Is Mabel Opal Pear an amazing name or what?! See the answer to my third question below to find out how it came to pass. Amazon describes this book as ‘rife with quirky characters, zany twists, and an unflinching look at the difficulty of learning to trust.’ All of that and a mystery to unravel spells fun in my book! Amanda Hosch’s debut middle grade novel is on shelves today so pick up a copy and see for yourself.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
I grew up in a family of readers. My parents read to us and weekly trips to the library were part of growing up. Once I was old enough to walk there on my own, I went two or three times a week (I’m a fast reader). When my oldest daughter was a few months old, my father was able to recite “Goodnight Moon” from memory even though it had been several decades since he had read it.
What was the hardest part of writing Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying?
Of all the books I’ve written, MOPRS was the most joyful first draft experience. I think it’s because her voice was so strong. However, revising took patience.
Deciding on names in fiction writing is hard work and Mabel Opal Pear is an unusual one. How did you come up with it?
Before she even had a proper name, I knew her nickname was Moppet. I tried quite a few variations of names with the initials MOP before Mabel Opal Pear stuck. Moppet comes from the stories by Beatrix Potter. Moppet has her own book, The Story of Miss Moppet, and she also appears in The Tale of Tom Kitten. I loved the books as a child and my mother gave me a beautiful set when my first child was born. My mom may have also called me Moppet sometimes.
I’m a huge mystery/spy fan (obviously!). Do you read mystery and spy fiction for fun? Did you know you were going to write a spy book from the start?
Yes, me too! Yes (again!)! From the very beginning, I knew Mabel’s parents were spies and that she knew their secret. Once I rewrote the Moscow Rules from Mabel’s point of view, that was the book’s hook.
Writing for middle grade readers can be a challenge. What about this age range/genre appeals to you?
I love their ability to get totally immersed in a story.
Who are your favorite authors?
Partial list includes Rae Carson, Mindy McGinnis, and Madeleine L’Engle, but ask me on a different day and I’ll have another list.
What is your favorite thing to do when not writing?
What are you working on right now?
A historical YA set in 1880s New Orleans.
How do you prefer readers get in touch with you?
Email is great: firstname.lastname@example.org