Thursday, June 2, 2022

Interview with Author Lisa Papademetriou about her Hearts & Crafts Series

 Instead of a review, I'm shaking things up today with an Interview. This is a new series for middle grade readers and definitely flows down my and my kids' lines. While holding a tale about a girl, dealing with usual problems, it adds crafts and hobbies to the mix. Not only are these incorporated into the plot, but there are 'do-it-yourself' moments, so that the reader can create things themselves. Sounds like an awesome mix to me!

 by Lisa Papademetriou
Scholastics Inc.
Middle Grade
Contemporary /  Hobby
256 pages
ages 8 to 12

Mackenzie Miller loves a project. In addition to making candle holders and friendship bracelets, there's the Mom Project (finding her a boyfriend -- even if she says she's not interested), the Friend Project (win back the BFFs who dumped her and make a new friend), and the Band Project (so what if she's never planned a fundraiser? How hard can it be?).

But life doesn’t come with a set of instructions. The harder Mackenzie works to craft the perfect school year, the more she feels like she's failing. She can do it all…can't she? 
This fast, funny novel is the Ted Lasso of kids’ books: full of nice people trying their best and not always living up to their own expectations. Comes with craft directions for making one of Mackenzie’s signature bracelets!

GOODREADS   /   AMAZON    /   B&N   

Interview Time!!!

Lisa was super sweet and took the time to answer a few of my questions. It's always fun to learn about the authors behind the books. I don't know about you, but I tend to be a curious and always wonder why or how or what or when or... Well, you get the picture.

Anyway, thank you, Lisa! And off we go...

Firstly, I just love your name. How do you pronounce it? (I’m horrible at working these out on my own.) And what origins does it have? 

Thank you! I love my name, too—people always seem to enjoy saying it. Papademetriou is a Greek name, and it's actually not at all hard to pronounce. There's just a lot of it. I always explain it like this: Papa as in father. Deme as in Demi Lovato. Tri is like a tree. And ou sounds like Oh! As in, Oh that's a long name! Papa-demi-tree-oh!

Ooo...that is a fun name to say! It fits to creativity well, too, which you obviously excel in as an author and craft fan. Which crafts did you especially enjoy while growing up, and which ones does your daughter enjoy? 

Growing up, I loved working with clay, sculpting small figures or making pots. I've always been fairly good at sewing, which I still love. My daughter and I have made soap, poured candles, sewed clothes, and crocheted hats. My mother loves making paper flowers and sculptures. We'll all try any craft!

That is a wide variety. No wonder you're twirling an entire series around them. But writing and crafting aren't the only things you do. I’ve noticed that you’re a woman of many hats and stay very busy. How do you balance everything?

For me, the real secret is in trying not to worry when things are not balanced. Often, things in my life are not in balance, and that's okay. Sometimes I need to spend more time and attention on my daughter and family. Sometimes I'm wrapped up in writing or working on my writing software, Bookflow, and at those times, we eat a lot of takeout and the house is, ahem, not tidy. My life doesn't balance so much as it averages out.

The more we do, the less tidy the house least, that's my experience, too. But you still find time for writing! And obviously enjoy it. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part of the writing process is, believe it or not, editing. I was an editor before I was a writer, and I still enjoy reading through my manuscripts with a ruthless eye, pointing out the flaws and feeling relieved when a storyline seems to be working. When I sat down to write my first novel, I was too fearful to get started, so I called a friend. She said, "Lisa, you're an editor. You fix manuscripts for a living." When I asked her what that had to do with anything, she said, "All you have to do is write a bad manuscript, then fix it." I still remember that every time I start a new project.

Your friend is wise.  I have to keep reminding myself that the true magic happens in the editing, too, and as an editor, you have an advantage in that area. Did you always want to work in the writing industry, or what was your dream job when you were a child?

The moment I realized that the books I was reading were written by a real, actual person whose job was to write books, I decided that was the job for me. I've been saying that I wanted to be a writer ever since I was about eight years old.

Wow. Then, it's a true calling, and how neat that you're able to follow it! So, when you aren’t writing or crafting or speaking, what else do you enjoy doing? And yes, I’m asking this with a small laugh, since it sounds like quite the list already.

I love just spending time with my family, going for walks, playing with my dog, and—of course—reading! My husband is from Pakistan and my best friend lives on the island of Bali, so I love traveling, too.

I'm beginning to get a little envious of your life. It all sounds so interesting and exciting. 
Now, I'm curious what you read...if it tends toward excitement or takes a complete flip and heads toward calmer reads. Which book(s) do you have on your nightstand, at the moment?

I just started reading Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend this morning and am already having trouble putting it down. I've also got a copy of Maisy Chen's Last Chance by my own brilliant friend Lisa Yee, The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, and the diaries of Franz Kafka. I'm a bit all over the place with my reading; I love to have a mixture of fiction and nonfiction in my To Be Read pile, so that I can pick up whatever I'm in the mood for.

That's a wide mix. No wonder creativity is nothing new to you. And what was your favorite read while growing up? Your daughter’s?

I was a huge fan of the Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. I read them over and over. And I was very disappointed when my own daughter had no interest in those books. When she was little, my daughter was obsessed with the Fairy Magic and Magic Treehouse series. We must have had a hundred of them, at least. She and my husband would go buy a new book at the local bookstore every Saturday morning. It was a sweet tradition. She and I both still love to go to our neighborhood bookstore. We're lucky to have a great independent store within walking distance.  

Okay, now I am jealous. 

Thanks again for answering these! It really was fun.

And here she is...

Lisa Papademetriou (Papa-Dim-Meet-Ree-Yoo) is the author of numerous novels for tween and teen readers, including the new series Hearts and Crafts; A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic (a South Asia Book Award Highly Commended Title); the New York Times-bestselling novel Middle School: Big, Fat Liar and Homeroom Diaries (both with James Patterson), and the Confectionately Yours series (almost 1,000,000 books in print). Her books have appeared on many prestigious lists, including Bank Street Best Books of the Year, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List and have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, and Japanese. A former editor at Scholastic, Disney Press, and HarperCollins, Lisa is also the founder of, the premier creativity and productivity tool for writers. 

1 comment:

Heather N. Quinn said...

What a fun interview! This is a super new addition to the blog. I liked Lisa's friend's advice about writing a bad manuscript and editing it. Clever!