which comes out October 8, 2019!) I live in Minnesota with my miniature poodle, Louis, and lots and lots of books. I love to read and write. I was actually a school librarian before I became an author!
    • When you were my age (9), did you like to read? Yes! Reading and writing were my favorite things to do.
    • What was your favorite story? At that age, my favorite book was FRINDLE by Andrew Clements. That’s the book that made me a real reader. There was just something about it that made me so excited to read and write as much as I could. I think there’s a book like that for everyone. If you haven’t found yours yet, don’t give up!
    • How do you get your ideas? My ideas are a mixture of real-life inspiration and “what if” questions. I love to observe things in the real world and combine them with unusual or magical things.
    • What author do you really like right now? There are so many authors I love. Sally Pla is one of my favorites right now. She’s written two amazing books: THE SOMEDAY BIRDS and STANLEY WILL PROBABLY BE FINE. I just got a sneak peek at something she’s working on, and it’s awesome!
    • Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest? Some new books I’ve read and enjoyed lately include PROPERTY OF THE REBEL LIBRARIAN by Allison Varnes, IF THIS WERE A STORY by Beth Turley, and TIGHT by Torrey Maldonado.
    • What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author? Read and write as much as you possibly can. Also, carry a notebook with you wherever you go! You never know where or when inspiratio
    • n will strike.
    • As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that? I do, and it makes me so happy! My goal is to write books that are fun to read but also make a positive difference in people’s lives. It means so much to me to find out when a reader has connected to one of my stories or characters.
    • If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be? That would be so cool! I love Natalie Lloyd’s books and have always wanted to visit one of her settings. I think that would be a ton of fun.
    Posted in Meet the authors

    Amy Cesari

    – hi Bridget! I’m Amy, I might be a little different from some of the other authors that you interview because I’m an “indie author,” or independently published. I’m also a “kid at heart” and enjoy books and other entertainment on the younger side, (Disney films, Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket books, and playing “cute” Nintendo games like Mario and Animal Crossing!).
    But that doesn’t mean I’m not serious about my job as an author. I also have my master’s degree in business! I’m a bit nerdy, and a bit cartoony and a lot of goofy all at the same time.
    1. Did you read a lot when you were 9? When I was 9, I loved to read books by Joan Aiken. Especially the “Wolves Chronicles,” a middle-grade series written in the 1960’s. They were the perfect amount of spooky, spirited, adventurous—but still had a lot of heart and great characters. I recently asked my mom if I can have all of them back—they are in her basement and I want to re-read them (and thanks for keeping all of my books, mom!)
    2. What was your favorite story? My favorite story ever of all time would have to be “Harry Potter.” It just makes me feel like life can be magical, and I can do anything.
    3. How do you get story ideas? I decide that I want to tell a story, and then I look and listen for ideas coming from everywhere. Once I start to get ideas, I follow the ones that excite me and make me feel curious. I also like to “flip” ideas and things around to see if that gives me a new perspective.
    For example, I got the idea for Lilac Skully at Disneyland because it’s one of my favorite places that makes me feel super inspired. I was waiting excitedly in line to get IN to the Haunted Mansion… and I flipped that around and thought, “I’m excited to go IN, but what if you already lived there, and you weren’t very happy about it at all? Who would that be? What would that be like?”
    4. What author do you like right now? My favorite recent books are the first two in the “Apprentice Witch” middle grade series by James Nicol. I love that the protagonist is shy and not confident to start out—in fact, she feels like a failure and like she’s barely making a passing grade.
    5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors to suggest? Lesser-known authors, I’m going to go again with Joan Aiken and another “vintage” author that I loved as a child, Zilpha Keatly Snyder (author of the Egypt Games) because I think it’s great to keep the old books alive as well as bringing new ones to life.
    6. What advice do you have for kids who want to be a writer? My advice to kids who want to be authors—don’t give up! I gave up way too early, I didn’t believe in myself and thought I’d never make it as an author so I didn’t try. Long story short—I ended up working in a corporate sales and marketing career for 13 (mostly miserable) years before finding my own confidence and path to becoming an author.
    The good thing about this was that I learned a lot of super-useful skills about marketing and business that have helped me immensely in being an author. The bad thing was I wasn’t happy because I had given up on my dreams and wasn’t listening to my heart.
    My second piece of advice is… learn a little about marketing and business! Even if you’re a writer and creative first, you don’t want to be lost or left behind in business and marketing. Whether you are “indie” like me or “published” with a publisher, you have to do a lot of the promotion and marketing around your books yourself. And you’ll want to know a bit about business so you know what you’re getting into if you sign a publishing contract.
    And—math. I struggled terribly with math for my entire childhood. It wasn’t until college that I kept trying and started to really understand the important stuff. You don’t need to know advanced math to be an author—but you should know the basic math of percentages, finance and money, and how to use a spreadsheet to analyze basic data and do calculations. This stuff won’t help you be an author—it’ll help you be a successful author with a sustainable career.
    7. Do you hear from readers? Yes, I do hear from my readers, mostly on Instagram! I love it, and I think it’s really awesome to hear that someone enjoyed what I wrote, and that they took the time to read it. It doesn’t feel as great when someone doesn’t like your book—but that is the reality of being an author so it’s something that you’ve also got to accept and be ok with! You have to be proud of your books first and foremost.
    However, most of the feedback I receive is positive 🙂 It’s also a lot of fun to see common interests and get new book recommendations from people who’ve read my books. They usually like a lot of other cool books that I might like, too!
    8. If you could portal into any book, which would you? I’d definitely go to Hogwarts! I love Hermione and I’d go to the library straight away!
    Posted in Meet the authors

    JA White

    Author website/social media:
    Twitter: @jawhitebooks
    Instagram: @jawhitebooks
    Tell me a little about yourself:
    I’m the author of The Thickety series and Nightbooks, all published by Katherine Tegen Books.  I’ve also been a teacher for 20 years! My wife and I live in New Jersey with our three sons: Jack (16), Logan (10), and Colin (8).   My favorite dessert is pumpkin pie, and I’m really bad at fixing things around the house.
    1. When you were my age did you like to read?
    I was a VORACIOUS reader!  My parents took me to the library every Saturday morning and I used to come back with piles of books.  I would then sit on my bedroom floor and read until it was dark out!
    2.  What was your favorite story?
    Such a tough question!   I liked anything scary (no surprise there), but also fantasy, fairy tales, and mystery novels.  I used to especially love the Prydain novels of Lloyd Alexander and a mystery series called The Three Investigators.  
    3. How do you get your ideas?  How do you write spooky vs. scary?
    Some of my ideas come out of the blue during times when I let my brain wander, like during my commute to work.  Other ideas take a little work, and I have to sit at my computer and try out some bad ideas before figuring out a good one.  I think “spooky” is more like the tone of a story, and I usually convey that through the setting and description. “Scary,” to me, is when a character is in peril.  There are only a few scary parts in my books, but they pretty much have a spooky tone at all times!
    4.  How does being a teacher help your writing?

    I write about children, so it definitely helps that I’m around kids all day.  I hear how they talk and see how they act, so that (hopefully) helps me create more realistic characters.  Another part of my job is reading lots of children’s novels, so I always stay immersed in that world.


    5. What author do you like right now?

    I think Jonathan Auxier is a splendid writer.  I’ve just begun his new one–Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster–and it’s top notch, as always.  Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate are always sure bets as well.

    6. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
    John Bellairs.  He might not be as well known to children since he wrote a long time ago, but hopefully the recent film version of The House with a Clock in its Walls will help young readers discover his novels.  I’ve been re-reading his books recently, and I like them every bit as much as when I first read them as a child.
    7. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

    Read, read, read.  Not just novels–short stories, too, since that’s what you’ll be writing at the start.  And make sure you write every single day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It’s like exercise!

    8.  As an author, do you hear from your readers?  What do you like about that?

    Social media is great for interacting with readers, and I’m also lucky enough to get emails as well. It’s especially touching when the email comes from somewhere far away, like England or Australia.  I’m always flattered when any reader takes the time to reach out and contact me, because that means they really loved something I wrote.  That makes all that hard work worth it!

    9.  If you could portal into any book, what book would it be?

    It definitely wouldn’t be one of my books–too scary!  I’d have to say Harry Potter. It’s such a rich and varied world, and I’d love to explore it.  (But only if I get to be in Ravenclaw

    Posted in Meet the authors

    Christina Soontornvat

    Soontornvat 2_24Sep15_Cathlin McCullough Photography.jpg

    When you were my age (9), did you like to read? 

    I loved magical fantasy stories, like Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also loved comics! My favorite ones were Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side.

    What was your favorite story?

    I read The Hobbit about a hundred times!

    How do you get your ideas? 

    I get some of my best ideas when I have to make up a story on the spot for kids. The Changelings books came about when I made up a story about two sisters for my nieces. Somehow when I am telling a story out loud, my imagination really takes over and goes to some wild places.

    Why do you think diverse/multicultural books matter? How would 9 yr old you react to the books? 

    I think diverse books matter because we live in a diverse world. For a long time, books featured only one type of character, which is a shame because our world has so many different types of people in it. All those different people deserve to be heroes in books! And personally, I don’t want to read books about one type of person all the time. I want to read books that show me the whole wide world.

    What author do you really like right now?

    I love so many authors, how could I choose just one? One of my favorite authors is Lindsay Eager. Her book Race To the Bottom of the Sea is one of my favorite magical adventures. There are pirates and candy and sharks and heartaches. It has everything.

    Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?

    There is a new book coming in December, called Blizzard Besties written by Yamile Saied MĂ©ndez that is about a girl who has to save her little brother during a snow storm (with the help of a lovable dog). I love snow survival stories so I’m really looking forward to it!

    What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

    Now is the time to try out writing whatever you want. Don’t worry about anyone reading it, don’t worry about being perfect. You don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to! But the more you can practice and stretch your writing muscles now, the better you will get.

    As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

    I do! I love getting emails from kids or their parents telling me they read the book. I never, ever get tired of it. My Changelings books have big twists at the end, and I love hearing from kids who never saw it coming!

    If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

    I’d portal into Middle Earth (from the Lord of the Rings books). Hopefully not during a battle. I would prefer to portal straight into an Elvish feast with lots of singing and good food!

    Posted in Meet the authors

    Gareth Wronski

    • Author website/social media:,
    • Tell me a little about yourself: I’m a Canadian writer of science fiction and fantasy. My first book, HOLLY FARB, was published last year by Simon & Schuster. I also write screenplays, and spend my free time avoiding the terrifying swans that live nearby.
  • When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
  • I actually wasn’t a huge reader as a child. I mostly watched movies and played video games, and the only books I read were ones I was forced to read in school. When I was a bit older I got more into it and started reading for pleasure.

  • What was your favorite story?
  • The one book I remember really liking as a kid was Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, about a boy who is stranded in the wilderness and has to find a way to survive. It also made me afraid of camping.

  • How do you get your ideas? Will there be a second Holly Farb book?
  • I’m not sure exactly where I get my ideas from — they just sort of pop into my head! I’d love to write another book about Holly, but that’s up to the publisher and whether they want to.

  • What author do you really like right now?
  • The last book I read was The Witch Apprentice by James Nicol, which I really enjoyed.

  • Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
  • I can name a bunch of new authors people should check out: Wendy McLeod MacKnight, Heidi Lang, Kati Bartkowski, Beth McCMullen, Alexandra Ott, Sarah Cannon, Supriya Kelkar, Patricia Bailey, Melissa Roske, Lindsey Becker, Katie Slivensky, Jarrett Lerner, Darcy Miller, Rob Vlock, Sally J. Pla, and many others I’m probably forgetting.

  • What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
  • Don’t let anyone discourage you! Take time to have fun and figure out what sort of books you want to write. The good thing about writing at a young age is you have a lot of freedom to just enjoy the process and whatever you’re creating.

  • As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
  • I hear from readers from time to time, either by email or on Twitter. It’s always nice because one of the strange things about writing a book is you create this thing that then goes off into the world and you have no idea how anyone is reacting to it, or if they’re reacting to it at all. It’s like 70,000 words of talking to yourself, so it’s nice to have other people talk back.

  • If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
  • Harry Potter. I’d play Quidditch by day and solve magical mysteries by night.

    Posted in Meet the authors

    Debbie Dadey


    Author website/social media:;;
    1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
    Yes! I read under the covers at night, at the supper table with a book in my lap (makes for sticky books), and even in the bathtub (definitely not recommended-unless you like wet books!)
    2. What was your favorite story?
    My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Forker, read aloud to us every day. It was the best part of school (that and recess). She read the Little House on the Prairie books to us. To this day I still like books about westward expansion, but now I know how much that cost American Indians. Since I have a tiny bit of Cherokee Indian in me, the story Trail of Tears has always hurt my heart. In fact, I wrote a story called Cherokee Sister about two friends caught up in the forced Indian removal from their land, spurred by President Andrew Jackson.
    3. How do you get your ideas?
    I get ideas from everywhere. My friend Marcia Thornton Jones and I had the idea for our first published book from a really bad day at school. We jokingly said that if we were monster teachers all the kids in our classes would behave. What did we do? We created a teacher in Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots who just might be a vampire! It turned into a series of over sixty books called The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, with the two spin-off series of Bailey School Kids Junior Chapter Books and Bailey City Monsters.
    I have a fairy garden in my yard and that gave me the idea to write Fairy Chase (Mermaid Tales #18), where Echo wants to find a fairy. She gets a little help from some stinky fairy juice and her friends.
    My children have also given me great ideas. My daughter was in lots of schools plays and gave me the idea to write Once Upon A Star Fish (Mermaid Tales #12). My youngest son loves to skateboard, so I’ve been working on a skateboarding book. My oldest son, Nathan, and I wrote two books together, Slime Wars and Slime Time. We didn’t have an idea for a story at first, but we brainstormed to come up with ideas. We just said, “What would be fun to write about” and went from there.
    4. What author do you really like right now?
    I am lucky enough to belong the Midsouth chapter of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s book writers and Illustrators) and have met many wonderful authors and illustrators through that organization. Currently, I am rereading a book by Tracy Barrett called Anna of Byzantium.
    5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
    There are so many wonderful authors. Last summer I went on a Girls Read Tour with Stephanie Faris and Gail Nall and we had a great time. They both write really fun books for girls. They wrote one for older girls with other friends called Best.Night.Ever.
    6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
    I have two words of advice for anyone who wants to be an author: read and write. Okay, that is officially three words, but reading a lots and writing a lot are keys to developing into being a better writer. And they’re both fun! My website,, has a writing page that has some activities, videos, podcasts, and tips you might like to try.
    7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that? It is the most wonderful thing! Just this morning on Twitter ( I received an amazing letter from a mom who read my books when she was young. She totally freaked out when her son brought home Werewolves Don’t Go to Summer Camp from his school library. She sent me a picture and told me how much the Bailey School Kids books meant to her when she was growing up. I hope her son will enjoy them too!
    8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
    Ha! I think it would be totally fun to be a mermaid in Ready, Set, Goal! and visit the lost city of Atlantis!