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Rob Kent interviews fellow authors, editors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals to discuss the craft and business of producing middle grade and young adult novels. New episode every Saturday. MiddleGradeNinja.com. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/middle-grade-ninja/support
 
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Middle Grade Mavens

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Middle Grade Mavens

Julie Grasso+Pamela Ueckerman

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The Middle-Grade Mavens are two Australian authors reviewing middle-grade children's books. We also chat with authors and illustrators about their inspiration, processes and experience and sometimes we interview publishers and agents to find out more about the industry. Whether you're a writer, school librarian, teacher, or just a book fan, this is for you. Julie Anne Grasso is the author of the Frankie Dupont Mystery series, cupcake enthusiast and part-time library book wrangler. Pamela Uec ...
 
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show series
 
Linda Epstein and I talk about her lifelong desire to be a writer and her journey from being a nurse to an unpaid intern for two years before becoming a literary agent and at long last arriving at the publication of her debut novel, REPAIRING THE WORLD. We also discuss the Emerald City Literary Agency, what a film and television rights agent does, …
 
Zetta Ellicott and I chat about her bestselling middle grade series, DRAGONS IN A BAG, and lessons learned writing more than 40 books for children (so far). We talk about how she envisions her success with a vision board and how she trains in puppetry, film, and other art forms to ensure she’s using all the parts of her brain. We discuss the import…
 
Aisha Saeed and I discuss her career and her newest middle grade novel OMAR RISING, a companion novel to AMAL UNBOUND. We chat about the difficulty she had submitting to traditional publishers and how that led her to seek out other diverse authors and the founding of WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS, which is a movement that gives us hope even when the world …
 
Hilde Lysiak and I chat about her new memoir, HILDE ON THE RECORD. As she’s just now 15 years old, presumably it’s the first of many, though she’s already led a very interesting life that’s the subject of the Apple TV series, HOME BEFORE DARK. We talk about how Hilde started her first newspaper at age 7, investigated a local murder at age 9, signed…
 
Kristin Ostby and I discuss how she grew up a reader and daughter of a librarian who went on to edit for Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers before becoming a literary agent with Greenhouse Literary. We talk about why she made that change, the types of projects she’s looking for, how…
 
Lindsay Eager and I have an in-depth discussion about writing and publishing and her newest middle grade novel, THE PATRON THIEF OF BREAD. We talk about her time working as an intern for a literary agent, leaving one literary agent for another, how she wrote about a protagonist of a different ethnicity than her own in HOUR OF THE BEES (and why she’…
 
Xiran Jay Zhao and I discuss their new middle grade novel, ZACHARY YING AND THE DRAGON EMPEROR, and the phenomenon of their YouTube channel about Chinese history and media commentary which has more than 425,000 subscribers (as of this recording).We talk about their IRON WIDOW series and its movie possibilities, how they survived the midlist, how wr…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "When Granny Came to Stay," by Alice Pung, illustrated by Sally Soweol Han, as well as Maku by Meyne Wyatt, and Julie reviews, "The Prison for the magically cursed," by Brett Perkins. When Granny Came To Stay by Alice Pung | 9781760984991 | Booktopia The Prison for the Magically Cursed eBook : Perkins, …
 
Jenna Yoon and I discuss her journey to becoming an author and her debut middle grade novel, LIA PARK AND THE MISSING JEWEL. We talk about why representation matters, how the lack of it inspired her to create Lia Park for her daughters, a terrible experience with a teacher that stopped Jenna from writing a novel sooner, the importance of skin care,…
 
My friend Maurice Broaddus and I discuss his newest novels UNFADEABLE and SWEEP OF STARS. We also chat about some of the older ones, Afrofuturism, using writing to procrastinate from writing, worldbuilding through short stories, grants for writers, writing for video games, Black Panther, British cozy mysteries, running your own writers conference, …
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Julie chats to Nat Amoore, author of We Run Tomorrow, illustrated by Mike Barry As a kid, Nat Amoore did it all – run away from home, play epic pranks, plot a future in Hollywood, invent money-making schemes and never listen to a word her parents said. Now as a ‘responsible’ adult...well, nothing has really changed. Bu…
 
Mark Gottlieb and I chat about how he was born into the business of books and how Maxwell Perkins’ love of editing convinced him to become an agent with TRIDENT MEDIA GROUP. We discuss his strategies for finding clients and submitting their work, his passion for making their dreams come true, why it’s important to demystify literary agencies, posit…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, Arthur the Always King by Kevin Crossley-Holland Illustrated by Chris Riddell and The Brictionary by Ryan McNaught, as well as They Boy Who Hatched Monsters by T.C Shelley, and Julie reviews Prometheus High by Stuart Wilson, plus Stuart stops by for an interview. Book links...Arthur, The Always King by …
 
Jodi Lynn Anderson and I talk about her career as an editor for Harper Collins before becoming a bestselling author as well as her new middle grade series, THIRTEEN WITCHES. We discuss writing in a diary to help make sense of the world, gaining the confidence to write fiction through working in publishing, her lifelong fascination with ghosts, livi…
 
James Riley and I have an in-depth discussion about his writing and plotting process for his new middle grade series, ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME. We talk about writing in fairy tale worlds and the way pop culture knowledge permeates our collective creativity. We also chat about Batman, Star Wars, Alan Moore, working for Disney, the darker side of capit…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Julie reviews, "Star the elephant," and "Rainbow the Koala," by Remy Lai, and Pamela reviews "Ming and Flo," by Jackie French as well as "Our Country, Ancient Wonders," by Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac. Plus Remy stops in for an interview. Star the Elephant, Surviving the Wild by Remy Lai | 9781250784995 | Booktopia …
 
Ellen Whitfield and I discuss how she went from being a reader to a copyeditor to a book reviewer to a publicist with BOOKS FORWARD. We talk specifically about budget numbers for authors preparing to promote their newest launch, strategies for promoting backlists, entering awards contests, what every author should include in their email signature, …
 
Gregory Maguire and I chat about his career and why he continues to write for children when WICKED is now the fifth longest-running Broadway musical. We discuss writing about depression in animal fables such as in his newest middle grade novel, CRESS WATERCRESS, how a lack of television and a lot of writing set him up for early success, the mystery…
 
Elly Swartz and I discuss her career as an author and her newest novel, DEAR STUDENT. We talk about being an author during the pandemic, her average workday, the advantages of writing yourself letters from your characters, researching psychological issues for character creation, creating curriculum guides, learning from your rejections, a ghost sto…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Julie chats to Yvette Poshoglian, Author of "Dear Greta," which Julie reviewed on episode 103. Yvette Poshoglian is the bestselling author of over 40 books for children and young readers. She writes the wildly popular Ella and Olivia series (30 books + 6 treasuries and counting!), the Puppy Diary books and the Frankie …
 
Don Handfield, Joshua Malkin, and I talk about the differences between writing screenplays and collaborating to write a graphic novel, such as their newest, UNIKORN. We talk about acting with Robert Duvall, getting around lawsuits from McDonalds for THE FOUNDER, persevering to make KNIGHTFALL, being a videogame architect, guest staring on SAVED BY …
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, Friday Barnes book 10: Undercover by R.A. Spratt, and Rabbit, Angel, Soldier, Thief by Katrina Nannestad. Julie reviews Big Apple Diaries by Alyssa Bermudez, and Dear Greta by Yvette Poshoglian, plus Alyssa stops by for a chat about her incredible graphic novel. Book links Friday Barnes 10, Undercover b…
 
Libby McNamee and I chat about historical fiction and her novels SUZANNA’S MIDNIGHT RIDE: THE GIRL WHO WON THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, DOLLY MADISON AND THE WAR OF 1812: AMERICA’S FIRST LADY, and her upcoming book about Elizabeth Van Lew. We discuss writing about the past with empathy, distilling history into a fictional narrative, history as a context …
 
Erika Lewis and I discuss Irish mythology, world building in fantasy, and planning a series such as the one kicked off by her new middle grade book, KELCIE MURPHY AND THE ACADEMY FOR THE UNBREAKABLE ARTS. We talk about her collaboration with R.A. Salvatore, her approach to different types of projects from comics to novels to screenplays, the pirate…
 
Leslie Patricelli and I discuss her career writing and illustrating board books and her recent middle grade novels in THE RIZZLERUNK CLUB series, BEST BUDS UNDER FROGS and THE BIG BAD LIES. We talk about her time designing for Microsoft, self-publishing a book in 1993, her approach to illustrating her books for older readers with ink vs painting he…
 
Elana K. Arnold and I talk about the virtue of islands and plotting a mystery without knowing the ending in her newest novel, JUST HARRIET. We also discuss her series, A BOY CALLED BAT, writing about autism, questions of power, theme, the over prioritizing of plot, how to generate more ideas, making readers feel safe without patronizing them, how w…
 
Leslie Connor and I talk about writing your way through imposter syndrome and her process in creating her newest novel, ANYBODY HERE SEEN FRENCHIE? We discuss how she started out as an illustrator who transitioned to being an author, putting your characters through hell, problematic writing, characterization, sentence length, dialect, starting with…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela and Julie return for season 8 2022! We review the books below and discuss all things "Save The Cat" by Blake Snyder and Scrivener. Affiliate links where to buy: Let the Games Begin, Pow Pow Pig : Book 2 by Anh Do | 9781761065194 | Booktopia The Great Treasure Hunt, MerTales 3 by Rebecca Timmis | 9781760526573 | …
 
Meera Trehan and I discuss writing from the perspective of a mansion in her new book, THE VIEW FROM THE VERY BEST HOUSE IN TOWN. We talk about how she discovered she wanted to write, her journey to becoming a published author, which included joining the SCBWI and getting serious about her approach, as well as the wisdom of STORY by Robert McKee. We…
 
Hugh Howey returns to the show, proving reality is a simulation. We talk about his upcoming picture book CANNIBAL HAIKU as well as the WOOL and BEACON 23 television adaptations and his experiences in writers’ rooms, and touring the sets. He drops tantalizing hints about some other upcoming projects for film and television as well as his new novel, …
 
Lane Heymont and I have a far-ranging discussion about books, movies, publishing, the evil of the Sackler family, the nature of forgiveness, his path from being a literary assistant to founding The Tobias Literary Agency, why it’s crucial for him to be passionate about the projects he represents, why writers should always be writing, moral clauses …
 
Tina Wells and I discuss the first book in her newest series, HONEST JUNE, as well as how she arranged for an exclusive distribution period through Target Stores. We talk about how she founded her first company at age 16 and built a successful career as a marketer before she became a writer. She shares specifics about how this has allowed her to re…
 
Authors Adama Bah, Salvador Gómez-Colón, Freshta Tori Jan, and I discuss their debut novels in the I, WITNESS series. In ACCUSED, Adama Bah recounts being arrested and detained by the FBI under the false accusation that she was a potential suicide bomber. In HURRICANE, Salvador writes about his experience during Hurricane Maria and raising money fo…
 
It’s the fourth mega-sized Middle Grade Ninja clips show, featuring snippets from episodes 101 through 146 that aired in 2021. This episode is so stuffed with incredible content it had to be broken up into TWO PARTSDon't miss PART TWO.New episodes are scheduled to return January 8th.Until then, enjoy this compilation of clips from conversations wit…
 
It’s the fourth mega-sized Middle Grade Ninja clips show, featuring snippets from episodes 101 through 146 that aired in 2021. This episode is so stuffed with incredible content it had to be broken up into TWO PARTSDon't miss PART ONE.New episodes are scheduled to return January 8th.Until then, enjoy this compilation of clips from conversations wit…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela and Julie share their top 11 Middle Grade books for 2021. Pamela's Picks: Elsewhere Girls by Emily Gale | 9781922330451 | Booktopia The Vanishing at the Very Small Castle, The Butter O'Bryan Mysteries: Book 2 by Jackie French | 9781460757734 | Booktopia Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche, Enola Holmes: Book 7 b…
 
Authors Seanan McGuire, Mira Grant, A. Deborah Baker, and I discuss how they’re all Seanan McGuire and how she transitions between genres and intended age groups. We discuss her years as a standup comedian and how she transitioned to an award-winning author, her love of dice and My Little Ponies, her creative process, how she plans a series and kee…
 
Emily Barth Isler and I discuss her childhood as an actress featured on ONE LIFE TO LIVE and elsewhere as well as performing for the Clinton White House, and how she eventually transitioned to the family business of writing, the “safe career choice.” We also talk about her new novel, AFTERMATH, how to process trauma through writing, how to take act…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "Pony," by R.J Palacio and Julie reviews, "The Incredible Talking Machine," by Jenni Spangler. Plus Julie chats to Craig Cauchi from Genrecon and Pamela chats to Sam Rutter of Storytorch. Links to Books:https://www.booktopia.com.au/pony-r-j-palacio/book/9780141377056.htmlhttps://www.booktopia.com.au/the…
 
Aura Lewis and I discuss the process of writing and illustrating her newest book, SPECTACULAR SISTERS: AMAZING STORIES OF SISTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. We talk about how she went from being a freelance artist to working in publishing, the role her MFA played in that transition, designing the credit sequence for the Hulu Show MRS. AMERICA, the impo…
 
Alda P. Dobbs and I discuss writing about the Mexican Revolution as well as her own family’s history in her new novel, BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA, and then translating that story into a second language. We talk about how Alda gained confidence as a writer, the advice she received from Avi, how she applied for grants and became “hardheaded,” foun…
 
Michelle Jabès Corpora, Samantha M. Clark, and I discuss their new series AMERICAN HORSE TALES. We talk about Michelle's experience as an editor for Harper Collins, a concept developer, and a ghostwriter, as well as Samantha's experience as a journalist, a managing editor, and the regional advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children's…
 
David Neilsen and I discuss the advantages of traditional publishing and independent publishing and why he transitioned to a hybrid author with his newest release, LILLIAN LOVECRAFT AND THE HARMLESS HORRORS. We also talk about his time as a screenwriter, how he narrated his own audiobooks, book marketing, hosting murder mystery parties, leading gho…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, Wandi by Favel Parrett, Illustrated by Zoe Ingram, and "Enola Holmes and the black barouche," by Nancy Springer. Julie reviews, "Powerful Princesses," by Angela Buckingham, Illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert, and "Courageous Queens," by Angela Buckingham, Illustrated by Debora Islas. Where to find Wandi…
 
The Speed City Sisters in Crime return to the scene of the… podcast? Returning for their first appearance since episode 79, they’ve just released a new anthology, TRICK OR TREATS: TALES OF ALL HALLOWS EVE. I sit down with authors Ross Carley, Diana Catt, Mary Ann Koontz, Elizabeth Perona, Tony Perona, Karen Phillips, and Elizabeth A. San Miguel, to…
 
Diana Rodriguez Wallach and I discuss cults, demonic possession, and writing YA horror in her new novel, SMALL TOWN MONSTERS. It’s a Halloween-themed episode, so we talk about Ed and Lorraine Warren, Stephen King, and that time Diana lived in a haunted house. Writing occasionally comes up as well, so we also discuss her journey through multiple lit…
 
Today on Middle Grade Mavens, Pamela reviews, "The What On Earth Institute of Wonder," by Lisa Nichol, and "My Brother Ben," by Peter Carnavas, and Julie reviews, "The Magic of Magnolia Moon," by Edwina Wyatt, and "Shadowghast," by Thomas Taylor. Plus Andy Griffiths stops in for an interview about his latest book with Terry Denton, "The 143 Story T…
 
My friend, Sarah J. Schmitt, and I discuss her path to publishing IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH her newest novel, WHERE THERE’S A WHISK, and why you should never give anyone else power over your art. She shares how she found her editor on Twitter, how she secured her literary agent, and how she survived the collapse of her publisher. We also chat about au…
 
Gayle Forman and I discuss her career from a journalist for SEVENTEEN to a celebrated YA novelist and the launch of her first MG book, FRANKIE AND BUG. She describes the experience of having IF I STAY adapted into a film and tells an excellent ghost story. We chat about WE ARE INEVITABLE, writing to get out of poverty, how there is no promised land…
 
Two-time Newberry Award winner and one of my childhood heroes, Katherine Patterson, and I discuss how she transformed from a “mediocre writer” to a Living Legend (so designated by the Library of Congress in 2000). We chat about her newest novel, BIRDIE’S BARGAIN, how Hollywood demanded a sequel to BRIDGE TO TERABETHIA, the time she kissed Robert Pa…
 
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