“Middleview” Interview with Debut Author Edith Cohn

Posted by Tamera Wissinger

Today, Edith Cohn is joining Smack Dab In The Middle Blog for a guest “middleview” interview. Edith’s debut middle grade novel SPIRIT’S KEY, FSG/Macmillan released on 09/09/2014! Congratulations, Edith!

Here is a bit about Edith:

Photo by:
Rita Crayon Huang
Edith Cohn was born and raised in North Carolina where she grew up exploring the unique beaches of the Outer Banks. She currently lives in the coyote-filled hills of Los Angeles with her husband and fur-daughter Leia. All of these things provided inspiration for her debut middle grade novel, SPIRIT’S KEY, a mystery about a girl and her ghost dog coming soon from FSG/Macmillan.

Here’s a description of SPIRIT’S KEY:

By now, twelve-year-old Spirit Holden should have inherited the family gift: the ability to see the future. But when she holds a house key in her hand like her dad does to read its owner’s destiny, she can’t see anything. Maybe it’s because she can’t get over the loss of her beloved dog, Sky, who died mysteriously. Sky was Spirit’s loyal companion, one of the wild dogs that the local islanders believe possess dangerous spirits. As more dogs start dying and people become sick, too, almost everyone is convinced that these dogs and their spirits are to blame—except for Spirit. Then Sky’s ghost appears, and Spirit is shaken. But his help may be the key to unlocking her new power and finding the cause of the mysterious illness before it’s too late.

Here are the links to Edith online: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook

Now it’s time to hear from our guest:

Smack Dab Middleview with SPIRIT’S KEY author Edith Cohn
1. In a nutshell, what does Spirit want?
Spirit wants to be with her dog Sky--running up and down the sand dunes or swimming in the ocean together.

2. What is in her way? 

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 knew I wanted to write a story about a kid and a ghost dog. But at first I thought the main character would be a boy and that he'd live in a city with his dog who'd be hit by a car. And I had what I thought was a separate book idea about a girl and a dead body washed ashore on the beach. It was only when I realized that the body was a dog that the two stories came together to become the mystery of twelve-year-old Spirit, a psychic girl, and the ghost of her pet dog, Sky.

4. Was SPIRIT'S KEY 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? 

Yes. I always knew this was a middle grade novel. My previous (unpublished) novels were all young adult, but I knew this idea was best suited for middle graders. The only problem was that I was terrified to try to write it. All my favorite books were middle grade and I felt the bar was higher than I could reach. Books like The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Garden, The Mixes Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Lord of the Flies--holy cow middle grade books are amazing, you know? So I held on to the idea for a year and a half before I figured out how to start writing it. I had to tell myself no one would see it. I whispered to my laptop that it would be our little secret.
5. What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers? 
So far the best part is getting to read lots of middle grade novels and call it "work" or "research." And I look forward to connecting with kids directly again. I used to teach 7th grade, but it's been awhile since I've been in a classroom. It'll be nice to do school visits, to teach writing and talk about books.

Thanks for joining us at Smack Dab in the Middle Blog, Edith. Again, congratulations on the release of SPIRIT’S KEY!


  1. I really enjoyed this interview...sounds like an interesting book! Thanks Tamera and Edith!

  2. The "What's in her way" answer has snagged my attention. Congrats, Edith!

  3. What a great interview! I can't wait to read the book so that I can discover the cause of the mysterious illness, too!


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