Thanks so much to Trudi Trueit for joining us on The Mixed Up Files today!
We’re thrilled about Trudi’s new release, The Sister Solution.
Just so our readers are aware, Trudi and I have known each other for awhile now. I’m so honored to be the one to conduct this interview as part of The Sister Solution Blog Tour!
Let’s get right to the interview, shall we?
MUF: Trudi, we met when you did a book fair event for our school. It was obvious to me from the start that you love to work with kids. Can you please share with us what you most enjoy about connecting with your readers?
TT: From a young age, I found comfort and power in books and, in particular, writing. I was a shy girl, but through my stories I could be all of the things I thought I wasn’t in real life. I could be brave. I could be strong. I could even be magical! And the more I wrote, the more I started to realize that maybe I wasn’t just those things on the page. Maybe I had little tiny bit of them within me. Writing gave me the confidence to come out of my shell and try new things. It became my passion to write stories, both fiction and nonfiction (I was a journalist before I wrote books for children). So when I get to connect with young readers and writers, the thing that thrills me most is seeing that same light turn on in them. When they have read something that makes them see the world from a different point of view or when they have written something they didn’t even know they had in them, it’s pure joy. I know that, like me, they are forever changed. They are finding all of that potential within themselves. They are brave. They are strong. They are magical.
MUF: Wow, thanks for that answer! As a kid who grew up feeling much the same as you, I deeply appreciate the way you’ve been able to tap into that magic and share it with kids. I’ve seen the lights turn on with kids and your books, and it’s pure joy.
As a school librarian, I know your books well. You write your nonfiction in particular for many ages, but I’d say that your fiction is all for middle grade readers (though Scab appeals to younger kids, too, he is very much loved by 3rd and even 4th graders!). What led to your focus on books for this age group?
TT: Fourth grade was when I found my own voice through writing, so I think that’s why this age group appeals to me. There is something inherently special about being nine or ten years old. You are just beginning to discover who you truly are, what your values are, what you want out of life, and where you want to go. All of these possibilities intrigue me and I find it to be rich with material. To me, it’s the ‘golden age.’
MUF: What a great answer. I find that the Middle Grade age range challenges and feeds me at the same time, as a writer and as a librarian, too. Of course, I’m not sure I’ve ever grown beyond 10 years old myself!
The Sister Solution, like Stealing Popular, is about facing the pressures of school and relationships head on. Where did the idea for this book get its start? Was it an “aha!” moment, or a slow development of an idea?
TT: I do love writing about relationships! I find it fascinating to deconstruct them. It is the journey we all take together. We are all trying to figure out what makes the people around us tick. I’ve known for quite a while I wanted to write about two sisters, who were polar opposites, that had to figure out how to navigate their differences to save their relationship. I started writing the book from the elder sister’s point of view but I wasn’t more than a few chapters in when I knew something was wrong. It was one-sided. I realized that if I truly wanted to explore what each sister was thinking and feeling I had to do it in her words. I switched to alternating points of view and that seemed to do the trick!
MUF: I love this, thanks for sharing your journey to find the right voice for this book. Can you please tell us a little more about your writing process? I happen to know that cats are involved, but beyond that, what does a typical workday look like for you?
TT: As I type this my cat, Pippin, is demanding I play with him so I’ll make it quick, because I am, after all, his servant. My routine is not too exciting. I am usually at my desk by 7:30 a.m. to answer emails and do a few promotional tasks (PR is an essential part of a writer’s job). I will write from 8:30 to about 4:00 p.m., with a few breaks to play with Pippin, check emails, and return phone calls. I might also have a Skype visit with a class. When I have a new book coming out – like now – I will go ride my bike or do a work-out, have dinner and then return to my desk for a few hours to handle some of the tasks that go along with marketing, like updating my website, blog tour interviews, promotional mailings, etc.
MUF: I wonder if we should tell our readers that Pippin has his own Facebook page…
Before you go, the librarian in me always has to ask:
Is there a favorite book you’d like to share from your own middle grade years? We’d love to hear about a book that stuck with you from your childhood.
TT: My favorite book, the one I read again and again, was Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, by E.L. Konigsburg (also, of course, the author of From the Mixed Up Files – another one of my favorites). Elizabeth, the main character, was the first character from a book that I could completely relate to. She got me. And I got her. I wanted to have more friends, and so did she. I wanted to be extraordinary, and so did she. This book is why I love writing realistic fiction so much, because while I could always find pieces of myself in a fantasy realm, I could find ALL of myself in a real one.
MUF: You’ve expressed so well how a book can reach a reader, and why the books you chose reached you – thank you! I want to remember these words when I share my favorites with young readers. It’s so helpful for kids if we don’t assume that favorites are the same for everyone.
Thanks again for visiting with us today, Trudi. We’re very excited for Sister Solution, and we hope you have all kinds of success with it!
We’re so grateful that Trudi could stop by today. You can visit her webpage to find information about the rest of the blog tour and her other books, author visits and more.
You can also download the reader’s guide for The Sister Solution.
Follow Trudi on Twitter, and keep up with the latest with the hashtag #SisterSolutionBlogTour.
Trudi’s Facebook page .