This is a compensated post from The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins Publishers but all opinions are my own
Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Greystone Secrets 3: The Messengers by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I am excited to share the interview questions I came up with for the author – and then you can enter a fun giveaway!
Interview: Margaret Peterson Haddix and Shooting Stars Magazine
There are three Greystone siblings in your Greystone Secrets series: Chess, Emma, and Finn. Do you find that one of them is more similar to you than the others? Or do they take characteristics from people you know?
As a kid, I was probably most like Emma. I’m not as smart as her, or as math-obsessed, but I definitely shared her passion for knowing things for sure, and for longing to figure things out. Like her, I wanted answers. (As an adult, I’ve become more patient with some of the uncertainties of life. Mostly.)
You currently have three books in the Greystone Secrets series. I read that The Messengers will be the final book in the series. Are there plans for any spin-off stories?
Not at the moment. But with some of my other series, I’ve gotten the inspiration to continue the story sometimes years later, so who knows?
You’ve written books for various ages, but so far, never an adult book. Is this something you’d ever want to do, or do you prefer writing for a younger audience?
I have had ideas that I’ve thought would work well as adult books. But there is so much that I enjoy about writing for kids—they are such a great audience, and there are such endless possibilities for what can happen in a kids book. So, although I’ve occasionally been tempted to make that leap, the impulse to write another kids book instead always takes over. At least so far.
How do you plot your books? Do you create a full outline?
I don’t think I’ve ever created a “full outline” for a book in the way that my teachers (and, for that matter, college professors) taught me to do outlines. My approach is a little more slapdash. Sometimes I write a lot of notes to myself ahead of time, but they’re not necessarily terribly organized. Other times, most of the organization happens just within my head, and I’m not really sure if there’s anything there or not until I start writing. As I go along—especially if I’m struggling—I often stop and write a bunch of questions or comments to myself about what could or should happen in the rest of the book, and about what various characters are likely to do, or what might explain the actions the characters have already taken, that even I didn’t understand.
If you could write a book with another author, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
That is a fascinating question, but one that’s difficult to answer. The ideal, I think, would be to collaborate with someone whose background and perspective is very different from mine—we could write alternating chapters, perhaps? But working with a co-author would be such a balancing act. Of course I would want to work with someone I admire—but then it would be difficult to overcome my sense of awe to be able to contribute anything beyond saying, “Okay, whatever you want to do with this, that’s great!” On the flipside, writing a book is such a personal thing that I’m pretty sure there would be times that I would want to say, “Oh no, we can’t do it that way! It has to be my way!”
I guess what I’m saying is that I love this question as a thought exercise, but I wouldn’t want to ruin my relationship with anyone by actually attempting it!
You’ve had some great book covers in the past. Do you have any favorites? Are you able to collaborate on the covers at all?
I am in awe of so many of the great covers on my books—I am so grateful to the artists and designers who create those! I am especially partial to the Greystone Secrets covers (Thank you, Anne Lambelet, Aurora Parlagreco, and Molly Fehr!) I especially love how there are so many secrets embedded on the covers of each book, but it’s done in such a way that none of the covers give away any spoilers.
Probably the biggest way in which I collaborated on any of these covers was with THE MESSENGERS. Some rather unusual coins show up in the book, and the artist very conscientiously wanted to make sure they were depicted accurately on the cover. I ended up figuring out an entire code just for the purposes of the cover illustration!
Enter for a chance to win a set of the Greystone Secrets series, including Greystone Secrets 3: The Messengers.
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
A paperback copy of Greystone Secrets 1: The Strangers
A paperback copy of Greystone Secrets 2: The Deceivers
A hardcover copy of Greystone Secrets 3: The Messengers
The giveaway begins April 6, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT, and ends April 22, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.