Author Q&As

 

Did you know that we publish new author interviews every month? laugh

We've had the pleasure of chatting with amazing writers and illustrators across a range of genres, so no matter what you love, we've got a Q&A you're sure to enjoy.

Check out some favorites in the gallery below, or scroll down to browse the full archive.
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A Conversation with Rex Ogle, Author of PUNCHING BAG

Store favorite Rex Ogle (Free Lunch) has a new YA memoir coming out next month, and we can’t wait for you to read it. It’s called Punching Bag, and it follows Rex through an adolescence marked by poverty and domestic violence. It’s a powerful read, each heartache underpinned by moments of light. In her review for the store, events coordinator Cathy Berner described the book thusly: “We can tell that Rex is walking beside us as we get glimpses of love and of hope. And at the end, we know Rex survived and has thrived. This is an extraordinary memoir that's a hard, but vitally important, read.”

Below, read an exclusive Q&A between Cathy and Rex. Then, be sure to register for the Punching Bag launch event on October 5. Rex will be interviewed by Isaac Fitzgerald, and it’s a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Alex London on World Building, Middle Grade, and BATTLE DRAGONS: CITY OF THIEVES


There’s a new middle grade fantasy series that should soar to the top of your TBR pile: Battle Dragons, by bestselling author and friend of the shop Alex London. As Cathy puts it, the series hits “the sweet spot for middle grade fantasy: It's set enough in the real world to allow new fantasy readers an easy entry to the genre and the incredible world building draws fantasy fans in immediately.” Plus, there’s thrilling adventure, plenty of humor, and, well lots of dragons!

Suffice it to say, we’re thrilled to be hosting Alex to celebrate the launch of book one, Battle Dragons: City of Thieves, on September 21. He’ll appear in conversation with Kwame Mbalia, and you won’t want to miss it. Until then, tide yourself over with our Q&A on the series below!

Kwame Mbalia on His New Anthology, BLACK BOY JOY

If you know Kwame Mbalia’s bestselling Tristan Strong series, you know the author as a gifted storyteller who weaves heart, humor, and wonder into his work. So it’s no surprise that you’ll find all of those elements at play in the new anthology he edited, Black Boy Joy. The collection is a vibrant celebration of Black boyhood featuring stories from seventeen acclaimed Black male and non-binary authors (including one from Kwame himself). Simply put, the book is stunning—it’s a marvelous testament to family, friends, and much-deserved joy, and it absolutely deserves pride of place on a bookshelf near you. 

Read our Q&A with Kwame below, then get ready for our virtual August 4 event to celebrate the book’s publication. Kwame will appear in conversation with his collaborators Jerry Craft, DaVaun Sanders, Varian Johnson, and Julian Winters—we can’t wait!

Love At First Sight: The Making of Jasmine Guillory’s Swoonworthy Book Covers

It’s okay to admit it: Everyone judges books by their covers. Why else would they have such fabulous designs? We’re as partial to a striking jacket as the next person, and we always look forward to seeing the covers for upcoming releases by our favorite authors. Jasmine Guillory is one such author, and her effervescent rom-coms are always perfectly paired with beautiful, tone-setting illustrated covers.

To celebrate the release of her sixth novel, While We Were Dating, we spoke with Jasmine, plus Berkley Books Vice President, Editorial Director Cindy Hwang, Senior Marketing Manager Fareeda Bullert, and Art Director Rita Frangie about the process of cover creation. Read our conversation below, then make plans to visit us this week for your copy of While We Were Dating. It’s warm, witty, and full of thoughtful social commentary—in other words, it’s everything you’d expect from a Jasmine Guillory book.

Shawn Harris on Nature, Illustration, and HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FLOWER

Here at Blue Willow, we’ve been big fans of illustrator Shawn Harris since his beautiful first book, Her Right Foot. Shawn’s debut as both author and illustrator, Have You Ever Seen a Flower?, is out on May 4, and we can’t wait to share it with all of our wonderful educators, parents, and young readers. Cathy calls it "an ode to the human connection to nature, not to be missed."

We had a chance to ask Shawn a few questions about the new book, his distinctive style, and what’s coming next. Check out our exclusive Q&A below, then order your copy of Have You Ever Seen a Flower? from the bottom of the page. If you order before May 4, you'll also receive a signed bookplate, an art print, and a branded seed packet while supplies last!

Editor Stephanie Lurie on THE LAST FALLEN STAR and Rick Riordan Presents

If you’ve been shopping at our store for a while, you know we have a special place in our hearts (and on our shelves) for “Uncle” Rick Riordan, whose magical, mythology-infused middle grade novels have been delighting readers for fifteen years. When he’s not writing his own books, he’s busy with his own imprint, Rick Riordan Presents, which is publishing some of the funniest, most thrilling, and exciting middle grade series today.

We caught up with Stephanie Lurie, the Editorial Director of Rick Riordan Presents, to chat about working with Uncle Rick, children’s publishing, and what’s coming next from the imprint—starting with The Last Fallen Star, by Graci Kim. We’re delighted to host the launch event for that book on May 4, when author Graci Kim will appear in conversation with Rick Riordan himself. You can learn more about that event on our website, and purchase tickets here. In the meantime, check out our interview with Stephanie below!

Mary H.K. Choi on Writing in 2020, Siblings, and YOLK

We’re thrilled to welcome New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi to the blog to tell us about her incredible new book, Yolk. Gosh, where do we even start? This book is funny, raw, and wonderfully intricate—a shoo-in for your TBR list—and we loved hearing more about Choi’s process, what it was like writing a book in 2020, and the story behind that perfectly evocative title: Yolk.

Check out her great interview below, pre-order Yolk, and don’t forget to register for our free virtual event with her, in conversation with Shea Serrano, on March 4!

Masuma Ahuja on Growing Up, Storytelling, and GIRLHOOD

Let’s talk about girlhood. All around the world, teenage girls are going to school, making friends, dreaming big dreams. We see news headlines, but we know so little about ordinary girls’ day-to-day lives.

Girlhood, a new book from journalist Masuma Ahuja, shares those stories. It’s a thoughtful and informative project, centering the voices of thirty teens from twenty-seven countries through diary entries and photographs, with reporting and research to put their stories into context.

We’re thrilled to launch the book with a free, virtual event featuring Masuma in conversation with journalist Rainesford Stauffer. Plan to join us on February 9—you can register for the event here, and purchase your own copy of Girlhood here. In the meantime, check out our exclusive Q&A with the author!

Bryan Washington on MEMORIAL, Houston, and What He’s Reading

We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Bryan Washington, Houston literary superstar and author of Lot, returns with a new novel on October 27. It’s called Memorial, and it’s a touching and funny story about two young, gay Houston men: Mike, a Japanese American chef, and Benson, a Black day care teacher. Through their stories, Washington explores universal themes of family and what it means to be human—parent, child, lover, friend. The book is just sublime, and we couldn’t be happier for this Houston author. 

We’re extremely excited to host a special, virtual launch event for Bryan Washington and Memorial on October 26, and to offer signed, personalized copies to attendees. You can learn more about that event and register here. In the meantime, enjoy our Q&A with the author below. 

Tracy Deonn on Magic, Secrets, and LEGENDBORN

YA pre-order alert! Folks, there’s a new can’t-miss book on its way to our shelves. It’s called Legendborn, and it’s the debut YA novel from author Tracy Deonn. Legendborn is a bewitching blend of fantasy and contemporary YA, full of Arthurian legend and Black Girl Magic. If you like books about myth and magic—if you’re into Kiersten White or Tomi Adeyemi or Victoria Schwab or Dhonielle Clayton—you’re going to love Legendborn. Blue Willow staffer Caroline Roberts is certainly a fan, and we can vouch for her excellent taste! Enjoy this Q&A between Caroline and Tracy, then be sure to pre-order your copy of Legendborn, which comes out on September 15. Be warned: There are a few *spoilers* within... so if you need to bookmark this one and come back once you’ve read the book, be sure to do that! 

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