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Sunday, March 9, 2014

(MMGM) Carmella Van Vleet, author of Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter {Interview & Giveaway}

The awesome Carmella Van Vleet is stopping by the March MG Madness today to chat about her middle-grade book! Plus, you can win a signed copy...

Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter
by Carmella Van Vleet
Holiday House

After quitting every activity she's ever tried, a girl with ADHD takes up taekwondo to prove to others (and to herself) she can stick with something till the end - even if it means a slightly see-through uniform, an embarrassing injury, and bowing. Lots and lots of bowing. 

What three words best describe Eliza Bing is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter?

Funny, heart-breaking, ninja-y.

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give Eliza Bing is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter a try?

Girl with ADHD takes up taekwondo and kicks some...board!

Grab a copy of Eliza Bing is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter and answer the following:

favorite chapter?My mom has no imagination.”

favorite page? Page 155

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser?

Mom said, “Eliza, I need your dobok. I’m going to do a load of whites tonight.”
I should have said, “I don’t need it anymore. I’ve decided to pursue other options.”
But that’s not what I said. I said, “I’ll bring it down later.”

What inspired Eliza Bing is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter? How did the story come to be?

My daughter and I were in the car one day and talking about how she didn’t fit in at middle school. She said, “I’m like the letter Y, not really a consonant but not really a vowel either.” I thought this would make a great opening line for a book. (This isn’t the book’s opening line, but I think I might use it when I write the sequel!) Pretty soon after that, my main character, Eliza, started showing up and talking to me. I knew I wanted to write about someone who had ADHD like my daughter, but I also knew wanted to make it a positive thing. (There are plenty of really cool things about it.) The fact Eliza lands herself in a taekwondo class came pretty naturally, too. I’ve been training in the martial arts myself for about eight years, and so I know about being out of your comfort zone.

There are some memorable characters in Eliza Bing is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter, do you have a favorite? What do you love about him/her? Did any of your characters end up surprising even you with the way they turned out?

Eliza is my favorite character, I can’t deny that. It’s hard to watch her long to fit in and to lose her best friend, but she never really feels sorry for herself or loses her kind heart. On top of that, she’s very funny.   

Tony ended up surprising the most. In earlier drafts, his character was actually a girl! Then one day I was working on a scene, and he turned to me and said, “Excuse me, I hate to interrupt while you’re in the writing zone and all that, but I’m a boy.”

If you could be BFF’s with any fictional character, who would it be? What would you do with him/her?

Would it be cliche to say Hermione Granger? I’d like to use her time turner together. And I definitely like her to show me where I can get that magic bag she has in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

As a middle-grade author, why do you think middle-grade is so important? What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade?

Where do I begin? I love writing for middle graders because they’re awesome. They’re funny, smart and a lot wiser than many people give them credit for. And they’ll give an author a fair shot before they put a book down. I also enjoy writing for that age group because you can keep the story simple. By that I don’t mean that stories for them shouldn’t be challenging - because they’re up for challenging - I just mean that you don’t have to worry about things like romantic relationships or complicated plot lines. There’s something pure and universal about middle grade books.

What is your all time favorite middle-grade book, middle-grade hero, and middle-grade heroine?

That would probably have to be Savvy by Ingrid Law. I totally fell in love with the language - I’d often stop and read it out loud to whomever was nearby! It was one of the reasons I changed direction in my career and began writing fiction.

Favorite hero or heroine? It’s a tie: Claudia Kincaid from From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Sara Crewe from A Little Princess.  

Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at  making cookies.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that  I cheat when I do crossword puzzles.

The last great book I read was  All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Eliza Bing is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

It would be dark chocolate and it’d have ton of buttercream frosting (because you can never have too much frosting) and there’d be a broken taekwondo board decoration on top. I’d call it my Kickin’ Cupcake.  

Thank you so much, Carmella,  for stopping by today!

Win a signed copy of 
Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter!
Carmella has generously offered up a signed copy to give away.
-US/CAN only
-ends 3/31
-must be 13+, one free entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
Fill out Rafflecopter form:


Charlotte said...

I like the sound of this one lots! And I like the idea of giving it to my kids and them being inspired to actually stick with something until they are good at it....sigh!

Anonymous said...

This is on my to read list for today. And your daughter sounds amazing, an inspiration. Y's rock! Agreed on Savy and don't you love it when you just have to read part of a book out loud!

Carl Scott said...

This looks like a fun book, and it could be very helpful to people dealing with a family member's ADHD. Thanks

Lisa Scott said...

I love that you wanted to put a positive spin on ADHD. And tell your daughter the letter Y is in a league of its own--in a good way. Congrats on a fab book. Can't wait to read it. (Especially after hauling my kids to Tae Kwon Do 3 times a week for 7 years. I fought back tears this fall when my son got his black belt.)

Jill the OWL said...

My son is ADHD, so I'm really interested in this one!!! Love to see it put in a book in a good way.

Stephanie Reed said...

Great interview, Car and Eliza B! I've enjoyed her nonfiction and I look forward to reading this novel.

Unknown said...

Cool a book that is about sticking to something till it is done and ADHD thank you for taking the time to address and write about this issue and I also do not think Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter - thank you for offering us the chance to read this book and share it.

Brenda said...

Nice interview and this seems like a book with a wonderful message.

Michelle @ In Libris Veritas said...

I love how you want to put a positive spin on it! I can definitely see this being helpful. Sounds like a great book!

Beverley Baird said...

I am already loving the book and I haven't read it yet! Can't wait to do so. Great interview as well!

Michael G-G said...

Love the title, love the cover, love the plot. Go, Carmella!

Myrna Foster said...

This book sounds great! I'm excited to read it. :)

Jillyn said...

I think I'll have to show my partner this. She has ADHD, so I think she'd enjoy it!

Mad_In_Wonderland said...

I have ADHD and I love reading books with characters who also have it. I'd love to win this book!

Mad_In_Wonderland said...

I have ADHD and I love reading books with characters who also have it. I'd love to win this book!

Orchid said...

Now this is what we need more of in books-people sticking with something long enough to discover their potential in whatever they're doing!

Sounds like an excellent book with a great character.