Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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Happy Monday everyone! So glad to see you. Today I have a fantastic interview and book giveaway to share with you. Before I get to that, I want to announce the winners of a few of my contests.

The winner of DARK FROST is LYRIC!


Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can have your books sent to you. Please e-mail me your address by Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

And don't forget to enter my other awesome contests for ENDLESSLY, the last book in Kiersten White's series, SEND, a contemporary book about bullying from a teenage boy bully's POV, SKYLARK, a fantastic debut dystopian/fantasy, and ENTICE, the second book in Jessica Shirvington's EMBRACE series. The links are at the top of the blog.

Today I’m excited to interview Mady, a sixth grader, and Matt MacNish’s daughter. Matt is one of our followers and has a fabulous blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. If you haven’t checked it out, you should right after you read this post. In addition, Mady started a blog earlier this summer, Middle Grade Madi, where you can read her occasional book reviews.

Hi Mady! Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your school, and what you like to read.

I’m a 6th grader who loves to dance and sing. I’m in chorus, and Una Voce (a special, tryout only chorus) at my school. I love to read all kinds of fiction except Science Fiction and Horror.

2.  That's awesome you like so many genres. I don't like horror either. How do you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

I find out about books from my dad, my family, or my friends. He tells me a lot of the books he suggests to me come from people’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts. I don’t know what that is, but that’s what he said. I also get some ARCs sometimes. I really like those. Usually my dad wins them, or sometimes people send them to him.

3.  I tell my daughter about books too. And she reads some of my ARCs before I give them away. The Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts are a great way to find out about books. I use it too. Does the fact that your dad is an aspiring author and blogger influence what books you read at all? How?

Yeah. He suggests books to me, and I read them. I imagine he finds out about a lot of them from his blogging friends, but he doesn’t always tell me where.

4.  What are you reading now? What books are you waiting to be released?

I’m reading Vladimir Todd, 12th Grade Kills (the final book in the series), by Heather Brewer. I’m looking forward to the new Rick Riordan book, and The Slayer Chronicles.

5.  I have the first book in Heather's new series. You're inspiring me to read it. And I can't wait for the next Rick Riordan book too. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do go to a bookstore?

I buy a TON of books, but lately I’ve been getting all the Vladimir Todd books at my school library. We go to our local bookstore, Humpus Bumpus, and the Barnes and Noble at the Avenues about once every couple months. I get a lot of gift cards for there.

6.  I always ask for gift cards for books too. Hmm, it's sounding like we're a lot alike. Though I definitely don't sing or dance. Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

I’m a fan of Rick Riordan and Shannon Messenger on Facebook, I think. I follow a couple of blogs, but I never read them. I’d much rather read books.

7.  Sounds like you've got your priorities straight. Has your teacher recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

No. I’m in Middle School now, and neither my ELA teacher, or my literacy teacher, or the librarian, has recommended any websites. Last year, my homeroom teacher, talked to my dad about blogging, and he gave her some books to loan out to kids, but she never recommended any sites.

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?

Not that I can think of. Writing more awesome books, I guess.

9.  Ha! Writing good books is essential. 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?

No authors have ever visited my school. If an author did come, they should give us free books and bookmarks and stuff. I love free books.

10.  I've heard the offering free books as a suggestion from other kids too. I think that's a great idea for authors to run a contest. I know you started a blog earlier this summer. Tell us a bit about it and why you started blogging.

I can’t remember why I started it, but I haven’t been doing it at all lately. 6th grade is WAY harder than 5th!

Yes, 6th grade is harder. Hate to tell you, but wait until 9th grade. It's a huge jump in homework. Thanks Mady for sharing all your great advice.

You’re welcome! 

I have another treat for you today.  I'm sharing about THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann and have a fabulous giveaway for you.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged.

In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings--Peculiars--and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.

One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley--Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.

First he's noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.

Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, "The Peculiar" is Stefan Bachmann's riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.

I was really excited to get an ARC of THE PECULIAR for a couple of reasons. I heard so much buzz about it at the BEA. (Didn’t go to BEA, just read about it.) And I was intrigued because Stefan Bachman wrote it when he was sixteen. I am so impressed by teenage writers because of their talent and how they’re able to juggle writing with the heavy demands of high school. And finally, Stefan’s agent is Sara Megibow, one of my top agents I’d love to represent me.

THE PECULAR did not disappoint. The faeries and other magical beings became stuck in our world after a battle between the faeries and humans. While the faeries have somewhat assimilated to the world, changelings are despised and must stay hidden to avoid death or something even worse. One of the things I loved was the fantastic world building. All my favorite magical creatures—faeries, goblins, dwarves, hobgoblins, and more—live in the worlds of London and the poorer Bath, where most of them live. Stefan seamlessly created this world that I felt transported into as I read. And the steampunk aspects of the world where motorized horses are used for transportation and motorized birds are used to send messages made the world even more interesting.

I always sympathize with underdogs who are discriminated against, so I loved the addition of the changelings. You can’t help sympathizing with Bartholomew who just wants to have friends and to be able to leave the confines of his home. At least he can conceal himself enough to go in their courtyard to help him mother with her work. But his sweet younger sister Hattie has it even worse because she has tree branches growing out of her head so she dares not leave their apartment.
The mystery of why the changeling children were being kidnapped kept me reading, especially when Bartholomew realizes he might be number 10. 

While Bartholomew is finding about more about the missing changeling children, so is Arthur Jelliby. One of the unique things of this story is that Stefan chose to alternate the POV characters between Bartholomew and Arthur, an adult. It’s not something you see in children’s books, especially middle grade. Arthur is an interesting character. He’s a wealthy married young man whose family got him a job on the governing council. He’d rather do leisure activities than be involved in the decision making. But after he accidentally discovers something secret about the missing children, he finds himself compelled to solve the mystery.

Both Bartholomew and Arthur must risk more and more of their their ways of live and face threats to their lives as they try to figure out why these children are being kidnapped. It was interesting to watch their journeys—Bartholomew’s into the world where he’s never really been and Arthur’s into the poorer parts of his world he never goes to—and then watch as they meet and their relationship grows.
The only thing I wished for was a tiny bit more closeness to Bartholomew and Arthur’s characters when I was reading from their POV. There was a slight distance from the characters, which I think was part of the writing style of the book. But it wasn’t a big problem for me because of everything else I really enjoyed about the story.

The story ends with a satisfying resolution of the mystery, but left me dying to know what’s coming next.

I've been really excited to share THE PECULIAR with you and give away my ARC. Then I got a total surprise in the mail last week. Stefan's publisher sent me a copy of the book too! So I have an even more awesome giveaway. One winner will win my ARC and the other my book.

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment on Mady's interview by midnight on September 22nd. I’ll announce the winner on September 24th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. 

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays was started by ShannonWhitney Messenger to spotlight middle grade authors. Check out the other Middle Grade group:

Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday I'm sharing some awesome news about one of our followers and helping her celebrate with a big giveaway. That's all I can say for now, so come back on Wednesday to learn more.

Next Monday I'm helping Kat Zhang celebrate her debut with an interview and giveaway of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME, a fantastic dystopian story. I fell in love with this book from page 1. It was so awesome. I can't wait to share it with you.

Next Wednesday, I'm participating in S.R. Johannes' blog tour for her new book UNCONTROLLABLE, a murder mystery set in the Smokey Mountains. UNTRACEABLE, the first book in the series which I really enjoyed, made the Kindle YA Semi-Finalist for Best Indie Books of 2012. Shelli will be sharing marketing advice and giving away a copy of her book. She really has expertise in marketing, so be sure to stop by.

The following Monday I'll be sharing THE CROWN OF EMBERS, by Rae Carson and giving away my ARC. It's a fantastic fantasy series and I'm so excited to have an ARC to share with you. I can't believe I actually got one.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Wednesday!


Matthew MacNish said...

Thanks so much for having her on, Natalie!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Ooh, Mady, it's great to meet you more personally! Heard lots about you from your dad. And you're a horror buff, too. Cool.

Thanks, Natalie, for info about this book. Sounds great!

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss natalie and special hi to mady!

cool interview! i gotta agree 6th grade is just way harder than 5th and theres lots more homework. ack! for sure it gets in the way of my blogging. its neat that you sing and dance. i didnt read any of the series youre reading now but i might put it on my wanna read list. i like rick riordan too. you should go at those mmgm blogs that miss natalie listed. for sure they help you know whats new or sometime more old and help you decide what book you wanna read. im a follower of you dad. hes way cool!!!

...smiles from lenny

Laura Pauling said...

Yes, there does seem to be some increased pressure in Middle school. And yes to free books! But I don't often see that at school visits. :)

The Peculiars sounds terrific. That's so cool the publisher sent you a copy!

Heather Kelly said...

Mady--Great to see you here! Nice interview! My son started a blog last year, and never updates it. Sixth grade is harder. Now my son is in 7th grade, and I bet he'll say it's harder yet. :)

I'm so glad you get good book recs from your dad. And I'm glad that you trust his judgment enough to read them. :)

I really don't see MGers spending much time on adults' book blogs yet.

I'm definitely going to have to check out the Vladimir Todd books!

Next time you come east with your family, maybe I'll bring my son, and you guys can exchange favorite books. He's not into sci fi or horror either. :)

Thanks Mady! (And thanks Natalie and Casey for the great interview today!)

Andrea Mack said...

Thanks for the interview, Mady! It's great to get a peek into what a 6th grader thinks.

My kids don't read my blog and they think blogs are weird, though that may change this year since my 8th grader is going to be part of a blog at school.

Natalie, thanks for the MMGM this week - and all the other good stuff you've posted today!

Old Kitty said...

I love bookmarks too Mady!! I have a such a collection and all are poking out of books I stopped reading for one reason or other but ones I promise to get back too at some future date!!!

Take care

Matthew MacNish said...

FYI - For Lenny and others, I should point out that the Vladimir Todd books are YA - NOT MG. I was a little concerned about Madi reading them at first, but her sister who is in high school had read them, and said they would be okay.

Anonymous said...

What a great interview...insightful to say the least. Thanks Mady and Natalie.

Boy--that book does sound great. My TBR pile is slowly going down so I'm ready to start building it up again. Fingers crossed!

Candyland said...

Mady, you rock just like your dad! Any girl who loves to read that much is pretty darn cool. Great interview Natalie!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Awesome interview Mady! Writing great books is definitely the number one way an author should draw attention:) And it sounds like you definitely have your priorities straight! I haven't heard of the Vladimir Todd or Rick Riorden books so thanks for introducing me to those! Natalie, the PECULIAR sounds really cool and unique.

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks Natalie and Mady! So great that you can share books with your dad - good luck with your blogs!

Christina Lee said...

This was GREAT, Mady and Natalie! Interesting about blogs, confirms what I expected. And what a good Dad (good 'ol Matt), taking you to bookstores and encouraging your reading! I'm off to tweet this interview!

Martina Boone said...

Thank you Mady, and Natalie!, for letting us in on the kid-eye view. This interview is a great reminded that it's the books that count with kids, and that the best way to have a great career as a writer is to write books that kids love. (Also that kids love FREE books.) It makes perfect sense though, because unlike actors, the author of a book isn't supposed to be on the stage. The book is about the characters the author creates, not about the author.

Thanks so much for this, Mady! (And I love your name :))


Linda Gray said...

Love that interview with Mady. What a wonderful way to see the book world through a young reader's perspective. Thanks! (and you are SO organized Natalie, with your schedule. How do you do that?)

Michael G-G said...

Great interview with Mady. Mady, if I ever get published, I'll come to your school. Georgia, right?

Natalie, I mentioned this on my blog, and tweeted it. (https://twitter.com/MGMafioso/status/245155254742687744)

Stina said...

Awesome interview, Mady! Yes, kids of MG and YA writers get lucky. Not only do we know what great books are coming out. We are more likely to buy them for our kids (before the library gets them).

Good luck with grade 6th.

Laurisa White Reyes said...

I love the cover of this book! I tweeted the contest! laurisawhitereyes at yahoo dot com

Nicole Zoltack said...

What a great interview, Mady! I love being able to see inside young reader's minds. I hope 6th grade gets easier for you!

Lydia Kang said...

Mady, thank you for reminding me about Vladamir Todd. I need to read those books! So nice to meet you! You probably don't believe me, but your dad is way cool. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love the interview with Mady! She's got a great attitude and I love this: "Writing more awesome books, I guess."

You've got it exactly right, Mady!!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Great interview Mady! Thanks for the advice on good reads. :)

L.C. said...

Gosh, I keep hearing that I need to read Vladimir Todd, but somehow it always slips my mind when I'm at the bookstore. Thanks for the interview and recommendation, Mady! And thanks Natalie for the heads up on THE PECULIAR. Sounds right up my alley.

Shannon O'Donnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a fun interview, Mady! I love your attitude. And I would LOVE to win this one, Natalie! I tweeted already. :)

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

What a great interview! Sounds like you're a big reader, Mady! Taking after your dad, it seems. I've not read much middle grade, but I'm betting you're the person to go to for recommendations!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds like so much fun! And I adore this interview. Thanks for the chance to win!

alicia marie said...

Thanks for the great interview! I love getting to hear what young readers think! I've heard some awesome things about this book and would love to read it : )
Also, I tweeted about it: https://twitter.com/bamayankee/status/245174215991513089

Donna K. Weaver said...

What a fun interview wth Mady! I love that her father is so encouraging and supportive with her reading. No surprise there, though. lol

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Fun interview, Natalie and Madi! I like Vlad Todd too. I'm so sorry you haven't had any authors at your school. When your dad gets published, he can come visit. Oh, and I love the name of your local bookstore: Humpus Bumpus! Indies rock.

Natalie, please don't enter me in the giveaway -- I already have a copy.

Lori M. Lee said...

Man, that cover is freaking fantastic!

Jessica Salyer said...

Great interview, Mady and Natalie. I'll have to check out those authors. I like free books too. :) I always spend way too much money buying them, especially now with e-books. It's just so easy to get one.

Steve MC said...

Love your answer to what authors should be doing: Writing more awesome books, I guess.

Well said!

Barbara Watson said...

Thanks, Mady! Since I write for kids, have a couple of my own, and read a lot of books for kids, I LOVE hearing what kids have to say about what they're reading.

Natalie, thanks for the chance to win!

David P. King said...

I always love to know what kids are looking for these days, so thanks for the heads up, Mady. It gives me a idea of what to working into the next projects. :)

Janet Johnson said...

What a fun interview. And GREAT advice: "Write more awesome books." That about says it all. :)

Rosi said...

It's always great to hear from the people we write for. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway. The Peculiar description gave me chills, so I can only imagine how good the book will be.

Joe Lunievicz said...

Love the interview with Madi. That's one great kid.

Angela Ackerman said...

Great interview! I love hearing from kids, and Mady's answers were very helpful to those of us trying to figure out how to reach our audience. Thank you Mady & Natalie for a great conversation!


Kiera Paul said...

Just like Madi, I too loved reading the Slayer Chronicles! Now if I could only get my nephew to read 'em too :)

Angela Brown said...

I was excited about this interview. It did not disappoint. Thank you, Madi, for sharing from your EXPERT reader's perspective. It is to you - the reader - that writers can truly learn from. Great interview Madi and Natalie. Thanks to you both.

Deniz Bevan said...

That was a fun interview!

Jess said...

What a cool 6th grader and what an awesome interview! Thanks to both of you ladies :) And I would looooooove to win a copy of The Peculiar.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Best interview yet! How awesome to hear from a real 6th grader. I'll go tweet.

LTM said...

Yay, Madi! What a great interview. I like getting free books, too, and my daughter, who also loves to read constantly, has started having to go to the library as well for her books--LOL! Best of luck to you with your blog!

As for the Peculiar--wow! What a great, imaginative story. And I'm really impressed, too, by the age of the author. It's awesome when talented young people are given a chance. Thanks, Natalie! <3

Theresa Milstein said...

It's so nice to meet you, Mady. I like hearing how much you like to read. I should blog less and read even more!

I'll share this post on Facebook.

nutschell said...

Awesome interview as always! Congrats to Lee and Lyric!


Ishta Mercurio said...

Thanks for this interview, Mady! I was surprised to hear that you don't really go to author websites and fan sites much. We all think our readers are all over those pages, but I guess we're wrong about that, huh? Just goes to show how much we need more interviews with kids like you.

Good luck in 6th grade. It's harder at the beginning, but it gets easier as long as you keep up from the beginning, so don't worry about that.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Fabulous interview!! I love Mady's passion for reading! Good luck in your school year Mady!

Isis Rushdan said...

Wonderful interview. Mady is a very special girl with a bright future.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

"Write more awesome books"

That's up on my wall now. Thanks for a great interview!

Akoss said...

That was one great interview. I've been waiting for this book since I heard about it from people who went to BEA. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I was not that smart-sounding when I was in 6th grade. Seriously, this gal sounds very mature :)

I like Rick Riordan too (the Percy Jackson series were great).


Beth said...

Great interview, Mady! Sounds like you like some awesome books - three cheers for dads with good suggestions on books to read!

P.S. I buy a TON of books too.

Christina Farley said...

What a great interview! I've taught 6th grade before (five years worth actually) and yes, it is a BIG jump from 5th grade. My son is obsessed with Rick Riordan's books. They are just such great action packed books with great humor.

Alison Miller said...

That was a wonderful interview! Thanks for that and the giveaway!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview ladies! I'm too much of a wimp to read horror, but I like reading a whole pile of different genres too! :) I teach grade 6, and it is a whole lot tougher than 5 - I hope you have a great year though!

Book Sake said...

Love the interview of a "real middle grade reader". Very cool. Mady sounds like one smart gal!

- Jessica @ Book Sake

Arlee Bird said...

Nice to hear from a blogger from the next generation.

Tossing It Out

Kelly Polark said...

Loved hearing your perspecive, Mady! My daughter is very much looking forward to Rick Riordan's next book too! She's reading The Red Pyramid right now.

Natasha said...

Great interview! Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the chance to win!

Carina Olsen said...

Love the interview! Makes me want the book even more :D It sounds so so so good. <3 thank you for this perfect giveaway :) *Fingers crossed.* GFC: Carina Olsen
Love, Carina

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hi Madi! Sorry I couldn't get here until today. I kept getting a warning notice every time I clicked on the link yesterday.

Wendy said...

Enjoy sixth grade, Mady! You sound like someone who's got all the right priorities (reading!)

warisha_jayanti said...

Awesome interview! Can't wait to read the book.

Lauri Meyers said...

Mady - great interview! My sixth grade former self is incredibly jealous you are getting the latest coolest books from Dad's recommendations, although I think libraries are better stocked today than when I was young.

Mart Ramirez said...

Natalie-your book sounds great! Awesome interview ladies! Nice to meet you, Natalie.

Anubha said...

Awesome interview... the book sounds interesting... :)

tweeted: https://twitter.com/miliminni/status/245583921742487552


Sophia (The Bookworm) said...

Thanks for the giveaway! This book sounds great!


Mary Preston said...

Lovely to meet Mady. I enjoyed the interview.

I would love a copy of THE PECULIAR thank you.


Veronika said...

I love this interview with Mady! The book looks amazing!
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

Emily R. King said...

Oh my gosh, Mady is adorable! I remember 6th grade being much harder than 5th as well. Nice meeting you, Mady!

Unknown said...

Fun interview and I would love to be entered to with the book, sounds great. Thank you.

Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

It's been a while since the last time I checked the MGMM feature and I knew I was missing something. Loved the interview!

Follower: reading mind

aliasgirl at libero dot it

Rachna Chhabria said...

Nice to meet you Mady. For some reason I could not comment earlier on this post.

Ali Cross said...

What a great interview!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

GFC- Sheena-kay Graham

Tweet: https://twitter.com/queendsheena/status/248831767602147328

I find this book very interesting. Like the cover.


Diana said...

Okay, Madi is awesome. Way to go young reader! Totally cool to put yourself out there with your own book blog. And that's too bad about not having author's visit the school. Where is the school and what's up with that?