Monday, September 12, 2011

MG Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Interview with Stephanie Burgis

I am very excited to present a new monthly feature on my blog: the MG Author Spotlight and Giveaway! Every month, I will be featuring an interview with a Middle Grade author along with a giveaway of the author's book.

And I am extra, ginormously, stupendously excited to present the first author to be a part of this: Stephanie Burgis, author of Kat, Incorrigible. If that title sounds familiar, it may be because you read me raving about it just a couple of weeks ago.

First, a little about Stephanie's wonderful book:

Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she's inherited her mother's magical talents, and despite Stepmama's stern objections, she's determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa's intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat's magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, even Kat's reckless heroism will be tested to the upmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true love?

And now for the interview:

To borrow (and modify) a question from James Lipton, what’s your favorite middle-grade appropriate “curse word” or insult?
Stephanie Burgis: Since I'm a Regency author, of course my answer has to be: "Dash it!" ;)

If you could be BFF with any Jane Austen character, who would you pick?

SB: Definitely Elizabeth Bennet! There might be other Austen heroines that are even more admirable, but none that would be more fun to hang out with - and she's loyal to her friends even when they make choices she hates, so that's just one more bonus!

If you had only five minutes with Kat's mother's spellbooks, which spell would you look up and try to master?
SB: Since I'm often wrangling a toddler nowadays, I'd love to be able to make teapots and other practical things move without using my hands!

In your acknowledgments, you mention you have a "writing club" with your brothers. Tell me more about that. Did your relationship with them inform the relationship between the three sisters in the book?
SB: I'm the oldest in my own family, with two younger brothers, both of whom are also writers. (My brother Ben has published several science fiction and fantasy short stories for adults, while my brother David works in film and also writes screenplays.) So of course we had a secret writing club as kids! It was great to have a critique group within my own house as I grew up, and now that we're adults, we still read and critique most of each other's stories.

When it came to writing Kat, I didn't base any of the characters on real people, but the fact that I come from a noisy, loving, close-knit family definitely influenced the way I wrote Kat's noisy, loving, close-knit family! Kat's the youngest of four, with two older sisters, whereas I'm the oldest of three with no sisters at all...but her siblings, just like mine, all bicker, laugh, irritate, enjoy and love each other deeply.

What are two MG books you'd recommend and why?
Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book One: The Mysterious Howling made me laugh out loud several times. It's incredibly funny and just so much fun to read!

And Sheela Chari's Vanished is a wonderful, globe-trotting MG mystery about music and curses that's also a beautifully-written novel about family and growing up. I absolutely loved it.

Thank you so much for the interview, Steph! I can't wait for Renegade Magic, the sequel to Kat, Incorrigible, which will be out in April.

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who entered! I had such a blast reading all your comments.

After the drawing, congratulations to...Heidi Grange! Heidi has won a copy of Kat, Incorrigible and one copy of Sheela Chari's Vanished (Stephanie's MG recommendation).

Stay tuned for next month's MG Author Spotlight and Giveaway. It'll be a good one, I promise!


  1. I think I'd pick Mr. Collins for my BFF - that man needs any help he can get.

  2. Great MG recommendations. I loved both of those :)

  3. Elizabeth is great, but I'd have to go with Fanny Price as my BFF.

    Great interview and great MG recs!

  4. I'm excited to read your book!
    I think I'd choose Lizzie too as my BFF. She just has such a modern view of feminity - but still falls for the guy.

  5. I'm so excited about Kat, Incorrigible -- and speaking of "incorrigible," I'm glad to see Stephanie's also a fan of Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, which had me giggling throughout. I've been hearing such great things about Sheela Chari's book VANISHED, as well. We're hoping to have her on our kidlit mystery blog later this year.

  6. Oops, I commented on the form and it vanished! But thanks to Stephanie for coming out and also thanks to you, Sarvenaz for profiling great MG authors!

    I haven't yet read KAT, INCORRIGIBLE, but love the cover and am looking forward to getting into it very soon.

  7. I've heard so many amazing things about KAT. Thank you for sharing the great interview and contest. I'm taking a break from reading and writing YA while I work on my first MG and I'm loving every minute of it. SO much adventure and hope. I can't wait to read Kat and Vanished!

  8. Both of these books are on my to read list...they look great!

  9. I loved Kat Incorrigible and can't wait for the sequel to come out. I look forward to reading Vanished.

  10. Oh my gosh, thanks for the great giveaway! I'd love to have a copy of Kat for my own, and Vanished is already right up there on my tbr list....

  11. A Regency MG novel? Sounds fabulous. Sign me up. (Er, is that enough of a comment?)

  12. What a great giveaway! I normally read YA but with the increase in MG books that are for 6-8 graders I'm excited to read more MG books that I can also share with my students.