1) If you could be any character in your book who would it be?
I’d love to be like Tiernan. He’s friendly, confident in himself, has a good sense of humor, and doesn’t let other people get in the way of his having a good time or making the most out of any situation he’s in. And he’s not afraid to stand up for himself or others. Plus, he has a healthy sense of self and doesn’t get all embarrassed easily the way I do (or the way my main character Nina does).
2) Who was your favorite character in the book?
Shane—it cracks me up that he thinks he’s an expert about the music industry, even though he’s only in 7th grade.
3) Which character would be your best friend and why?
I do love my main character, Nina. I like that she isn’t about drama and just wants people to get along. And I share some of her less appealing characteristics – having a hard time speaking up, getting embarrassed easily—so I could sympathize with her when we hung out.
4) How did you get the idea for the book?
It’s actually because of my daughter, who was born with quite a few serious food allergies. I read so much about allergies when we first got the diagnosis so I’d know how to care for her. One thing I read was that tweens and teens take risks with their food allergies—they just want to have fun with their friends and not worry about reading labels or asking about ingredients. Though at the time my daughter was still little, it made me wonder how she and kids like her would deal with their allergies when they got in to middle school. What’s interesting, though, is that when I started writing My Year of Epic Rock, it became so much more about issues that all kids have to deal with: friendship ups and downs, figuring out who you are and how to stand up for yourself, teaching your parents that you want more independence, plus, of course, having crushes and wondering if your crush likes you likes you, or just likes you regular likes you.
5) What is your favorite scene?
Oh, tough one! But I think when Nina and her new friends hang out together after school and decide to form their band. I like that it was so hard for them to play together at first, or even figure out how to pick what music to play. Being in a band is hard work! Nina, Tiernan, Shane, Madison and Heidi are cool, funny, smart kids to be around, so the scenes with them together are my favorites.
6) Are you working on anything else we can be excited for?
I’ve just started my next middle grade book which is about a girl whose mother gets breast cancer. My mom got sick with cancer when I was 11, and I still remember how scared and lonely and confused I felt, so it’s a topic I’m interested in exploring.
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