Since Ms. Dee writes books for tweens and I just happen to have my very own tween right here, I thought it might be cute to do something a little different with this Q&A. So I asked the 10 year old Booking Daughter to help me come up with some questions. I think she did a pretty good job!
Booking Daughter: What inspired you to write THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON?
Barbara Dee: I was thinking about what happened to me in seventh grade: I had a great group of best friends I’d known forever, but I was starting to get a little restless. So I became friends with a wilder girl who got me into some mischief—but she kept me laughing, and she taught me a lot about myself.
Booking Daughter: Are any of the characters based on people you know?
Barbara Dee: The main character, Evie, is sort of based on me in middle school. All of the other characters are completely made up.
Booking Daughter: Do you have a favorite book from the ones you've written so far?
Barbara Dee: Ack! Don’t even ask that! That would be like asking a mom which kid is her favorite. My favorite book is always the one I’m writing!
Booking Daughter: What made you decide to become a writer?
Barbara Dee: Really, I never decided it, I just WROTE. When I was a kid I always had a journal going. And of course I was always reading. My mom was always saying, “Barbara, put away that book and go to bed!”
Booking Mama: Why did you decide to write books geared towards middle graders?
Barbara Dee: I guess it’s because when my own kids were that age, they’d outgrown the Children’s section of the library, but they weren’t quite ready for some of the darker stuff in YA. I’ve always felt that middle graders needed more choices, so I wanted to write funny books that took them seriously.
Booking Daughter: So far, I have read three of your books which qualify as realistic fiction. Have you ever wanted to write another genre like fantasy or adventure?
Barbara Dee: Glad you asked that! I’m actually thinking about trying a comic fantasy. It wouldn’t be a fantasy like the kind Cassie reads in JUST ANOTHER DAY—more of a realistic book with fantasy elements. But right now it’s just sort of floating around in my head.
Booking Mama: Who are some of the authors and what are some of the books that have inspired you as a writer?
Barbara Dee: Whew, there are just so many! But I have to say that HARRIET THE SPY by Louise Fitzhugh was a big book for me, because it was about a girl who loved to write (even when writing made her life tricky). And I remember being blown away by THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, because it has such a unique voice. It’s also funny and sad at the same time, which is a combination I look for in books and movies.
Booking Mama: Are you currently working on another novel right now? Any hints about the storyline?
Barbara Dee: I’m about to send my editor a revision of my next book, which will be out next spring. It’s called TRAUMA QUEEN, and it’s about a middle school girl who has The Most Embarrassing Mom Ever. Really, I’m totally serious.
A huge thank to Ms. Dee for answering all of our questions. Ms. Dee has also graciously given me a cute little THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON-themed goody bags (a replica of Evie's amber necklace, lip gloss, sugarless bubble gum in a cute little pouch.) I will throw in my gently-read ARC copy of THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON too! To enter the giveaway for the book and goody bag, just leave a comment with a way to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Saturday, May 8th at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you in the U.S. and Canada only. Good luck!