August Author Q&A’s

Our Q&A with Author Abby Cooperauthor-abby-cooper

August, 2016

Second Star: Tell us a little about your latest book.

Abby: STICKS & STONES is about 12-year-old Elyse who has a skin disorder where the names others call her appear on her skin and stick like temporary tattoos. The book has themes of bullying and self-esteem and was a lot of fun to write!

Second Star: What does she/he do that is so special?

Abby: Well, a lot of people what’s special about Elyse is her skin disorder that makes words stick to her skin, and it definitely is unique! But I think what’s really special about Elyse is the way she handles it and learns to love herself the way she is.

Second Star: Why do you write?

Abby: I can’t NOT write! It’s just one of those things I need to do to feel centered and normal and good.

Second Star: Do you have any strange writing habits? (like standing on your head or writing in the shower?)

Abby: That’s funny that you mention the shower, because that’s where I tend to get my best ideas! I keep a notebook and pen on the bathroom counter so I can write them down before I forget.

Second Star: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Abby: I update my website (www.AbbyCooperAuthor.com) regularly. I’m also really active on Facebook (facebook.com/AbbyCooperAuthor) and Twitter (@_ACoops_).

Second Star: What secret talents do you have?

Abby: I have some messed-up sinuses (ugh), but because of them, I can make this weird (and amazing) humming sound out of my nose. Once I won a contest for people with weird talents! There was a super hilarious video of me “nose humming” on People.com. (That’s People as in People Magazine!) Unfortunately I don’t think the video is up anymore, but maybe I can perform for the people who come to my signing on August 20th.

Second Star: If you were a super hero, what would your name be?

Abby: What costume would you wear? Hmm, I’d probably be Super Cupcake Eater Girl. I loooove cupcakes! Can my costume be a giant cupcake? Actually, that’d probably be bad. I’d want to eat it and then I’d be costume-less. Maybe it could be a non-edible cupcake.

Second Star: Do you have any pets?

Abby: I have a miniature poodle named Louis. He’s the best friend and writing helper ever, except for when he tries to use my laptop as a pillow.


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Our Q&A with Author Carmela Coyle

August, 2016

Second Star: Tell us a little about your latest book.

Carmela: DO PRINCESSES BOOGIE? is a read and dance&move book, in board book format so that it will physically stand up while looking at the pages. Right from the start this book will have little ones (and their parents) twisting and hopping. It has no real plot except to get us moving throughout the day.
Hop-hop-hop. Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle. Clap-clap-clap. Boogie-boogie-boogie.
Twirl around. Touch the ground…

Second Star: What advice do you have for young writers?

Carmela: Read and imagine new things every day! I write something everyday — something, anything, even if it’s just a list.

Being outside is one of the best places to find ideas for stories. Close your eyes and listen. A good exercise in imagery is to imagine what sounds look like. Try to figure out what birds are saying if they were speaking a language you could understand. Let it rip!

Sometimes all it takes to be your most creative self is a bit of time breathing in fresh air. Keep a little notepad with you at all times. You never know when inspiration is going to hit. I keep a pad next to my bed, in the kitchen, in the car, in the bathroom.

Second Star: Give us an insight into your main character. What does she/he do that is so special?

Carmela: BOOGIE features the same main character as in all my princess books. She is brave, bold, curious, adventurous, kind, creative, friendly, sometimes a little shy, not afraid to get messy, likes pink and purple and all the other colors too, inquisitive, rambunctious, oh and she is a princess.

She isn’t afraid to ask questions even though in my latest book, DO PRINCESS BOOGIE?, she doesn’t ask any questions. She just dances with her brother and mom and pop.

Second Star: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on things – like the way it sounds or the meaning?

Carmela: My characters intentionally don’t have names in my books. That way every little girl or boy is the main character on a journey of self discovery.

Second Star: Where do your ideas come from?

Carmela: Sometimes my ideas come from real life conversations, sometimes from things I overhear, sometimes little songs I write for my children, sometimes real life experiences. And sometimes they come from dreams. Whatever and however, there is always an “A-HA!” moment that tells me, deep inside, that this is a story worth pursuing.

Second Star: When did you decide to become a writer?

Carmela: I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl but then it went away for a while when I decided I wanted to be a cheerleader instead. Then as a teenager it came back but went away again when I decided I wanted to be a ears/nose/throat doctor instead. Then as an adult in college when studying to be an elementary school teacher it came back and never went away after that!!

Second Star: Why do you write?

Carmela: Mostly I write because I want to express what I am seeing and feeling. Then when a specific story goes “rolling by,” I switch gears and snatch it up.

Second Star: Do you have any strange writing habits? (like standing on your head or writing in the shower?)

Carmela: I am sort of reluctant to say, but a cup of homemade dark cocoa is one of my writing habits. Not easy. Just me, a cup a cocoa and my keyboard. I’m trying to cut back to one cup a week. :/ Puttering is another one of my writing habits, especially when I’m on a roll. Hah, when I’m really involved in a story, I find myself walking around before I am aware that I am walking around.

Second Star: What book do you wish you could have written?

Carmela: So many! Too many! But mostly, I am inspired by titles. I find that oftentimes I purchase a book for its title, imagining all the marvelous places the book might go. Sometimes, it goes right where I imagined it would go, and sometimes it does not. Regardless, it always goes someplace surprisingly wonderful. I LOVE Journey, What Do You Do With an Idea?, Wherever You Go, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Children Make Terrible Pets, Maple. I’m a huge fan of Oliver Jeffers, Mac Barnett, Peter Brown, and Kate DiCamillo.

Second Star: How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Carmela: www.carmelacoyle.com

Second Star: If they ever made a movie about your life, which actor should play you?

Carmela: Judy Hopps from Zootopia.

Second Star: Where is someplace you would like to visit?

Carmela: 1.) Back in time, wherever I happen to be, to see what it looked like before it was developed/modernized.
2.) Every National Park in USA.
3.) Most any (conscientious) farm.
4.) Miniaturized and inside a beehive.

Second Star: What secret talents do you have?

Carmela: I can finger spell (Sign) the alphabet using both hands simultaneously.

Second Star: If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

Carmela: I’ll have to think about that one…

Second Star: If you could be any animal what would you be?

Carmela: Without seeming ordinary, I would say a dawg.

Second Star: What literary character is most like you?

Carmela: I’m stumped again, but probably The Little Prince. Or a character in one of my unpublished stories called Merripooh.

Second Star: Do you have any pets?

Carmela: Lulu the dog — a spirited and wondrous black Shi-poo who sits on my lap while I write.


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Our Q&A with Author Weston Steinberg

August, 2016

Second Star: What advice do you have for young writers?

Weston: Young writers should keep a journal with them and write down any ideas they have for a story. You can always go back and add more to your stories but writing them down gives you time to think of more ideas, rather than keeping them all in your head. When thinking of a story, be creative and remember that its your story, anything can happen

Second Star: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on things – like the way it sounds or the meaning?

Weston: I enjoy having secret meanings behind the names of characters and places in the story. The main character “Crescendo” is the baby spider of the story. Crescendo is a musical term to gradually increase in loudness overtime. I thought that this name was fitting for the baby because Crescendo is growing as well. The names of the towns also have meaning. When we break down the name of the town Rosinwood it has two musical terms in it. Rosin is a substance that you put on a bow to make sound when pressed on the strings of an instrument. The second part wood was chosen because in a symphony hall there are wood string instruments.

Second Star: Where do your ideas come from?

Weston: My ideas come from creating scenes within the environment I am given. The Spinners’ Symphony came to mind because I was at a symphony concert in Chicago a few years back and while sitting and listening to the orchestra perform, I started to think about what goes on in the symphony hall that we don’t know about.

Second Star: When did you decide to become a writer?

Weston: I decided to become a writer because I believe my stories have important lessons behind them. I want to show that you can have a fun and creative story, but still share values that are important for readers to know.

Second Star: Where is someplace you would like to visit?

Weston: A place I would love to visit is Switzerland. Switzerland has beautiful mountains, scenery and it has always been a goal of mine to snowboard down their alps. As for the towns of Switzerland, they are very unique with rich history embedded in them. Lastly, we can’t forget about their delicious chocolate!

Second Star: What secret talents do you have?

Weston: I know how to make balloon animals. My favorite balloon animal to make is a parrot!