Hi all. Today I'm hosting the interview with two lovely ladies. They're authors of Mission One of Auggie the Alien. But first little something about the book.
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This is the humorous story of a 4th grader, seen through the eyes of a human hybrid alien child, sent to Earth to study our culture - to see if they could coexist with the humans. Auggie has to try and understand 4th graders slang, body language, and the unwritten protocols of the classroom; all in an attempt to blend in. He upsets his teacher, Mrs. Malumrector, who constantly thinks Auggie's trying to get smart with her when getting stupid with her would be counterproductive. Not only does Mrs. Malumrector not get Auggie's literal logic, nor do any of the other students in his class. That is except for Left Hand Chuck who thinks Auggie's hysterical and helps him by teaching him how to use human slang. But if Auggie truly wants to complete his mission of blending in with the other children he needs to cheer for both teams, except if they're losing. He needs to learn not to wear the 'P and the J' with the feet conveniently attached to school because they're for sleeping in only. That ironically enough, Grandpa isn't going to faint from low blood pressure even though his eyes often tend to roll upwards whenever Auggie is speaking. 'Pop-a-Squat' isn't a good name for a dog, even though he's great at it. And under no circumstance is he to bring his pet to school even if his teacher has her own pet there, Emily, another student in his class who is neither a gerbil nor a fish.
Hello ladies. Welcome to Ja čitam, a ti?. It’s really a pleasure to have you here on my blog today. I have some questions for you, so if you are ready..
1. For starters, can you tell us how did you get the idea to write together?
It was my sister, Megan, who encouraged me to take my writing more seriously in the first place. My sister is the kind of person that would do anything for me and the rest of my family. So, in the beginning, I really, really need an editor and Meg, beging the awesome person that she is, decided to help. We work really well as a team by bouncing ideas off one another, deciding which parts or plots of a book need work, and a few times Meg takes over with writing the story if I get blocked or she can't see the scene descriptively. We are truly a team, and I'm grateful to have her.
2. I was really curious about this – but is it hard to write together? I mean does it happen that you have different ideas or you cannot agree about something? Or it’s easy for you?
Thankfully, it's been a relatively easy process for us. Any ideas we have are usually beneficial to the stories. Fortunately, when the ideas are good, it's really exiting for both of us. If the idea is bad, I find myself being relieved I decided not to go that route. Luckily, we've been collaborating on projects since she encouraged me to start writing longer works of fiction (I've been writing shorter stories since I was thirteen) that any complications we had in the beginning have already been worked out. Our partnership is like a well oiled machine.
3. Mission One of Auggie the Alien is your first middle grade book if I’m correct. Can you tell us more about the story.
It's about the story of Auggie (one of the most positive characters we have ever written) and his journey on Earth. In his log entries, we learn about his struggle because he doesn't understand human slang and confusing everyday experiences in life that we normally over look as humans . It was a nice twist to take our world and turn it into a new and different place through Auggie's point of view. For children, we wanted them to know that's it's okay to be different, but we wrote it with elements of both kid humor along with adult humor so that everyone who reads it will be able to enjoy or relate to it.
4. Auggie seems like a really unusual character. He is really funny and sweet. Why alien?
Meg and I came up with the idea for Auggie, the first hybrid alien boy to visit the planet Earth, because for someone so smart, he misunderstands everything and often takes things people say very literally. As authors, we often like to incorporate humor into our books, and with Auggie misunderstanding everything, it allowed us to do that.
5. How many books do you plan to write in this series?
We are aiming for three but are open to more as the ideas come to us. Megan's fourth grade students, as well as the other children at her elementary school, also influence how many Missions of Auggie we may write seeing as they have enjoyed and loved the first book.
6. What new projects do you have in mind? I hope you’ll publish many more YA books as I really loved South Hills Sidekicks series and Auggie as well.
We just downloaded this new app that allows you to plan out all of your stories in neat and easy animated note cards. I enjoyed it so much, I must have planned like ten books and in ten different directions we could go. Meg gets a big say in which ones she finds most compelling and interesting, considering she'll be the one to have to hear draft after draft. Lol! Right now we're working on a fan fiction Jane Austen novel that takes the characters from Pride and Prejudice and shows them in a different light. This will be the first historical fiction that we have tackled which can be daunting as well as refreshing. We have been blessed to have many ideas; it's deciding which ones to go with that has been the challenge. If we feel truly inspired, then no matter if it's a story about a cute, misunderstood alien or four girls trying to solve a police case they have no business messing with, the story will be good because it came from a pure and exciting place.
7. For the end, do you have some favorite quote to share with us? Something that inspires you.
One of our favorite qoutes that inspires us is that you pass failure many times on your way to success.
Thank you for stopping by Ja čitam, a ti?. It was a pleasure to talk to you.
Thanks for having us! As always, it's a pleasure, Tanja!
About the authors
Although we moved down to North Carolina several years ago, we're originally from the Pittsburgh area. (That's why a lot of our characters either live in the Burgh or reference our hometown football team, The Pittsburgh Steelers.) And yes, we even have the Southern accents to show for it now. Although Megan's is considerable thicker, Leah still can't understand the locals.
We are known as 'the sisters' among our neighborhood; when actually we're probably reallyknown as 'the sisters with the Yorkies'. Our pups, Skippy Jon Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow, were given long names to compensate for their small size but not their large personalities.
If Leah's not glued to her electronic devices, AKA her Kindle Fire and various laptops, you can find her training 'the attack dogs', running on the treadmill while conceiving the next great book idea with the Dave Matthews Band, Muse, Florence and the Machine, Lorde, The Lumineers, and Pink (just to name a few) blaring out of her earphones.
If Megan's not glued to her electronic devices AKA her iPad and Nook Color, you can find her teaching fourth graders, swimming marathon style at the pool, or cuddling with 'the attack dogs' as she watches Duck Dynasty, Gold Rush, Scandal, Person of Interest, Morning Joe, etc.
Leah graduated from Edinboro University with a BA in Art Education. Megan received her teaching degree from Edinboro University and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Technology from Grand Canyon University.
Until the next time,