Karen Pokras Toz, author of the fun and fabulous Nate Rocks series, has done it again, this time with her middle-grade book for girls, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name.
Here is the book’s description from Amazon:
Twelve-year-old Millicent Marie does not like her name. After all, she was named for a woman who died more than fifty years ago and was not the most loveable member of the Harris family. Her friends call her Millie, but when she writes in her diary she refers to herself as Amanda—the name she always wished she had.
When Millie’s younger brother finds her diary on her computer, he decides to publish it as a blog for the entire world to see, including the boy Millie has a crush on. In the midst of all the mayhem, Millie/Amanda discovers she is suddenly Springside Elementary’s most sought after sixth-grade mystery gossip and advice columnist.
But not all is fun and games, as Millie quickly learns, once she realizes feelings are at stake. Nobody, least of all Millie, expects things to turn out as they do in this tale of friendship and respect.
Toz has written another winning story, capturing all the emotion and drama of tweenhood. Her characters really come to life and pop off the page in all their quirky imperfections. Millicent Marie Is Not My Name is a quick and easy read, perfect for those young readers making the transition from children’s to middle-grade books.
Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife and mom. Karen grew up in Connecticut and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7-12 year olds called Nate Rocks the World, which won First Place for Children’s Chapter Books and the Grand Prize Overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for a Global E-Book Award for Pre-Teen Literature. In 2012, Karen published the second in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat, followed by middle grade novel, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).
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Now read on for a brief interview with the author!
What sparked the idea for this particular story?
Well, I knew I wanted to have a girl be the main character for this book. My daughter was in sixth grade at the time I wrote the book, so I wanted to address many of the issues she talked about on a daily basis. The idea of Millie having a blog came to me as I was trying to think up topics to write about on my own blog. I’m one of those authors who prefers not to outline, so the rest really just came to me one chapter at a time.
If your book were made into a movie or televisions series, who would play the leading role and supporting character(s)?
I’m not sure about supporting characters, but I would love to have Abigail Breslin play Millie. I think she would be perfect for the role!
How long have you been writing?
Not long at all. In fact, I only started writing a few years ago. I’ve always been a numbers person, so the idea of being an author someday never crossed my mind. I feel really blessed that I’ve found my passion.
From concept to publication, about how long does it take for you to complete one book?
Each book is a different, of course, but I would say I’m averaging about nine months from start to finish.
Do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever inspiration strikes?
For a while, I was very disciplined. I would wake up very early each morning and get in at least an hour of writing before the rest of my household started waking up. I did that for many months. Now I’m more of a “when inspiration strikes” kind of writer, but I do try to get in some writing every day – whether it is for a book I’m working on or for my blog.
What aspects of storytelling do you struggle with most?
Definitely the ending! I love when I’m writing and I get that ‘ah ha’ moment that gives me the idea of how the book will end. The problem comes in with the actual writing of the ending. I get so excited that I always rush through it in the first draft. It usually takes me several re-writes until I’ve got it just right.
Are you currently working on another project?
Yes! I am currently working on the next Nate Rocks book (tentatively called Nate Rocks the City), which will hopefully be out in the first half of 2013.