Posts Tagged author interviews

A Chat With Author Trudi Trueit & A Giveaway of My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts!

Please give a warm Mixed-Up welcome to Author Trudi Trueit and her latest release My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to interview Trudi. Plus, this is my first post for MUF, so if I sound overly-excited don’t worry. It will eventually wear off.

Twelve-year-old Kestrel must battle evil twin sisters and overcome her own worst fear to prevent the foreclosure of her grandmother’s beloved lodge in this fresh, funny M!X novel.

Description: Kestrel and her family are headed out to Vancouver, BC, to help out her grandmother at her beautiful ski lodge. It’s been in the family for generations, but the business is in trouble—and there are lots of people looking to take over the property.
Kestrel is determined to help her family retain their precious business—one that her grandfather built literally from the ground up. But two evil twins—who happen to be the daughters of a property developer determined to drive the lodge out of business—prove to be her nemeses in every way possible. Can Kestrel help save the lodge and beat the twins at their own game?

Sounds amazingly sweet, doesn’t it? Well it was. Want to know how I know that? Trudi was gracious enough to share a copy with me. Feel free to read my thoughts HERE.

Hi Trudi! It’s wonderful to have you here. I’m intrigue by writers who are successful in writing both fiction and non-fiction. Mind sharing  your reasons and inspirations for writing fictional tales, and how do those differ from your nonfiction work? 

I’ve always loved to read! As a kid, I couldn’t wait for the Scholastic Book Club order to come in so I could lug home my stack of new books. I started writing stories and plays when I was in early elementary school, inspired by writers I admired, such as Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, E.B. White, and E.L. Konigsburg. Although I adored the book Mixed Up Files, my all-time favorite book is Kongisburg’s Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. I identified closely with the main character and it taught me the most powerful thing a story can have is relatable characters.

Fiction and nonfiction have more in common than you might think. With both genres, you must be clear and succinct, write lively prose, and tell a good story. Fiction is the ultimate in creativity; there are a million different choices you can make about where the plot will go at any given point. You are in complete control. With nonfiction, you are telling stories that aren’t your own, yet you still have decisions to make about the angle, the narrative, and what to include (and leave out). I especially enjoy the research aspect of nonfiction; interviewing experts and unearthing new gems of information. Can you tell I was a TV journalist before I wrote for children? Also, nonfiction can have as much lasting power as fiction! A book I wrote on the water cycle more than a decade ago is still being used in school curriculums today.

Great point about writing techniques being the same. And those SBC order forms … Yes! I always had a hard time dwindling my choices down to one or two. 

I’m a character name fanatic and the name Kestrel is definitely unique. What about this character told you her name should be Kestrel?

I am a character name freak, too. I try to select a name that reflects personality and struggles. Several years ago, I met a Native American woman named Kestrel. She was a volunteer at a wildlife rehab facility, helping injured eagles and hawks (a kestrel is a type of falcon). I tucked the name away with the idea that one day I would give it to a character, who needed to spread her wings. When I started thinking about my main character in Dares & Don’ts, who was small in stature and hiding behind her fears, I knew she needed a name to aspire to. She had to discover she had it within her to fly! Kestrel seemed like the perfect fit. BTW, Kestrel’s grandmother is named Lark – another bird!

Kestrel’s desire to help her family is admirable. How important is it to you, the author, to include a middle grader’s family and interactions with them in your books? Have you found it makes a difference to your readers?

It’s everything! Your family plays an integral role in your values and how you identify with the world. Unless you’re doing a story about an orphan, you can’t have a well-rounded story about a 12-year-old without giving him/her a sense of family (even then, an orphan’s friends become his/her family). Plus, it’s our intimate relationships that reveal who we truly are. If you read about a girl, who is kind to her friends but viciously insults her little sister, it speaks volumes about the person she is. There’s no better way to show readers the heart of a character than to peer behind the doors at home. And I do think it matters to readers. After my last book, The Sister Solution (the story of two sisters who are as different as night and day) I got many letters from readers saying, “This is exactly how my sister and I relate to each other!”

“…our intimate relationships that reveal who we truly are.” I love this. Great note for writers. If you could take Kestrel and drop her into a different book which book would it be and why?

I’d love to drop Kestrel into Stealing Popular, another title of mine. It’s the story of a girl, Coco, who decides to play Robin Hood in her middle school. She ‘steals’ from the popular kids to give to the misfits and outcasts, who never seem to get any breaks. Coco finds a way to get her best friend on the cheer staff and the least popular girl in school voted as Fall queen. With Coco’s courage and Kestrel’s tenacity, they’d make a great team!

What makes this book different from some of the other stories you’ve written?

This book, more than any other, tapped into my life during a very dark time – my mother’s death. After she passed, it took me a while to find my desire to write again, but I knew she wouldn’t want me to wallow. She was my first reader ever and my champion until the very end. The random thoughts I wrote down after her death sowed the seeds for Dares and Don’ts. Often, the first time kids face death is through the loss of a grandparent. In the book, Kestrel didn’t know her grandfather well (my grandfather died before I was born) and she doesn’t know how to comfort her grandmother through the grieving process. Kestrel is afraid she’ll say or do the wrong thing. She’s scared she may make things worse. Still, she doesn’t back away from Grandma Lark, which would be the easiest thing to do. She hangs in there and, in doing so, discovers it’s not her words or actions that matter – it’s her mere presence, her love, that is helping her grandmother heal.

I can only imagine. I’m sure it was tough to get back to writing, but we’re all glad you did. <3 

How do you navigate the social arena and connect with your readers when most of them are at an age where they aren’t connected via social media?

That is true, many young readers aren’t on social media but most do spend some time on the internet. The best way I can connect with them is by making it easy to find me. I have a kid-friendly web site, www.truditrueit.com where readers and their parents can log on to find out about my titles, read my bio, and drop me a note. I also put out an e-newsletter twice a year so they (or their parents) can subscribe to that to keep up on news or join my reader street team (a street team is a group of kids willing to read and review a new release). Another great way to reach readers is through the incredible people, who put my books into their hands: librarians! So I share news and run giveaways through social media channels like Facebook (facebook.com/truditrueit) and Twitter (@truditrueit)

This is fabulous! Again, writers take note.

Let’s leave your readers and writing admirers with your most valuable piece of writing advice in a tweet + hashtag.

Your first idea is rarely your best. Think of another. And another. #writersdigdeep @truditrueit

LUV! Guess what I’m hopping off to tweet? Lastly, what can your fans expect from you next?

I just finished (as in two days ago!) the first book in an action/adventure middle grade fiction series for National Geographic, which should be out this time next year. It’s an exciting project and I can’t wait to share more about it soon!

Oh wow! That sounds amazing. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for joining us and for sharing your wisdom, work, and excitement. All the best to you always.

Trudi Trueit knew she’d found her life’s passion after writing (and directing) her first play in the fourth grade. Since then, she’s been a newspaper journalist, television news reporter and anchor, and freelance writer, but her favorite career is what she does now—writing for kids and tweens. She’s published more than100 fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers, including My Top Secret Dares and Don’ts, The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular (Aladdin MIX) and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series (Aladdin). She loves all things chocolate and lives with her husband and two cats north of Seattle, WA. Visit her

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Simon & Schuster Author Page | Trudi’s Fiction on Amazon

And guess what, Mixed-Up Files readers? Trudi is offering up a copy of My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts to one lucky winner! (US only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are two more sweet reads by Trudi!

 

 

 

Click on the images for more! 

S.A. Larsen, known to family & friends as Sheri, is the author of the award-winning  middle grade novel Motley Education, numerous community interest stories, young adult shorties, and her soon-to-be released young adult novel Marked Beauty.

Author Interview: Meet Nancy Roe Pimm

Ready for a quiz?  I know, this blog post just started, and already I’m quizzing you. But this won’t take long. Here goes:

1)  What was Amelia Earhart attempting to do when she and her plane went missing over the Pacific Ocean?

Of course, you answered that quickly. She was trying to become the first women to fly around the world.

2)   Who was the first women to fly solo around the world?

If you came up with the name Jerrie Mock, chances are you either live in central Ohio or you Googled the question before answering.

jerrie cover

Today I’m thrilled to have author Nancy Roe Pimm with us.  Nancy’s middle-grade biography of aviator Jerrie Mock, titled The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo around the World, released on Tuesday, March 15th.  To find out more about this remarkable woman, let’s chat with Nancy. And, I promise, there will be no quiz at the end.

Tell us a little bit about Jerrie Mock, who she was, and how she became interested in flying.

When Jerrie was only seven years old, her parents took her to a fair where she took her first airplane ride. She loved it so much, she told her father afterward that she wanted to be a pilot when she grew up. In school, she saw pictures of exotic places around the world, and she was fascinated by other cultures. She aspired to combine her love of flying with her desire to see the world. After high school, she became the only female student studying aeronautical engineering at The Ohio State University. She did well in college, but in the 1940’s, there was a lot of pressure on young women to marry and raise a family. When her high school sweetheart proposed, she left college began the life others expected her to live.

As a woman aviator in the 1960’s, what challenges did Jerrie face?

When her children were a little older, Jerrie did go to flight school and eventually got her pilot’s license. At the time, women in the cockpit were not the norm. She tried to maintain her femininity for public perception, wearing skirts and heels for photographs. She entered flying races called air derbies and became known as “The Flying Housewife,” a moniker she very much disliked. Even though she was an airplane mechanic and pilot, her male colleagues expected her to get them coffee.

Jerrie and Amelia lived in different time periods. Do you feel Amelia paved the way for Jerrie to fly around the world? Why do you think it took so long for a female pilot to successfully complete the journey Amelia set out on?

Amelia Earhart was Jerrie’s hero. Jerrie was in middle school in 1937, a 12-year-old fan of the woman who was attempting to fly around the world. She’d race home from school every day for the radio update on Earhart’s journey. In the early 1960s, Jerrie was surprised to learn that no woman had flown solo around the world. I don’t know why it took so long for another female pilot to do it. Maybe it was because of the way Amelia’s journey ended in tragedy.

What do you hope middle-grade readers find when they read The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo around the World?

I hope they find inspiration. Jerrie was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things.  You have to have a dream. Dreams can’t come true unless you have a dream. Jerrie also lived in a time when women had little power, but Jerrie very humbly did what she knew she could. The book shows how much womens’ roles in society have changed. Jerrie’s story has so much – history, culture, geography, science. I learned so much writing the book. I know readers will learn a lot reading it, too.

Finally, tell us a little about Nancy Roe Pimm.  Have you ever flown an airplane?

I’ve flown an Ultralight, which is like a motorized glider. I was with Mario Andretti (my husband used to drive race cars and we became friends with the Andrettis) and Mario told me to take over the controls just above the tree tops. I was terrified, but it was exhilarating! 

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and I always dreamed of living on a horse farm. I married a farmer who turned race car driver. He drove in the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. He followed his dreams and encouraged me to follow my own dreams of writing. The Jerrie Mock Story is my fifth book for young readers.

Nancy-Roe-Pimm-websmall

 

 

Thanks so much to Nancy for taking time to stop by The Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors. You can find Nancy at www.nancyroepimm.com and on Twitter as @nancyroepimm.

 

 

Mixed-Up Files blogger Michelle Houts has written four books for middle-grade readers, including Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek, which is part of the same series as Nancy Roe Pimm’s The Jerrie Mock Story. Both books are part of the Biographies for Young Readers Series from Ohio University Press.