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I Need My Monster
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Amanda, please tell us a little about yourself so our readers can get to know you?

I was born and raised in Australia. I immigrated (with my family) to the U.S. when I was a teenager. I met my husband while we were in university, but we were attending different schools.

I started writing when I was forced to sit at a desk all day long, whether there was work or not. I was so bored that I started writing stories to entertain myself.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and four young children.

Wow! A desk job where you have time to sit and make up stories and get paid for it? I bet there are a lot of authors out there who would love to have that job. Where did you get your inspiration for I Need My Monster?

It started one night when my 3 year old daughter was out of bed *again*. I was exhausted. Our youngest child wasn’t even 1 year old and all I wanted was an uninterrupted night of sleep. I wished that my daughter (who was afraid of everything) would be afraid of monsters, and then she would stay in bed. It wasn’t my finest parenting moment.

I’m with you on wishing for schemes to keep kids in bed at night. Thanks, by the way for taking some of the work out of that endeavor with your book, it sure has helped at our house! What is your favorite part of I Need My Monster and did you run into any difficulties in writing the story?

My favorite part is the page where Ethan imagines all the scary things that could happen. My biggest problem was finding a resolution that wasn’t too scary, but still authentic.

I think you succeeded! Speaking of success, who is your favorite author and why?

I read lots of authors, but I always come back to Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, and (most recently) Suzanne Collins.

I love reading about dragons and high adventure with girl heroes.

Oh, I love reading about dragons and high adventure too. What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

It is very gratifying to hold a finished book in your hands. Plus, students think I’m a rock star when I do school visits.

How fun! I love when kids have a real-life hero to look up to, and in my book, authors definitely rate higher than rock stars. What was the path to publication (and thereby rock-star-fame) like?

Like most people’s, it was long and bumpy. I wrote the story in 2005, started submitting it at the end of 2005 – mid 2006. Flashlight Press was one of the first houses I submitted to. They held it in consideration for a year before we started talking about contracts and revisions. There were *many* revisions. The book finally came to fruition in April of 2009.

So, four years of bumpy roads. . . sounds like a lot of fun, er. . . hard work. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Don’t make excuses about why you’re not writing, go write something. Get a good critique/support system to see you through.

What’s next for you? Do you have another book in the works?

Of course! Right now I’m working on a middle grade ghost story.

Spooky! Ghost stories are one of Cari’s specialties. She was really good at scaring us all with her ghost tales growing up, many of which she found in middle grade books. I, however, liked decorating cakes and noticed the Monster cakes and Monster toes featured on your and your publisher’s websites. They sound very intriguing, not to mention yummy. How did you come up with these creations, and will you share any secrets with us like, oh, possibly a monster recipe?

I wish I could take credit for the recipe, but I can’t. They’re adaptations of a Martha Stewart recipe for Cupcake Pops found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/cupcake-pops?autonomy_kw=

Of course I changed it to toes and added the pretzel stick and jellybean toe nail.

Thanks for the pointer in the right direction. And now, last but not least, at Bookscoops we like to talk about our childhood memories with the books we review, especially for our Double Scoop feature. So, in keeping with ‘tradition’, what is your favorite childhood memory involving reading?

My best memory is when I discovered the joy of reading. I was a proficient reader, but I had never been lost in a book. I was assigned to read Dragon Song by Anne McCaffrey for an English class. I had never read anything like it! I loved being able to lose myself in a totally different world. It wasn’t long before I began devouring anything I could get my hands on.

Thanks Amanda, for sharing with us! For more information about I Need My Monster check out the following websites:

Publisher website http://www.flashlightpress.com/I_Need_My_Monster.html

Author Amanda Noll’s websitehttp://www.amandanoll.com

Illustrator Howard McWilliamhttp://www.workbook.com/portfolios/mcwilliam

Book Giveaway details:

Amanda has provide one hardbound copy of I Need My Monster, which I will mail to the winner of our giveaway. The giveaway will end midnight MST,  Monday, October 19, 2009. You can enter by commenting on what you liked about the author interview or your favorite monster memory either on this post or on my review of I Need My Monster.  Please note: only one entry per person, and I will happily ship the book to any winner within the continental United States. Thanks and happy commenting!