I’m sorry, what was your name again?
This is for reals my most frequently asked question. I have the hardest time saying my own first name, probably due to ten years of playing the French Horn and “tah-ing” all my Ls. Nine times out of ten baristas and deli clerks have to ask me to repeat myself, and then I get flustered and it comes out even worse and they end up raising their eyebrows and writing Wolth or Gill or Willon on my cup. Lately I’ve just picked a nice crunchy, spitable name like Zach or Patrick or Bellatrix and called it good.
Why the bees?
I have a fair number of bee tattoos. I have them because to me bees are pure, ancient, lightning-grade magic. Bees curl and hum through some of my favorite stories, never quite landing, and if I had to say in one phrase what drives me as a writer, it would be this: I’m just following the bees.
What do you have coming next?
Maggie & Abby and the Shipwreck Treehouse is coming out August 20th, 2019! Hooray for sequels!
Otherwise I’m always working on new books, but they’re under wraps for now. Until they settle into their final forms, books always benefit from a little secrecy and silence.
Is Samson based on a real cat?
Yes! Samson is based on Jacob, my huge, friendly-but-awkward black and white cat from when I was growing up. He was always getting caught on things–though I don’t think he ever got stuck to an ice cream truck.
How do you pronounce “NAFAFA”?
This comes up at every book event I do. The North American Founding and Allied Forts Alliance acronym is pronounced nuh-FAH-fuh.
Do you have a day job?
I do! I work full-time in a chocolate shop. I sell chocolate, tie bows on boxes of chocolate, eat chocolate, talk about chocolate, talk about eating chocolate, and basically have a really good time all day. I’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s pretty sweet.
Are you open to interviews or school visits?
Yes! I love talking about books and writing and pillow forts. Please see the AUTHOR VISITS tab for school visit information, and the CONTACT tab to reach out about interviews. (Professional matters, such as blurb requests, should be directed to my literary agent, Brent Taylor, also through the contact tab.)
What can you recommend for someone who enjoyed your book?
I can talk about other middle grade books I love forever! (Just ask my friends.) But since there’s only so much space here, start with these:
HURRICANE CHILD (Kheryn Callender)
THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT (Mae Respicio)
HELLO, UNIVERSE (Erin Entrada Kelly)
RACE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (Lindsay Eagar)
HOODOO (Ronald L. Smith)
LOVE SUGAR MAGIC: A DASH OF TROUBLE (Anna Meriano)
THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK (Celia C. Pérez)
LISTEN, SLOWLY (Thanhhà Lai)
SPIRIT HUNTERS (Ellen Oh)
BROWN GIRL DREAMING (Jacqueline Woodson)
UNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER (Kelly Jones)