Last week I posted my review of Lisa's first middle grade book, IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES.
Lisa is gracious enough to answer some questions for us. I'm so excited because this is my first author interview. Enjoy!
IT"S RAINING CUPCAKES is so different that your first 3 books, what made you decide to change your style?
I have always loved middle grade fiction, and actually have a couple of drawer novels that I wrote that just weren't quite good enough. When I wrote my first YA, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, that was actually the change in style. It was something new and different I hadn't done before, but the story wanted to be told that way. I think the verse created an atmosphere for the story I couldn't have achieved with regular prose. And so I continued to write YA books in that manner because it found a fan base.
But I was ready to do something different after I had finished writing another YA novel in verse. I was driving home from work one day, thinking about what I could write about that would be fun. I really wanted to do a FUN book. And cupcakes popped into my head. And I thought, what about a MG novel with a cupcake shop as the setting? And that's how it started.
It was such a fun book to write. In verse, I have to be careful about too much dialogue, but with this book, I let the characters talk and talk - it was great!
How is writing a middle grade novel different from writing for young adults?
I think in middle grade fiction, you can get away with quirkier characters than you can in YA. I also think MG fiction tends to focus more on family issues. And the big difference - no romance. All of my YA books have romance at the center, and middle grade readers just aren't ready to go there.
You and Isabel are both native Oregoians. Any other similarities?
Ahhh, great question! Well, like Isabel, I would love to travel! Although I have been out of the state of Oregon, I haven't been many places. I've never been out of the United States, and even within the US I've only been to a handful of places. I haven't even been to New York City! So as I wrote about NYC, I kept thinking about how much I wanted to get there. Hopefully someday!
Isabel also has some challenges with her mother, and I think there's a little of me in there with that as well. The mother/daughter relationship can be hard at times.
I love that each chapter title is different type of cupcake. Did you bake all those variety of cupcakes?
Ha - a reader actually e-mailed me and asked if I had all of the recipes. Um, no. I used lots of cupcake shops with menus on-line as ideas for the chapter headings. And then I tried to tie in the little saying that goes with each one into what happens in that chapter. It was challenging at times, but I'm happy with how it turned out.
I actually did very little baking as I wrote this book. I did have to experiment and play around to come up with the two recipes included in the back!
What is your favorite cupcake?
This is just an impossible question. I like so many kinds!!! Just last week I went to this shop in town called Bliss Bake Shop that does all kinds of cupcakes, because I'm going to buy some for my book signing event in a couple of weeks. They had a banana one with a hint of chocolate in it and it was SO good. I also love applesauce and lemon. I sort-of go for the fruity ones, I guess!
Anything else you'd like our readers to know about you and IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES?
A little something special about the book - My grandpa passed away a few months ago. His name was Stan. Stan the barber, who is a character in the book, is named after him. Although my grandpa wasn't a barber and didn't look a thing like Stan, they are both good, kind people, who want to help. And I'm glad I have Stan the barber to sort of memorialize my grandpa.
Thanks so much for having me here! And now everyone should go eat a cupcake!
Thank you Lisa! And now, what you've all been waiting for, the winner of IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES.
Shannon O'Donnell, who's favorite type of cupcake is funfetti with cream cheese frosting! Yummo! Funfetti, that's so fun. I like typing that funfetti funfetti funfetti
Opps, sorry lost focus. Back to Shannon, Shannon email me your address (aimeebartis(at)gmail(dot)com) and I'll get the book in the mail to you!
IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES hits stores today! You getcha one! I'm gonna go get myself one.
Happy Book Day, Lisa!