1. Tell us a little bit about your book.
Sylvie Scruggs is the heroine of this series, and she’s a lot like her name: interesting, energetic, and a little rough around the edges. In
The Best Friend Battle
, Sylvie comes home from a family vacation to find that her best friend, Miranda, has made friends with the enemy, Georgie Diaz. Sylvie’s entire world is threatened by this new friendship, and she does everything she can to get things back to normal. But normal doesn’t come easily, and Sylvie seems to have a penchant for making difficult situations much, much worse!
2. If this book had a theme song and/or spirit animal, what would it be and why?
Sylvie’s theme song would probably be "Life’s a Happy Song" from the new Muppet movie. It’s all about how life is a happy thing if and only if you have someone, a best friend, to share it with. But what happens when you don’t? (Sylvie does not want to find out.)
3. Please name and elaborate upon at least one thing you learned or discovered about writing in the course of creating this book.
Writing this book was not easy. I don’t believe (or at least I don’t like very much) writers who claim writing is an easy thing whether they are writing their first book or their hundredth, but certain things can make writing go much more smoothly. When you can hear the voice of your main character — when that person is large-as-life in your head — many difficult issues take care of themselves. Your writing struggles will revolve around plot, not plot and character. As flawed as Sylvie is, she’s now a friend I could sit down with and have a conversation about anything from mushrooms to ice dancing. That familiarity makes writing (mostly) a pleasure. I don’t always know what will happen to Sylvie or even what she will do, but I usually know what she would have to say about it!
4. What is your favorite scene in the book?
The scene where Josh and Sylvie build the castle together. I love Josh (who gets a big role in Sylvie’s third book) and all of his interactions with Sylvie.
5. What are you working on now?
Sylvie’s second adventure,
The Mean Girl Meltdown,
is in the final stages of publication [editor's note: out this fall!], and her third book,
The Spelling Bee Scuffle
, is in beginning stages of the editorial process. I’m also working on a novel about a twelve-year-old girl named Rory, the middle child in a dysfunctional and eccentric family, whose mother is in Sweden for a month. As Rory, a very different character than Sylvie, attempts to save the family from their dictatorial grandmother and an impending eviction, she alienates her best friend, Owen, nearly kills her younger brother, and gets her grandmother arrested for illegal possession of a motorcycle. This book has been much harder for me to write because of what I was speaking about earlier — knowing your characters. I get into the heads of many characters in Rory’s book, and I’m finding out very quickly that I know some of them much better than I know others!