Cover Reveal of SAVE THE CRASH-TEST DUMMIES by Jen Swanson!

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

We have a special treat for you today! The cover-reveal of our own Jennifer Swanson’s SAVE THE CRASH-TEST DUMMIES!

Hi Jen,

Thanks so much for joining us today!

JR: Tell us a little bit about Save the Crash-test Dummies and the impetus behind writing it?

JS: For an earlier book I was doing, I had to research the self-driving car. At the time, Google was the only one making them. I LOVED the idea of a self-driving car! I mean, I am not a fan of driving. For more than 5 years I spent every afternoon from 3pm to 7pm in the car. That’s the price of  having 3 kids in 3 different sports across town all at the same time. Have a robot drive you? YES! Sign me up! (After all, I had alerady survived 3 teenage drivers).

But I knew I wanted this book to be a trade book, so I had to find the right hook. One night I was walking with my husband and we were talking about an old Crash-test dummy commercial that they had brought back (from the 70’s). I said something like, “Hey, if we have self-driving cars, we won’t need the dummies.” He said, “Yes, that would certainly, save the crash-test dummies life.” OMG! That was it! The hook, the title—everything all in one neat package. Suddenly,  the whole book popped into my head. I sat down to write my book about the history of car safety engineering from the Model T to self-driving cars.  The rest, as they say, is, well history.



JR: It looks fascinating! Everyone should go buy the book, but can you give us one thing that really surprised you while researching?

JS: It might surprise people to know that engineers were always concerned about safety, but the first group to create seatbelts was an emergency room doctor who saw first-hand the dangers of not having them in your car. He made them for his family.


JR: Have you ever been to see an actual crash test in person?

JS: Unfortunately, no. I would love to do so, though! I think it would be cool to see all of the equipment that is hooked up to the dummy. These things may be called “dummies” but they are really smart pieces of equipment, holding thousands of sensors to track every tiny movement and impact. We owe our lives to these “dummies” .


JR: Yes, we do. You’ve been very prolific in getting books out. How long does it take you to go from concept to finished product?

JS: Well that all depends on the publisher. I have TONS of ideas. But since I write for middle grade readers, I don’t write the entire manuscript, instead I submit a proposal. Sometimes the proposals are accepted right away. Then I start writing. If that happens, it can be about 3-4 months from idea to first draft. But if it takes longer to sell, it can take a while. In the meantime, though, I’m off and running on my next project and proposal. At any one time I may be working on 4-6 different projects (at various stages of publication) at once. It’s fun, if a bit challenging. But I love my job!



JR: What was the first book you wrote?

JS: The first book I ever wrote was in kindergarten. I used to write “books” about my dog, Lucky. I even illustrated them (with stick figures). My first nonfiction book that I wrote was called “Uninvited Guests: Invisible Creatures Lurking Inside Your Home” by Capstone Press. Very cool, but creepy if you don’t like crawly things.


JR: So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the cover for SAVE THE CRASH-TEST DUMMIES, illustrated by TeMika Grooms.



JR: Thanks again to Jen for joining us for her cover reveal! Make sure to get your copy when it comes out, or better yet, pre-order it now!

If any other authors want to have your cover reveal done at Mixed-Up Files, we’d love to host you!



Until next time . . .



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Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time chauffeuring around his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into, in particular the Choose Your Own Adventure Series, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. He is the author of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which is out now, and its sequel, From Sunset Till Sunrise. He is the co-host of the YouTube channels, Pop Culture Retro, Comics and Pop. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com,, and his own website,
  1. Can’t wait to read this one and see TeMika’s illustrations. Congrats!

  2. I have always felt bad for the crash dummies… so many died in service to humankind, some of whom still refuse to: click their seatbelts, wear motorcycle helmets, turn their mobile phone off while driving, etc etc etc…

  3. Congratulations on the cover reveal, Jen! Love the interview and can’t wait to add this one to my classroom library!!

  4. How interesting! I never thought about those crash-test dummies in correlation to self-driving vehicles! Congrats, Jennifer! And that’s so cool how you can have multiple projects going on simultaneously. Along with 3 kids too!

    • Thanks, Candice. Fortunately, my kids are older and mostly on their own now. But yes, I’m quite busy. And thankful to be that way. Love my job!