What inspired you to write The Sister Solution?
My favorite books as a girl were those that featured honest portrayals of sibling relationships, like Little Women and Sense and Sensibility. Anyone who is a sister (I’m a younger sister) can identify with the tug-of-war that went on between Jo and Amy in Little Women. Yet, you also felt the undercurrent of loyalty that kept them connected in a way that only sisters can bond. You knew that no matter how frustrated the pair got with one another they would somehow find a way to compromise and make peace. I’d been thinking about The Sister Solution for a couple of years, before I started writing it. I thought it would be interesting to turn the typical sister relationship on its side. What if the younger sister got to be the one to break new ground and do all of the things an older sister usually gets to do first? How would that affect their relationship? And if they had very different personalities, as Sammi and Jorgianna do, how would they overcome it and not only make peace, but work together against a common foe?
What is the first book your remember reading that you could not put down?
In the fourth grade, I read Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by Elaine Konigsburg and I adored it. I was a shy girl and so I identified with Elizabeth, the protagonist, who also had a hard time coming out of her shell and making friends. It was as if Elizabeth completely understood ME, and even though I loved reading, I’d never felt that way before about any book. When Elizabeth meets a new girl, Jennifer, she is dazzled by her mysterious nature and confidence. It gave me the boost I needed to reach out and make friends. I must have read that book a dozen times!
How long does it take you to write a book and what is your favorite part of the process?
Generally, writing a fiction book for middle grades takes me about four to six months. It can take longer if I’m struggling with the plot or have to go back and rearrange elements that aren’t working (arggh!). My favorite part of the process is when I figure out how to get my protagonist out of the corner I have painted him/her into plot-wise. I do a loose outline before I start writing a book and re-outline as I go along, but I don’t like to map out every detail. That’s what makes getting up to write every day exciting – I never quite know what a character will do or how he/she will triumph in the end, until it spills out of my head and onto the page. And when it happens THAT is always my favorite part!
As a parent, I am very interested in Aladdin Mix – can you explain why it is so great for tweens and parents?
I am really proud to be a part of the MIX program at Aladdin. Many elementary school kids and tweens are voracious readers, and often read well above their grade level, which is terrific! However, it can also be a bit of a challenge, because although a child is capable of reading at a certain level it doesn’t always follow that he/she is emotionally or socially ready for the advanced themes that many books for older students offer. Young adult titles, for instance, can deal with some very grown-up issues, which a 9 or 10 year-old (and his/her parents) are not yet ready for. MIX is designed for the articulate upper middle grade reader, who is looking for a great, fun read with age-appropriate content. This doesn’t mean I’m not striving for realism in the books I write. Kids still need that, just as I craved the honest portrayals of girls in books like Little Women and Jennifer, Hecate. You still need conflict, tension, suspense, triumph – all of the things that make ANY book exciting.
What inspired you to write for tweens?
I think I am passionate about writing for tweens because I still feel about ten years old inside! Ten was the magical age for me. It’s when I really started to think about who I was, where my talents were, and what I wanted to pursue as a career. I think of it as the ‘golden age,’ because it’s the time in your life where you start to explore your potential and imagine the possibilities of what you can do and become. Of course, there is also still plenty of challenges to navigate, like being popular, fitting in, getting along with your parents and teachers, etc so it gives me a great deal of material to mine for good stories.
You also enjoy Skyping with school students. What is your favorite thing about interacting with students?
I do love Skyping with students! The great thing about Skype visits is I can do almost anything online that I would do if I was there in person. I really enjoy conducting writing workshops, because even when we do simple exercises or prompts, the students will usually amaze me, and often themselves, with their creativity. It’s great when you see a young writer blossom and discover they have more imagination, talent, and ability than they gave themselves credit for. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than helping to inspire a young writer the same way my teachers inspired me.
About Trudi Trueit
I fell in love with storytelling in the second grade, but it wasn’t until a few years later, when I wrote my first play, that I knew I’d found my life’s calling (the play got decent reviews). In my career, I’ve been a newspaper journalist, TV news reporter and weather forecaster, freelance writer, and now, children’s author. I write both fiction and nonfiction – nearly 100 titles, so far. In the nonfiction realm, I’ve covered everything from storm chasing to video gaming. In fiction, I’m the author of two series,’ JULEP O’TOOLE (Penguin) and SECRETS OF A LAB RAT (Aladdin) and a stand-alone title, STEALING POPULAR (Aladdin M!X). THE SISTER SOLUTION will be my second release from Aladdin M!X.
I was born and raised in Seattle, WA and still live in the Pacific Northwest with my college sweetheart/best friend/husband, Bill. I love the three c’s: cats, chocolate, and cupcakes! Visit my website at http://www.truditrueit.com/
Trudi will be signing at the Alderwood Barnes and Noble in Lynnwood, WA on Saturday Oct. 10, 2015 from noon to 1 pm as part of B&N Educator Days.
Be sure to check all the stops on the tour! Click Here