Posted by Tamera Wissinger
Today, Robin Herrera is joining Smack Dab In The Middle Blog for a guest “middleview” interview. Robin’s debut middle grade novel HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, Amulet Books, released earlier this week, on 03/11/2014! Congratulations, Robin!
Here is a bit about Robin:
Robin Herrera is an aspiring cat lady living in Portland, Oregon. She has a BA in English from Mills College and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. If you ask her how much sugar she puts in her tea, you may be tempted to hand her a toothbrush. HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL is her first novel.
Here’s a description of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL:
Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.
With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.
Now it’s time to hear from our guest:
Smack Dab Middleview with HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL author Robin Herrera
1. In a nutshell, what does your main character, Star, want?
Mainly, friends. But also, to make her sister happy and to meet her father.
2. What is in her way?
A very mean classmate who glares at her; a teacher who thinks she’s a delinquent; her mother, who won’t listen to her; and a bossy boy who shows up to her club meetings.
3. Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you wrote? How did the story evolve?
I think I knew right away. I guess originally the story was actually backstory (Star was a side-character in another novel I was plotting out), but then I felt really compelled to start writing it, so I did. The first draft was more like a character study, I think, and the span of time was longer. It did evolve in the sense that it developed a true plot. (Word of advice – try and get that plot down!)
4. Was HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL always for middle grade readers or not? If so, why did you choose middle grade? If not, what had to change for it to be considered a middle grade novel?
It was always for middle grade, which was odd since its parent story (the novel I mentioned earlier, where Star was a side-character) was an adult novel. It was the first middle grade story I ever wrote, and now I want to write a whole lot more!
5. What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?
You can be pretty inventive. Readers will know if you’re stretching the limits, but they’ll follow you almost anywhere if you make it compelling enough.
6. Is there any downside?
You can’t cuss. Seriously, I’m upset about this! Judy Blume cussed all over the place! Also, I’ve never worked in a school where children didn’t cuss. So it makes no sense to me. A movie can be rated PG or PG-13 and still have the f-word in it once, but it’s not the same for middle grade. SIGH.
7. Is there one question you wish you could answer about writing, your book, or the author's life, but have never been asked? Here's your chance to Q &A yourself.
I always wanted someone to ask if I drink coffee, so I could tell them I drink tea. They’d probably think that I must think highly of my tea-drinking self until I told them that I just drink cheap grocery store tea. I don’t even remember the names of my favorite teas. I just know my favorite has a lion on it.
Thanks for joining us at Smack Dab in the Middle Blog, Robin. Again, congratulations on the release of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL!