I posted my review of CiCi Reno:#Middle School Matchmaker yesterday on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. You may comment on that post, or today’s, or both for a chance to win a giveaway of this great new title. (U.S. and Canadian residents only on this one). I’ll announce the winner on April 25th.
Author Kristina Springer was gracious enough to stop by on her busy launch day to touch base on a variety of topics.
Hi Kristina and welcome to ALWAYS in the MIDDLE on a very special day – the release of your new MG novel CiCi Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker. You aren’t new to book birthdays going back to your first, THE ESPRESSOLOGIST (Oct. 27, 2009, and many more after including MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS (Aug. 10, 2010) and JUST YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS (Oct. 11, 2011). How is this launch for Cici the same or different from your other books?
Thanks for having me! This launch feels MUCH different for me. For one, I kinda feel like I know what I’m doing now. When my first book, The Espressologist, came out I did hardly any promotion. I think I thought magical marketing fairies would do all of the work and while there is a great publicity team with your publisher (Sterling Children’s has the BEST!), authors have to also do a lot of promotion. I also feel like my writing has improved a lot as well since then. The Espressologist was only the second book I ever wrote (the first one was never subbed to publishers). Since then I’ve written a dozen books and another half dozen partial books.
Cici Reno’s helpful personality, her modern girl outlook on the middle school world, and her love of yoga had me cheering for her throughout the story. Where did you come up with the unique personality traits for Cici?
Cici is a compilation of a lot of different characters I know (and don’t know). There are bits of her that are similar to my daughters and their friends and my nieces. But then I also wanted her to have the kind of confidence a Gilmore Girl would have (I’m obsessed with the Gilmore Girls!). There’s also a piece of her reminiscent of a yoga instructor I had who was just really chill and laid back. I wanted Cici to be this cool kid who I’d love to have had as a friend in middle school.
How did you approach writing Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker? Did you have the entire plot in your head and let the words flow or did you just write and hope the story worked itself out?
I tend to be able to see the beginning and end of a book right away. So I always kinda know where I want to go with it. With this book I didn’t make a strict outline ahead of time but I would jot down scenes as I thought of them and throw those all into a notes file in Word. Then as I wrote the book I’d read through all of my notes for ideas on where I wanted to go with each chapter and loosely organized it there. The last thing I did was figure out the yoga poses that Cici would tweet at the beginning of each chapter because I wanted the pose to help with a situation that happened in that chapter.
Will there be more from Cici in future books? And/or… what are you working on now?
Yes! And I’m so happy about this—I love Cici! I just finished outlining book 2 in the Yoga Girl series and I’ve written the first few chapters.
I read your complete bio and you went down many roads before becoming a MG and YA writer. From the experiences you’ve had getting to this point as a successful author, what advice would you give to young aspiring writers?
I would tell them two things: 1) Write. You have to get something down on the page, even if it’s terrible writing. You can always go back and fix it later. Try not to get hung up on your first draft. And 2) Be stubborn and believe in yourself. There’s so, so much rejection in this industry and you just have to let it roll off your back and keep trying. With the first young adult book I wrote I had queried 100 agents (not all at once—in batches of ten). I signed with the 87th agent I’d queried. That’s a heck of a lot of people telling me no. And then we didn’t even send that book out to publishers. By that time I had written The Espressologist and was really excited about it. We sent it out right away and within a few weeks had an auction between four publishing houses.
A few just for fun:
Favorite time of the day to write? 11am-2pm
Favorite Middle Grade word? Like
Favorite yoga pose? Savasana (aka, corpse pose). My daughters tease me because it’s basically lying on your back, relaxing, but it’s always the last pose of the class and my very favorite—love it!
Favorite social media site?Ooh, it’s a tie. I adore Twitter (@TinaSpringer) but I also newly love Instagram. I’m obsessed. I only got actively into it about six months ago but I’m super hooked. https://www.instagram.com/kristinaspringerauthor/
Favorite part of a book launch?
My very favorite part will always be first seeing the book on the shelf at the bookstore. But I also love giving stuff away and I will be giving out Cici Reno themed prizes packs all day on twitter, Instagram, and facebook on 4/19.
Thanks for taking the time to chat. Good luck with the launch and have a fun day, Kristina.