It’s a special day here at The Mixed Up Files when one of our own has a new book coming out. Yay! Time to celebrate Beth McMullen’s latest novel SECRET OF THE STORM: LAND OF DRAGONS—Out tomorrow!
Lisa: Tell us about Secret of The Storm: Land of Dragons
Beth: I find writing sequels a challenge, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not! But I love these characters so much, especially the relationship between Cassie and Albert, that I was excited to go back to their world. The way we love our animal companions is uncomplicated and beautiful and wanted to grow that in the second book. I also gave it an ending that is shocking even to me!
Lisa: Did you hide any Easter Eggs that only a few people will find?
Beth: If you’ve read my other middle grade series you were certainly see some cross over. As a reader, I love being rewarded by easter eggs (Stephen King is a master at this!) because it makes me feel like I’m in on a private joke. And that’s pretty fun.
Lisa: What is your writing Kryptonite?
Beth: Oh boy, just one??? Fatigue is probably the big one. If I’m exhausted my attention turns into a cloud that just floats right away at the slightest breeze. But knowing this helps me turn off the light and go to sleep at a reasonable hour because I hate losing a day because I can’t keep my eyes open.
Lisa: If you could tell your younger writing self, anything, what would it be?
Beth: It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Honestly, people who make it in this profession (and ‘making it’ has many definitions) are the ones who stay and don’t quit and persevere. If you can’t take the occasional kick in the teeth, this might not be the profession for you.
Lisa: Which scene was the hardest to write, and why?
Beth: The shocking ending that I talked about in question one! I wrote it and then thought ‘no way.’ It was too much. So I rewrote it a few times but none of those drafts worked and I ended up where I began.
Lisa: Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?
Beth: The dragon. Kidding. I love how Cassie faces the challenges in her life and doesn’t completely go to pieces. And I was really happy with the angles in Cassie and Joe’s friendship. They are not the obvious choice for each other but it works.
Lisa: If you could spend a day with another author, dead or alive, who would you choose?
Beth: Stephen King. Yeah. Huge fan. I don’t think he gets enough credit for creating regular relatable people with such apparent ease. I’d love to wander around in his head for bit.
Lisa: What are you working on now?
Beth: I’m working on a novel for adult readers that I absolutely love. I’m having way too much fun!
Lisa: Last, but most important-What is your favorite podcast?
Beth: Writers with Wrinkles. Those ladies are so funny and informative! If you haven’t listened, download it right away. You don’t want to miss out on this one!
Beth McMullen is the author of the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls (Aladdin/S&S) series as well as the Lola Benko, Treasure Hunter (Aladdin/S&S) series. Her third middle grade series, Secret Of The Storm arrived in March 2021 with the second installment out March 7th, 2023. Beth lives in Northern California with her husband, kids, cats and a very tolerant parakeet named Zeus.
You can reach her on FaceBook/Instagram @BethMcMullenBooks and on Twitter at @bvam. Visit BethMcMullenBooks.com to email or for more information.