Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.
To learn more about the book before the interview, check out this humorous book trailer:
Interview Time!Thank you so much for stopping by Love. Life. Read today Ms. Staniszewski! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.
1) You write for Tweens/Middle Grade Readers. What made you decide on this select this age group?
AS: I think this age-group chose me more than I chose it. Years ago, when I first started trying to write novels, I thought I was writing for adults. Someone pointed out that my main characters sounded thirteen, and I realized that person was right. While I also write for older and younger audiences, writing for the tween/middle grade audience just comes the most naturally to me, and it's also the genre that I most enjoy reading in.
2) You capture the awkwardness of that age range in your characters perfectly. Do you have any inspirational stories you can share with us from to help you get into character--either from your own childhood or others that provide you with inspiration?
AS: Well, I think it helps that part of me still feels about thirteen. :-) I was very awkward when I was young (and still can be as an adult) so I try to tap into those emotions as much as I can when I'm creating my characters. It probably helps that I remember being embarrassed by everything when I was in middle school. Even my friends would make fun of my clothes and what I brought for lunch. I try to keep this feeling of "embarrassment lurking around every corner" in mind when I write for a tween audience.
3) In your latest book, Rachel uses baking as a way to deal with the stress in her life. Do you like to bake? If so, what is your favorite thing to bake? (Would you be willing to share the recipe?)
AS: I love to eat baked goods, but I'm actually not a great baker since I tend to be much too impatient. But I do have a couple of recipes that I make pretty well. Once is a chocolate chip cheesecake recipe that I read in a magazine years ago and have adopted as my own. Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake from Anna Staniszewski
Take one package of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough and cut it in half. Spread half of the dough on the bottom of a baking dish. Put the other half aside.
In a food processor, blend one 8oz package of low-fat cream cheese, one egg, and 3/4 cup of sugar.
Pour the cheese mixture into the baking dish and spread it evenly over the cookie dough.
Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
Cool, slice, and devour.
4) If you could only use five words to describe The Dirt Diary, what would you chose?
AS: Funny, awkward, sweet,wacky, and real.
5) If you are able, can you tell your fans what is next up for you?
AS: I just finished putting the finishing touches on the sequel, THE PRANK LIST, which is coming out in July, and I'm in the process of writing the third book in the series, THE GOSSIP FILE, which is scheduled for January 2015.
Thank you again to Ms. Staniszewski for answering my questions and providing us with the yummy recipe! I love cheesecake so I know I will be trying this recipe out. :o)
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For more thoughts on Dirt Diary, check out my review--posted on Monday.