Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Author Stop: Jessica Lawson


1. I love the title Nooks & Crannies (ampersand, woot!). Was this always the working title or was it something that you collaborated with Simon & Schuster on?

I’m so glad you like it! I have a Word document that’s nothing but title ideas that pop into my head— things that seem catchy to me and might have a story behind them, but don’t at the moment. “Nooks & Crannies” was sitting (poor lonely title!) in that document for awhile before I wrote a story that it would fit with. When I realized that my main character, Tabitha Crum, was heading to a isolated manor house, I dusted off the title and slapped it on my manuscript. Simon & Schuster was kind enough to keep it!

2. What fruit do you like to eat the most?

I had my first pomegranate last year and fell in love. Before that, I considered them too high-maintenance and fancy for my fruit-eating needs, but once I watched a half-a-dozen (literally) YouTube videos on the best way to get the seeds out, I was hooked. Have been ever since.



3. A mystery seems to be at the heart of your book. Did you grow up reading mysteries?

I grew up reading chapter book mysteries in the vein of Cam Jansen—those were always fun! While mysteries weren’t necessarily the genre of books I gravitated toward as a young reader, they definitely were present in my reading life.


I distinctly remember reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There were None in late middle school or so, and being SO creeped out. The psychology behind the plot was disturbing in nature, but fascinating in terms of “Wow! How did she come up with that???” And one of my aunts was a big mystery reader and whenever I went to her house, she had stacks of mystery paperbacks—Mary Higgins Clark, P.D. James, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot books, etc. When I read mysteries, I tend to do it in spurts of 4 to 5 books in quick succession and then take a break.



4. Name your favorite vegetable. Wait, never mind, this is getting too healthy. Name your favorite junk food. 

I tend to crave things that are savory, not sweet. Crunchy, salty things like chips/fries/onion rings/fried pickles are my favorites. Hey, fried pickles/onion rings/fries—all combos of vegetable & junk food ☺. 



5. And lastly, what is a fav line (s) from N&C?

Inspector Pensive is a mystery book character that my protagonist loves/admires, and quotes from those made-up books start each chapter. Those Pensive quotes are among my favorite lines in the book. They tend to be a little eccentric and were loads of fun to come up with. Here are two:

“Physical drills are nonsense, Tibbs,” said Pensive, waving a hand at his partner. “Mental acuity provides the lion’s share of an Inspector’s strength, thus making daily observations my particular version of organized exercise. Feel free to keep swinging your arms in those ridiculous patterns, though. Quite entertaining.”

—Inspector Percival Pensive, The Case of the Backhanding Butcher


“A ghost is a ridiculous excuse for a poorly-executed boat party, Tibbs. The ‘disturbances’ can more likely be attributed to resident rats than angry spirits. Though I daresay I’d be angry too if I had to haunt this odorous nightmare. Smells like bad tuna and feet. Do take my extra hanky for your nose.”

—Inspector Percival Pensive, The Case of the Galley Ghost’s Gumption


*Thank you SO much for having me on your fabulous blog!!!

* * * 

You are welcome!! And, mmm, fried pickles. I'd eat up a plate of them right now, if you someone handed them to me. And, dear readers, there are TWO GIVEAWAYS today! Thanks to Jessica's generosity, one commenter will win a hardcover of Nooks & Crannies! And the other a $5 Amazon gift card. Please just remember to follow Jessica at one or more of her social media links, thanks! {Winners announced via comment section on Sat, 5/6}

Jessica Lawson is the author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, a children’s novel that Publishers Weekly called “a delightfully clever debut… a rewarding read on many levels” in a starred review. Her second book, Nooks & Crannies, has received three starred reviews (School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist) and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Jessica lives with her husband and children in Palmer Lake, Colorado, where she regularly sees a fox family trotting around the neighborhood (which makes her feel like she’s in one of her favorite Roald Dahl books). You can visit her at http://jessicalawsonbooks.com/



Tabitha Crum is a girl with a big imagination and a love for mystery novels, though her parents think her only talent is being a nuisance. She doesn't have a friend in the world, except her pet mouse, Pemberley, with whom she shares her dingy attic bedroom.

Then, on the heels of a rather devastating announcement made by her mother and father, Tabitha receives a mysterious invitation to the country estate of the wealthy but reclusive Countess of Windermere, whose mansion is rumored to be haunted. There, she finds herself among five other children, none of them sure why they've been summoned. But soon, a very big secret will be revealed— a secret that will change their lives forever and put Tabitha’s investigative skills to the test.

19 comments:

  1. It looks so cute! I love the cover! Sounds like something my 10yo daughter and I would love. We're big mystery fans. :)

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  2. Wonderful interview! I can't wait to read this, as I just loved Jess's first book. I suspect I'll have already bought a copy before you announce your winner, but if I happen to win anyway, I definitely know a few kids who would love this for a birthday present. :)

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  3. Oh man, this sounds SO GREAT.
    Also, I'm lucky in that my grocery store has cleaned pomegranate seeds for sale. Don't have to do any of the cleaning yourself. It's awesome (though once i forgot some pomegranate seeds in my fridge for too long and when i finally cleaned them out they had fermented into a pomegranate wine (no, i didn't try it))

    (also, google was being a B, so i couldn't comment under my google account (sighs for 15 minutes))

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  4. That has to be one of the most darling covers I've ever seen. And a mystery?! I'm totally reading this.

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  5. That cover is so cute! I love the title too, and the quotes were great. Sounds like a fun read.

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  6. Thank you SO much for having me on the blog! Love your questions :)

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    1. You are welcome, it was a pleasure! I hope your release day is going fantastic!

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  7. This sounds wonderful! I was a great lover of mysteries myself as a child. I ransacked my mother's collection of Mary Stewart, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Virginia Coffman books and read them over and over again. Looking forward to reading this one!

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  8. This sounds wonderful! What an enticing cover. And the author loves pomegranates AND fried pickles? A woman after my own culinary heart.

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  9. this is adorable...and I love Agatha Christie! Would you believe I never tried a fried pickle??

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    1. What?! Oh, Beth. You must rectify this! If we lived close by, I would drag you out for a fried pickle girl's night.

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  10. I loved And Then There Were None. My daughter loves the Cam Jansen books. They're very cute. Congrats to Jessica.

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  11. Mmm, pomegranates. Especially chocolate covered ones ;) Fun interview, and I love the file and titles idea!

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  12. Hah! My hubby says he should just come up with titles for me to write stories about because he's epic with titles. I laugh and tell him the title is easy comparatively.

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  13. Nice interview Leandra,

    I appreciate the introduction into Nooks and Crannies. I hadn't heard of it before. You've got a great consistency, and always something valuable to offer your readers. I learn from you.

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  14. This sounds like just the kind of book I love. A mystery set in a manor house! I love the title and cover as well. I will be definitely checking this one out!

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  15. Sounds very fun. The cover is great.

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  16. The winner of the hardcover is...Crystal Collier!! And the winner of the Amazon gc is Dianne Salerni! Congrats, ladies!

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