I noticed on your website that you’ve written children’s books previously, but JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS is your MG debut. Why did you decide to write a MG book?
Cora, the main character of JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS, really dictated my ‘switch’ to middle grade. Her voice and story were very strong and insistent, straight from the beginning. As soon as I realized I was writing from the point of view of a twelve year old girl, I wondered why I hadn’t done it before. I felt really at home with it.
Could you tell us a little bit about Cleaver Magazine and what you do as a book review editor for them?
Cleaver Magazine is a quarterly magazine that publishes “cutting edge” artwork and literary work from a mix of emerging and established writers. The magazine also reviews books from small and independent presses. I work with reviewers and edit the YA and children’s book reviews. I love making a home for books that might not get as much press or exposure as books from larger publishers.
What’s your favorite food? (curious minds want to know 😉 )
I have an epic love of cheese. I have never met a cheese I didn’t like. One of my favorite things to do is go to Murray’s Cheese Shop in New York City, try a bunch of fancy cheeses, then spend too much money on them. But I’m not a snob about it. I also like vegan cheese, rice cheese, string cheese, cheese from a can, the fake powdered kind in a mac and cheese box. I just…really like cheese.
On a day when you’re not writing, what could we find you doing for fun?
I like to bake cakes. Also, I live in a beautiful area with lots of woods to explore, so, most of the time, you can find me outdoors playing with my son, walking, running, or hiking. And I love to read.
This one’s a tough question 😛 Sorry in advance! What has been your top read of 2017 so far?
Oof, that is a tough one! I was about to cheat and rattle off a bunch of titles but I decided to stick to my first instinct. I really loved Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.
I noticed you have worked in the past with an accountability group. How has that helped you with writing?
Working with an accountability group has helped me step back and really think about what I want to accomplish weekly, monthly, and over a year in my personal and professional life. For example, this year, I knew I wanted to write a new novel. But it’s silly to write on a to-do list: write a novel. It’s completely overwhelming. So I broke down week by week what I wanted to accomplish: research or drafting a scene or just wandering and thinking… Writing can be so lonely. Sharing goals and accomplishments makes it less so.
After reading your book’s blurb, it looks like trees play an important role in the story. If that’s true, why did you decide to focus on trees? Also, what’s your favorite type of tree?
I wrote JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS while I lived in Brooklyn. I always felt there was such a rich life of trees and plants growing there, especially along the sidewalks. New York City has a lot of street trees. But it’s never the first thing people think of when they think of a city. I had this idea I wanted to write about kids climbing trees in the city and it evolved into a book about a girl who is looking for signs of home in all the growing life around Brooklyn. My favorite city tree is a Callery Pear. When it flowers it looks like a tree of snow.
While working with various companies to create content for children’s toys, do you have a special place in your heart for any of the toys in particular?
I was lucky to work on a lot of fun stuff throughout my life in the toy biz. If I had to pick a favorite, it was working on a Sesame Street toy where we created a song that had this fun doo-wop 1950’s diner vibe. We had to record the song with all the characters and I got to meet Carroll Spinney. He is the original voice of Big Bird and Oscar, meaning, he created the characters with Jim Henson and still voices them today. When he spoke in the recording booth, I felt chills hearing the voice of characters I loved as a kid. It was such a great moment.
*~~About the Author~~*
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to check out another enchantingly epic #EE18ers post! 😉