Thursday, May 13, 2010

Author Interview and Contest - Barbara Dee

Please join me in welcoming author Barbara Dee to the blog today.  Barbara is the author of the newly released tween novel, This is Me From Now On from Simon and Schuster.  She has also written 2 other books:  Solving Zoe and Just Another Day in My Insanely Real Life.   You can find her online at her website, Barbara Dee or her blog, Barbara Dee Books.

WFAR (Write For A Reader): When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

BD (Barbara Dee): Actually, I’ve always known that! When I was a little kid, I used to say I wanted to be an “authoress.” (I also said I wanted to be a ballerina, but as it turns out, you don’t see too many five-foot-eleven women in tutus!)

WFAR: What else have you written besides this book?

BD: I’ve written the tween novels JUST ANOTHER DAY IN MY INSANELY REAL LIFE, and SOLVING ZOE, which was just named one of the 2010 Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year. It’s also a finalist in the 2010 New York State Library Association Three Apples Book Award. What’s so wonderful about that award is that it comes directly from kids!

WFAR: What was the inspiration or back story for This is Me From Now On?

BD: When I was in seventh grade, I was a lot like Evie—a good girl who was getting a bit restless. So I became friendly with a much wilder girl who got me into some mischief—nothing like what happens in THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON. But this girl jolted me out of my comfort zone and kept me laughing. She also helped me figure out a few things about myself. I think every girl in middle school needs a friend like that—as long as she’s careful!

WFAR: Why did you choose to write for tweens as opposed to other audiences?

BD: When my own kids were tweens, they’d outgrown the Children’s Section in our library, but they weren’t ready for some of the darker, edgier books in the YA Section. It occurred to me that kids in those “in between years” needed more choices—and they especially needed fun, funny books that took them seriously. As it happens, I’m in close touch with my own tween years, and can channel those emotions very easily. So I decided to try writing for tweens. And I’m having a blast!

WFAR: Do you have writing mentors or influences?

BD: No one in particular. But I sometimes read Lynda Barry’s WHAT IT IS for inspiration. I also love her strips about Marlys—she gets so deep into a kid’s head.

WFAR: What is your favorite piece or book that you have written?

BD: That’s like asking a mom who’s her favorite kid! My favorite is whatever I’m writing at the moment.

WFAR: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

BD: I like to read (of course!), watch movies and baseball, swim, do crossword puzzles, and eat naughty sugary things.

WFAR: What are some of your favorite things: book, genre, author, color, music, etc? 

BD:  I honestly don’t have a favorite book or author, because I love so many! And it drives me crazy when people are snobby about genres. I love HAMLET and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and THE GREAT GATSBY—and I also love WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and GOING BOVINE and CALVIN & HOBBES. I’m also just as open about music—when I drive I like to listen to Dave Matthews, Chopin, Taylor Swift, Duke Ellington, Pink, Bob Dylan, show tunes, and the GLEE soundtrack. But I’ve always loved purple. That’s one definite all-time fave.

WFAR: Can you describe your writing space for us? Where is it, what’s around you?

BD: I have a ridiculously cluttered writing desk in my bedroom (kind of like Cassie’s in JUST ANOTHER DAY). Sometimes my work spreads out on the floor. When this happens my cats nest on top of it, which makes for furry manuscripts.

WFAR: What do you think about having your book reviewed by book bloggers?

BD: I think it’s terrific! The more voices readers get to hear, the better!

WFAR: What’s in the works for you now?

BD: I’m in the process of revising my next book, TRAUMA QUEEN, which will be out next spring. It’s about a tween girl with the most embarrassing mom ever.

WFAR: Anything else you would like readers to know?

BD: My favorite sugary thing is chocolate. I’m mentioning this in hopes someone will bake me something with frosting.

WFAR: Thank you for allowing me to interview you! By the way, I am a purple lover too and my favorite sugary thing is chocolate!

About This is Me From Now On:  Sometimes your life just needs a little jolt. 

This is what Evie's new friend Francesca tells her, and soon enough, Evie's life has had something more like an earthquake. Francesca thinks life is dull unless you go after everything you want and say everything on your mind all the time--and sometimes that includes giving other people a little behind the scenes help to give them what she thinks they want.

Evie can't always tell if she's horrified or fascinated by everything Francesca convinces her to do, but ultimately, she comes to see friendship--and life--in a whole new light.
Barbara has sent me 2 swag bags to giveaway this week. Wouldn't you like to win one? Inside you will find some of Evie's favorite things:  Lip Smackers lip balm, bubble gum and a re-creation of Evie's amber necklace.  Winners will also receive one of Barbara's bookmarks.  Comment on this post for an entry.  Spread the word about this contest on your blog, Twitter or Facebook and earn extra entries.  Just leave what you did in the comments.  Contest runs through midnight Tuesday May 18th.  Winners will be chosen at random and posted on Wednesday, May 19th.  Good luck!


bermudaonion said...

Great interview! I love the story about her middle school friend! No need to enter me - save the swag for those with tweens.

Wanda said...

I enjoyed reading this interview. I think it helps to have someone that brings us out of our comfort zones. I'd love a chance to win one of these for my niece.

bnredeemed (at)gmail(dot)com

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

I love this swag! Nice contest. Count me in. I'd love to win this.
I tweeted here:

Posted here:

Thanks! Good luck to the other competitors!

Email: azngal_123 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Tabathia said...

Thanks for the contest. Please enter me.

tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

Tabathia said...

tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

Jan Marie said...

I enjoyed the interview with Barbara Dee and appreciated so much the fact that she recognized that there were "blank" areas in children's reading material. I am a mother of three children who began reading at a very young age and became voracious readers. They quickly exhausted the age-appropriate books at the library, yet were far too young for the topics available at the next level. I wish there had been more books like this available when my children were that age. As a computer teacher at the elementray level, I can think of several students to whom I will be recommending this book.

There are some economically deprived children in my area that I would love to be able to share the swag with!


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