Classroom Connections Interview

Caroline Starr Rose, author of the novels in verse May B. and Blue Birds, and the just-released prose novel Jasper and the Secret of Riley’s Mine, interviewed me for her Classroom Connections series! There’s also an ARC giveaway at the end of the interview.

I love the Classroom Connections series because Caroline, a former teacher, knows what teachers are looking for in middle grade books to bring into their classrooms. Her interview with Linda Williams Jackson, author of the 2017 middle grade debut Midnight without a Moon, is a standout.

Thank you for having me, Caroline!

Kids’ Indie Next List

How to Stage a Catastrophe made the Spring/Summer 2017 Kids’ Indie Next list! As a librarian, I’m more familiar with library-world book honors & promotions, but I’m super happy about this & grateful to all the independent booksellers who work so hard to select upcoming books and them get them into the hands of readers!

The full Kids’ Indie Next list includes some great 2017 titles, including Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited. You can probably find a print version of the list at your local independent bookstore!


Blurbs. Dig around enough in authorly chats and you’ll see that they are an artisanal spring of anxiety and embarrassment for all parties. For the author, having to ask feels a lot like groveling. For the blurber, the potential of being asked to blurb a book that you may end up feeling somewhat blah about is probably terrifying. I had heard so much about the embarrassment of asking other authors for blurbs that I approached the whole thing with a low level sense of dread. Who was I going to ask? Would Jonathan Franzen actually say yes? What about E.M. Forster? Dead, you say? Crap.

Here’s what made it a little easier: after spending some time in book circles online, I found that I did, in fact, know a few people who a) write things in a similar vein to my contemporary middle grade debut, b) had had some kind of interaction/relationship with me previously, c) seemed quite nice and approachable, and d) *super important* whose books I also enjoyed. The point of a blurb isn’t just the words the blurber uses, it’s the association their name makes within the mind of the potential reader: If I like Writer X, I might like this Donnelly person, too.

I’m happy to share two blurbs I’ve received for HOW TO STAGE A CATASTROPHE, from the wonderful middle grade writers Megan Frazer Blakemore and Casey Lyall. (Now that I think about it, they’re also both librarians–selectivity bias on my part, I guess!)

water castle Donnelly grips readers from the first sentence with Sidney Camazzola’s lively, distinctive, and — most of all — funny voice. This debut novel offers action, drama, and mystery in a page-turning adventure worthy of the stage.–Megan Frazer Blakemore, author of THE WATER CASTLE and THE FIREFLY CODE
To read or not to read…is not even a question when it comes to How howard wallace Stage a Catastrophe. Enjoy your front row seat as Sidney Camazzola and his quirky cast put on the show of a lifetime. Funny and sweet – this Catastrophe’s a hit!–Casey Lyall, author of HOWARD WALLACE, P.I.


‘Tis the Season at Pop! Goes the Reader

If you’re not familiar with Jen’s blog Pop! Goes the Reader, it’s a wonderful collection of cover reveals (including mine), themed posts by authors, and lovely wallpapers and graphics. Her series Raise Your Voice featured posts by OwnVoices authors like Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, and Tanaz Bhathena. Her new series, ‘Tis the Season, is a collection of posts by authors talking about any and all things December/holiday.

king-john-was-not-a-good-man1I wrote about my favorite Christmas poem (King John’s Christmas by A.A. Milne) and my new interpretation of it.