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Jill Diamond and Jen Rofé Guest Post and Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! And a Happy, Happy Halloween! Hope You Have a Fantastic and Spooky Holiday!

Followers News

Crystal Collier's new YA time travel TIMELESS is being released. Here's a blurb: Alexia races
against her own clock, and the birth of her child, to stop the Soulless from existing. And here's a few links:  Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Today I'm thrilled to have debut author Jill Diamond and her agent Jen Rofé here to share about Jill's MG mystery LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

1. Pea is proper, Lou Lou is not!
2. Lou Lou loves gardening, Pea prefers art.
3. But neither can turn down an adventure...

On Friday afternoons, the girls get together in Lou Lou's backyard garden for their PSPP (post-school pre-parents) tea parties. They chat about the school week, discuss Pea's latest fashions, and plot the weekend's activities.

But all plans go out the window when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de los Muertos procession. First, Pea's cousin's quinceañera dress is tragically ruined. Then Lou Lou's beloved camellia bush, Pinky, suffers a serious blow. When clues start to appear in the painted murals around their community, these best friends must join forces - both floral expertise and artistic genius - to solve the mysteries.

Debut author Jill Diamond weaves a delightful romp, full of colorful characters and gentle intrigue, while artist Lesley Vamos punctuates the story with black-and-white illustrations throughout. Backmatter includes crafting activities and a glossary of Spanish terms!

Here's Jill and Jen!

Author Jill Diamond and her agent, Jen Rofé (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), talk characters, generally, and, more specifically, Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock (Pea) Pearl, the two main characters from Jill’s book, LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY!

Jill: I’m sure that many authors see some part of themselves reflected in their main character.  Certainly, writing a personally relatable main character makes it easier to find that character’s voice. But as authors, we’re usually exploring differences, too. If we weren’t, we’d be writing a memoir as opposed to a novel! MURAL MYSTERY has two main characters, which was fun because it gave me more space to write relatable qualities and explore differences.

Jen: I love reading books about characters who are different from me because it allows me to exist
through a story that is not my own. But I do connect differently with stories when I can relate to the characters. I could relate to Lou Lou and Pea, and I like these girls. They are two reasons that I love your book.

Jill: Let’s talk specifics about the two girls. Both Lou Lou and Pea love adventure and intrigue. I definitely do, too! That’s why I wrote a mystery, and why some of my favorite movies are spy films and I adore reading mysteries. Right now, I’m rereading The Westing Game. Like Lou Lou and Pea, I also enjoy puzzles and riddles! What about you, Jen?

Jen: I love trying to solve mysteries and figure out puzzles and plans. Especially surprises – if I know a surprise is in the works for me, part of the enjoyment is trying to figure out what it is. I absolutely would have been out there trying to solve the mural mystery with Lou Lou and Pea. Also, when it comes to stories – like books and movies – I especially enjoy being wrong in my guess at a mystery’s solution. It means I was truly surprised. The resolution of MURAL MYSTERY was a total surprise for me, which made it a fun read!  

Jill: Another quality that the girls share, and that I admire is their bravery. I’m not a wimp, but I think they might be braver than I am! I have to hold a pillow when I watch scary movies so I can duck behind it when things get intense.

Jen: I am also a scaredy cat, and I’m conflict averse. However, I’m not always a rule follower, and I
do have a rebellious side – a tempered rebellious side. For instance, one of my “rebellions” is opening doors that maybe I shouldn’t open? In college, I interned at Disney Studios, and during my lunch break, I would walk around the grounds and open random doors. I ended up on interesting sets that way! Also, I once opened an unmarked door while walking around Venice, Italy, and I discovered a spectacular church.

Jill: Both Lou Lou and Pea are very creative and passionate about different things. For Lou Lou it’s horticulture and Pea likes art and fashion. I’m right there with Pea on fashion, although I wear less blue and more black. But I don’t share Pea’s talent for visual art. I can barely draw a stick figure. I’m also not a skilled gardener like Lou Lou, but I’m passionate about other things – writing for example!

Jen: I generally don’t have a green thumb, but Lou Lou would be impressed by my recent success with orchids. I’m no fashionista, like Pea, and it’s something I admire about her. I’d love for Pea to be my stylist. I admire the girls’ focused passions, and I wish that I were as focused as they are. I suppose I’m more of a hobbyist. My big passion is my work!

Jill: Lou Lou and Pea have an incredibly strong friendship that is important to both of them. I didn’t intentionally focus on friendship as a theme when I wrote MURAL MYSTERY but, since friendship is so important to me personally, it came through naturally in the book. Growing up, I had very close friends, and I remain close to many of them today. As an only child, I always saw my friends as an extension of my family.

Jen: I enjoy the relationship Lou Lou and Pea have. Something I appreciate about the girls is that they embrace their differences and learn from them. Lou Lou and Pea are so supportive of each other and they make each other stronger.

Jill: Speaking of the girls’ differences, I thought we could do a fun quiz! It’s in the form of a matrix similar to the Mural Mystery Matrix that Lou Lou and Pea make in the book. So without further ado…


Talented horticulturalist
Loves art and fashion
Impulsive and spontaneous
Cautious and sensible
Acts on emotion
Acts on reason
Loves red
Loves blue
Doesn’t always follow rules
Prefers to follow rules


Jen: Looks like I’m a “Lou Lou!”

Jill: And I’m both a “Lou Lou” and a “Pea.” Hooray!

Visit Jill at www.jilldiamondbooks.com or on Twitter: @jillinboots


Jill has generously offered a copy of LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY for a giveaway.  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 through November 12th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This is an international giveaway.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I have a guest post by debut author Monika Shroeder and a giveaway of her MG contemporary BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD.

The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Jenny Moyer and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FLASHFALL.

Tuesday that week I'll be participating in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop.

Then I'm starting my holiday slowdown. I'll be visiting you but not posting as much.

On Monday, December 5th I'll be back with a guest post by MG Jenny Lundquist and a giveaway of her new MG THE CHARMING LIFE OF IZZY MALONE and a 10 page manuscript critique. Jenny is a fantastic middle grade author who nails her characters' voices, so this is a great opportunity for someone. 

Hope to see you on Monday!


Linda Mitchell said...

Congrats on Lou Lou & Pea!I think I'm Pea. Fun post...and shared on twitter.

Greg Pattridge said...

Fun interview with Jill and Jen. This new book should be a hit with the MG audience, especially girls. Thanks for sharing.

Bish Denham said...

This sounds like a totally charming story! I've tweeted.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

YAY for Jill! She's amazing! Lou Lou & Pea are simply adorable. <3 MG!

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Jill and Crystal! The chat was a lot of fun. I like adventure and mysteries too, and I'm more like Pea. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congratulations to Jill and Crystal! I love the chart, and I like the fact that you open random doors. That's interesting. :)

Brenda said...

Congratulations on the release of Lou Lou and Pea, sounds like a lovely book. I also tweeted about the giveawy.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Congrats ladies! This book definitely sounds like a unique tale with a rich story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Opening random doors at Disney Studios - now that would've been fun. Congratulations on the book!

cleemckenzie said...

It seems I fall into the Lou Lou camp based on that chart. Loved reading the interview and learning about the girls.

Congrats to Crystal. Her book has a lot of "ticking clock" appeal.

S.P. Bowers said...

I'm more on the Pea side of that chart. I'm not really brave, I don't like scary movies or roller coasters.

mshatch said...

Totally more like Pea! Congrats to Jill :)

Danielle H. said...

I love friendship stories and mysteries. The cover is so adorable. I shared on twitter. thanks for the post today!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Fun interview with Jill and Jen. LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE MURAL MYSTERY sounds super fun. Please add my name to the giveaway.

Mary Preston said...

The book looks wonderful. Loving the theme of friendship.


Donna K. Weaver said...

Such a fun interview. I love the comparison about the two friends.

Unknown said...

Congratulations on new release. Sound like awesome book.

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats to both! This book sounds colourful and fun.

Rosi said...

Your author/agent interviews are always so rich. Thanks for this one, chock full of good info. Please let someone else win. I am buried.

Unknown said...

I've never heard a book referred to as having "gentle intrigue" before. I guess that's sort of an ultra-cozy mystery. Sounds fun!

Crystal Collier said...

I'm definitely more of a Pea personality. Then again, I would hope most adults are, but you never know. Fun interactions, and thanks for the shout, Natalie!

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats - this sounds like such a fun book! I think I'm a mix, but more a Pea too :)

M Pax said...

Congrats to Crystal!

I'm half Pea and half Lou Lou.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a cute book! I'll tell my middle school teacher friends about it :-)

Angela Brown said...

Yay to Crystal and Jill for the releases and I enjoyed the interview :-)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. (I'm more Pea)
And congrats to Crystal!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Congrats to Crystal and Jill! I'm probably more of a Pea, but I'd like to think that I have a dash of Lou Lou mixed in! They sound like quite a darling duo. This was fun! Thanks Natalie!


Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Natalie,

Wonderful storyline.... Love the chemistry between the girls! All the best, Jill...

Faith E. Hough said...

I can't wait to read this, and I loved the interview!