Oh hi, faithful readers! Wondering where I’ve been? Well, I’ve been hard at work on Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code, with little time to check in here. I’ll put together a new post with updates on me and Hook’s Revenge and perhaps even my chickens very soon.
In the meantime, please get to know the lovely Dana Alison Levy, author of The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, joining us in the middle today.
Meet the Fletchers: four boys, two dads, and one new neighbor who just might ruin everything.
Sam, age 12
Mostly interested in soccer. And food. And his phone.
Jax, age 10
Psyched for fourth grade. Thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk.
Eli, age 10 (but younger than Jax)
Delighted to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s “the smart kid.”
Frog (not his real name), age 6
Wants his new friends at kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah.
The start of the school year is not going as hoped for the Fletcher brothers. Their miserable new neighbor, Mr. Nelson, complains about everything. Even worse, each boy finds his plans for school success veering off in unexpected directions. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.
From camping trips to scary tales told in the dark, from new schools to old friends, from imaginary cheetahs to very real skunks, the Fletchers’ school year—as always—is anything but boring.
Q&A with Dana
What draws you into writing for a middle grade audience?
I have always loved kidlit, from the time I was reading these books myself; through college, when I took several children’s literature classes; to adulthood and parenthood, when I began to share them with my own kids. My first few attempts at novels were for adults, and I don’t think I made it more than fifty pages in any of them. But the first time I started writing a book for kids…well, I couldn’t type fast enough to get the words out! Middle grade books — books for nine to twelve-year-olds — are amazing, because they encompass such a magical and difficult time of life. So much is changing at that point: friendships, families, and the awareness of the wider world. There is a lot to play with as a writer, from the hilarious to the heartbreaking.
If you had a time machine and could visit middle-grade you, what would you tell her?
Keep writing. I kept journals from the time I was seven or eight, and I always wanted to be a writer. But after college I filed that away under “ridiculous” and tried to get a real job. Spoiler alert: in most of my “real jobs” I spent a lot of time writing, because it’s what I do best and enjoy the most. So I’d tell myself not to prevaricate* so much! Also, I’d tell myself not to believe the hairdresser who said I’d look like Pat Benatar with short hair. He was wrong. I didn’t look like a sexy 1980s rock star. I looked like a boy.
Choose your own adventure: Is there an interview question you’d love to answer, but haven’t been asked?
Questions that I haven’t been asked include but are not limited to:
- Why are you so tall?
- Wow! How did you sell a book when you were so very young?
- What are you going to do with all that money?
- You never seem to waste time! How do you you stay so laser- focused?
However, one that deserves an answer might be: What are five books that pop into your head (without going to look at your bookshelves) that all kids should read?
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
- One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams
- The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
- Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Whew, those are random! But I stand my them — they are all worth a read!
*Prevaricate is a pretty good word. Look it up if you don’t know it!
The photo of you and that llama is my favorite photo of this whole series. Every successful childhood should include a portrait with a llama. Thanks for dropping in and congratulations on your debut!
|Dana Alison Levy was raised by pirates but escaped at a young age and went on to earn a degree in aeronautics and puppetry. Actually, that’s not true—she just likes to make things up. That’s why she always wanted to write books. She was born and raised in New England and studied English literature before going to graduate school for business. While there is value in all learning, had she known she would end up writing for a living, she might not have struggled through all those statistics and finance classes.You can find Dana online at www.danaalisonlevy.com or on Twitter and Facebook.|