Monday, April 30, 2018

Happy Pub Day!

Tomorrow is the pub day for Rie Neal aka Melody Reed's third book in the Major Eights series, THE MAJOR EIGHTS: THE GOO DISASTER!.  The series has gotten great reviews in PW and Booklist so far and I'm so excited to have Rie here to talk about this next one!  Be sure to go pick up a copy tomorrow!!

Tell us about THE GOO DISASTER!.  What is it about?
First of all, thanks for having me! THE GOO DISASTER! follows 8-year-old Maggie, the band's drummer. Maggie is super excited about the band's upcoming performance at her school's fancy banquet--the girls get to wear sparkly dresses and she'll have a rockin' drum solo! Best of all, Maggie's mom is going to video the performance so her dad can finally see the band while he's off on a military tour. But when Maggie's science grade starts slipping, her mom won't let her play unless she can ace her science fair project. And so far, the project is just a giant mess! Maggie and the band have to find a way to clean things up fast, or they won't get to perform at the banquet after all. 

Now that you've written several of these, do you have a favorite character or a favorite story line?
I really love each character! Jasmine has amazing ideas, and I love helping her nudge the band along--when her ideas work, and when they don't. Scarlet's got spunk and style, but also a really good heart. Maggie is smart and responsible. She loves school and helping out at home, but gets to cut loose with the band. And Becca rocks the guitar, doesn't like dressing up, and loves black. She's tough, practical, and works hard. One thing we wanted to emphasize with the series is that they're four girls who are all pretty different and still work together as a team. In terms of storyline, though, the third book was one of my favorites to write so far, because I'm a science geek at heart!

What has it been like working with your editor and Little Bee on these books?  Do you work with them collaboratively to come up with the ideas for each one?
We do collaborate quite a bit, which has been fun. I've had three different editors assigned to the project at different times, and each of them has brought something special to the series. Little bee owns the concept for these, and hired me to write them, so ultimately, decisions are theirs to make. That being said, they've been very encouraging of creative input from me, which has made writing the books a blast. :) The 'Goo' was my idea; I love doing kitchen science projects with my kids. There's even a recipe for it at the back of the book!

What part of the publication process have you found the most interesting/fun?  What part has been the hardest?
One of my favorite parts is definitely getting to see Emilie Pepin's illustrations. Whenever one of the covers is released, it feels like a magical moment--that all of my hard work has been brought to life! She does a fantastic job representing the characters and I *LOVE* showing off the covers!!! The hardest part is probably the wait between the writing of a book and its release--it was more than a year ago now that I finished my part of THE GOO DISASTER!. But I'm getting used to it. I know that that's pretty typical--even short--in the world of publishing. I'm just excited and want to share the books right away! HA!

What have you had to do to promote your book?  What kind of social media do you think has been the most important in publicizing the series?
Since this is a write-for-hire project, I'm really not expected to do a whole lot to promote the books, which is kind of freeing. At the same time, I'm proud of the books and want to talk about them! I've done one or two bookstore events, and have a few more in the works. (At the next one, we might even have kids make their own 'goo'!) I also have an author website in the works, which will feature the Major Eights. For social media, I've mostly used Facebook and Twitter, but I'm trying to post more on Instagram now, too. Facebook is super helpful when it comes to sharing events, and also for spreading the word amongst family and friends (and friends of friends, etc.). Twitter is great for connecting to the writing community; I love writer Twitter!! 

Have you gotten to meet any of your readers?
Yes!!! Just a few here and there, but I've LOVED meeting these kids. I especially love it when little girls recognize that the main characters look like them and are doing super cool things! Makes my day every time. I love the idea of inspiring girls to reach for the stars like these characters do! 

Do you have any quirks when it comes to your writing process (e.g. do you have to write at night or while wearing lucky socks)?
Haha! I don't have lucky socks, but I have to have coffee! And I usually pop on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, even if they're not turned on. (Even if I'm home alone and it's quiet!) When figuring out a plot, I often pace around the house. The neighbors probably think I'm nuts. And I've been known to steal my kids' thinking putty ... especially if it's sparkly!