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Friday Interview: Author Verity Buchanan

I'm typing this on Saturday evening and not even trying to pretend otherwise. Today I'd like to introduce Verity Buchanan, an author as well as an unofficial composer who once infiltrated my house for eight days.

Author Interview: Verity BuchananWhat are some of the very first books you remember having read to you?
This is hard because I was always being read to. I do remember listening to the last chapter of Charlotte’s Web at a very early age (and trying to push back tears, which is hard when your mom is getting emotional too). After that, the earliest definite memory I have of a read-aloud is The Hobbit, which I was so into even though I had already read it on my own. The version my mom and dad read to us had hundreds of illustrations from the 1980’s animated movie, and I would hang over the arm of the couch to see them. Chapters 6 and 8 were my favorites, because Gollum and spiders. Smaug was second-rate next to those spiders, boy.
As you got older, what books became your f…
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Friday Interview: Author Gillian McDunn

Yesterday was too busy, so in the spirit of better late than never, this week's Friday interview comes on Saturday evening. Today I'm excited to welcome Gillian McDunn to the blog. Gillian is the author of Caterpillar Summer (see my review here) and has another novel releasing soon! 

Author Interview: Gillian McDunn For starters, thanks for talking to me. I’ll never forget your book because it was the first I ever reviewed for Kid Lit Exchange.
Thanks so much for reading CATERPILLAR SUMMER and for having me here today!

Your first novel released this year! Can you tell us a bit about your process of writing and publishing it?
Writing for kids has been my dream my entire life, but for a long time I felt afraid to pursue it. Instead I had lots of different writing jobs—technical writing, public relations, grant writing etc.
An idea started to grow about a girl, her younger brother, and a trip to coastal North Carolina. When I sat down to write, the draft came together quickly. …

Friday Interview: Author Gail Shepherd

Welcome back to Friday interviews! Today I'm excited to introduce my interview with Gail Shepherd. Gail is the author of The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins, a 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection about a young girl whose veteran father is dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Friday Interview: Author Gail Shepherd I love your book, The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins. What inspired you to write it? 
Lyndie actually started out as a very different kind of book. It was originally conceived as an adult book based on the childhood of a very close friend of mine, who grew up Filipino-American with a father who was a military man who’d been stationed in the Philippines and married a young woman there. Over time, as I revised, I moved the time period forward to 1985 to make it more relevant to my own experience, and made Lyndie a white Tennessee girl with a passion for history, which is also closer to my own life as a child of a southern family.
What are your own memories of …

Friday Interview: Author Melissa Sarno

Happy Friday! Today I'm sharing my conversation with Melissa Sarno, whose second novel. A Swirl of Ocean, released last week through Random House.

Author Interview: Melissa Sarno Hi! I'm happy to have you on the blog because I loved your book. A Swirl of Ocean. I'm yet to read your debut novel, Just Under the Clouds. Can you tell us about it? 
Thank you so much for reading A Swirl of Ocean. Just Under the Clouds is about a twelve year old girl living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. When the shelter becomes unsafe, she and her mother and sister move in with an old friend and Cora discovers a tree, called Tree of Heaven, that her late father, who was a horticulturist, studied. It sets her on a path to try to understand the true meaning of home and where she and her family belong.
Your website says you began writing at the age of seven. Do you remember some of the first stories you ever wrote? 
Yes! As a reader, I was always drawn to realistic stories and, often, those stor…

Friday Interview: Author Brittney Joy

Happy Friday! Today I'm happy to share this space with Brittney Joy, who is not only an accomplished author but, if I do say so myself, an online friend of mine. During our conversation, I got to hear a preview of her next book as well as the funny way some of her characters got their names.

Author Interview: Brittney Joy Hi! Thanks for joining us today. Can you start by telling us when you wrote your first story? Was it published or not? 
In middle school I read a lot (mostly about horses) and I started journaling in high school—writing down all my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The regular act of journaling taught me how to express myself and, ultimately, gave me the bug to write fiction. However, I didn’t start writing fiction until my late twenties and I was in my early thirties when I self-published my first young adult book, Lucy’s Chance. It took me some time to build up my confidence before I felt comfortable setting my story and words “free” into the world. But now,…

Friday Interview: Author K.A. Reynolds

Happy Friday! Today I am thrilled to share the stage with the brilliant and kind K.A. Reynolds, author of The Land of Yesterday (HarperCollins 2018) as well as this month's upcoming release, The Spinner of Dreams. I had the opportunity to read an ARC of the latter (read my review of it here!) and invited Ms. Reynolds on the blog to talk about it.  Author Interview: K.A. Reynolds To start with, I have to compliment your world-building. I loved it. What was your favorite part about constructing the world of The Spinner of Dreams?
Oh my goodness, thank you for that amazing compliment! I *really* love this world, too—from the dark and cursed town of Carriwitchet, to the not-everything-is-as-it-seems Mazelands, to the colorful magic of Dreamland. But if I’m honest, it was the between sort of places that were the most exciting to create. Like the enchanted train of white crows that carries dreamers from Carriwitchet to the Mazelands via a crack in the curse-broken sky. That train, enma…

Friday Interview: Artist Renee Graef

Happy Friday! Today I'm thrilled to share my conversation with award-winning artist Renée Graef, who is well known for illustrating the Little House picture books, the American Girl Kirsten books, and the Nordic alphabet series, as well as eighty other books.

Artist Interview: Renée Graef I am honestly so honored to be talking to you. Let's start at the beginning. How old were you when you first started drawing, or did you simply begin as a child and never stop?

Like most artists, I began drawing from a very early age. I recently found a teacher's note on my 2nd grade report card that said that my "artistic endeavors" were getting in the way of my academics. I thought that was too funny!

When you received your degree in art at the University of Wisconsin, did you know you wanted to be a children's illustrator? 

I wanted to be an illustrator although my degree was in fine art. I was fortunate to receive a work-study job as an in-house illustrator for the Univer…