Friday, October 14, 2016

Guest Post: One Day, Three MG Debuts!

Today we have a very special interview with three debut middle grade authors: LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY by Jill Diamond, LIKE MAGIC by Elaine Vickers, and FINDING PERFECT by Elly Swartz. All three novels will find their way to a shelf near you on October 18, 2016. Read on to learn their secrets, and enter below to win a copy of ALL THREE signed hardcover books!

1. If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them?

Jill: I’d ask Pea to help me pick out a fabulous outfit for the LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY launch party!

Elly: If I could sit down with any character in FINDING PERFECT, it would be Molly’s little brother, Ian. And, the question I would ask him would simply be, “Are you okay?” While Ian is Molly and Kate’s youngest sibling, he understands Molly in a way most don’t. He sees her. The real her. As I wrote Molly’s story, I worried about him. He’s little. He sees the changes in Molly, but can’t help her on his own. Just like he can’t bring his mom home. He sees it all, but can’t fix any of it. So, if given the chance, I’d want to give him a big hug and make sure he was okay.

I’d ask my girls the same question I ask my kids each day: How was school? This story brought them right to the eve of starting at a new school where they could really blossom. Because my kids all started at new schools this year, I care so much about each kid feeling like they truly belong at school.

2. Share your main character’s favorite book or author.

Elaine: For Grace, I think Princess Juniper of the Hourglass by Ammi-Joan Paquette would be a story she would absolutely lose herself in and read again and again.

For Jada, something with a little sass and spunk like One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia or Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.

For Malia, I’d say Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams—a lovely MG set in Salt Lake City about a family that’s going through something similar to what Malia’s family encounters.

Jill: Lou Lou and Pea love to read! Lou Lou’s favorite picture book is The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle because it’s about horticulture. Pea’s favorite is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson because Harold draws his world and Pea is an artist. Of course, they also both love middle grade stories about friendship and mystery!

Elly: Molly has 2 favorite books. One is Where’s My Stuff, The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide by Samantha Moss and Lesley Schwartz. Molly’s playbook. The other is Eloise by Kay Thompson. Eloise is messy and precocious and confident in her uniqueness. While Molly is nothing like Eloise, she admires Eloise’s strength and absolute comfortability with mess.

3. What are you working on now?

Elly: I am in the middle of a few new projects. I am revising a middle grade novel about an 11-year-old named Frankie. A story about family with a splash of mystery. I am super excited about this project, and while I can’t share more at this time, I can say, stay tuned. Good news coming! I am also diving into the picture book world and kicking off another new middle grade.

Elaine: My second book is in copyedits now (coming fall 2017!), so I’m actually starting on a brand new book! This story idea started with an early morning run with my son, an unfortunate accident, and an absolutely perfect text from a good friend.

Jill: The second book in the LOU LOU AND PEA series, which will be released in the winter of 2017.

4. Can we see a “right-now” picture of your workspace?

Elaine: We are currently living with my in-laws while we build a house, so the only space I really have is my office at the university where I teach. If you look closely, you’ll see molecular models, safety goggles, and chemistry books, but also some art that inspires me. There’s a big window with second-story views of a grove of gorgeous old trees. It’s actually a wonderful place to write.

Jill: I live in a small city apartment, so my workspace is actually part of my kitchen. I think this is a good thing because I always know if someone has cookies to share. As you can see, it’s very colorful. I love wallpaper and this is definitely my favorite. It’s also cozy, and my husband built the amazing desk to fit in the space. Full disclosure: it’s not usually this neat. I tidied it up for the photo!

Elly: My work space is a pretty good depiction of the way I view the world and the things that are important to me. My desk is under a window, so I get the sun and the rain and slivers of the sky all day long. And, it is surrounded by photos of my sons, husband, and those I love who are no longer with me – my gram, my father-in-law and my mom. Reminders of how lucky I am to have (or have had) these people in my life. I also surround myself with quotes. My favorite, “If you can dream it. You can do it.” –Walt Disney. And, finally, there’s Lucy. Always, hanging out on my lap or near my desk.

Thank you to Elly, Jill, and Elaine for a very fun interview! We at Kidliterati are looking forward to each of these great new middle grade stories. For more information on each author and their debut, read below, and don't miss your chance to win a hardcover of all four books on the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post!

Jill Diamond has loved children’s literature for as long as she can remember, thanks to her school librarian mother and the long, cold winters in Maine. When she’s not writing, Jill practices law, dreams about her next travels, eats soft serve ice cream, and wears cowboy boots. Jill now lives in San Francisco with her husband and their son. Visit her at or on Twitter @jillinboots.

 Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Indiebound

Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author. Her debut novel, FINDING PERFECT (FSG October, 2016) is about twelve-year-old Molly, friendships, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. You can find her at, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook. Be sure to check out the FINDING PERFECT curriculum guide and audio trailer!

FINDING PERFECT: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound

Elaine Vickers is the author of LIKE MAGIC (HarperCollins, October 2016) and loves writing middle grade and chapter books when she’s not teaching college chemistry or hanging out with her fabulous family. You can find her at on the web, @ElaineBVickers on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, or generally anywhere there are books and/or food for her consumption.

LIKE MAGIC: Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | Indiebound

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  1. Congrats, Elly, Elaine & Jill! These all look like wonderful reads!!

  2. How fortunate young readers are for these new books! Good luck and all the best!


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