Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Back-To-School Bookshelf Tour: Part One

One of the great things about being The Don's slave employee is meeting so many middle grade--I mean "top-grade"--authors. And now that autumn is upon us, The Don has turned his attention from his vegetable patch and is actively soliciting me to fill the compound with gangs of authors. Because, as he says, "September's the time for all-out reading, youse guys."

I was therefore fortunate to be approached by a merry band of middle grade authors who've organized themselves into "The Back-To-School Bookshelf Tour," and who agreed to take a stab at my Magnificent Mafioso questions. I think you'll find the answers illuminating. The Don has decided that these authors are worthy of the Order of the Eggplant, and is sending them each a vegetable basket, bruschetta, and a flask of his finest espresso.

Here we go:

1) MGM: Respect is a Middle Grade Mafioso's watchword. Use the word "respect" in a sentence or two (or a few) about writing for Middle Grade readers.

Released: September 13, 2016

When you write for middle grade readers, you have to respect their intelligence. They’re smart, they’re opinionated, and they probably know more about electronics than you do. Engage them honestly, and they’ll listen. Also, a little humour helps too.

2) MGM: If you found yourself in a tough situation, how would you use your book to get out of it?

Bridget Hodder, THE RAT PRINCE Released: August 23, 2016

If I were in a tough situation...let's say, a post-apocalyptic scenario, I would tear off THE RAT PRINCE's awesome cover (by Charles Santoso) and use it to barter for food. Then my family would make our way to a post-apocalyptic cave full of grim, sad people whose trust I would win by reading them the book and brightening their lives with the climactic happy ending (since no actual happy ending is possible in a post-apocalyptic cave).

3) MGM: Fill in the blank: I’m really awesome at….

Casey Lyall, HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. Released: September 6, 2016

Okay, I have thought of and discarded SO many answers for this question. For example, I thought, “You’re awesome at keeping secrets!” But only for other people. I’m terrible at keeping my own secrets because I get excited and blurt them out to everyone.

Then I thought, “You’re awesome at baking cookies!”But I’ve been watching the Great British Bake-Off and whoa – talk about being awesome at baking cookies.

There are more items on the list, added and scratched off, but I think I have the answer now. I’m really awesome at being me. Top notch Casey-ing happening over here. I’m the only me there is and I think I’m pretty good at it! Correction. Awesome at it.

4) MGM: If you could visit any place, where would it be?

Erin Petti, THE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE, Released: September 13, 2016

I'm about to let my dork flag fly here a little bit. I desperately want to visit the locations in New Zealand where Peter Jackson filmed the Lord of the Rings movies. My husband and I have been planning this make-believe trip for literally years. I honestly can't think of a place I'd feel more at home than outside Bilbo's hobbit hole enjoying the view and a hot cup of tea.

Join this fabulous crew for a Twitter party on September the 28th:
PLUS enter this Rafflecoptor giveaway for the chance to win each of these authors' book--eight in all!


  1. What a fun interview. Bridget's answer was so funny! Congrats to all these fantastic authors.

  2. Thank you, Natalie! We all had so much fun working with The Don and his wily henchman! (And we're waiting for our vegetable baskets.)

  3. This was a great interview! I really enjoyed it! There are some great authors out there, I am making quite the pile for my kids to read this year for school. Right now my son is loving Silencing Sharks, a phenomenal book by John Hope, johnhopewriting.com. We were recommended his book, and now I think we have a favorite author candidate!

  4. Ha ha! I loved the questions, and I loved the answers even more--very clever! I will definitely be checking these books out. Thanks Michael!

    P.S. My MG is finally finished and in the hands of my agent, so I am reentering the world of blogging. I've missed you! :)

  5. This is really a lot of fun. Great questions and great answers. All these books look like fun.


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