Mama Diaries

Monday, June 4, 2018

Special Guests: Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight, Co-Authors of the DMS Series





Today I have two very special guests:  Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight, the co-authors of the DMS Series. Their newest book, Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library was recently released. They are here to tell you a little about it.

The Talking Library is so imaginative with many Alice In Wonderland-like qualities. What inspired you to write the book?

When we decided to start The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow we had a plan to write a series. We began Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library right after we’d finished the first book. The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow has a general theme around The Wizard of Oz, so we thought it would be fun to have each book in the series loosely based on a classic children’s story. Alice and Wonderland fit well with our ideas for the storyline in Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library.

That's clever. I'll have to re-read the Secret Files of Fairday Morrow and look for the Wizard of Oz similarities.


Talk about the writing process. How did the two of you work together to write this story?

We collaborate using the Google Drive and Google Docs. It’s a fantastic way to write together and keep projects organized. Our writing is done on the cloud, so we have flexibility to work on our projects any time and from any place that has the internet. We’ll chat on the phone, discuss a chapter, and then pick away at three chapters we keep up in the “queue”. One is almost finished, one is in the middle, and one we’re just beginning- this makes for smooth chapter transitions, and it’s easy to see where you are in the story.

Google Drive is great for sharing files. You two have done a terrific job of making the collaboration work.


What did you enjoy most about writing it?

The Talking Library was super fun to write. There’s lots of literary magic, and many of the scenes were inspired by situations that occurred while we were promoting The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, so that makes it special. We are very good at drawing story ideas from our personal experiences. Plus, it’s super fun to create stories with a friend.

Creating stories with a friend does sound like a lot of fun!

How did you come up with all the riddles that needed to be solved?

Jessica thinks in rhymes and both she and Stephanie love words and stories. Writing riddle clues with literary references was fun and challenging. Luckily, Jess gets a lot of practice writing riddles for Fairday’s book blog each week.

I love the riddles on your blog. They're cute!

Will there be more adventures for Fairday Morrow and her friends?

The next case in the DMS files is Fairday Morrow and the Master’s Emporium. 

Awesome! Sounds like fun, and I can't wait to read it!

Describe your earliest memories of writing.

Jess: There is story I wrote in 6th grade that I won a “Young Authors” award for. I remember the cardboard cover had a pegasus and a rainbow, but can’t recall the story. I wish I could! That is my earliest memory of completing a writing project. 

Stephanie: My first memory of writing has to do with getting in trouble in first grade for writing my paper the wrong way.  I wrote starting at the bottom right hand corner and make my way left and then up- so the opposite of how we write in America. I didn’t understand that there was a right way to write and and wrong way, and I remember my teacher reprimanding me and having to go back and redo the assignment the correct way. Although this memory has stayed with me because I was embarrassed and ashamed, it didn’t deter me from wanting to put stories on paper. I loved storytelling and writing in general. In 4th grade I created a picture book about my cat, Kitty Calico, and her adventures at an amusement park. I even did the illustrations (and drawing isn’t my strong suit). My mom had the story for a long time, though I am not sure where it is now.

I wrote a story that involved unicorns and rainbows when I was eight. Must be something about those two things that makes young girls want to write about them. Congrats on the Young Authors Award! And the story about writing the wrong way is funny - you were just flexing your creative muscles! 

What were your favorite books when you were kids?

Jess: My favorite children’s book is Frederick by Leo Lionni. I also adored fairy tales and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. My first chapter book ( I still have the original) was Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary.

Stephanie: After taking a while to learn to read, I became a big fan. I tended to get hooked on an author and read all of their books. Some of my favorites were: Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Shel Silverstein, and all of the Nancy Drew books.

I don't believe I've ever read Ellen Tebbits. I'll have to check it out. The others listed are all great books!


What do you do when you're not writing or promoting your books?

Jess: I enjoy nature photography, meditative drawing, spending quality time with my cats, and working in my garden.

Stephanie: I love to travel and hope to one day see all 50 states. Only 4 states left- Hawaii, Alaska, Louisiana, and Alabama. I also spend a lot of time getting lost in books!

Those all sound like good, restful activities! Stephanie, you're making great progress on visiting all the states. That's on my bucket list, too! 

What advice would you give to new writers?

Jess: First and foremost, finish your story to your satisfaction. Hire professional editors to polish your words. Believe in yourself, and love the process of your work. Protecting creative space is the key.

Stephanie: Don’t be afraid of rejection. As a writer, you will need to build tough skin. Because reading is subjective there will be people who love and dislike what you write. That is okay- be open to criticism, but believe in yourself and know that there are a lot of different types of readers out there. Everyone gets rejected. Make sure to dust yourself off when it happens and put yourself back out there.

Great advice from both of you!

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Jess: I would want to fly.


Stephanie: Invisibility. This would come in very handy when I want to run a few quick errands.

I think I'd want to fly AND be invisible! :)



Thanks so much for being guests on my blog!


Blurb for the Talking Library: Fairday Morrow had no clue that moving from Manhattan to the small town of Ashpot, Connecticut, would lead to an unsolved mystery. Her parents’ dream of renovating a crumbling Victorian, called the Begonia House, into a bed and breakfast had seemed like treachery at the time. But Fairday found out that her new house kept secrets, and once inside its twisted front gates, anything was possible. When mysterious notes start showing up warning that a librarian is in trouble and a bookworm is eating words, Fairday thinks the Begonia House has more skeletons in its closets. What happens to stories when their words get eaten?

Back quote:
“Remember to consider all angles. Just as shadows are revealed by light, truth lies betwixt the lines.”

My Review: In this second book of the Fairday Morrow Series, eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow and her friends (the DMS squad) have to figure out why words are suddenly missing from their favorite stories. The search takes them deep into the walls of the mysterious Begonia House where they discover the Talking Library. Using their riddle-solving skills, they must discover the identity of the bookworm who has been eating the words and stop more books from being altered.

The Talking Library is a very imaginative book. Many of the fantasy aspects are reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. With poisonous punctuation characters and a shadowy rook, the world building is this story is unique and fascinating. Readers will also enjoy the sprinkling of illustrations throughout the book. It's a good, quick read for middle grade kids who enjoy mysteries.


LINKS


PURCHASE THE BOOKS
THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW


FAIRDAY MORROW AND THE TALKING LIBRARY




SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
INSTAGRAM









Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson are co-authors of the Fairday Morrow series. They met freshman year of high school in English class, where they discovered they liked the same books. Their friendship grew, and over the years they went on to work as servers together, go to the same college for a short time, and they even became roommates for a while. Many books were discussed, but none were ever written. Now, after the release of their first middle grade novel, The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, Stephanie and Jess are continuing to build suspense in book 2: Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library. 


35 comments:

  1. Stephanie, I'm with you - invisibility!
    You two are certainly the master of riddles and darn good ones at that.
    Great interview, ladies!

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    1. Thanks, Alex! Being invisible would be awesome. :) So glad you enjoy our riddles! ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. Invisibility would be fun! But maybe you'd see things you'd wish you hadn't!

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  2. A wonderful insight of two excellent writers. This was so very good to read. Thank you Sherry for the interview simplly great.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne- We are thrilled you enjoyed the interview. ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Yvonne!

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  3. Invisibility would sure be fun. That is neat how you worked in situations you came across when promoting the first.

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    1. Pat- Wouldn't it be fun to be invisible? You never know where ideas will come from. ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. That's right. You never know where ideas come from!

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  4. Hi, Jessica, Stephanie & Sherry!

    Based on what I learned in this interview, the latest case for the Detective Mystery Squad to tackle will take middle grade readers on a delightful journey. The concept of a Talking Library opens up endless possibilities, and an Alice In Wonderland theme with riddles to be solved will surely hold young readers' interest. I never tried writing a story with another author. Thanks for explaining the process.

    It was a pleasure meeting you, Jessica and Stephanie, and thank you, Sherry, for introducing these talented writers and their new book!

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    1. Shady Del Knight- Nice to meet you too! We loved your comment and appreciate that you think our books will appeal to middle grade readers. Thanks for stopping by! ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. I think it's very cool how they work together. An excellent collaboration!

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  5. Google docs is so great for collaboration. It must be fun to write with a friend.

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    1. Liz- It is SO much fun to write with a friend. We love sharing the story writing process with each other. Thank goodness for Google Docs. Amazing! :) ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. These two have certainly made the collaboration work!

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  6. I can't believe how you two think up all those riddles. Great interview. Loved learning more about Jess and Stephanie. Their book sounds fantastic.

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    1. Natalie- Thank goodness Jessica thinks in riddles. It really comes in handy. :) Thanks for stopping in! ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. Reminds me of Pat Hatt thinking in rhyme! A very cool talent!

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  7. OMG those two forgot poor lil' Dezzy big time.Haven't seen them at my place for months :(

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    1. Dezzy- We have missed you are our place too. Off to visit you soon. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

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    2. Now that they have your link, I'm sure you will all reconnect.

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  8. Thanks so much for spotlighting us on your blog, Sherry! We really appreciate it and have been enjoying chatting with your readers. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

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    1. It was my pleasure to have you all here!

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  9. Awesome! The first book was super creative. My daughter loved it too.

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  10. Fascinating interview! Thanks for sharing:)

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  11. I love these two authors and their books. Can't stay away from their website! Fun all the way.

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  12. Hi Stephanie and Jess! It’s great to see them on your blog, Sherry. I love The Wizard of Oz. I’ve been wanting to read their books. Well, now I’ll have to. :)

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    1. Awesome! Their books are very imaginative!

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  13. Great interview!! Truly enjoyed it! Jessica and Stephanie are great! Big Hugs Sherry!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the interview! Big hugs back!

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  14. Awesome interview. All the best to Jess and Stephanie!

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