For our final installment of interviews in preparation for YA/MG Day, I got to speak with the awesome middle-grade author, Jennie K. Brown. You can still register for YA/MG Day, but time is running out if you want to sign up for a critique. Critique submissions are due today, October 5! You can register here.
In the meantime, sit back, relax, and join me with a beverage of your choosing as we learn more about Jennie K. Brown.
Laura: Hi, Jennie, and welcome back to the Eastern Penn Points Café. Fall is here—can we get you a warm beverage and a treat?
Jennie: Yay, fall; my favorite season of all! I would love a vanilla cappuccino—extra hot, please.
Laura: Coming right up! First off, I’m very excited that the third Poppy Mayberry book will be coming out in November. Can you tell us what’s in store for Poppy this time around?
Jennie: Absolutely! Poppy releases on November 20, and it’s hard to believe her journey is coming to an end! Here’s a bit about book three … After defeating Power Academy twice, Poppy’s ready to kick back and relax! But when Logan finds a mysterious note from his parents, Poppy and her crew spring into action. This time, the search takes Poppy, Logan, Ellie, Sam, and Mark beyond Nova and into the real world, where everyone is powerless and everything they know is about to be challenged. If Poppy can help Logan find his parents, they’ll finally get answers about Nova, cusp powers, and how it all started. But someone has secretly followed them, and he will go to great lengths to destroy anyone or anything that could expose him. Soon, Poppy will learn she may be more connected to Nova’s origins than anyone could ever imagine, and now, they’re running out of time. If only there were more hours in a day.
Laura: It sounds great, and I can’t wait to read it! If you could have any of the powers in the Nova Kids series, which one would you most wish to have?
Jennie: Oh, I would totally love to have Tuesday teleportation power.
Laura: I agree. Especially when I miss my bus! You also teach high school English. What is your favorite book to teach?
Jennie: That’s a tough question! My favorite piece of literature to teach is Romeo and Juliet—I adore Shakespeare. I take a performance-based approach to teaching Shakespeare, so my students aren’t simply reading lines while seated in class. We take to the stage—sling Shakespearean insults at one another, do some stage combat, Elizabethan dancing, really feel the language, etc.
Laura: I would love to be in your class! One of my all-time favorite classroom memories was acting out the part of Romeo in the scene in which he kills Tybalt. The guy who played Tybalt was probably about two feet taller than me! What writing advice do you give your students that we grown-ups could benefit from as well?
Jennie: The magic happens during the revision process. I also tell them it’s a heck of a lot easier to revise and edit crud than revise and edit nothing at all. So basically, sit that butt in a chair and get writing! Ha ha.
Laura: Excellent advice. Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’ll be sharing with us on YA/MG Day in November?
Jennie: Sure! My session is called “A Recipe for Middle Grade.” After giving a brief overview of my journey to publication, I’ll share ingredients (tips) for writing to a middle-grade audience. Participants will get their creative juices flowing with some writing exercises along the way.
Laura: I can’t wait! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Jennie K. Brown is an award-winning high school English teacher, freelance magazine writer, and author of children’s books and cozy mysteries. Her debut middle grade novel POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY published in September 2016 by Month9Books (Tantrum Books imprint), with a sequel that followed in October 2017. Book 3 in her Nova Kids Series is set to publish in fall 2018. Jennie currently serves as past-president of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA), and she is an active member of SCBWI, NCTE, ALAN and Sisters in Crime.
When she’s not teaching or writing, Jennie can be found reading, hanging out with her awesome family, or plotting her next book! Oh, and she also LOVES all-things Shakespeare!