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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Gilly Segal & Kimberly Jones on I'M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT

Friends, the current health situation has upended life here at the shop, and has reminded us that our top priority is always to keep our customers and staff healthy and safe. That's meant a lot of event cancellations and a lot of curbside pickup for the last two weeks. We're carrying on as well as we can, but we're still bummed beyond words that one of our event casualties was this year's TeenBookCon festival. To us, the festival is a joyful, life-giving day each year where we get to see a lot of hard work and planning pay off and connect thousands of young local readers with some of our very favorite authors.

Two of those authors—Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones—have written an urgent, page-turner of a debut that tackles big topics like race, privilege, violence, and coming together. I'm Not Dying With You Tonight is the story of Lena and Campbell, two very different girls from very different backgrounds, who are forced to rely on one another in order to survive a riot. We know it's not the same as attending a TeenBookCon panel, but we were able to ask Gilly and Kimberly a few questions about the book, what it's like to write together, and which books are on their nightstands. Read on!

Lisa See on Research, Writing Female Friendships, and THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN

Friends, what a month we've had here at the shop, in Houston, and as a country. During times like this, we really do find that there's nothing quite like the comfort of a good book.

On a store programming note, we're devastated not to host so many of our favorite authors in the weeks ahead—we were looking forward to great conversations with authors like Ann Patchett, Angie Thomas, Mac Barnett, and Lisa See. Today, we're here with the next best thing—an exclusive Q&A between Lisa See and Valerie, all about her fabulous book The Island of Sea Women. We've even added a few photos from Lisa's last visit to give the post that Blue-Willow-Bookshop-event feel. It's not the same, we know, but right now it's for the best.

If you already ordered your copy of The Island of Sea Women, or are looking for reading recommendations for the next few weeks, give us a call! We're offering $5 priority shipping right now, and free shipping on orders over $50. You can also take advantage of our curbside delivery program, or just stop in—we're still open as of March 18 and have put additional sanitation measures in place to ensure your safety and the safety of our staff. 

TeenBookCon Author Phil Stamper on Space, Romance, and THE GRAVITY OF US

There's something especially magical about reading a book set in your hometown, right? Now imagine that the book has multiple starred reviews and glowing blurbs from the likes of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. And that we've been counting down the days until its February 4 release for, oh, about ten months.

That's the situation with The Gravity of Us, the debut YA novel from Phil Stamper. It's part space-race adventure, part queer love story, and it's wise, funny, and charming as all heck. We are absolutely beside ourselves with glee that Phil will be joining us for our eleventh annual TeenBookCon festival at Cypress Woods High School on April 4. You can register for the festival here, then check out the full author lineup to see who else is coming to town. In the meantime, check out our exclusive Q&A with Phil!

TeenBookCon Author Ngozi Ukazu on Hockey, CHECK, PLEASE!, and What's Next

Friends, have we told y'all about our favorite hockey books? They're part of a graphic novel series called Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu, and they're just the best. The story follows Eric Bittle, a gay former figure skater and amateur pâtissier who plays on the hockey team at the fictional Samwell University. It's a funny, charming series—you'll love getting to know Bitty's teammates, watching his vlogs, and cheering for him as he comes into his own. 

The second and final volume, Check, Please!: Sticks and Scones comes out on April 7. If you're not coming to TeenBookCon on April 4, you can pre-order a signed, personalized copy on our website by April 2, and upload your receipt online before April 6—while supplies last, the publisher will send you a poster featuring Bitty's pregame playlist! 

We're so excited to be hosting Ngozi as part of our eleventh annual TeenBookCon festival, where we'll be selling copies of both Check, Please! books for Ngozi to sign. (Attendees, buy your book at the event! You’ll even have a chance to sign up to receive that same exclusive pre-order swag.) You can register for the festival here, then check out the full author lineup to see who else is coming. In the meantime, tide yourselves over with our exclusive Q&A with Ngozi!

Bookworm Author Sydney Smith on His Beautiful Book, SMALL IN THE CITY

Friends, we'd love to tell you about Small in the City, a wonderful picture book by the talented illustrator (and now author) Sydney Smith. At first glance, the premise seems simple enough: A child navigates a city in winter and offers the reader advice about which streets to walk down and which places to avoid. But pay close attention, and you'll begin to realize that the child is speaking to someone in particular. There's a poignant narrative twist towards the end, and the whole thing is full of gorgeous, expressive art. In short, it's a very special book.

We're thrilled that Sydney is coming to Houston for our annual Bookworm Festival on February 1st, alongside eleven other wonderful authors and illustrators of picture books and books for emerging readers. Oh, and hundreds of eager young readers and their families! It's going to be a great morning celebrating literacy in the greater Houston area. You can pre-register for the festival now, or just show up on the day of. Either way, be sure to check out our exclusive Q&A with Sydney! 

Bookworm Author Vanessa Brantley-Newton on Girlhood, Read-Alouds, and JUST LIKE ME

It's no secret that we love a good picture book. We dedicate half of our store to kid lit, and the staff almost always has a new favorite making the rounds from bookseller to bookseller. Lately, we haven't been able to stop talking about Just Like Me, written and illustrated by the wonderful Vanessa Brantley-Newton. It's a gorgeous book, with a unique concept: Instead of a traditional narrative, the book consists of a series of poems describing girls of all kinds, each matched to a vibrant illustration. It's uplifting and inclusive, and it will have readers eagerly turning the pages to find themselves—and their friends—within.

We're so excited that Vanessa is coming to Houston for our annual Bookworm Festival on February 1st, where she'll be joined by eleven other terrific authors and illustrators... and hundreds upon hundreds of eager young readers. It's going to be a great morning full of author panels and signing lines. You can pre-register for the festival now—early registration isn't required, but it helps us figure out seating and other logistics. Then, to pass the time leading up to the big day, dive into our exclusive Q&A with Vanessa!

Kate Murphy on Algorithms, Loneliness, and the Importance of Listening

In her last newsletter of 2019, Blue Willow girlboss Valerie Koehler passed along seasonal wishes for time well-spent with friends, family, food, and laughter. But also with silence. Valerie wrote, "with silence comes a greater appreciation for the people around us." 

It may seem an odd choice for this time of year, but it's something that's been on our minds a lot lately—ever since we finished You're Not Listening, by Houston author Kate Murphy. It's an enlightening read, and it grapples with some of the most serious communication questions we're facing today. Questions like this: How is that, in a world where digital technology makes it easier than ever to "connect," so many people are growing lonelier, less tolerant, and more isolated? We're so excited to be hosting the author here at the shop on January 6 to celebrate the book's release. We hope you'll join us for what we know will be a wonderful evening. In the meantime, check out this exclusive Q&A between Kate and Valerie.

Tweens Read Author Rex Ogle on Middle School, Comics, and FREE LUNCH

One more week until Tweens Read 2019! Our annual festival for middle grade readers is coming to Pasadena Memorial High School next Saturday, October 19, and we couldn't be more excited. Twenty-three terrific authors will be in attendance, including folks like Jason Reynolds, Julie Murphy, and Lincoln Peirce. It's one of our favorite days of the year, and we strongly encourage you to join us. Not only will you get to meet some of your favorite authors... but you'll discover a few new favorites, too. Like Rex Ogle! His debut middle-grade book, Free Lunch, is a candid and moving memoir about growing up in poverty. It's raw and honest, but also manages to be sweet and hopeful. In short, it's a wonderful book—a window, a mirror, and an all-around empathy machine.

Don't miss your chance to hang out with Rex and the rest of the Tweens Read authors next weekend. (Seriously, don't miss your chance: Rex used to write and edit comic books, is from Texas, and has a fantastic dog. He's a cool guy.) Fill out your Tweens Read registration, then hurry back and check out our exclusive Q&A with the author.

Tweens Read Author Kwame Mbalia on Myth, Grief, and TRISTAN STRONG

October is here, friends, and that means it's officially Tweens Read season at the shop. We've been busy prepping for the October 19th event, where you can meet all sorts of your favorite authors, like Jason Reynolds, Jon Sciezska, and Julie Murphy. It's also a great place to discover new favorites. One of the authors we're most excited to introduce you to is Kwame Mbalia, debut author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky. Friends, this is a great book. It's got humor, adventure, and heart, bound together with a dose of African mythology. If you don't believe us, just ask Rick Riordan—he's publishing the book through his new imprint, Rick Riordan Presents. So you know it's going to be a fun, sometimes-scary adventure you won't be able to put down.

Tristan Strong comes out on October 15th... why don't you celebrate by joining us at the Tweens Read festival and meeting the author just a few days later? You'll be able to ask questions, get your book signed, and maybe even convince Kwame to share a detail or two about the forthcoming sequel. In the meantime, check out our exclusive Q&A with the author.

Tweens Read Author Rajani LaRocca on MIDSUMMER'S MAYHEM and What's Next

If you know us well, you know that we have some particular favorite things: Baked goods. Shakespeare. And books, obviously. Kids' books bear mentioning, in particular—we've devoted half our store to children's titles, and host three festivals for young readers each year. Imagine our delight, then, when we first caught wind of Rajani Larocca's debut middle grade novel, Midsummer's Mayhem. It's a kids' book that combines elements of Shakespeare with competitive baking, and it's as funny, sweet, and imaginative as anything you've read lately. You needn't just take our word for it—since it debuted earlier this year, it's picked up accolades along the way... a starred review here, a Kids' Indie Next List selection there, and glowing blurbs from some of your very favorite authors.

We're so excited that Rajani will be joining us on October 19 as part of our annual Tweens Read festival for middle grade readers. You'll have a chance to meet her in person and get your book signed then. But October still feels like it's a long ways off. So for now, we've got the next best thing—an exclusive Q&A with the author. Read on!

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