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Friday, March 15, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Amy Ignatow

Amy Ignatow is stopping by today to talk about her Popularity Papers Series! You can even win a copy below. Be sure to check out my review too.

by Amy Ignatow
Purchase: Amazon / B&N

Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—and each other.

Amy Ignatow’s hilarious debut novel introduces the intrepid fifth-graders Julie and Lydia, whose quest to understand popularity may not succeed in the ways they want, but will succeed in keeping readers in stitches.

What three words best describe your POPULARITY PAPERS SERIES?
 True friendship wackiness.

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers (especially reluctant readers) why they should give the POPULARITY PAPERS SERIES a try?
 If you've ever had a friend that knows every last embarrassing thing about you, and you know every last embarrassing thing about them, then you're going to love Lydia and Julie.

Grab a copy of POPULARITY PAPERS #1 and answer the following:
Favorite chapter?
 The books don't really have chapters, but I'm fond of Lydia and Julie's failed attempts to get cell phones.
 Favorite page?
 Not the fanciest page by far, but I've always loved the drawing of Julie on 103.
 Favorite character?
 Bad Cat. Bad Cat is basically my cat (who is not very good).
 Flip to a random page and give us 1-2 sentence teaser:
 "Gretchen is on the top bunk over Lisa (Lisa insisted on having the bottom bunk because she's afraid of heights, which seems ridiculous. Does she have a panic attack every time she climbs the stairs?)"
What inspired this series? What do you hope readers walk away with each time they read one of your books?
 I hope that readers have a fun time hanging out with Lydia and Julie, and maybe want to start their own journals with their friends. I had wonderful friends when I was in school and we're still friends today. Those friendships inspired me to write these books.

Lydia and Julie are very different, but their friendship still works. What do you love about each of these girls?
 I love that Lydia is fearless, even though it often leads her into absurd situations. But everyone need a friend who will get them into absurd situations, just like everyone needs a Julie in their life to say, "Okay, let's do this, but maybe we should wear safety goggles."
  I love your illustrations! What usually comes first in your head: the words or the images? Do you prefer one over the other (writing or drawing)?
 Both writing and drawing are great, and I usually have an image in my head while writing each page. What's most important to me is the storytelling and I'll do whatever works to tell a good story.
 What do you love about writing middle-grade? Why do you think middle-grade is such a popular and important category of books?
 Writing middle-grade is great because that's when kids start to figure stuff out beyond just what goes on with their families and close friends. Middle graders like to try new things and make new friends, and all that newness makes everything ripe for drama. And drama is really fun to write.
 What is your all-time favorite middle-grade book? Who is your favorite middle-grade hero and heroine?
 I read so much amazing middle-grade stuff now that it's too hard to choose, but when I was that age I must have read Astrid Lindgren's The Brothers Lionheart a million billion times. That book is actually pretty dark (both main characters die in the first couple of chapters) but I loved the story. But when I think about it, my favorite character was from another Astrid Lindgren story, Ronia from Ronia the Robber's Daughter. That girl was brave and wild and willing to make really difficult decisions about who she wanted to be.

Fill in the blanks:
I'm really awesome at___. 
peeling oranges.
I'm really embarrassed to admit that___
 sometimes I call my daughter by my cat's name.
If a nail polish color were named after me, it would be called___
 No. Don't name a nail polish after me. Name a mountain after me or at least a city park. Let's think big.
The last great book I read was___
 Goodnight Moon.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by the POPULARITY PAPERS SERIES what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
 It would look like a crumbling mess but it would taste delicious! Let's call it "Plan C".

Amy Ignatow
Website / Goodreads
Amy Ignatow is a cartoonist and the author of The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. She is a graduate of Moore College of Art and Design and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Mark, and their cat, Mathilda, who is mostly very terrible.

Win a finished copy of
Popularity Papers #5!
Thanks to the generous people at Abrams Books, I have one copy to give away.
PLEASE READ: Throughout the March MG Madness, I will be giving away 10 books from Abrams. I will be using the same Rafflecopter below to give away each book. There will be ten winners who will each win one of the books. 

-Ten winners will each win one of the ten books
-will run from 3/2 - 3/31
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes

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