Monday, January 9, 2012

MG Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Interview with Jenny Lundquist

It's a brand new year and time to spotlight some more of my favorite middle grade authors!

For January, we have Jenny Lundquist whose sinfully adorable debut novel, Seeing Cinderella, comes out on March 20th. Got a girl with glasses in your life? How about any kid who's ever felt a little awkward? Alternately hilarious and sweet, this book is destined to be an instant favorite!

Jenny has also generously donated a signed ARC for me to give away in conjunction with this interview! Read on to find out how to win it.

Calliope Meadow Anderson is terrified to start seventh grade. Not that the summer has been so great— her overachieving best friend, Ellen, is slipping away, her parents’ marriage is falling apart, and to top it all off, she has to get glasses the day before school starts. Life isn’t going too smoothly.

But things get unexpectedly weird when Callie meets her wacky optometrist and receives a pair of glasses so ugly they make braces and headgear look cute. But pretty soon, Callie makes a freaky discovery. Her glasses have magic powers: they can read people’s thoughts (and she’s pretty sure they repel boys, too).

Callie uses her new glasses to navigate middle school life and learns things she never knew about the people around her. That overachieving Ellen isn’t so super confident, after all. That neither of her parents are who she thought they were. That it’s a good idea to make sure your crush Knows Your Name before you spy on his thoughts. But when the glasses show Callie that Ana Garcia—a new student from Mexico and Callie’s Spanish tutor—has become a real-life Cinderella in her uncle’s house, she has to make a choice. Will she stay in the shadows and hide behind her magic glasses, or step out of the background and stand up for her friend?

What's the first book that you remember LOVING as a child?J
Jenny Lundquist: As a child I loved the Trixie Belden series. She always seemed so brave and strong to me, and I wished I could become a member of the Bob-Whites of the Glen. And I kept waiting for her and Jim to get together already!

To borrow (and modify) a question from James Lipton, what’s your favorite middle-grade appropriate “curse word?”

JL: That's an easy one! Merlin's Beard, from Harry Potter, as I think it's by far the most creative.

If you had a pair of magic glasses, what one superpower would you wish they had?

JL: That would depend upon the day. Yesterday, I would've liked my magic glasses to tell me the exact location of my son's missing shoes. Today, I’d love a pair of glasses that can teleport chocolate cupcakes my way at the exact moment I require them. But for the record, I wouldn't actually want glasses that can read minds—when it comes to people's private thoughts I tend to think ignorance is bliss!

What’s your favorite version of Cinderella (book, movie, remake, adaptation) that you’ve ever read or seen?
JL: I would have to say Margaret Peterson Haddix's Just Ella. I loved her realistic take on the downside of happily-ever-after when you find yourself engaged to a dim-witted prince and spend your days learning embroidery and etiquette.

What are two MG books you'd recommend and why?
JL: Hmmm, that's a tough one. I mean, I could say your book, The Mapmaker and the Ghost [and...this is where I blush]. Or I could say, The Cabinet of Earths, by Anne Nesbet. Then again, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. But then there's always Thirteen by Candice Ransom—one of my personal favorites when I was in middle school. And who could forget Little Women? I mean, the possibilities are endless! (Do you like how I just cheated?)

Thanks so much, Jenny! For the record, I definitely don't mind cheating when it involves adding fabulous MG books to everyone's TBR piles.

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!


  1. No need to enter me in the giveaway b/c my book's on preorder, but I just wanted to say I enjoyed the spotlight interview. : )

  2. Oh this book looks simply adorable and I know my upper grade girls would eat it up, especially my 5th graders who are about to depart for middle school. Sniff, sniff! : )

  3. My book budget for 2012 is so out the window. Seeing Cinderella sounds SO AWESOME! p.s.
    I have glasses and I still feel awkward. Great interview, Sarvenaz and Jenny!

  4. This book sounds terrific! Onto the to-read list it goes (whether I win the giveaway or not). =)

  5. I felt exactly the same way about Trixie Belden and Jim! :)

    Seeing Cinderella sounds fabulous. I've entered the giveaway (but will totally understand if it's not international).

  6. Great interview and Seeing Cinderella sounds fabulous!

  7. Great interview. This book sounds all bubbly and whimsical. :)

  8. Oh, I agree with Little Women. That's probably my favorite book of all time. Seeing Cinderella sounds great, especially since "seeing" can also mean realizing that someone is being treated like a CInderella. Sometimes we really do need magic glasses to see what's right in front of us