Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024
  • Alex Brown Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/9/2024
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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


First, I want to say thanks to all of you who've entered our 2000 follower contest for all your kind words and for spreading the word about the contest. We already have almost 150 entries. And if you haven't entered, there's still time. Just enter here.

Next I'm going to announce the winner of LEGEND.

The winner is:


Congrats! E-mail me your address and I'll send you your book.

Today I’m exciting to interview some 7th graders from Jill at The O.W.L.’s English class and her daughter. See if you can guess which one is her daughter. If you don’t follow Jill's blog, I recommend you check it out. She reviews books that would interest her students so discusses both middle grade and YA books. I always enjoy her posts. And in March, she'll be spotlighting middle grade books.

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for joining me.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your school, and what you like to read.
Macie: My name is Macie. I like to draw and one of my favorite hobbies is reading. I am in middle school, 7th grade. My favorite kids of books are fantasty

Tyler R: My name is Tyler and I love to be outdoors. I have a dog named Charlie, a brother in college and a sister in the navy. I like to read action and somewhat futuristic novels.

Abbey: My name is Abbey. I am 12 years old to middle school. I enjoy reading fantasy, and historical fiction books.

Tyler M: My name’s Tyler and I like distopic novels along with historical fiction.

Maggie: I’m a 7th grader. I like to read almost anything.

2. Cool. We all like the same types of books. How do you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

Macie: I have 3 different sources to look around: my school library, the public library and my language arts teacher’s small library. I will usually find out about new books through series or my language teacher will talk about one.

Tyler R: I find new books to read from friends, family and teachers. Or I just see a book and say it looks good. I don’t hear much about new books coming out, but when/if I do I get it from Mrs. F.

Abbey: I find out about books by my sister, my friend or by Mrs. F. I find out about new books by being in Mrs. F’s class.

Tyler M: Mostly just asking around about what’s good. Trailer Tuesday is usually newer books.

Maggie: My mom has a book review blog, so I hear about all the new books from her. I also find out about them all from her.

3. Trailer Tuesdays sounds awesome. And I bet you all get lots of good recommendations from Mrs. F. Does the fact that your teacher blogs influence the books you read and/or do you find out about new releases earlier than you would otherwise?

Macie: No it doesn’t and I could find out about early releases through other sources.

Tyler R: My teacher’s blog does not influence me, much.

Abbey: I would not know about half the books out there if it weren’t for her.

Tyler M: Not really influencing the new releases. But sometimes I’ll look for a book review. It helps me see if I should even read it or not.

Maggie: The fact my mom has a book review blog does influence what I read because I read a lot of the books she gets. But I also read a lot before she did that, so even if she didn’t have one I’d still read a lot. I wouldn’t know about some of the new books. Yes I find out about the new books earlier.

4. I know Mrs. F. will love your answers, especially Abbey's and Maggie's. What are you reading now? What books are you waiting to be released?

Macie: I am currently reading eight books: Inkheart, The Son of Neptune, Inheritance, Sabotage, Plague, The Medusa Plot (39 Clues), The Diamond of Darkhold and Memory Boy. I am waiting for the next book in the Heroes of Olympus series.

Tyler R: I am reading many books now that are very good. Hunger Games trilogy, The 39 Clues series, Alex Rider series and The Wednesday Wars.

Abbey: Right now I am reading “I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You”, and I am not wating for any books to be released.

Tyler M: I’m reading The Maze Runner trilogy. I’m not really waiting on any.

Maggie: I just read May B. I’m waiting for the next Red Pyramid book.

5. I loved Inkheart, Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, though I haven't read the last book of that trilogy yet. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do go to a bookstore?
Macie: Most of the time I get them from a library. I will go to the bookstore now and then.

Tyler R: I do not buy books. I just rent them from the library 1-3 times a week.

Abbey: I get most of my books from my sister who owns them, but I also get them from Mrs. F’s library. I don’t go to the bookstores that often but when I do I spend hours there and usually get about 3 books.

Tyler M: I usually check them out of the school library or classroom library. I only buy books like biographies or nonfiction with facts that I can look back too. Novels are a one-read-type book.

Maggie: I get most of them from my mom but we do go to the bookstore and I get them there too. We don’t go to the library too often.

6. I'm a huge fan of the library too. And I bet Mrs. F's library has lots of good choices. Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?
Macie: I don’t read blogs, and I am only a fan of a few book series on Facebook.

Tyler R: Not really because I don’t have internet, but when I do have internet usage at other places I like to read.

Abbey: I do not follow any blogs or websites but on Tuesday in class we watch book trailers.

Tyler M: Not really. I’m not a “hardcore” reader/blogger. I guess I never take the time.

Maggie: No I don’t. I don’t need to because of my mom, but even then I don’t think I would. I’m not sure how to find them.

7. I really love that you watch book trailers. Has your teacher recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you? Which ones?
Macie: Yes she has shared her blog.

Tyler R: She has many times but I can’t remember the sites.

Abbey: I can’t remember them.

Tyler M: None other than her website

Maggie: The 39 Clues one.

8. Are there things your favorite authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?

Macie: Not really because I am not much of an author fan, just a book fan.

Tyler R: Create more adventurous books and personally meet and relate to me.

Abbey: Write more books.

Tyler M: Maybe create a 39 Clues scenario. Where you read a little, then check in on a site for extra stuff or something (I’ve never read that series tho)

Maggie: Maybe having writing tips because I like to write.

9. Great suggestions to make the websites more kid friendly. Have any authors visited your school? Who? Is there anything you’d recommend that an author do to make their presentation more interesting to you and other kids at your school?

Macie: Yes a few authors have visited but I don’t remember their names. I would recommend them to show some more of this or her books because if they do that more people could get interested in his or her books.

Tyler R: Yes and author has visited my school but I don’t remember who he was. Have an acting of their books and give out some books and accessories for free. Or have the students interact in some way.

Abbey: Yes the author that wrote Jerk California and he did not do much with the audience

Tyler M: We’ve had a few authors (I can’t remember names though). Maybe read parts of their books to us.

Maggie: Yes we’ve had several but I can’t remember them. I’ve gone to some author signings with my mom. The best are when they have us do stuff. The guy who wrote Origami Yoda did that. It was fun.

I like your ideas like acting out part of the book, giving away stuff, and the origami idea. That would make author visits more fun. Thanks Macie, Tyler R., Abbey, Tyler M., and Maggie for sharing all your great advice.

Today I'm giving away an ARC of Wildwood.
Here’s a blurb from Amazon that had a better description than Goodreads:

Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in – or at least returned to tell of it.
So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend, Curtis, deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.
Wildwood is a spellbinding tale full of wonder, danger, and magic that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Original and fresh yet steeped in classic fantasy, this is a novel could have only come from the imagination of Colin Meloy, celebrated for his inventive and fantastic storytelling as the lead singer of the Decemberists. Wildwood is truly a new classic for the twenty-first century.

I enjoyed the setting of Wildwood, a fascinating world in the woods on the outskirts of Portland. While much of the story is set in the woods, I liked that the story included a bit about Prue’s life in this world. And her search for her baby brother not only leads her to discover Wildwood but her connection to it.

I liked Prue right away because she loves books and is vegetarian like me. She’s torn with guilt when she lets her baby brother be captured by the crows and is determined to rescue him. I could so relate to those times as a kid when you do something wrong and have to fix it before your parents find out. She reluctantly lets Curtis, a geekish, somewhat immature school acquaintance interested in super heroes, tag along.

Almost immediately they are separated. Prue must journey through the woods to find some faction of Wildwood’s inhabitants to help her locate and rescue her brother. Curtis is quickly captured by the former leader’s wife who is trying to take over Wildwood. He’s less mature than Prue and it takes him awhile to figure out which side is right and to find his place in the battle for Wildwood.

One of the things I enjoyed most was watching Prue’s and Curtis’ separate journeys before they rejoin at the climax of the story and their character growth, especially Curtis’. And I was surprised—not in a bad way—by the choices they made at the end of the story. I won’t tell you what they were because I don’t want to give any spoilers.

I’m giving away my ARC for a giveaway. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment about our panel discussion by midnight on February 4th. I’ll announce the winner on February 6th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please let me know in the comments and I’ll give you an extra entry.

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger to spotlight middle grade authors. Check it out here and you'll also find a link to the other Middle Grade reviewers this week.

And check out these other Marvelous Monday Middle Grade Reviewers:

Here's what's coming up next. Next week I'll be doing a blog post. I did say I'd do more of them. The following week I'll be celebrating my first year blogging with a book giveaway of a book I know you'll want. Then on February 13th I'll be interviewing Kristen Simmons and giving away an ARC of ARTICLE 5.

Hope to see you next Monday!


Giada M. said...

I already follow Jill's blog and I love it! :)
So many interesting books have been mentioned in this interview that I had to update my wishlist.
The Maze Runner trilogy sounds awesome. Thank you for posting! And thank you for the chance to win a copy of Wildwood! :)

GFC: Giada M.

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Jess said...

What a wonderful interview! It just shows how much kids are reading, and what great influences a good teacher and a well-stocked school library are:) I would love to win Wildwood~ thanks for the chance!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks so much Jill for helping set up this panel discussion. And thanks to Macie, Tyler R., Abbey, Tyler M., & Maggie for sharing all your advice with us.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

What a great interview! I loved hearing from this group. Thanks!! And congrats to Shannon!

Matthew MacNish said...

There's nothing quite as cool as hearing directly from young readers. Thanks, Natalie!

B Ziemba said...

Gotta love Colin Meloy! If you are a fan of the Decemberists, you will know what a good book this must be. Great interview with young readers, they always tell it like it is.
Thanks for a great insight and your hard work keeping up this web-site.It is a wonderful resource for authors.

Rosalyn said...

I've heard great things about Wildwood. And thanks for the website recommendation! Since I'm in the midst of writing a middle grade novel, I keep looking for good MG to read.

Marta Szemik said...

What a nice interview. It's great to hear the voice of middle-graders. Great Job!

Kristin Lenz said...

Trailer Tuesdays - Wow, how fun is that!

Anonymous said...

fantastic - i love this insight from your middle graders. thanks for sharing the interview!

and the cover of wildwood is super - would definitely pick it up off the shelf to get a closer look!

happy middle grade monday!

Vivien said...

I've been wanting to read Wildewood for months. It has definitely caught my eye!
Congrats to the winner, and thanks again :)

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

David P. King said...

That was quite the interview. Thanks so much for posting this, Natalie.

You should check out my blog. It just might make your day. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wow, what a great interview! I really enjoyed it. And congrats to Shannon!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Thanks, Natalie. Since I don't personally know very many seventh graders, I found this interview eye-opening. Especially the part about how they don't seem to read blogs, other than Maggie reads her mother's (and Maggie must be Jill's daughter, right?).

I'm thrilled to hear that Maggie and her mother still go to bookstores. I've heard of even young kids having e-readers and not going to bookstores with their parents anymore.

Haven't read WILDWOOD yet but I have an ARC, so please give it to someone else.

Lucky 13s said...

That was a fantastic interview! I hope to see more of these. Congrats to Shannon on the book win!

danika dinsmore said...

Great idea to interview kids to find out how they find out about books. I already had a good feeling that kids that age didn't read many blogs. Very few of my students ever have.

I did find it interesting that they all had author visits, but couldn't remember the names of the authors. Means we have to really work on connecting with them when we do author visits.

I've tried about 6 times to win a copy of Wildwood! Perhaps this will be the time! info (at) danikadinsmore (dot) com

Barbara Watson said...

I'm so with Macie--I'm a book fan and not an author fan too. Books are wondrous. Thank you, ALL, for sharing your insight.

Also, I already have a copy of WILDWOOD, so don't enter me in the drawing, Natalie (but awesome opportunity and book!)

Ali B said...

I love the interview. Nothing better than kid-voice. Wildwood keeps popping up on blogs and sites. I will add it to my queue.


Natalie said...

Wow! Kids that READ and seem to LIKE it! I could give them all hugs. Not nearly enough middle and high schoolers read, in my opinion, and it's SO important once you get to college, no matter what field you decide to go into.

Also, it must be awesome to have a teacher who blogs about books. I bet she's an absolute blast in class!

LTM said...

What a fun interview session! I love hearing from kids. That Mrs. F, yeah? She's something. And I'd never heard of the 39 Clues... must check that out. Thanks, guys! :o) <3

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for the interview, the contest, and the link! I tweeted a link.

Jessy said...

How cute they all are! Mrs. F is a pretty cool lady to inspire these kids to read.

Findjessyhere at gmail dot com

Jennifer R said...

How fun the interview must have been! I've heard such good things about Wildewood, too!

Jill the OWL said...

Thanks soooooo much for letting me share my students! I have amazing ones that know they MUST read or I'll hunt them down and bug them until they find (with my help of course) a book they'll read!

PS and yes Maggie is my daughter and reads waaaaaaay more than me!!!

Angela Brown said...

I was just floored with the students started rambling off titles like other kids ramble off their favorite meal at McDonald's. Not surprised, just happy.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

That was super! I loved the students answers to your questions. Thanks so much for sharing their thoughts. :)

Congratulations to Shannon. :D

Linda A. said...

Great panel discussion. I plan to forward this to an author I know who is making a school visit in April. I believe the comments here will influence her presenation in a positive way.

Mary Preston said...

I think it is wonderful when authors take time to visit schools. I enjoyed the discussion.

I follow.


ily said...

beautiful book. Thanks for interview

Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

this interview was fun and I liked the answers. it's always good to know kids opinion!

aliasgirl at libero dot it

Victoria Lindstrom said...

As always, your blog is a wonderful resource of insight and inspiration! I just have to throw my "name in the hat" for the Wildwood giveaway; the Greater Portland, OR area is my neck of the woods!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I LOVE the O.W.L.'s blog!! I have to say that Inkheart is my all-time favorite trilogy, and everyone knows how I feel about James Dashner. LOL. What a fun interview! :-)


The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Thanks I love interviews with actual readers.

IdentitySeeker said...

Aww! I think it's really sweet how all the children interviewed mentioned being made aware of their teacher's blog and borrowing books from their siblings or being taken to the bookstore by their parents. It' very encouraging to see all the adults in their lives encouraging them to read. Beautiful interview!

The blurb for Wildwood sounds fascinating, so I'd love to read it. Thank you for this chance:)

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/SweetNSensible/status/162490101094559744

Best wishes for 2012!:)



Paula said...

Great interview. And the books sounds AWESOME!! Thanks!!