“You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it’s going to be too difficult for grownups, you write it for children.”
Why do I write for middle grade?
There are several reasons I enjoy and appreciate this age group. From a writerly standpoint it's because middle grade literature is some of the best literature available. Authors know that children crave concrete images, things they can see and hang their hats on. But authors also know that this a strange and wonderful time between childhood and adulthood. A time when kids can be so utterly child like in their manners and thoughts and yet in the next instant more profound than imaginable. This is what I like to capture in my middle grade books. The concrete fused with the abstract and thoughtful, with a touch of whimsy. Everything that is difficult and horrible about this age is exactly what is wonderful about it. An age of discovery, trust, and questions.
I wrote Carrying Mason because I wanted to deal with a child who needed and wanted to be challenged and to go against conventional wisdom in order to discover just how strong she really was. Carrying Mason deals with death and loss but that is not the focal point of the story. Luna's journey to adulthood is the point.
"This is a tender book with a strong heroine, and it delivers a positive message about standing up for those who cannot advocate for themselves."- Kara Dean, Booklist Review
Cake, Love, Chickens and a Taste of Peculiar is a more light-hearted book but it also deals with issue important to this age group. In Cake, 12 year-old Wilma Sue has moved to yet another foster home. But this time it's different. This could be for keeps. Except, all isn't what it seems to be.
More than frosting filled those cakes…
When Wilma Sue arrives at her new foster home, she keeps her head down as usual, anticipating the next move. But strange things are happening at the home of the oddball sisters, Ruth and Naomi. Was that really a goldfish swimming in the lemonade? Did butterflies really come out of the cake? As Wilma Sue bakes and delivers cakes, she begins to wonder if she might truly be welcomed into this “home,” as Ruth and Naomi keep insisting. Just as her heart begins to soften, a string of neighborhood crimes point to Wilma Sue. Will the sisters turn her out, or will she get her own much-needed dose of love, trust, and faith?