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.

Scroll down to browse the full archive.

Eliot Schrefer on the Animal Kingdom, His Stonewall Honor, and QUEER DUCKS

Friends, we can’t wait to share the new book for teens (and up!) from National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer with you all. It’s called Queer Ducks, and it delves into the fascinating world of animal sexuality with humor, wit, and smarts. It’s an absolute treat to read — take it from Blue Willow Events Coordinator and Children’s Specialist Cathy Berner, who says, “The engaging format that combines scientific research, comics, and memoir made me feel like I was sitting next to Eliot in science class, passing notes and comics back and forth — and then going for coffee afterwards!”

Cathy caught up with Eliot before the book’s launch to talk about Queer Ducks, Eliot’s recent Stonewall honor, and more. Check out their conversation below, then save the date for Eliot’s virtual launch event on May 24. He’ll appear in conversation with Newbery medalist Kelly Barnhill, and it’s sure to be a conversation you won’t want to miss!

Kosoko Jackson on Writing Romance and I'M SO (NOT) OVER YOU

Valentine's Day is drawing near, and love is in the air. One of the very best ways to celebrate, in our opinion, is with a fresh stack of literary rom-coms for your side table or nightstand. And one of the best of those that you can read this month is I'm So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson. It's funny and fresh, sassy and steamy, and was on *everyone's* "most-anticipated rom-coms" list heading into the year.

We're uttery delighted to be hosting Kosoko for a fun virtual event on February 24. (He's appearing in conversation with the incredible Leah Johnson, which makes the whole thing even better.) The book doesn't come out until the 22nd, so you'll have to wait until just after the holiday to fall in love Hudson and Kian... but you can tide yourselves over by checking out our Q&A with Kosoko below!

Antwan Eady, Gracey Zhang, and Editor Mabel Hsu Discuss the Making of NIGEL AND THE MOON

Nigel and the Moon - CoverEvery so often, we come across a picture book that we just know is going to be an instant classic. One recent example is the beautiful Nigel and the Moon, written by debut author Antwan Eady and illustrated by Gracey Zhang. It's a timeless and lovely depiction of a child's courage to dream, with poetic text and evocative ink, gouache, and watercolor illustrations. With its themes of self-acceptance and dreaming big, we know it will inspire young readers for many years to come.

We're so excited to welcome Antwan and Gracey to our virtual Bookworm Festival next Thursday, where they'll appear alongside Meg Wolitzer in a conversation moderated by Jarrett Pumphrey (The Old Truck). You can register for their session and peruse the rest of our Bookworm Festival programming from this page. In the meantime, check out our conversation with Antwan, Gracey, and editor Mabel Hsu below!

J. Elle on ASHES OF GOLD and What’s Next

Houston’s own YA superstar J. Elle returns to the shelves this month with Ashes of Gold, the epic finale of her bestelling Wings of Ebony duology. Friends, the book is going to knock your socks off, and we can’t wait to share it with you soon — in fact, we’re lucky enough to be hosting a virtual event with the author on January 12 to help celebrate its publication. J. Elle appear in conversation with fellow YA author Brigid Kemmerer, and we’ve been looking forward to it for months. There’s more exciting news, too: If you buy your copy of Ashes of Gold with us before January 7, it will be signed and personalized by the author — who’s also kicking in an exclusive bookmark! 

We had the chance to catch up with J. Elle before our event and ask her a few questions about the new book, writing Houston, and what’s next. Check out our conversation below — and we’ll see you on the 12th!

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!

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