|I can't believe I'm sharing this photo|
Between the ages of eight and eleven, I had a tiny obsession with Laura Ingalls. Not only did I read and re-read all of the Little House books, but I also watched the show religiously and dressed like a pioneer girl on occasion.
I became obsessed with historical fiction. I devoured books like The Little House in the Big Woods and Strawberry Girl. Don’t get me started on The Boxcar Children. I would have given anything for a cool hideout complete with a cracked pink cup and a loaf of bread. I identified with Ellen Tebbits and had a major crush on Henry Huggins. I cried through Bridge to Terabithia and The Trumpet of the Swan. I saved all of my birthday money, so I could feed my addiction from the book club flyer! I still have many of those old paperbacks. Then, something wonderful happened.
In 6th grade, I discovered Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret.“We must—We must—we must increase our bust.”
I quickly realized I could count on Judy to give me the facts about embarrassing stuff like periods, B.O., leg-shaving, what boys think about, what to do about bullies, how best friendships can work, etc. Now, I'm not as dorky as I used to be and three boys call me Mom.
I guess you could say that I started writing middle grade for my sons.When my oldest son was about fourteen, I started looking for realistic novels for him to read. I wanted to give him books that explored the same topics that Judy Blume wrote about.
I found one great book: Firegirl by Tony Abbott. It’s got "feelings," friendship, cool cars, comic books, superpowers, and all the stuff boys like to read about. But there is a bonus: it’s also honest and compelling. It also explores the feelings of kids who are forced to deal with something foreign, a girl whose life has changed forever because she was disfigured in an accident. You’ll need a tissue when you read it.
The Marble Queen will be my first published book. It’s a historical middle grade novel coming out from Marshall Cavendish in the Fall of 2012. It’s about ten-year old Freedom Jane McKenzie who longs to enter and win the local marble-shooting competition, even though everyone, including her difficult Mama, tells her that marbles are for boys.
Freedom is a little bit like Ramona and a lot like the ten-year old dork in me.