“Middleview” Interview with Debut Author Elisabeth Dahl

Posted by Tamera Wissinger

Today, Elisabeth Dahl is joining Smack Dab In The Middle Blog for a guest “middleview” interview. Elisabeth’s debut middle grade novel GENIE WISHES, Amulet Books/ABRAMS, releases in two days, on 4/02/2013! Congratulations, Elisabeth!

Here is Elisabeth’s official biography:

Middle Grade Author Elisabeth Dahl
 Elisabeth Dahl writes for children and adults from her home in Baltimore, Maryland, where she lives with her family. GENIE WISHES is her first book. Her shorter pieces have appeared at NPR.org, at TheRumpus.net, in Little Patuxent Review, and elsewhere.

Here’s a description of GENIE WISHES:

This sweet, funny novel follows fifth-grader Genie Kunkle through a tumultuous year. From the first day of school, Genie knows there will be good, bad, and in-between. The good? She’s in homeroom with her best friend, Sarah. The bad? Sarah’s friend from camp, Blair, is a new student at their school, and is itching to take Genie’s place as Sarah’s BFF. The in-between? Genie is excited to be elected to write her class’s blog, where she’s tasked with tracking the wishes and dreams of her class. But expressing her opinion in public can be scary—especially when her opinion might make the rest of her class upset.

Elisabeth Dahl authentically captures the ups and downs of a tween girl’s life, and the dramas—both little and big—that fill the scary transition between childhood and adolescence.

Here are the links to Elisabeth online: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Website And as a special bonus, here is the link to the GENIE WISHES book trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=etqOnGzE39Y

Now it’s time to hear from our guest:

Smack Dab Middleview with GENIE WISHES author Elisabeth Dahl
1. What does your main character, Genie, want?
Genie wants to do a good job as class blogger and get through fifth grade happily without being forced to grow up faster than she's ready to.

2. What is in Genie's way?
There's a boy-crazy and kind of mean new girl in the class, Blair, who wants Genie's longtime best friend, Sarah, all to herself, and that's a problem. But Blair's arrival is just one of the many changes that are occurring within the fifth grade. For instance, popularity is playing a bigger role than it ever has before, and puberty (a word the whole class hates) is rumbling like an earthquake beneath the surface. 

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 discovered it as I wrote it. The story began with a girl (Genie) and a scenario (she's elected to be her class blogger) and my impulse to create line drawings that would be Genie's. Originally, the story was rather episodic. I worked with my agent and editor to give it more of a narrative arc.

4. Was GENIE WISHES 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?
I didn't know the term "middle grade" when I started the book (I learned it as I prepared to query agents), but yes, this was always the age group I was thinking of.

5. What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?
Oh, they're just so charming and devoted. They disappear so deeply into a story.

Thank you for joining us for a Middleview at Smack Dab Blog, Elisabeth. Again, congratulations on the release of GENIE WISHES! We’ll look for it soon on bookshelves!


  1. I love "charming and devoted" as a way to describe MG readers. So true.

  2. I loved this book! I loved reading about how the story evolved. Happy book birthday tomorrow, GENIE WISHES!


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