Two friends, torn apart. Soli and Lucy argue, and then Lucy disappears, taken by the faeries who live in the forest near their homes. Can Soli save her friend, even if it means facing the biggest dangers she’s ever experienced? (Facebook, Facebook Capstone , Capstone)
Me: *Waves* Hello ladies! Great to have another writing team on The Files. What’s the best part about writing middle-grade books?
BETH: The best part is collaborating with my co-author. But I also love the rush I get from writing: I sometimes get lost in it, and it feels really good.
KAY: The best part is that it brings you back to that time period in your life. It gives you the opportunity to get in touch with the tween that lives in your heart no matter the writer’s age. Middle grade is a time when you make huge discoveries about yourself and others, and it’s always great to have the opportunity to write for that audience and entertain them with new ways to look at things they haven’t yet considered.
Me: I love that part, too, Kay! What is your favorite type of middle-grade book to read?
BETH: My favorite middle grade books always have really strong main characters and clear settings. I don’t really love historical fiction or high fantasy, but prefer books that are rooted in contemporary settings. I think I just connect better to that kind of book.
KAY: I’m a huge J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan fan. I’m always intrigued by fantasy, and the way the writers approach the book’s world building. It’s really fascinating to me.
Me: Oooh. Good answers! I love world building, too. I especially like to see how a character develops in that world, what sort of influence it has on them. What do you like most about your main characters, Soli and Lucy?
BETH: I like that they’re both complicated girls. It’s not as easy as one being popular and one being quiet; they’re both real, with good qualities and bad.
KAY: What I like the most about Lucy and Soli is their bond and understanding of each other. They believe in one another; they understand they can make mistakes; they trust their hearts; they keep strong side by side, showcasing that friendships can move mountains. I believe in those friendships. I still have them, and they mean the world to me. Friends like that exist, and they will change your life. Both girls are extremely relatable, and I identify with both of them, in different levels of their personality. They are just girls, true girls, you see everyday walking down the street, and they are really trying to grow and discover themselves throughout the story.
Me: They sound like characters many middle-grade girls can relate to. Do you prefer bologna and cheese or peanut butter and jelly?
BETH: I have peanut butter and strawberry jam on an english muffin for breakfast almost every day, so I’ll choose that one. 🙂
KAY: Peanut butter, no jelly, or bologna, no cheese. It’s a cultural thing. We Argentineans are odd. LOL!
Me: I guess I can’t have lunch with either of you. I’m allergic to nuts and meat! Maybe we can find a nice salad to munch on 🙂 Thanks for coming to MUF today, ladies!
Kay Fraser and Beth Bracken are a designer-editor team in Minnesota. Kay is from Buenos Aires. She left home at eighteen and moved to North Dakota — basically the exact opposite of Argentina. These days, she designs books, writes, makes tea for her husband, and drives her daughters to their dance lessons. Beth lives in a light-filled house with her husband and their son, Sam. She spends her time editing books, reading, daydreaming, and rearranging her furniture. Kay and Beth both love dark chocolate, Buffy, and tea.
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Amie Borst is the co-author of Cinderskella, a twisted fairy tale. She writes with her middle-grade daughter, Bethanie, and they’re excited about their debut on October 26th, 2013. You can find them both onfacebook.
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.