I'm so excited to have A.J. Paquette stopping by today for an interview! A.J. is the author of the awesome middle-grade book Rules for Ghosting. Be sure to read my review of Rules for Ghosting.
Rules for Ghosting
by A.J. Paquette
July 9, 2013
Twelve-year-old Dahlia has always lived at Silverton Manor-having spent fifty years as its resident ghost. When Oliver Day and his family show up as house-sitters the day Mrs. Tibbs, a Liberator sent by the Spectral Investigative Council, arrives to teach Dahlia the proper rules for ghosting, Dahlia can't wait to make new friends. But the unscrupulous ghost hunter, Rank Wiley, and the crooked town councilman, Jock Rutabartle, plan to rid Silverton Manor of its ghosts and sell it to the highest bidder. With her home and friendships at stake Dahlia may have to break the rules of ghosting as quickly as she learns them to solve the mystery of her death and save the manor. Equal parts charming and eerie, this ghostly caper hits all the right notes for the middle-grade audience.
Funny, spooky, sweet.
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers (especially reluctant readers) to give Rules for Ghosting a try?
Twelve-year-old ghost Dahlia is desperate to leave the house she has been trapped in since her death, but first she has to figure out how she died: with the help of a jolly ghost Liberator, a living boy looking for a home of his own, and a creepy Ghosterminator determined to catch a ghost if it’s the last thing he does.
Grab a copy of Rules for Ghosting and answer the following:
One of my favorite things about this book is how everything builds toward the climactic finale. So while I have many favorite sections, chapter 30 holds a special place in my heart because it is where everything erupts into chaos. To be fair, it had been building for a while!
I am rather partial to page 1, where we meet our main ghost character and start to realize what a different world she inhabits. Plus, that opening went through many incarnations, and I’m happy to have finally gotten it just the way I wanted it to be
This is not an easy question to answer! But I might have to cheat a little bit and say “JJ”—these are actually two characters, the twins Junie and Joe, but they tend to move and act as one naughty, pranks-loving unit. They are a ton of fun!
Since Rules for Ghosting deals with ghostly things I have to ask, do YOU believe in ghosts? Ever had a ghostly experience? If you could make contact with a famous ghost, which would you choose?
Who can say for sure what might or might not be out there? I can’t say that I’ve literally seen a ghost, though I did have a couple of suitably spooky and unexplainable encounter when I was young. I guess you could say that my mind is open to the possibility. As for famous ghosts, I couldn’t name one in particular, but ideally I’d like to connect with one like Dahlia, who is playful, chatty, and ready for adventure.
Silverton Manor is the perfect house for haunting...have you ever visited a real haunted house? Any famous haunted places you'd love to visit?
I absolutely love spooky-feeling, old-fashioned houses full of character and packed with nooks and crannies. I also find it fascinating to explore old-time graveyards; it’s like being allowed a peek into the past, a look at the life of ordinary people of that time. I did visit the Tower of London many years ago—now there’s a place with presence!
As an author who has written Young Adult and Middle-Grade and Picture books, do you prefer writing one over the others?
I don’t think I could pick just one; there are elements of each that I love, and others that are more of a challenge. I do love the wide-eyed optimism and sense of mischievous adventure that is so present during the middle-grade years. (Although those who know me well might point out that I don’t seem to have left those behind in middle school, hmmm!) What I like best, I guess, is being able to shift from one type of story to another as inspiration strikes. I love a challenge, and bringing to life a character or story I feel deeply, no matter what the medium, is what gives me the most excitement.
Fill in the blanks:
I'm really awesome___
at baking—breads and cakes in particular!
I'm really embarrassed to admit___
that the tidiness of my desk quite often suffers in favor of my writing (and agent) work. Priorities, right?!
The last great book I read was___
is, actually: I’m not yet finished reading it but I am adoring THREE TIMES LUCKY, by Sheila Turnage. What voice! What characters! It’s absolutely masterful.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Rules for Ghosting what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Let’s see: Chocolate is a particular favorite of Dahlia’s, so that would have to be the cupcake base. I think this should be topped with a lighter-than-air whipped cream frosting, and perhaps a decorative candy sunflower to top it off. Yum! For a name? How about the Ghost Garden.
Thank you SO MUCH, A.J. Paquette, for stopping by today! That cupcake sounds delish and Three Times Lucky is one of my favorite books!
A.J. Paquette has been writing stories since early childhood. She and her sister would spend hours creating masterpieces of stapled paper and handwritten words, complete with pen-and-ink covers and boxed illustrations. The road to publication was long and winding, peppered with many small successes including: a variety of national magazine publications, being a 2005 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award honoree, and receiving the 2008 SCBWI’s Susan Landers Glass Scholarship Award, for the book that would later become Nowhere Girl. Her first picture book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, was published in 2009. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in the Boston area, where she continues to write books for children and young adults. She is also an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.